Need confidential advice?

We’ve gathered independent industry experts in product development, intellectual property, knitting, smart fabrics, weaving, environmental law, nonwovens, supply chain, and more.

(Optional) For Mentor and Mentee participants who believe that confidential information may be shared during your meetings, we have provided a short form Confidential Disclosure Agreement (CDA) here. Please review the CDA prior to your meeting.

Meet the Mentors

Connie offers:
Products can’t just look good from aesthetics perspective (wannabe), when a company is dealing with performance and safety issues such as stability, virus transfer, conductivity, compression ratios, and flammability among other attributes. An attendee would be able to participate in a Q & A session that trouble shoots many different issues in building fiber, yarn construction, products, fabrication for end use, and components, as well as testing (medical, including compression; automotive; footwear; upholstery; extreme sports; wearable tech; architecture; marine, and others). We can talk about what is needed in the way of product and fabric performance, and testing for UV, salt water corrosion, abrasion, tensile strength, flammability, moisture management, antimicrobial, thermal properties, washability, and which exhibitors may have more information for them to review.
If the attendee needs apparel cut and sew or knit to shape perspective, in our session we can do a flash ‘cost feasibility’ together, to include many fabrics and products based on experience and knowledge of the market, and give a ball park idea of which exhibitors may be able to help in each phase of their development. In the amount of time we have in the session, we can at least give the attendee a focused enlightenment on their issue and point them in the right direction to more show resources and contacts.

Connie’s Expertise:
Connie Huffa is president of Fabdesigns Inc., a textile engineering firm that specializes in 3D advanced knit textile engineering for footwear, automotive, medical, aerospace, military applications, wearable technology, upholstery and more. A textile engineer and product development expert from early in her career she excelled for top companies like Shell Oil, Ossur, Kraco, Tricot St Raphael, and Phillips Van Heusen. She is an alumnus from Philadelphia University, where she was also an adjunct professor of textiles in the Master’s program in the 1990s. She’s built a solid reputation for first to market success stories in several markets from luxury knitted apparel to extreme environment, automotive, and medical, utilizing highly technical textile applications, polymer science, building supply chain, best practices, and infrastructure. She has several patents, and patents pending. Her specialty is advanced textile materials.


*Fiber/Yarn, Machinery, Knitting, Weaving, Laminating/Coating, Testing, Cut/Sew, Berry Act Compliance
*Product Development, Sourcing/Supply Chain, Intellectual Property, Navigating Company Politics, Sustainability, Textiles
*Aerospace, Apparel/Workwear/Sportswear, Automotive/Transportation, Fabric Structures, Industrial Applications, Medical/Healthcare, Military, Safety/Protective, Smart Fabrics, Footwear

Marie offers:
help in the early stages with concept and product development. She has a lot of knowledge of what is out there, what is innovative, the challenges and issues now and into the future. Marie will encourage you to challenge yourself to take risks, think beyond the box – maybe even go a little wild in your ambition!

Marie’s Expertise:
Marie O’Mahony is Founder and Director of O’Mahony Consultancy and a Professor of Digital Futures at Ontario College of Art and Design University. With over 20 years global experience in advanced and smart textiles, she has worked with governments, research institutes, ThinkTanks, academia and industry. She is the author of six books. Marie is on the advisory board and a regular contributor to Advanced Textiles Source and is a member of the National Research Council Canada’s Smart Textile and Wearables Alliance.

Link: Linked In

*Product Development, Design, Retail/Branding, Alternative Manufacturing Methods, Sustainability
*Apparel/Workwear/Sportswear, Fabric Structures, Medical/Healthcare, Safety/Protective, Smart Fabrics

Lee offers:
E-Textiles open up a whole new world to explore and with it, a world of issues that must be addressed before any E-Textile product begins returning revenue. This talk covers a few of those challenges and offers solutions for waterproofing, bulkiness, electrical connectivity, battery placement, and the potential problem of passing through airport security with electronics and batteries installed in clothing.

Lee’s Expertise:
H. Lee wainwright invented the LED/Optic E-Textile (Flexible Fabric animated display) (1985)
Invented the first machinery to manufacture E-Textile displays (1995)
Manufactured entertainment, utility, and military E-Textile applications (1997)
Taught Chinese companies how to create machines to produce E-Textiles (2003)
Created E-Textile displays for MGA Entertainment, Spinmaster, SONY, MACY’s, Sylvania, NASCAR, GM Motors, MGM, Disney, Target, Miller Brerwery, D& G, GIVENCHY and many other companies
Created E-Textile outfits for the late Robin Williams, Missy Elliot’s dancers, Britney Spears, and many other celebrities
Created E-Textile applications for dark rides at Disney World Theme parks
Created a “”Smart Purse”” with color-changing areas controlled by Smart Phones
Invented the “”Optical Coupler”” that allows designers to create their own smart fabric applications requiring no knowledge of programming or electronics


