Select Page
On May 14 – 15, 2024, the Federal and Defense Textile (FEDTEX) Summit, hosted by the Office of US Senator Thom Tillis, Office of Senator Ted Budd, the North Carolina Military Business Center (NCMBC) and the North Carolina Defense Technology Transition Office (DEFTECH), was held at NC State University. The purpose of the event was to connect the US Department of Defense (DoD) and federal agency clothing and individual equipment buyers with US textile manufacturers, textile supply chain suppliers, cut and sew contractors, research and development (R&D) facilities, testing labs and academic resources.
The objectives of FEDTEX 2024 objectives were to:

  • Engage with existing contractors and attract new capable businesses into the federal and defense clothing, textiles, and tactical equipment marketplace.
  • Engage existing textile supply chain suppliers and attract new capable businesses into the federal marketplace, and to connect these component suppliers with federal prime contractors.
  • Inform the industrial and academic R&D ecosystem about desired future military technology requirements, and likewise inform DoD agencies about emerging and future textile innovations.
  • Establish a productive and DIRECT dialogue between businesses, government, and academia around critical warfighter issues in the defense textile marketplace – including workforce, supply chain, inflation challenges, and barriers to entry.

The FEDTEX Summit partners included:

  • Defense Alliance of North Carolina
  • North Carolina Textile Technology Center at Gaston College
  • Manufacturing Solutions Center at Catawba Valley Community College
  • Manufacturing and Textile Innovation Network
  • NCDMCSP, a program of Industry Expansion Solutions
  • National Council of Textile Organizations
  • INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry
  • Southern Textile Association
  • The Needle’s Eye



On day one of the FEDTEX Summit, attendees participated in tours at the Nonwovens Institute and the Wilson College of Textiles.

Tour 1: North Carolina State University

The Nonwovens Institute

The Nonwovens Institute (NWI) is the world’s first accredited academic program for the interdisciplinary study of engineered fabrics through an innovative partnership of industry, government and academe. NWI engages experts from industry and higher education in building next-generation nonwoven applications while also providing training and guidance to the field’s future leaders. NWI plays a key role in the development and transformation of the latest innovations into marketable fiber-based systems through access to state-of-the-art pilot and testing Facilities.
The tour focused on facilities within the NWI’s Labs: large and small-scale units for spunbond, bonding (including hydroentanglement, thermal calendar and through air), meltblown, carding (crosslapping, needlepunch and heated oven), filament spinning, coating and lamination, filtration testing and analytical.

Tour 2: North Carolina State University, Wilson College of Textiles

Wilson College of Textiles

Attendees toured the North Carolina State University Wilson College of Textiles lab facilities, including the Weaving Lab, Knitting Lab, Short-Staple Spinning Lab, Physical Testing Lab and Dyeing and Finishing Lab. On the tour. Attendees got a sneak peak at the new Flex Factory Prototype Lab in anticipation of its grand opening this fall! These facilities are managed by Zeis Textiles Extension for Economic Development. All are fully functioning labs and are used for both educational purposes and contracted projects with industry partners for research, product testing and production.
In addition to the Zeis Textiles Extension, tour the Textile Protection and Comfort Center (TPACC). There was also an opportunity for tour attendees to speak with the ASSIST Center about their labs for innovation and testing.
TPACC is the only academic center in the U.S. that incorporates the capabilities to research, test and evaluate the comfort and protective performance of textile materials, garments, and ensemble systems all in one location. The TPACC tour featured several newly developed testing and evaluation assets, including Dynamic PyroMan™ – a newly developed PyroMan™ system that incorporates movement during exposure to flash fire, Liz – a Female Sweating manikin, the only one in use at an academic institution, and two animatronic head forms that can move and breathe, designed for testing the effectiveness of masks, hoods, and upper body garment interfaces in protecting against particulates. Additionally, the TPACC tour showcased demonstrations of PyroMan™, human physiological models and evaporative cooling tests from the material to the system level.
Also, on day one, DEFTECH hosted the Technology Scouting Showcase where four selected businesses presented their cutting-edge textile technologies in a “Shark Tank” format to a panel of government representatives who offered feedback and potential collaborations.
The selected businesses had 10-minutes for presentations followed by 10-minutes for feedback and Q&A from the government panel. The mini briefs aimed to bridge the gap between innovative textile solutions and federal technology needs. This session was a crucial opportunity for textile innovators to connect with federal technology needs and gain visibility among prime manufacturers and stakeholders in the defense sector.

Fiona Baxter Speaking

Dr. Fiona Baxter, Industry Expansion Solutions, Associate Executive Director, IES: Assistant Director, NCMEP; PI, NC Defense Manufacturing Community Support Program, provides opening remarks.

Kimberly Glas and Livia Shmavonain

Kimberly Glas, President & CEO, National Council of Textile Organizations and Livia Shmavonia, Director, Made in America, US Office of Management Budget provide panel discussion


Phil on Panel at FedTex

Phil Mintz, Industry Expansion Solutions Executive Director, participates in panel discussion

Melissa Sharp

Melissa Sharp, Wilson College of Textiles, Zeis Textile Extension for Economic Development (ZTE) Associate Director


Interact with Military

FEDTEX Trade Show and Networking

MSC Exhibit

FEDTEX Trade Show and Networking


FEDTEX sessions included:


May 14:

May 15: