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Whitehouse & URI Business Centre start RI textile network
26
Oct '16
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and the University of Rhode Island Business Engagement Centre have together started the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network, a trade group formed with support from Whitehouse and the University of Rhode Island Business Engagement Centre to guide growth of the state’s textile industry in the twenty-first century.

The Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network is in part a result of Whitehouse’s efforts to foster collaboration between textile industry leaders, and capitalise on Rhode Island’s abundance of manufacturing expertise and infrastructure. Whitehouse has met with textiles industry representatives on more than a dozen occasions over the past five years.

The Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network’s inaugural meeting included executives from 14 local manufacturers, faculty from the textiles and engineering programs at the University of Rhode Island, and representatives of the Rhode Island School of Design. Participating companies included Hope Global, Cooley Group, Toray Plastics America, Polaris MEP, American Cord & Webbing Company, Brickle Group, Colonial Mills, Darlington Fabrics, Dartex Coatings, Kenyon Industries, Nautilus Defence, Propel LLC, Trans-Tex LLC, and Innovative Sourcing Group.

Meeting participants discussed potential opportunities in textile manufacturing, including smart textiles that incorporate technology. The event was held at the headquarters of Cooley Group in Pawtucket, RI. Cooley Group opened its doors in 1926 as a manufacturer of cotton awnings, and has evolved over the last century into a maker of engineered membranes, building products, and commercial graphics.

Katharine Hazard Flynn executive director of the URI Business Engagement Centre said, “We were pleased to help convene this inaugural meeting of the Rhode Island Textile Innovation Network and we look forward to facilitating access for its members to URI faculty, research opportunities, and students to support the needs of this important industry. Textiles have a rich tradition both in Rhode Island and at URI and we are excited to support the work of this group in any way we can.” (GK)

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