History of the AAPN

AACA/AAPN "Firsts" That Changed the Industry

The Association was first organized in 1981 by a group of contractors in Georgia. That small group of factory owners soon grew beyond Georgia's borders to become a Southeast and then a National organization focused on Made in the USA. Today the AAPN is the only international trade association connecting the entire textile/apparel supply chain of the Western Hemisphere.

1981: The Association was organized in 1981 by Don Strickland in Atlanta. He started with a group of cut/sew contractors in South Georgia.  The oldest original member, the third to join, is Riverside Manufacturing and it remains a member today. AAPN was then called the American Apparel Contractors Association.

The AACA printed the first industry 'Guide to Sourcing.' Don Strickland had experience with other organizations. He saw the potential for this network of people. He decided to find out more about their business. He asked them questions about their factories

  • What garments can you make?
  • How many?
  • What is your lead time?
  • Do you have open production?
  • What kind of machinery do you have?

He very quickly had created a list of sewing factories and their capabilities in Georgia and decided to expand into neighboring states. As the association grew, vendors started to join. The thread companies, the companies that sold sewing machines and cutting tables all wanted to be a part of this network.

This in turn got the attention of the brands who began to call and ask for help finding factories. They wanted to get a list of factories that could make a particular garment. A computer seemed to be the solution. The list of factories was turned into a computer database and the people at these companies had become a network of like-minded individuals who were creating Social Capital. ‘Social Capital’ occurs when there is trust and reciprocity. These factory owners trusted each other and wanted to help each other.

1985: Membership had grown to 400 companies

1987: Sue Strickland writes of that time, "When I joined the association in 1987 there was a personal computer in the office without a hard drive but we did have a really big floppy disk --- about 8 inches square. When someone called needing to know if we could give them the names of factories that made t-shirts, we fired up the computer, put the floppy disk into the A drive, typed in a lot of undecipherable characters in code form and we had a list! It wasn’t too long before we could use another monumental break thru in technology – and actually fax this list to the caller."

1990: AACA Founder Don Strickland passes away suddenly. His wife, Sue C. Strickland, takes over as the sole staff.

1991: Ten years after starting, the AACA had signed its 1,000th organization of whom some 350 were active members that year. 

1992: First Fax Sourcing Broadcasts. Fax machines were becoming pervasive in small plants. The broadcast gave AACA a better responsiveness to industry and eliminated phoning members for hours every time someone needed a factory.

125 people attended the annual meeting at Opryland and 160 participated in the Destin event. 113 companies joined AACA that year from 32 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. 

1993: Major coverage that year of NAFTA.  Roger Milliken very strongly opposed it.

The Spring Meeting was on St. Simons Island, GA. AACA also exhibited at a trade show in Los Angeles, the WAM Show, which was the Western Apparel Manufacturing show sponsored by Apparel magazine.

One of the monthly newsletter editorials was, “NOW IS THE TIME FOR ALL GOOD MEN AND WOMEN TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR INDUSTRY!!” In fact, every month’s newsletter headlined an ‘against NAFTA’ article.

July of that year was when a young entrepreneur with a degree from Southern Polytech, Mickie Dunn, joined with his company Major League in Jasper, GA. He recently hired his 6,000th employee at his operation in Mexico. 

1994: AACA Members were listed on a dial-up Clemson Database. This industry technology first increased the exposure of members to increasingly automated and technology-savvy sourcing managers. Also NAFTA passed that same year.

Mike Todaro attended his first AACA meeting in Perdido Beach, AL. At the time, he worked for Manhattan Associates. Speakers were from Target, JCP and Jon Fee. AACA's other meeting that year was at Opryland in TN. Virtually all of the speakers at our meetings back then were vendor members giving sales pitches.

AACA ran an article in their newsletter describing the World Trade Organization. Little did we know at the time how they would open China.

Sue was also canvassing members to fill out data forms for loading into her online database, built in cooperation with Clemson University.
Sue explains fax broadcasts to members in the June 1994 newsletter. She had announced her FAX ON DEMAND SOURCING HOTLINE the month before.

At the annual meetings there were committees for Membership, Social, Wages/Benefits, Sourcing, Education, Technology, and Government. There were a number of guest editorials in the newsletter urging members to fight GATT legislation. 

1995: Mike Todaro joins the AACA staff, in charge of marketing and technology. At this time, the AACA had 350 member companies. The Spring meeting was at Williamsburg Resort, VA and the Fall meeting was in Savannah, GA.

Don Strickland Memorial Scholarships given to students at Southern Polytechnic University.

Ron Olweean of Sara Lee says, “The AACA online sourcing database is a wonderful way to advertise your company and your capabilities. We’ve looked at this database and said this is the answer, this is the Yellow Pages in living color."

A member wrote, “Alan Dabbiere of Manhattan Associates and Reed Clevinger of NIKE approached the subject of doing business in today’s market in a positive way. They acknowledged problems but gave us ways to do business anyway. I learned a lot".

Yet another wrote, “Before I saw the internet at our meeting, I said I’ll look at it sometime. But face-to-face it is not so intimidating. As for computerized sourcing, we’re getting activity from it.”

Alan Dabbiere said, “I see I am the last speaker before golf. It makes me feel like Elizabeth Taylor's eighth husband – I know what I have to do, I just hope I can make it interesting.”

We ran an article on how to buy a computer for the internet: 16Mb memory; 1Gb drive; 28.8 Baud modem; 14” monitor; 4X CD-ROM; mouse. Gee whiz.

Private Label Development magazine, AIM magazine and Bobbin magazine all wrote articles about the AACA Online Contractors Sourcing System. Sue Strickland featured it in the association's booth at the 1995 Bobbin Show. Sixteen foreign countries visited the AACA in the booth to learn about the “US System.”

Mike Todaro stated these goals at his first AACA annual meeting:

  • capitalize on the explosion of the internet to collaborate with others
  • replace the good ‘ol boy network with the fast new baud network
  • teach contractors to specialize: “early to bed, early to rise, sell like hell and advertise”
  • put AACA in the bull’s eye of the internet spider web
  • enter into learning relationships with members
  • make it easy for members to be found, seen, understood, and reached directly
  • change the world of apparel production

He shared this saying, “Action without vision is just activity. Vision without action is just a dream. But vision with action can change the world.”

AAPN anchored the Made in USA Pavilion at Bobbin Americas in Atlanta. 

1996: All AACA Members were listed on an Internet-based network; an industry first. It gave customers immediate access. The Internet was becoming as pervasive as the fax machine, at a much lower cost. Also, those using the list didn't have to buy special software or call a special number. AACA was first on the Internet.

Later that same year, AACA developed the first e-mail Sourcing Broadcast. More and more members were getting access to the Internet. It was cheaper to broadcast than by fax, and much more responsive to the needs of those sourcing. The one annual meeting that year was held at the Hotel Monteleon in New Orleans.

Sue Strickland writes, "By 1996 we were a national network of sewing factories and their suppliers that held meetings twice a year and published a monthly newsletter. That same year, 1996, technology rolled out simple programs that allowed us to design and publish our own web content so we began creating rich-content websites for our members. At about this same time, email began to gain acceptance. It was awhile before we could communicate with the entire membership using email but we made it clear that technology was a part of the AAPN. You snooze --- you lose."

We changed the name of our website to usawear.org

Robin Lewis predicted in the July WWD, “the big will get bigger and there will be fewer of them. The small will get smaller and there will more of them. The middle is no man’s land.”

AACA announces the American Apparel Industry Online Marketing Starter Kit. It included a unique web address for each member; a home page; links to email; search engine registration; hotlinks to one another.

In April, Roger Milliken accepted the Warren Featherbone Foundation ‘Manufacturer of the Year’ Award. Mike Todaro was there and in his speech, Mr. Milliken said, “The US Government is a bunch of suckers. You can’t win with only an offensive game plan that promotes giving business away. You also need a defensive game plan that promotes the business you have.”

In October 1996, Sara Lee’s Ron Olwean said, “you need to consider blending your production with a Mexican partner in order to be competitive with your domestic-based products”.

Alan Dabbiere of Manhattan Associates told our members, “You need to promote your differentiation. What is it that makes it better than your competitor in Mexico or across town - speed, quality, proximity, turn times, short runs, automation, whatever – and PROMOTE it.”

AAPN went to the first ever Private Label Conference and Sourcing Network in New York. There was this interesting comment, “by making attendance expensive, $700 for 3 days, and limiting invitations to decision makers, they’re targeting 400 to 500 attendees.”

1997: AAPN (name change to American Apparel Producers Network) introduces Member Websites. Membership has dropped from 350 to 150 in 2 years because of the passage of NAFTA. U.S. sewing factories were closing and U.S. suppliers were selling to offshore factories. We learned to create websites using html code and sold them to make up for the lost revenue.  Many members in small towns had no-one to make their websites, or to get them high volume traffic. By bringing web authoring in-house, AAPN gave members an exclusive member benefit. We had two meetings that year, one in May at the Tradewinds, in St. Pete, FL and a second in November at Charleston Place. NOTE: Our benefactor funding the expense of our name change was Alan Brooks of NGC Software.

Why the name change? Two reasons. First, marketing is a battle for the ownership of a word or two. In our industry, there was the AAMA  (American Apparel Manufacturers Association) and the AACA (American Apparel Contractors Association). We decided to let AAMA own the word 'association' in the apparel industry. And since we were committing to the internet, we took hold of the word 'network.'

