Interview with Mr. Gregory S. Rogowski

Face2Face
Mr. Gregory S. Rogowski
Mr. Gregory S. Rogowski
President & CEO
Performance Fibers
Performance Fibers

Performance Fibers is a leading global supplier of high-tenacity polyester fiber and other advanced materials that are used in automobile tire reinforcement, engineered reinforcements, broad and narrow woven fabrics and rope, to the leading manufacturers around the world. Gregory S. Rogowski is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Performance Fibers, a global leader in high-performance industrial fibers and related materials, with operations in the U.S., France, Germany, South Korea and China. Mr. Rogowski was selected to continue in his leadership role when Sun Capital Partners acquired the business from Honeywell in December 2004. Prior to leading the Performance Fibers business for Honeywell, Mr. Rogowski served several positions in the organization, including general manager for the Americas and global marketing director. He joined Honeywell - then AlliedSignal - in 1986, and held positions in engineering, customer technology and marketing. He previously worked for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. and Atlantic Research Corp. Mr. Rogowski holds a Master of Science in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Akron (Ohio) and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from the University of Richmond (Virginia). He is also a graduate of Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry. Fibre2Fashion feels honor to welcome Mr. Rogowski in Face2Face for an insight to the world of fibers and his personal outlook on the related issues.

Performance Fibers as the name suggest has been in the markets for quite some time. Could you please draw the larger picture of the company since its origin?

"Performance Fibers is relatively new as a privately owned company. We were established in December 2004 when Sun Capital Partners purchased our business. The past two years have been a very exciting time for our business, marked by rapid growth and acquisitions, including the purchase of INVISTA Resins & Fibers GmbH’s German polyester yarn business and the North American business of Diolen Industrial Fibers, Inc. Our current business continues a legacy of commitment, reliability, growth and innovation that traces its roots to the post-World War II years when Allied Chemical Corp. began its fiber business. The corporate ownership of our business changed to Allied Corp. in 1981, then to AlliedSignal in 1995 and then to Honeywell International in 1999. Over the decades, we have continuously made fiber product innovations and improvements, and expanded into new fiber and material segments globally. Today we are a leading global supplier of high-tenacity polyester fibers, engineered fabrics, sewing thread fibers and advanced materials with manufacturing facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. Our products are used in a wide range of consumer and industrial applications, including tire, broad and narrow fabrics, ropes and cordage, offshore mooring, automotive safety, mechanical rubber goods and sewing threads."

Fiber market tends to be volatile or at times subdued. How best can you describe the present times in global terms?

"The current global fibers environment is fiercely competitive. Fifty years ago, the fiber and textiles industry was a new, high-margin business. Today, our industry faces many challenges, including global competition, supply and demand fluctuations and historically high raw material costs. We are operating in an increasingly borderless, networked, interdependent and highly unpredictable global economy, where companies must rapidly change to be successful. The new competitive global landscape includes ambitious start ups, willing to take risks, compete intensely and strategically change the game like Performance Fibers is doing."

What growth potential do you envisage for your company vis-à-vis that of your industry?

Manufactured fibers represent a more than $35 billion global industry, which has been growing just above 5 percent over the past 20 years. Our business has been growing 10 to 15 percent annually. We continue to see very good opportunities for growth and are actively pursuing them.

Besides the fact that competition is way behind, what precisely are the competitive advantages your company enjoys?

"Our competitive advantages include offering the most global reach in the fiber industry, our vast product portfolio and technical expertise, as well as the financial backing and support from Sun Capital to grow. As the only industrial fiber producer with manufacturing, sales, marketing, technical and applications support on three continents – North American, Europe and Asia – we have the advantage of being able to meet the needs of our customers anywhere around the globe with speed and flexibility. Another competitive advantage is the value we deliver through our technological innovation and service. We are continuously developing new products and solutions to meet our customers’ needs, such as high-performance material substitutions for the tire industry and other industrial segments. Through recent acquisitions, we have expanded our offerings to include tire cord fabrics, and low-denier and high-denier industrial fibers for sewing thread and technical fabrics. Our breadth and global capabilities enable us to offer our customers leading-edge solutions. So we go beyond just being a fiber supplier and partner to our customers, even helping them to set up their own operations in other parts of the world. Having Sun Capital Partners as our owners and being a private company also has been a huge advantage, providing the financial backing and autonomy to run our business independently so we can make decisions rapidly and capitalize on growth opportunities."

What future fiber products do you think will provide the cutting edge for your leadership consolidation in future?

"We are continuously developing the next generations of polyester fibers, fabrics and yarns and looking for new application areas, particularly as high performance material substitutions. We are excited about the future opportunities in the coated fiber and fabrics segments; a new ultra low shrinkage fiber product; as well as technologies from our German facilities that support the sewing thread segment and other specialty end use applications. We also see good opportunities for our PenTec® PEN Fibers (polyethylene napthalate fiber) for use in tire and other industrial applications."

Could you describe the geographical regions where your company is growing and also expecting potential growth in the near future?

"Asia has been a huge growth region for fibers used in the reinforcement of tires as more people in this developing region purchase automobiles. We are a leader in supplying industrial fiber in China. To meet the ongoing demand in this region, we have expanded capacity twice over the past two years at our Kaiping facility. Our goal is to quadruple our high modulus low shrinkage fiber spinning by 2008. India also has been a big growth region for tires, where we are achieving 30 percent growth. Other growth areas include countries in Eastern Europe."

Technology is revolutionizing the textile industry all over the world. What trends do you visualize in the coming times, for the industry?

Technological expertise and innovation will continue to be important and will separate the companies who are leaders in this industry from newcomers who are producing commodity items. Established global players, like Performance Fibers, will provide a higher level of value and serve as resources to the industry for leading-edge innovation.
Published on: 06/11/2006

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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