Secondly, we learned that contractors, as a whole, did not feel the need to 'market' or 'sell.' They were passive. They opened, got a large order and felt it would last forever. NAFTA changed all that. We felt the word 'producer' was stronger, MUCH stronger. It meant factory, mills, spinning, trim and much more, including both brands and private label. 

We dropped 'contractors association' replacing it with the much more accurate and exclusive phrase 'producers' network'. At the same time, we kept American Apparel making our initials, AAPN, shown at the top of the alphabetical list everywhere. 

Two quotes from back then:
"When you look at the talent in this room, you realize that in addition to contractors, many of us are also producers. We all do something well. By forming this network, we’re going to depend upon one another," Tom Mason, Virginia Apparel.

"AACA has changed its name as the world has changed. This group is productive, not victims like some trade associations in this industry," George Shuster, Cranston Print Works.

What were the new mission catch words back then?

  • Authentic American Apparel
  • Speed as an ‘online pipeline’
  • Commit to the Internet
  • Network the entire apparel supply chain
  • Support – be the big place for small firms

AAPN formed the American Apparel Alliance with Seth Bodner of the National Knitwear and Sportswear Association. 

The Tradewinds was where Mike Todaro started the AAPN meeting tradition of slowly and carefully introducing everyone in the meeting while others matched faces to names on their list. This assured that networking would start by design at the beginning of the meeting rather than by accident if at all at the end of it. This method of introductions became the signature of AAPN meetings and  often took two hours to complete.  

1998: With two meetings, one in April at the Woodlands in Williamsburg, VA and a large meeting in October at Perdido Resort in Orange Beach, AL,
1998 was a very busy year. AACA hosted a 1,000 sq. ft. MADE IN USA Pavilion in Leipzig, in the former East Germany. We hosted our first ever regional meeting in Hershey, PA that November. And, after writing a letter to David Glass about Made in USA, Mike Todaro was invited to visit Walmart where he met with their GMM Don Connolly. It became clear in that meeting that the entire concept of “Made in ____” no longer mattered to Walmart. AAPN also became the first apparel organization to endorse the NY-based Private Label/Product Development Expo.

Robin Lewis with Women's Wear Daily was our speaker in Williamsburg and a panel of brands including the US Post Office, Habitat for Humanity, B.U.M. Equipment and the QVC Shopping Channel were also speakers. Several members of the AACA had formed the ‘usawear’ brand and Habitat for Humanity placed a order for a range of garments. We also created an online ‘T-Shirt Configurator.” The ‘home run’ brand Cavewear hit large volumes. It had been created the year before when someone attended our meeting, went out into Charleston and bought 3 shirts then sat with our members to create the brand from scratch.

This was the first year we began hearing of reports of travel to China and of their growing threat to the market share of the Americas.

1999: By this time, we had helped over 95% of Members get e-mail. Technology brought those sourcing to AAPN first, and got business for members. As a result, the membership 'plugged in.'  No other trade group was yet online. Our April meeting was at Callaway Gardens, GA and a second in November was on Amelia Island in Florida.

We had 90 people at our Amelia Island meeting. Bill Sills said then what remains true now, “If you learn one new thing or meet one new person who can help your business, you pay for the trip. On this one trip, we all learned so much we can use now.”

Another wrote, “Thanks for a great meeting. It was an energizing experience. The networking potential is phenomenal and it is truly one-stop-shopping of the entire chain. I was especially impressed with the chemistry of the group as a whole."

Mike Todaro said, “As an industry organization, we are entering the fifth stage of our five year technology plan. We have the best apparel website in the industry; all of our members have been detailed online since 1994; every member can purchase low cost websites from us; every member can sell their products direct through our online Yahoo-based AAPN NETWORK OF STORES. Now we’re ready for the next stage, accelerated online-based short run technology.”

Our speaker from the National Retail Federation said, “What AAPN is doing online with its store is really amazing. What makes internet retailing unique is communications and community. You have both and the world is learning about AAPN by word of mouse.”

Wall Street Journal writes, “What the Southeast was to US companies, Mexico is becoming.”

This was the year we attended the PGA Show for golfers and, two weeks later, the SHOT Show for hunters. Each show had maybe 100,000 attend, mostly men. There did not seem to be a single person who went to both shows. THAT is two demographics right there. 

2000: AAPN introduced Product Management Worksheets. Members work long hours, make too many samples, send too many FedEx's, lose too many faxes. One standard, Internet-based collaborative product and trim worksheet eliminated this expense and finger-pointing. The April meeting was at the Marriott in Point Clear, AL and in October we met with IFAI’s trade show in Orlando.

US textile mills who went to Mexico began to see a payoff.

AAPN started it’s own online message board.

Mike Todaro took a one year Leave of Absence to help Walter Wilhelm at Applied Internet Technologies, a dot com company based in Camden, Maine.

At our joint meeting with IFAI in Orlando, Sen. Bob Dole was the speaker. 

Much press was  telling about massive jobs losses and there was outrage at trade legislation with China.

2001: AAPN expands membership to include NAFTA, CBI, and Americas’ Producers. We went Regional. AAPN changed its mission from primarily 'sourcing' to 'networking' and extended full membership throughout the Americas to reshape the sourcing infrastructure of the hemisphere. Speakers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Mexico were the ones who convinced our members to approve this change.

We created extensive and detailed Online Member Profiles including Company information; mission; history; business; specialty; quality; customers; industry involvement; technology; and marketing.

We made game changing trips to Guatemala and El Salvador.  We also were the first industry organization to endorse the new apparel trade show in Miami called Material World. Tragically, our first show there was September 11, 2001. Our annual meeting in April was back in New Orleans and it was there that Timberland’s decision to join changed the breadth of our membership. With factories in the Americas, not only did brands joined but so did yarn and textile producers.

By the end of 2001, our ratio of producers to service members was 2:1. Our annual meeting was in October on Jekyll Island and because of September 11 was very lightly attended by 35 hardy souls. It is quite likely the most intimate meeting we have ever held and a ton of great ideas came out of it. Watching the sun set west over the marshes with a massive bar of brand name liquor led to an evening around the fire telling industry stories. It changed the way we held meetings.

2002: AAPN Approves Membership for Global Apparel Producers. AAPN drops all reference to geography opening membership to the global apparel industry and, by year's end, has members in 28 nations all around the world. We took a delegation to Haiti and in the Spring Mike Todaro attended the International Apparel Federation meeting in Belgium.

This was also the year when Sue had one of her incredible “I’ve been thinking” ideas to form a Sourcing Executive Roundtable the evening before Material World. This idea came our of our annual meeting that year at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, MS.

That October, at Material World, we held our annual meeting at the same time as Material World at the Roney Palace in Miami Beach. But the night before the trade show, we rented the entire Wolfsonian Museum for a sold out Sourcing Executive Reception and a tradition was born. The two members who funded this event were Unifi and Lion Brothers.

2003: AAPN created the Central American Regional Coalition with Walter Wilhelm. In early 2003 AAPN creates and hosts the first ever Central American "AAPN CAFTA SUMMIT" of all members from all nations in the region to begin working as one region, one "Near South." At this first event, held at the Radisson in San Salvador, over 350 people attended.

Mike Todaro was on the agenda as a speaker at the IAF annual meeting in Turkey and met with IAF in Belgium to prepare. In March of that year, the second annual Material World Sourcing Executive Reception/Roundtable was hosted at the Shore Club in Miami Beach.

At the annual meeting in Montreal in May, the format changed forever. When someone asked about China, Keith Crisco of Asheboro Elastics, who was in the audience, stood and said he just got back from there. He went up front and ran a two hour interactive discussion. From that point on, AAPN meetings became interactive.

The challenge of organizing the region industrially became clear when Carlos Arias, then of Koramsa, said in his supply chain meeting of over 250 people in Guatemala, “Just because we have a room full of world class suppliers does not mean we have a world class supply chain in the room.” That one statement clarified the challenge to competing with Asia. 

Believing that textiles were really important, we held our annual meeting in Raleigh, NC visiting TC2, Cotton Incorporated, and NC State.

2004: AAPN Takes Collaboration "Best Practices" to Print.  AAPN publishes its first magazine ever, the AAPN eJournal in partnership with Textile World, featuring articles written and compiled from member meetings.

We held our second CAFTA SUMMIT in El Salvador, again with 350 people. In fact, we made 16 trips to the region that year, including our first to Colombia. Also that year, Mike Todaro made three trips to Asia, including Sue and Mike taking a delegation to Hong Kong where we met with TAL Apparel, WingTai’s Steven Walton and Li & Fung.

The Hong Kong delegation was when we first met Jeannamarie Cox Peifer, then of Lion Uniform Group. Others on this trip included Suzy Ganz of Lion Brothers; Juan Zighelboim of TexOps; Keith Crisco of Asheboro Elastics; Alfonso Hernandez and Roberto Bequillard of Argus Group; Freddie Frech of Grupo Merlet; Fred Annunziata of MIFS among others.

Our Sourcing Executive Reception was at the Ritz Plaza in Miami and in October we had a very large crowd attend our annual meeting in Cancun. It was in one of these meetings that Jeff Streader, then of Kellwood, said about AAPN’s networking, “I like to think of the AAPN as being eHarmony for the industry.”

2005: AAPN Becomes First True Global Supply Chain Network. AAPN reaches critical mass with one or more global players in every step and stage in the apparel supply chain "from the dirt to the shirt."

We held our third SUMMIT in El Salvador. Mike Todaro was a speaker at the IAF meeting in Barcelona, Spain. Mike went back to an event in China and Sue and Mike were invited to an industry meeting in Romania.   

We had two meetings that year, the first in March at the Park Central in Miami and another in September at the Mansion at Forsyth Park in Savannah.

2006: AAPN Delivers the US Industry to CAFTA  by hosting the 4th 'Summit' in Nicaragua with NCTO, CCAA, TC2, AAFA and Spesa to show the region that if we could work as one, they should also. The Managua meeting was the best in the series.

This was also the year we began hosting our Sourcing Executive Reception at Material World at Versace’s Mansion on Miami Beach. Over 350 attended each of the three years we were there. Our annual meeting that year was in San Antonio.

2007: AAPN Develops First Industry 'Wiki' using Web 2.0 technology. By leveraging a range of free Web 2.0 resources, AAPN developed 'apparelpedia', 'sourcelist', on-line surveys, Linkedin groups, blogs, podcasts and other direct-to-the-industry channels of communications.
At our annual meeting at Loews Santa Monica, CA, Dov Charney of American Apparel was our keynote. We also attended Outdoor Retailer; ColombiaTex; MAGIC; the new Material World New York. Mike was a speaker at the Spesa annual meeting in Charleston, SC. We were at the grand opening of the Asheboro Elastics factory in El Salvador. We also hosted a handpicked group of seven execs in Miami to discuss 'Speed to Margin' concepts. 

Our final CAFTA SUMMIT was held in Antigua, Guatemala and was attended by 200 people. This is where Barbara Zeins of Gerson & Gerson introduced her 9 Big Fat Garment Lies which knocked the industry for a loop.  By now, this ‘summit’ had run its course. The region was known and all the key players were in the AAPN. In Nicaragua the year before, the President of Nicaragua, then Enrique Bolaños, had shaken the hand of every one of the over 350 of us. This year, the Vice President of Guatemala, Roberto Stein, did the same.

2008: That May, our Sourcing Executive Reception moved to the Delano in Miami Beach. Made in USA was strong then and FesslerUSA was featured on FOX News. AAPN was quoted in TIME magazine. We made the cover of the Fashion Manuscript. Our annual meeting was in Newport Beach, CA.
Mike Todaro was retained for a project by the government of the Dominican Republic to revive their apparel industry. At the end of this one month project, he presented his recommendations to the President of the country in the President’s Mansion.

Also that year, we hosted the AAPN Apparel Economic Forum in Atlanta anchored by Kurt Cavano of TradeCard and Paula Rosenblum. Needless to say, 2008 was when all economic hell broke out worldwide.

Three years after this, Jack Mathews of American Denimatrix wrote, “I came to the  ECONOMIC FORUM you held 3 years ago. I took the notes and Powerpoints back and shared them with my staff. We made decisions based on what we learned and looking back with hindsight, they were the right ones to make. It is incredible how this network keeps tying things together. And it does it by bringing the top leaders in every link into the chain – people you would seldom otherwise meet – into one room for a couple of days to come at each issue from every possible angle and perspective. No other group I know of does that for us."

It was clear that the Western Hemisphere was gaining steam. David Sasso of Buhler Yarns wrote, “Why this hemisphere.....the biggest problem? People have not focused on this region and they don’t know who the players are....I would challenge every retailer to re-engineer their products and look at their true costs.”

2009: The ‘economy’ hit and this was a bad year. Mike Todaro was kept captive in the San Pedro Sula Honduras Intercontinental when Martial Law was declared. Mike gave perspective to the legality of this crisis which the US press and government had incorrectly labeled a 'coup.' In fact, Honduras followed their own laws perfectly. This is where Mike had the chance to get to know AAPN member Calvin Coy, then of Under Armor, now of Oakley. 2009 was also the year Material World closed.

There were three bright spots. The first was our new online eJournal. The second was Mike hosting a Returning to America at the Outdoor Retailer trade show that reignited interest in this hemisphere. And finally, Carlos Arias, then of Koramsa, became our most game-changing president. He wrote, “Actually, for me the attraction (of Material World) was the AAPN Reception.........let's go back to basics, to the roots of AAPN, an annual meeting of the core members of AAPN plus special guests. Those initial meetings of the AAPN created lasting friendships that continue to this day.”

That was when we decided to replace the May date with the closing of Material World with annual meetings based in Miami, the same date people had set aside for years.

2010: We knew we were meeting at the Loews Miami Beach, but after the previous year’s meeting, what would we talk about there? We asked for help. The answer came from John Strasburger who invited Walter Wilhelm, Eric Joo and Alfonso Hernandez to join us in Ft. Lauderdale. He told us one word - Sustainability.

This was a game changing meeting, our largest in years and included 120 people from 90 companies, (17 brands/retailers, 14 factories, 24 textile companies, 8 logistics, 6 technology, 11 industry organizations, 10 trim producers) from 9 countries.

This meeting is where Scott Vaughn of Rocedes in Nicaragua showed a 10 minute film on social responsibility that told us how far ahead this hemisphere was of the rest of the world. It is also where Juan Zighelboim and David Ha of TexOps got the idea to create their own factory-direct line of eco-correct yoga apparel.

When the earthquake hit Haiti, we activated the AAPN Network to find Joe Stephenson and others who were there then. It worked.

It was also the year that Plains Cotton Cooperative Association’s (PCCA) subsidiary Denimatrix was awarded the U.S. State Department’s prestigious 2010 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) in the small-to-medium enterprise category.  The award was presented by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Late that year, we took a delegation to Munich where a number of us made presentations to their apparel industry. It was also the year we accepted an invitation from Sri Lanka to attend their Design Festival. Sue and Mike took a delegation including Fernando and Anibal Capellan of Grupo M in the DR and Juan Zighelboim and David Ha from TexOps in El Salvador.

This was also the year Carlos Arias ‘got tough’ with the AAPN Board of Directors implementing monthly conference calls that continue to this day. He held them accountable and assigned actions.

Our action plan came from a retailer who said, “If a retailer wants to work with a factory, they need to make sure they have created a channel for this or it will fail. It has to be a well though out, deliberate, formal channel everyone can count on and by definition it will be more complex than delegating to an agent or middleman.”

Late in the year, in Nicaragua, Mike Todaro gave a presentation to prospects for production there, invited to do so by ProNicaragua. Without notes or slides, Mike used 24 empty styrofoam coffee cups to explain every link in the supply chain ‘from the dirt to the shirt.’

Also, in New York City, at a special brand meeting, AAPN created its 20 item Risk Assessment Checklist in use by the industry today. 

Key testimonials that came out of this annual meeting included:

  • ...unlike any other industry meeting I’ve been to....I love AAPN’s unique camaraderie....it’s a true supply chain support group for vendors like us...
  • ...a wide cross section of stakeholders..an environment brimming with anticipation...an incredible pool of open minded intellect ready to share...great event!
  • ...unique & collective supply chain event ..AAPN defines our impact on society..It has enormous value to the industry.                                     
  • ...Unquestionably the best meeting I have ever attended....It truly struck a nerve with all of the supply chain.  .......Outstanding!
  • ...a fantastic meeting. It was the best meeting I have attended.. GREAT networking and dialogs between the attendees.  OUTSTANDING!!      
  • ...I can't tell you how great the meeting was ... a "game changing" event. Now the real work begins. Bravo Everyone!
  • ...no hidden agenda...whole supply chain there... ..no spectators only players...
  • ...Wow, people in the industry (from all sides) are actually taking sustainability seriously!...
  • ...It was well run with interesting presenters and awesome group participation....
  • ...some vendors have a remarkable history of sustainability but have not shared it
  • ...before, I didn’t distinguish between sustainability and social responsibility. Now I know the difference
  • I was very moved by the meeting....Rocedes efforts rank up there with the best in the world.
  • ...Let’s don’t wait for the retailers to tell us what to do. We can and must do this ourselves.

2011: On the strength of the previous year's event our Annual Meeting drew 140 people. The central message was “The world economy has transitioned from loosely knit but mainly stand-alone industrialized countries through the 1970s to a tightly wound digital ecosystem today.” We were that ecosystem.

In this meeting, we focused on price increases in yarn and had as speakers, Bill Jasper, CEO of Unifi, and Wally Darneille of Plains Cotton Co-op. Mary O’Rourke spoke on labor rates and Barbara Zeins on Full Costing.

Mike Todaro attended an invitation only meeting with US Secretary of Labor Solis. The 40 people in the room represented over 60% of all apparel sold in this country. Later that year, the government of Ireland invited us to speak on the US apparel industry.

Interestingly, Sri Lanka fired their British moderator from the previous year and ‘hired’ Mike Todaro to run their first ever Apparel Executive Conference. Despite being warned they do NOT interact in Sri Lanka, we got the 140 people attending to open up for a fabulous meeting.

"This is a people business, you’re not in the apparel business, you’re in the people business," – Kurt Cavano, TradeCard

“What I like about the AAPN is that even though you do not ‘certify’ your members, just being a member of AAPN is a form of certification. Your factory members show us everything about them. They’re not afraid. They’re up front. It’s though they are advertising they have nothing to hide.”

"Networking is one of those things that some people naturally 'get' and others don’t ... What I feel is that most people treat networking like hunting - they're out there trying to bag the big one - but it's really a lot more like farming. You have to cultivate relationships over time."

2012: We moved our annual meeting to the Eden Roc on Miami Beach and had 160 people attend, our largest meeting ever. It was in this meeting that we organized, on the spot, a series of panel discussions. One of them was about production coming back from Asia. During this talk. John Strasburger of Dickies stood up and offered to take on a project to score the difference between Asia and the Americas.

The result was the AAPN ASIA/AMERICAS REPORT CARD, a series of 31 questions under 8 categories. John sent this questionnaire to several dozen sourcing executives asking them to answer each question, give a score of 1 to 5 to each region, and say why. He presented the results to 60 of us in Panama in November. We picked Panama because VF had relocated there. Ten of their staff came to the meeting with the entire range of garments they produce in the Americas. We also toured the Panama Canal.

This questionnaire is the most important output of the network ever. It is a way of keeping score; it is a way of talking about the industry; it is the table of contents to the book of the story of our industry; and it is a checklist to make the partnerships between companies more successful.

At this meeting, 8 of our members in El Salvador rolled out their Environmental Valley video which is on youtube. It shows the collaborations between Unifi, CSAmericas, Pettenati, Darlington, GCMoore, ProDept, APS, and TexOps.

In late 2012, Mike Todaro moderated his 2nd Sri Lanka Apparel Executive Forum. It was his 3rd and last trip there as the local association has taken control of this meeting. During this trip, Mike and Nikhil Hirdaramani appeared for 45 minutes on Sri Lanka’s live version of the TV show TODAY.

Also, in early 2012 Mike Todaro was on the agenda of PrimeSource in Hong Kong. The highlight of the trip was a visit with Tom Nelson at VF Hong Kong and a private view into their growth plan. The final event at PrimeSource was a debate in which Mike Todaro and Carlos Botero of Inexmoda in Colombia defended sourcing in the Americas against two veteran Washington lobbyists. Mike and Carlos, by a show of hands, won by over 2:1.

Of note was our preparation for the annual meeting. Mike sent an email to Central American members asking if he could meet with them to prepare for this meeting. 25 people from 3 countries met for a full day in El Salvador. One outcome of this was the decision by 8 members in El Salvador to document what Mike calls ‘Environmental Valley’, a supply chain city for production of activewear. They did so and this video runs today on YouTube.

After our meeting, one veteran global sourcing executive wrote, “...one of the benefits of AAPN is you can walk away from their meetings with 30-40 new contacts. And, by working and meeting as one demand chain, AAPN works the way Asia does......”

2013: As 2013 began, nearly 1,700 companies had been members of the AAPN. We changed our name to the Americas Apparel Producers’ Network, changing 'American' to 'Americas', a much less costly change than that in 1997, and changed our logo into a weave pattern with at least one color from the flag of every member nation.

In January, we took the 8 category, 31 questions AAPN ASIA/AMERICAS REPORT CARD on a trip to El Salvador. The  purpose was to see if we could literally use this as the Table of Contents to write the story of a factory. We did so using two each one week visits to TexOps. We published this story and sent it to all members.

In April, we took a 1,000 mile drive through the Carolinas visiting 10 members, getting tours, closing the door and drilling into strategies. At every stop, near the end of every visit, we got the “and there’s one more thing" insight that comes from trust in this network between all of us.

Our annual meeting at the Eden Roc in May was the largest and only meeting of the apparel supply chain in the Americas. It was our largest ever, with 180 people. In fact, it was too big and so work is in progress to create ‘break out’ sessions for 2014 that will better engage every attendee. Carlos Arias closed this meeting by saying, “AAPN is the only industry organization I know of that allows its members to learn from themselves....”

The ‘keynote’ speaker was Tom Nelson, Managing Director/VP Global Product Procurement for VF Corp. Tom used our conference to present a project he had worked on personally for years – how to calculate a living wage for an apparel factory worker. The country he chose to apply this to was Bangladesh. While many wished he had picked a country in the Americas, it was the first time any of us had seen anyone truly TRY to tackle this challenge.

AAPN and Walter Wilhelm Associates were retained to run four hours of seminars at the Guatemala Apparel Sourcing Show in May.
Mike was also a speaker at the July ColombiaModa and was accompanied on this important trip by Jeannamarie Cox Peifer. After this trip, AAPN made the decision to offer Jeannamarie a position on staff as our Director of Strategy and she accepted. This is the beginning of a new chapter in the evolution of the network from a network waiting to be used to one that will be activated by Jeannamarie for members, directly and confidentially, one at a time to develop actionable industry strategies.

Also in July we went to Los Angeles to visit members including Patagonia, Oakley and others. In September of 2013 Mike Todaro was a speaker on the agenda of the annual meeting of the Synthetic Yarn and Fibers Association.

The second annual AAPN LEADERSHIP FORUM was held at the Paradisus Hotel on the Mayan Riviera in the Yucatan.

2014: Once again, Mike Todaro was a speaker on the opening agenda for Colombiatex in Medellin, Colombia.

In February, AAPN took a delegation of several dozen members to Haiti with an extremely aggressive agenda of plant visits. We also returned to El Salvador to continue working on the ‘TexOps Story’. Later that same month, Juan Zighelboim of TexOps and Mike Todaro joined a seminar sponsored by Roy Shurling of Lectra in New York. We spoke on the industry in the Americas.

At our annual meeting, we went after several issues – direct-to-consumer; Made in USA; and the TPP legislation. The founder of the Made in USA brand American Giant, Bayard Winthrop, told his story. We had two speakers on TPP, Jon Fee and a representative from Mary O’Rourke Associates. Kurt Cavano showed 36 direct-to-consumer websites online, realtime. We also had 5 break out sessions.

In July we visited members in New York including TexworldUSA, World Textile Sourcing, and others. It was also about this time that Robert McKee of Infor proposed the idea of an Ethical Sourcing White Paper that he would fund us to write for Infor’s distribution worldwide.

In August over 20 of our members traveled to Denver for Walmart’s Made in USA conference. This came on the heels of our president Rick Horwitch visiting Walmart with 4 Made in USA members – Larry Plyler of Unifi, David Sasso of Buhler, Ron Roach of Contempora and Kevin Williams of Coville.

In September Juan Zighelboim of TexOps spoke at a major Textile World meeting in Atlanta on technology. Juan was the only apparel speaker on the agenda. The subsequent article in TW on TexOps was terrific. In October, Mike Todaro joined Tom Glaser, President of VF’s supply chain, on the agenda of the Cotton Council International’s conference in Scottsdale AZ.

The 2014 AAPN LEADERSHIP FORUM was hosted at the Casa Santo Domingo Hotel in Antigua Guatemala 50 members attended. We had 5 break out sessions on such topics as technology, textiles, design and more. Later that month, we attended the grand opening of Avery Dennison’s Customer Design and Innovation Center in Los Angeles. We also toured the operations of members SAS Textiles and Swisstex.

2015: In January, we attended ColombiaTex in Medellin but also toured hotels and meetings sites in Bogota, at the invitation of Colombia’s Proexport.

In February, we flew to New York to meet with The Sourcing Journal and used the trip to also visit members Lenzing and World Textile Sourcing.

In March, Mike Todaro traveled to Dallas to spend several days with Tony Anzovino at Haggar where he learned of Tony’s application of Sun Tzu’s Art of War to getting his staff to express themselves and be more assertive internally.  Mike also spent a morning with John Strasburger of Williamson Dickie in Fort Worth. 

In April, Mike Todaro attended YKK’s executive retreat at Calloway Gardens in Georgia. He gave 4 presentations on the Americas in break out sessions in the morning and as the dinner speaker that evening to over 100 people. He spoke on the operations of TexOps which, although they do not produce pants, which require zippers, is nonetheless one of the most modern, hi tech and innovation apparel producers in this hemisphere.

Later that same month, Mike spent 4 days with member Danny Habie of Liztex in Guatemala.

AAPN’s annual ‘conference’ at the Fontainebleau May 3-5 was the largest in its 35 year history. The two keynote speakers were TED speaker and author Seth Godin and also Johnnie Rush, a recognized retail innovator, now at HSN. Kurt Cavano updated technology, Edouard Macquin of Lectra spoke of global fashion trends, James Vatalaro of Productivity Inc. addressed how factories can plan for Strategic Innovation and Shawn Neville, CEO of Avery Dennison, talked about how he had changed them from a trim producer to an innovation company.

Seth Godin said in May, “Sue and Mike, you are clearly a tribe in this room”. Harvard Business Review’s most frequent and repetitive article is about the value of networking. Woody Allen put it best when he said, “80% of success in life comes from just showing up”. One member told us about Nicaragua, “.... the meeting paid for itself on the shuttle bus ride over. I got to bond with a prospect I’ve been after, so we now have something to build on”.  Randy Harward of Under Armour once put it so well, “The AAPN offers this group nothing but themselves, and no one should see it any other way.  It's not an organization providing anything other than the opportunity to meet and think and solve issues together.”

Here are Iinks to two articles about Seth's talks, including his entire talk:

Mike Todaro had three articles published in global industry magazines including Liztex: The Regional Textile Supermarket (TW Jul/Aug); It’s Not A Color, It’s An Esthetic (TW Nov/Dec) and The 21st Century Factory (SJ Dec). 

We took a delegation to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taipei. In Shanghai our panel of members described the explosion in the market for activewear. In Hong Kong we met for 6 hours with dozens of Hong Kong-based sourcing executives under the conduct of the GAFTI (Global Apparel, Footwear & Textile Initiative) organization committed to product safety, compliance and environmental standardization. In Taiwan we saw a trade show packed with ink jet technologies bring one week turns for entire bolts of fabric. We also were on the highest level panel of Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea plus PVH and Tom Travis for a major ‘big picture’ discussion of future trends and power shifts in sourcing. 

in November, Nicaragua hosted a major meeting of all the Free Zones of the Western Hemisphere. Mike Todaro was invited onto an industry panel. the next day, Mike was invited along with Scott Vaughn of Rocedes and 5 other executives, to spend an hour at the residence of President Ortega. He specifically discussed the TTP legislation with Mike along with his views on trends in the apparel industry.

The topic of our 2015 AAPN LEADERSHIP FORUM in Mukul, Nicaragua was the 2015 quote from PVH’s Bill McRaith, “The next China is not a where, it’s a how”. 

Rick Horwitch said, “We survived the Giant Sucking Sound of NAFTA so let’s stop talking about China. Stop talking about TPP. Talk about consumers and how you drive speed in the supply chain, taking the focus off of legislation and putting it on calendar compression”. Kurt Cavano added thoughts that, “what Zara did was change the math, changed the equation of production and sourcing (creating fast fashion)” and his admonition that, “we all need a Direct to Consumer strategy”. Kurt added, “There is a convergence of forces, and its not TPP. Pay attention or get swept away.”

2016: In January, Mike Todaro and Sue Strickland met with numerous members in New York. The high point was spending over an hour with Bill McRaith of PVH. His amazing history in the industry and his groundbreaking work in Ethiopia were reshaping our industry. We also had a special lunch for members based in New York.

Later that same month, AAPN hosted a lunch for all AAPN members based in Atlanta. It is amazing how many members we still had here at that time given the loss of industry in the South.

It is also amazing that Sue has been leading this network since 1987. Here was a salute to her in Apparel magazine

INDUSTRY FIRST: In February, we met at Haggar with Tony Anzovino, plus two of his staff Laura Guthrie and Paulina Loyo and AAPN President Kevin Williams. It was at this meeting where the idea for the AAPN Regional Conference came up and was discussed. The idea was to take a sample of our Annual Conference content to those too young or too isolated in the field to get sent to our Annual Conference in Miami. Tony even pulled in a young man from Burlington who was making a call on Haggar. The young man explained he needed a network and he needed help finding answers in his career. This justified the commitment to hold a Regional Conference. Tony volunteered his office and staff for the first one.

The same month we also went to MAGIC meeting with members where we also had a high level meeting with our Executive Committee.

In April, Mike traveled to El Salvador hosted by Juan Zighelboim. The purpose was to revisit operations at TexOps and to host an AAPN industry reception for the industry of El Salvador which, in fact, recruited two new members into the network.

Later that same month Mike traveled to Peru, hosted by AAPN Board member Luis Antonio Aspillaga of World Textile Sourcing. Luis scheduled two industry talks for Mike, one to a large government group and the second at the country’s PeruModa industry show.

In May we had the largest meeting in the history of the AAPN: 220 people from nearly 130 organizations owned by companies in 15 foreign nations representing every step in the supply, all 30 links. Tony Anzovino of Haggar presented a series of slides on trade data. Keynote speaker Sarah Robb O'Hagan, former CEO of Gatorade and Equinox, spoke about EXTREME YOU LEADERSHIP. John Strasburger spoke about  the AAPN ASIA/AMERICAS REPORT CARD 2016. Kurt Cavano of GT Nexus/Infor spent an hour updating us on internet break throughs, primarily in direct-to-consumer. This year he shared 20 reasons why all of us need to under-stand the big picture of what Amazon in doing. 

Philip Poel, GAFTI Board of Directors and Managing Director, Under Armour, presented the background on GAFTI (Global Apparel, Footwear & Textile Initiative). Jesus Canahuati, President of Elcatex in Honduras shared a $2.5 million study of investments in and the competitive advantages of textiles in Honduras. Jim Hardy of Under Armour shared how he organized and grew his staff; eliminated multiple information systems; projects growth; his mandate to discover yarn and textile innovations; his program for developing people; and above all else the call for investment in and the long term commitment to the Americas. Jon Fee of Alston & Bird closed our agenda with his usual high energy, funny yet tightly focused deciphering of all trade laws and pending legislation, especially TPP.

AAPN Board member Ron Roach of Contempora Fabrics wrote, “Our meeting was the best event/meeting I have ever been to.....Every speaker was current and relevant to our supply chain....Sarah [Robb O'Hagan] was probably the best we have ever had....I took so much from her presentation...it was almost like I could not wait to get back to cause disruption! There was truly not one weak leak in this program.......Just outstanding.”

As Sara Robb O'Hagan, founder  of the "Extreme Living Movement" said in opening the first day, “lines are blurring; we’re all technology companies; needs are evolving faster than we are. It takes extreme you, extreme team and extreme organization to keep up. You have to break yourself to make yourself and it should feel uncomfortable.” This summit was above all else uncomfortable but forewarned is forearmed and once again, as a network, as THE supply chain of the Americas, we were warned with the cold, hard facts.

More detail can be found on our website by clicking here 

In August, Mike made a follow up call on Jesus Canahuati in Honduras. Clearly his Honduras2020 vision included investment. Mike arranged a meeting in San Pedro Sula between Chuy, TexOps, Pettenati and Liztex. Later that same month, TexOps hosted a second meeting in El Salvador. The end result of this small meeting was their decision to jointly invest in what was to become the Utexa Synthetic Yarn Spinning operation in Honduras.

September was our first ever Regional Conference at Haggar’s Dallas headquarters hosted by AAPN Officer Tony Anzovino. When we came up with this idea of a ‘regional’ meeting this past May, we hoped for several dozen industry people. We got over 3 times that, nearly 80.

It was a typical AAPN meeting, in others words unlike any forum first-time attendees ever experienced. We were able to introduce every organization attending. We covered the topics of supply chain, the 21st Century Factory, the role of trim, the Asia/Americas Report Card and future AAPN programs and projects.

Of the 29 companies attending, 20 were AAPN member companies and half of those were AAPN Board members. John Strasburger of Dickies put it best when he talked. He shared that he has spent 35 years in this industry, has run apparel factories, has sourced from 17 countries, has managed massive staffs as he now does for Dickies. He expressed his 15 year experience with AAPN and he closed by saying “….and even I learn something new every day”.
More detail can be found on our website by clicking here 

Later in the month, Mike Todaro hosted a panel discussion at one of Eddie Hertzman’s industry seminars in New York. Panelists included Juan Zighelboim, David Sasso, Philip Poel and Luis Antonio Aspillaga.

In October Mike and Sue traveled to Bordeaux, France at the invitation of Lectra for a major customer event there. Later that same month, Mike returned to Europe to attend the Amsterdam Kingpins show about blue jeans.

In November, AAPN hosted its Leadership Forum in Tucson, AZ with a very high level roundtable on the state of the industry. Some of those attending included Ed Gribbin, Karen Epple, Kurt Cavano, David Sasso, Hebe Schecter, Jeff Streader, Tony Anzovino, Jill Coleman, Joe Cuervo and more.

2017: In January, Ed Gribbin, Chuy Canahuati and Philip Poel joined Mike on a panel at the PGA Show in Orlando. The show was trying to get into ‘sourcing’.

The LA Regional Conference in February, hosted by Avery Dennison, was spectacular. 100 people. A slammed agenda. Terrific reception and networking afterwards. LA-based Jeff Streader gave a high energy talk on entrepreneurism in the industry. Later that same month, we attended the MAGIC Show where a number of our members congregate.

At our Annual Conference in Miami on May 4-6, our keynote speaker was Denise Lee Yohn, a brand building expert. She was followed by Ed Gribbin, Tony Anzovino and Kurt Cavano.

Jeffery Streader moderated a supply chain panel of David Adkins, Ron Roach, Kim Schneider, Joseph Blumberg, and Don Hire. We then heard the talk “How the Apparel Industry Saved Civilization” by Edwin Keh, CEO, Hong Kong Research Institute of Textile and Apparel.

After a talk by Jon Fee, Barbara Zeins moderated a panel of Luis Mosqueda, Walter T. Wilhelm, Juan Zighelboim, and Jason Adams.

You can see the agenda and photos by clicking here 

Later that month, Mike gave an industry presentation to a packed audience at the Guatemala Apparel Sourcing Show.

In July, Mike accompanied Tony Anzovino as he toured two AAPN member pants factories in Nicaragua - USLC and Rocedes. Tony opened each visit with a one hour overview of his background; the history of Haggar; their products; their customers; and how they work with factories. After hearing this talk twice, Mike created a Sourcing Introduction Checklist for two audiences - young sourcing execs who could better prepare for their first meeting with a factory and factories who would have a higher expectation of what prospects should be prepared to cover.

Mike began August with a trip to Grupo M in the Dominican Republic. He was flown by helicopter to CODEVI, the industrial park built by Fernando Capellan just across the DR border in Haiti. Mike wrote an article about the industrial center that was widely published in the industry.

Later that month, Mike moderated a panel at MAGIC with Tony Anzovino, Ed Gribbin and Steve Hawkins. A number of AAPN members joined us for meetings and dinners.

On August 23, AAPN hosted the 2017 pro:Americas Seattle Regional on the 76th floor of the Columbia Tower Club in Seattle. Sixty-six industry professionals attended including Columbia Sportswear Company; Eddie Bauer; Five Ultimate; AAPN member Nordstrom; Outdoor Research; and REI which subsequently joined the AAPN. See the agenda and photo album by clicking here 

INDUSTRY FIRST: In October, we hosted our second AAPN Dallas Regional Conference. Prior to the meeting, Sue and Mike met with Ron Roach and Alex Whitley of Contempora Fabrics. They were concerned that so many of the young staffers from brands and retailers who were calling on them to buy fabric did not actually know how fabric was knitted. They wanted to help create a program for hands on training of these young people. This was the origin of the AAPN Carolina Fabric Mill Tour to be detailed further below.
To see the Dallas agenda, click here 

In November, Mike returned to Dallas and Tony’s Haggar office. Tony was hosting a regional meeting of AATCC. It was dominated by college students. Tony asked Mike to give an overview of sourcing in this hemisphere.

Later that month, AAPN hosted a small-group Antigua Leadership Forum of some 50 executives. The agenda included few speakers and lots on interaction, including 5 industry roundtables. The highlight of the meeting was an overview by Lynne Sprugel of Academy Sports + Outdoors of her work on earning her PhD.

2018: In January, Mike, Sue, Juan Zighelboim and Joe Cuervo traveled to Honduras to begin setting up the massive Apparel Summit of the Americas for that coming November. We met with the staff of Honduras2020 and with Chuy Canahuati at Elcatex and Eric Joo at Utexa.

On February 8, we hosted our second Los Angeles Regional Conference at FIDM. Our speaker was the always controversial Dov Charney, now of Los Angeles Apparel, but originally the founder of American Apparel. Our members displayed their garments. Our Reception was at the Academy Awards costume exhibit at FIDM.

The next week, Mike moderated a panel at MAGIC which included Rick Horwitch and Tony Anzovino. As usual the room was packed. Read a summary of our panel here

In April, we held our first ever AAPN Carolina Mill Tour in a packed bus. The tour started and spent the day at Contempora Fabrics. Other stops included UNIFI, Parkdale, CCW and A&E. It was a spectacular success. We had several dozen staffers from a dozen brands and retailers.
The testimonials justified more of these tours, as you can read here.
Terrific press articles detailed the tour which you can see by clicking here 

Our Annual Conference was held May 6-8 at the Miami Four Seasons. The agenda included Tim Lyons, Founder of The Lyons Den Group, Kurt Cavano and Roberto Ramos, SVP Global Strategy & Communications at The Doneger Group. Ed Gribbin’s interview of Robin Lewis, Founder & CEO The Robin Report, was brilliant.

A panel called ”What's Your AIQ? A Case Study on the Carolina Mill Tour" was moderated by Mike Todaro and included Ron Roach, Jay Hertwig, Aaron Ledet and Laura Guthrie.

Rick Horwitch moderated a ‘Genius Panel’ of current, past and future AAPN presidents including himself and Ed Gribbin, Kurt Cavano, John Strasburger, Tony Anzovino and Juan Zighelboim.
We also awarded several AAPN Industry Leadership Awards
You can read detailed articles about this conference here

On June 13, we hosted the pro:Americas New York City Regional Conference in the Empire State Building. Hebe Schecter, President of Kaltex America, gave a talk about her company, their customers and pressures from the industry.

Our guest speaker was Matt Hornbuckle of stantt.com. He was a pure start up, no industry knowledge but an idea for a better fitting mens’ shirt.

On Thursday of that week, we had two additional events. First I hosted a roundtable at ProColombia on sourcing from there. Then in the afternoon we joined 400 others for the Trailblazers program hosted by AAPN member Alvanon. It was a spectacular line up of speakers and panels on sizing and fit.

On June 20, Mike was a guest speaker on sourcing at the Datacolor Textile Summit in Denver. This was a vendor meeting of their customers which was the ‘color’ executives from a Who’s Who of brands and retailers. Read more.

In September, Mike was a guest speaker at El Salvador’s FOROTEX conference on the apparel industry.

On September 12, Tony Anzovino and Sue hosted the third Dallas Regional Conference. As usual, the room was packed. It was an All Star lineup of an agenda as you will see by clicking here -

INDUSTRY FIRST: In October, Mike and Sue went to NY to tour the offices of online shirt maker member Stantt. But the major event was the organizing of industry women which we named AAPN(Women). Sue met in the offices of Alvanon to get the ball rolling.

Later in October, we traveled to San Pedro Sula Honduras to sign the countless contracts for the Apparel Summit of the Americas. Three hotels, the convention center and multiple contracts within it, the Arab Club and multiple contracts there, a large number of buses, catering and much much more. We had the support of our host Chuy Canahuati of Elcatex and also the apparel industry organization there, AHM.

In fact, here is an interview of Jesus Canahuati published by TextileWorld

The Apparel Summit of the Americas was held November 27 - 29, 2018 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. The event’s attendance was 250 executives from 125 organizations. This number does not include over 40 volunteers from AAPN members and local organizations plus other officials who visited.

The complex event required travel from/to the airport to three hotels, to one Reception, to the convention center, to 2 factory tours and to a magical evening dinner and fashion show. This meeting involved more planning, logistics and people than any event in the AAPN's 37-year history in the apparel industry.

On Nov 28, everyone convened at the Copantl Convention Center. The event was opened by Jesus 'Chuy' Canahuati, President of Elcatex. Canahuati promoted Honduras as the #1 destination for USA yarn exports globally totaling over $1 Billion annually and is the #1 country of origin for USA imports of Cotton T-Shirts and sweatshirts.

The agenda also included a highly supportive video talk by the Honorable Juan Orlando Hernández, President of Honduras.

Mike Todaro and Tony Anzovino followed Canahuati with background on the AAPN and detailed charts of trade data.

Our keynote speaker was Simon Mainwaring, founder of We First, a leading brand and leadership consultancy. Finishing the first day's agenda was a panel moderated by Walter Wilhelm. His panelists of Steve Cochran; Ricardo Pettenati; and David Ha.

That afternoon attendees left on buses for two tours of facilities. The first included UTEXA's filament yarn production; Honduras Green Energy; and the Villas San Juan Housing Project. The second was of Finotex Honduras; and Coats (Finishing & Dyeing).

That evening, UTEXA sponsored a cocktail reception and fashion show, featuring activewear produced by regional AAPN factory members. Following the show, regional banking powerhouse FICOHSA hosted a multi-cultural gourmet dinner. Both of these social events were held at the Club Hondureño Arabe.

Thursday morning Nov 29 began with two more tours. The first was of Genesis Apparel; the Elcatex Textile Mill; and Stretchline. The second focused on the Honduran Spinning Mill of Karim’s Group.

The afternoon program was opened by Mike Todaro presenting the AAPN Apparel Industry Leadership Award to Chuy Canahuati and also to Joe Cuervo who, prior to being recruited by Kohl's, worked in the Honduras2020 project office in Tegucigalpa Honduras.

The agenda included two core AAPN speakers. Ed Gribbin, CEO, Gribbin Strategic LLC and Senior Advisor to Alvanon spoke on how to leverage all the new innovations within the region. He was followed by Kurt Cavano, Founder & President, GT Nexus (an Infor Company) on a topic Kurt calls Disruptopia: An Overview of the Speed of Technology.

Mario Canahuati, President of the Honduran Association of Maquiladoras, said, “These investments will radically change the economic activity of the North Coast. Having 250 representatives of the most important companies in the world drives more investment, creates jobs and improves the living conditions of our workers”.

Juan Zighelboim, of TexOps in El Salvador and an investor in Utexa said, “This is not only important for the local Honduran industry, but for the Central American region. It is a movement that shows we are ready to fight with Asia”.

Here is a terrific video of the event
Here is a detailed summary of the summit
You can see more here. 

2019: In January, Sue and Mike went to New York to meet with Eddie Hertzman about future joint programs. We also met with our Executive Committee of Barbara Zeins, Kurt Cavano, Ed Gribbin, David Sasso, Juan Zighelboim and Rick Horwitch.

In February, Sue anchored an AAPN(Women) seminar at MAGIC. Although there were three other women on her panel, she took the day with her own story of building the AAPN to the network it is today. An excellent summary of this meeting is available by clicking here.  

In March, Mike was flown to the Netherlands by AAPN member Neenah Coldenhove, a producer of ink jet spray sublimation paper in Eerbeek. Mike wrote a paper about this production that was published throughout the industry. You can read the article by clicking here

The 2019 Carolina Mill Tour & 2019 Carolina Regional in Charlotte were held March 31 - April 5. The bus tour had 7 stops in North & South Carolina. We had exactly 24 people from 11 brands/retailers and the US Air Force.

We had extensive and detailed coverage of this week which you can see online by clicking here

Here is TextileWorld’s summary

Here is a summary of Tom Glaser’s talk about VF

Barbara Zeins talk was so good she gave it again at our Annual Conference. Here is a summary

In April, Mike was invited onto the agenda of the large meeting of the Synthetic Yarn and Fiber Association on Charlotte. His talk resulted in the AAPN getting two new members from the attendees.

We had an absolutely spectacular 2019 pro:Americas Annual Conference on May 5 - 7 at the Faena Art District in Miami, Florida. The agenda had 7 speakers and two panels for a total of 17 speakers, only 4 of whom were men !!

A major surprise was when 7 Board members called Sue and Mike to the stage to present them Apparel Industry Lifetime Achievement Awards. We never saw this coming and deeply appreciated the honor.

Click here to read two article about this award:

We also handed out more AAPN Industry Leadership Awards.

Our keynote speaker was the charismatic Nancy Giordano. With no notice, Barbara Zeins, President, Gerson and Gerson, filled in for Jim Hardy of Fanatics who had to cancel due to weather closing the airport.

Kurt Cavano, Paula Rosenblum, Tony Anzovino, Roni Start of FIDM, Suzy Ganz and Matt Hornbuckle of Stantt were other speakers.

Read about Stantt's talk by clicking here

Kim Macaulay moderated a panel on near-shoring with Lynsey Jones, Linda Tiberi, Pam Peale, Maggie Martinez, Jill Coleman and Paula Rosenblum.

Rick Horwitch moderated a ‘Genius Panel’ with Jennifer Knight, Keith Dartley and a token Millennial Chase Johnson who stole the show as you can read here.

Paula Rosenblum wrote this extraordinary insight into our conference

Here is TextileWorld’s summary of the conference.

In June, with tens of thousands of others, we attended ITMA in Barcelona. We ran into and met with dozens of members including many exhibitors. This show is only held every 4 years and seemed to be a mile long with the very latest high tech innovations in yarn and fabric production. Click to read about our members at ITMA

In July we flew to Mexico City to plan our December Forum. We met with Gerber and toured two members, Providencia Prints and Zentrix.

On August 15 we hosted the 2019 AAPN Portland Regional Conference at the EcoTrust Center in Portland, Oregon. The agenda included Tony Anzovino, Ron Roach, Juan Zighelboim, Jill Coleman, Jim Chi and Ed Gribbin. Major attendees included Colombia Sportswear (who we visited the next day), Nike and Nordstrom. You can read more by clicking here

On September 12, we hosted our 4th Annual Dallas Regional Conference, as usual at the Haggar Clothing Company. We welcomed 95 people in Dallas, just over 50% are women and millennial attendance is creeping up (34% in Portland on August 15 - 40% in Dallas). A highlight of the evening before was a meeting of there AAPN(Women)'s group for dinner and roundtable.

The aggressive program put together by Tony and his team included 8 speakers, 3 of whom are on the Haggar staff, and two panels - one of 3 executives on technology, moderated by Pam Peale, VP Global Sales and US PLM Operations, DeSL, and the other of 5 millennials moderated by Rick Horwitch, VP Global Retail & Supply Chain Strategy at Bureau Veritas.

Read more on https://www.aapnetwork.net/2019-dallas-regional

Feb 19: our first broadcast mentioning the coronavirus: WSJ: Commentary: Supply-Chain Risks From the Coronavirus Demand Immediate Action

Mar 5: We sent a more detailed email broadcast on spread of virus and began learning how to conduct zoom meetings with our Board and our members.

Apr 23: When it became apparent our members were all shutting down, we decided to create a Coronavirus mask/gown Sourcing Center using the technology on our Memberclicks cloud-based application programs. Our members all jumped onto it, many immediately beginning to source to fabricate masks and gowns, which none had ever manufactured before. Sue Strickland decided to open interaction in this center to the members of other industry associations. We quickly grew from our 200 member users to over 1,000 organizations networking thru the center. 

AAPN President Ed Gribbin volunteered to manage this crisis, initially by creating a spreadsheet categorizing and organizing these 1,000 organizations by what they made or provided. Ed even began project management for Federal, State or private health organizations. In one case, Emory University in Atlanta, Ed quickly had 40,000 reusable medical gowns produced and delivered from a factory he found in Atlanta. Ed’s work was Herculean. 

May: We continued running the Sourcing Center and proactively helping small producers to find what they needed. Ed Gribbin maintained the spreadsheet and took on more projects. 

Jun 18: We created our own AAPN Fireside Chats, recruiting key members to share how they were responding to the virus. 

Jul: Zoom conferences continued to grow, including ones featuring specific members, like Coldenhove and their highly specialized ink jet transfer papers.  

Aug: More Fireside Chats. 

Sep 1: We hosted the AAPN Future Forum. We had a 2 hour zoom on Sep 1 of 40 invited senior executive AAPN members. We called it the AAPN Apparel/Textile Future Forum. Out of it came a 24,000 word transcript. That in turn generated an industry survey, which by Sep 28 had 95 responses.

Oct 19: The survey generated an enormous response. On this date, Dr. Lynne Sprugel and others presented AAPN Future Forum Survey Findings Report. 

Nov: Out of the survey we created 4 teams on new business models, trust/transparency, technologies and material sciences. Some 40 members volunteered to serve on these teams. 

Keith Dartley of Swisstex writes, "I can tell you that we produced enough mask fabric from March through June to produce about 180 million masks and enough gown fabric to produce about 1.5 million surgical gowns" and Randy Harward at Under Armor adds, "We made about 15 million masks" 

Dec: An AAPN panel zoom discussed how we must stay ahead of the curve for the day when things began to return to normal - never knowing at the time that ’normal’ was gone. 

a. TIPS ON RUNNING MEETINGS, WRITING SPEECHES AND TELLING STORIES ..A list of considerations for preparing a speech
..A list of considerations for giving a speech
..7 essentials of meaningful communications
..How to moderate a panel like a pro
..Storytelling Can Make or Break Your Leadership
..An Adult’s Guide to Social Skills, for Those Who Were Never Taught
..How to Know If You Talk Too Much
..Motivational Sayings 
..Sayings about Teamwork 

..25 Useful Brainstorming techniques 
..Breakthrough Ideas
..Steal these brilliant ideas - they came from your peers  

..Embrace the Dark Side of Marketing

..Change your career without having to start all over again
..The M.A.P. that drives your professional life 
..The Lominger Standard 67 Competencies and Related Descriptions 
..Leveraging the Human Library
..How to Reimagine the Second Half of Your Career 
..How Will You Measure Your Life? 
..On making mistakes 
..Now Is an Unprecedented Opportunity to Hire Great Talent
..Seth Godin: Three paths for a soloist..What Happens When Your Career Becomes Your Whole Identity
..You’ve Been Furloughed. Now What?
..Harvard lecturer: ‘No specific skill will get you ahead in the future’—but this ‘way of thinking’ will

..Even before the pandemic, the whole fashion industry had started to unravel. What happens now that no one has a reason to dress up?
..Six Unexpected Takeaways from Covid-19 
..The hidden—but very real—cost of working from home 
..The Upside of Virtual Board Meetings
..5 Ways to Demonstrate Your Value — Remotely
..Ensure That Your Customer Relationships Outlast Coronavirus
..Lessons from Chinese Companies’ Response to Covid-19
..That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief 

..(AAPN member) Allbirds’ Dual-CEO Arrangement Is a Rare Specimen 
..The Unraveling of America   
..Research - Being Nice in a Negotiation Can Backfire 
..Warren Buffett Says 4 Choices in Life Separate the Doers From the Dreamers 
..What the Masters of Comedy Can Teach You about Breaking Rules, Being Fearless, and Building a Serious Career 
..Don't let a crisis go to waste 

..Seth Godin
..Sue's 25th Anniversary ad
..Papers and analyses

..Zeins history of the industry on powerpoint (Amazing)
..2017 Cavano on Amazon investments 

..timeline of history
..Why you should collaborate with your competition 
..Sayings on the benefits of being Connected

..A SWOT analysis of Nike


..Cavano Amazon investments
..What We Learned from Reading Jeff Bezos’ Patents

..VF Living Wage

..Transcript from the panel on The Future Forum - Sep 1, 2020 

..THE Amazing detailed Milliken study of criteria to decide on entering a new market 

b. Harvard 
..Far-Flung Team

..It would cost $1 trillion to move global supply chains out of China—but the long-term gains could be worth it
..Behind the Scenes of the Strategic Ikea Supply Chain 
..How to Make Geographically Diverse, Vertical Supply Chains a Reality 

..article on retailing
..So, you want to be the next Zara? A short checklist
..Notes from Zara case studies
..more Zara
..Paula survey
..Rosenblum powerpoint on the state of retail
..Tony Anzovino powerpoint on retail 
..Amazon and how they think about competition 
..Amazon and Walmart Go Deeper into Apparel - But Why? 
..2020 Forbes on retail 
..For Whom the Retail Bell Tolls 
..Once the Innovators, Department Stores Fight to Stay Alive 
..Never Mind the Internet. Here’s What’s Killing Malls. 
..Target CIO Helped Retailer Find Its Tech Groove
..The Failure of the Forever 21 Empire
..We Have Seen the Consumer and It is Us

..Zeins history

..Original powerpoint 2017 on Honduras2020
..An overview of Elcatex
..HONDURAS: a case study of a facilitated network 
..Utexa yarn mill helping Honduras to get back on track 

..Land of not-China
..powerpoint on trade data
..Guatemala needs to build an 'economic wall' to be safe and prosperous 

..PVH and Ethiopia 
..A China 5 year plan 
..3 Lessons from Chinese Firms on Effective Digital Collaboration 
..Evolution Of Vietnam’s Textiles & Garments Industry Amid COVID-19 

..The official AAPN Position Paper on the Americas

..The award winning program American Factory, China in Ohio 
..USAFacts, a website packed with data on the USA
..Bringing manufacturing back to the USA is easier said than done 
..Prepare for China and the USA to decouple 

..rethinking your wardrobe
..(AAPN member) Allbirds is stepping up for the planet—by treading lightly on it 
..REI addresses climate change 
..Everlane’s Promise of ‘Radical Transparency’ Unravels |
..The case for never buying new clothes again
..As The North Face battles Patagonia in outdoors market, it bets tackling climate change will pay off 
..Circular Manufacturing - The New Business of Garbage
..Eco Policy Gets Mainstreamed
..H&M made its former sustainability chief its CEO. Now it wants to help other fashion houses become sustainable—for a fee
..Outdoor Market’s Biggest Failure: Inability to Communicate Sustainability
..VF Corporation Creates a Circular Products Infrastructure: Q&A with Sean Cady 
..Fashion has a misinformation problem. That’s bad for the environment.

..VF powerpoint

c. ESG
..What is ESG

..Report card story
..TextileWorld article
..A Factory versus a Brand - same subject, two views

..MAGIC Supply Chain Panel paper
..Checklist for interviewing a new factory
.Randy Harward Under Armour fabric story 
..The AAPN Coronavirus success story 
..A White Paper on ethical sourcing from Infor
..A master list of all the steps in sourcing and production


..Article on Coldenhove paper
..TextileWorld article on Coldenhove

..Cavano powerpoint 

..The Web Mindset - Browsers reinvented everything.
..The Internet of Things Is Changing the World
..Zoom Goes From Conferencing App to the Pandemic’s Social Network

..Kurt Cavano powerpoint 
..AAPN Future Forum Executive Summary v1
..The future of clothes: These 3 startups help you rent or resell everyday items

Mar: The Bizglobal team presented on several zoom calls.
On March 22, we had our first major zoom with Walmart exploring the role AAPN could play in helping them invest in a Textiles Lighthouse for Made in USA textiles in the Carolinas. 

Apr: Zoom presentations by:
Kurt Cavano
Dr. Lynne Sprugel
Ascend Textiles 
Harrie Schoots

May: AAPN conducted it Annual Conference using special online software. We created dozens of tables of 8 people each. You could join talks, network privately, message others and network virtually. 

We continue working on the Walmart Lighthouse project. A number of Future forum teams presented zoom events. We had dedicated talks by Justin Cleveland at Allbirds and Kim Williams at Orris. 

We hosted a major zoom conference on the Americas featuring: 
Investing in the USA Laura Phillips, SVP Global Sourcing & U.S. Manufacturing, Walmart
Investing in Central America Dr Juan Jose Daboub, President, ThinkHUGE
Washington Update on Trade Steve Lamar, President & CEO, American Apparel& Footwear Association
Future Forum Team Presentations Preview (scheduled for weekly presentations in June) Dr Lynne Sprugel, CEO, abuzz global LLC
Closing Remarks: The Opportunity for the Western Hemisphere Jesus Canahuati, CEO, Elcatex

Jun: AAPN members on 4 teams spent months creating studies on the future of the industry. In the end, 40 people created 28 sessions containing over 7 hours of content about our future. As a member, you can access all of this. We'll be broadcasting to everyone soon but here your own guide:

MEMBERS - 34 members, 44 appearances
Over 7 hours of content
28 sessions plus 4 overviews
47 participants (some in more than one)

Aug: Future Forum Series: Business Global Team (BizGlobal)
RICK HORWITCH AND RENEE BAVINEAU introduce their team and their topics: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/package/6196/view 

Business Models
Traditional versus Emerging Business Models
DR. LYNNE SPRUGEL: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12013/lesson/47704/view 

The Evolution of On Demand Manufacturing
DR. LYNNE SPRUGEL interviews KARSTEN NEWBURY: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12013/lesson/46811/view 

Block Chain Business Models
DR. LYNNE SPRUGEL interviews CHUCK ROGERS: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12013/lesson/47045/view 

One company's sustainability plan
O Sustainable Fashion: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12115/lesson/47379/view 

Zero WasteAn interview with SCOTT DONACHIE, CEO of Companies for Zero Waste: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12115/lesson/47494/view 

Turning Polution Into Profit
An interview with STEPHANIE BENEDETTO, CEO of Queen of Raw: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12115/lesson/47495/view 

Future Factories
Saitex - The "Cleanest Denim Manufacturer in the World"
PAUL MINESTRELLA interviews SANJEEV BAHL: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12025/lesson/46879/view

Future Forum Series: Technical Systems (TechSys)
JORGE DELEON AND PAM PEALE introduce their team and their topics. https://aapn.mclms.net/en/package/6267/view

TechSys Survey
HILDA MCDUFF AND JILL COLEMAN share the results of their survey in industry executives. https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12163/lesson/47674/view

Considerations For a Successful Implementation
WALTER WILHELM, WWAdvisors: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12164/lesson/47676/view 
ILKA JORDAN, Jordan Alliance Group: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12164/lesson/47677/view 
DREW CEKADA & DANNY ORVIEDO, Kalypso: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12164/lesson/47678/view 

DANIELLA AMBROGI, Global Marketing Director at Computer Generated Solutions talks to MICKEY SACHDEVA, CEO of Cotton Heritage and DAVID RAMANO, CEO of Diltex: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12165/lesson/47679/view 

Inspiring Innovation
Panel: CHARLES SHEPPARD OF Superior Group of Companies leads a panel discussion with CHERYL SMYRE of Parkdale Mills, STEVE MAGGARD of Cone Denim and BILL WEBER OF Arborwear.: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12166/lesson/47680/view 

Three AAPN Member Videos: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12166/lesson/48636/view 

Future Forum Series: Team Material Sciences (TecMatSci)
DAVID SASSO introduces his team and topics: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/package/6339/view 

Interview with Graham Page, Director-Advanced Manufacturing at VF
DAVID SASSO/Buhler Quality Yarns interviews GRAHAM PAGE: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12466/lesson/48774/view 

Fabric and Garment Formation 
Introduction to Fabric and Garment Formation Group
ED GRIBBIN, Gribbin Strategic: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12341/lesson/48476/view 

Innovations in Circular Knits
KEITH DARTLEY: Swisstex Direct: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12341/lesson/48226/view 

Perspective from a Globally Responsible Chemical Company  
CRAIG WHITE, Huntsman Chemical: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12341/lesson/48775/view 

A Conversation about Circularity
KARLA MAGRUDER, Founder of Accelerating Circularity: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12430/lesson/48705/view 
MIRANDA TIDWELL on Circularity as a System: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12430/lesson/48830/view 
ERIC JOO, Utexa and DAVID ADKINS, Lenzing: https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12430/lesson/48985/view 

Future Forum Series: Building Trust and Transparency (Re-Modeling)
Mandi Strickland

Trust and Transparency in the Supply Chain
MANDI STRICKLAND on how improving color approval time and accuracy is an opportunity in the Western Hemisphere.  An introduction to digital and visual color evaluation best practices from the brand and retailer. https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12055/lesson/47075/view

CHERYL SMYRE on building long term strategic relationships in both natural and synthetic fiber supply to support growth and sustainability goals, is foundational in re-modeling trust in the fiber supply chain. https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12055/lesson/47076/view

Brands on their view of Trust and Transparency
KIM WILLIAMS of Orvis about the cultural differences that help/hinder trust based on her many years running sourcing in Europe versus the US. https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12076/lesson/47223/view 

SCOTT DARLINGTON of Sanmar will share a major re-engineering of their own internal logistics to share problem-solving with a major customer. https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12076/lesson/47222/view

JUSTIN CLEVELAND of Allbirds has exercised industry leading transparency that defines the Allbirds brand as he has conducted sourcing that brought apparel into their brand mix. https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12076/lesson/47224/view

The Most Important Social Responsibility Video Ever Made
SCOTT VAUGHN's video of the benefits management had carefully negotiated with their several thousand people - benefits that solved problems the people actually had in Nicaragua. https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12076/lesson/47224/view

Central America: The Opportunity for new Trust in the Americas
MANDI STRICKLAND, Managing Director at ImagineKnit and JILL COLEMAN, Alvanon & Motif interview NICOLE BIVENS COLLINSON, President of Sandler, Travis ..... on her landmark paper on the Americas. https://aapn.mclms.net/en/profile/my-courses/12056/lesson/47077/view

Sep: AAPN hosted a small roundtable of top thinkers in San Francisco, hosted in the offices of Allbirds there. The notes from this meeting drive the agendas of our 2022 meetings. 

Oct: We took 18 Walmart people on a 3 day bus tour of 5 mills in the Carolinas. 

Dec: We suspended our Board of Directors and appointed a small Transition Team to focus on transitioning the AAPN to new leadership.