*E-Textiles*Product Development, Sourcing/Supply Chain, Design, Intellectual Property, Entrepreneurship/Startup, Alternative Manufacturing Methods

Ethan offers:
Ethan provides regulatory counsel and advice on compliance with waste management and chemical manufacturing registration and reporting requirements under Federal laws, including the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Toxic Substance Control Act, and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

Ethan’s Expertise:
Ethan Ware represents businesses and industries in environmental and health and safety legal matters. He has represented issues on behalf of businesses in negotiations relating to environmental permits, in defense of environmental and OSHA enforcement actions by state and federal agencies, in defense of toxic tort lawsuits, and on behalf of industry in criminal and civil environmental actions.


*Regulatory Compliance

Harry offers:
Harry can answer questions concerning fire standards so customers gain a better understanding of FR materials development and garment design as it relates to fire protection. Can also share insights on military requirements.

Harry’s Expertise:
Harry Winer currently is president of HIP Consulting LLC. HIP Consulting LLC, is a technical consultant firm in the Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) area. He currently performs R&D for the U.S. military in the area of fire protection. In addition he performs research and development in the fire protection and steam protection areas for commercial and industrial applications.
HIP Consulting LLC, is a technical consultant firm in the Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) area. HIP has the following capabilities: HIP can develop performance requirements with the service, perform gap analysis, perform market surveys, develop conceptual designs, create prototypes, conduct service evaluations with technical reports. In the report area HIP can write and edit technical reports of any type including gap analysis, service evaluation reports, requirement reports, standards writing and commercial item descriptions, etc. HIP offers technical assistance in working with standard organization as to PPE, attending organizational meetings, updating the service as to what is happening in standards organizations, and technical assistance with standard writing organizations such as ASTM and NFPA

Link: Linked In

*Fiber/Yarn, Knitting, Testing, Cut/Sew*Product Development, Design*Military, Safety/Protective

Jack Offers:
Jack helps companies profit from their innovations, and see the lines between lawful inspiration and liability-creating infringement. At an initial meeting, the available types of intellectual property can be explained so proper use of patents, trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and contracts can be explored expertly and efficiently. When should you seek a patent? How can you avoid losing patent rights? Who owns patent rights? When should you file a trademark in the U.S. or internationally? After a general discussion, we gladly can discuss going further to help with specific tasks. Do not share confidential information with anyone until you have engaged them as your attorney or entered into an express nondisclosure agreement.

Jack’s Expertise:
Jack Hicks helps inventors profit from their innovations by leveraging global intellectual property laws, including patents, trade secrets, trademarks, copyrights and contracts. A former mechanical design engineer, Jack currently is a licensed patent attorney who has worked with inventions for more than 30 years in numerous advanced textile industries and fields. Jack practices with the regional law firm of Womble Carlyle and teaches intellectual property and international business law at Elon University School of Law.


*Fiber/Yarn, Chemicals, Machinery, Knitting, Weaving, Nonwovens, Coatings, Laminating/Coating, Testing, Cut/Sew
*Intellectual Property, Organizational Developmnet, Navigating Company Politics, Fundraising, Entrepreneurship/Startup, Legal
*Aerospace, Apparel/Workwear/Sportswear, Automotive/Transportation, Fabric Structures, Filtration, Geosynthetics, Industrial Applications, Medical/Healthcare, Military, Safety/Protective, Smart Fabrics

Keith offers:
Keith will advise on the future of the apparel industry. What does the business model of the future look like?

Keith’s Expertise:
Keith Hoover is involved in developing and implementing manufacturing-centric product development processes. His expertise spans creative product design through technical manufacturing execution. At Under Armour, Mr. Hoover has been involved in Project Glory at the UA Lighthouse, a new model for product development and manufacturing based on digitalization, virtualization, and local-for-local sourcing.
Mr. Hoover has contributed in all phases of apparel and hard goods product development. He started his career as a commercial artist and fashion illustrator for such brands as Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren. He moved into product development, devising color management programs for Target, Lands’ End, JCPenney, and Under Armour. He was part of a team that set up Polo R&D and oversaw Fruit of the Loom’s domestic dyehouses.
Mr. Hoover was the first in the US to implement large scale end-to-end global digital color management for a major retailer ($70B). He has worked hands-on in mills worldwide and led development for multi-million dollar textile programs in China, India, Pakistan, and Korea. Mr. Hoover focuses on bridging the creative and manufacturing processes by effectively communicating with all facets of the fiber and textile supply chain.


*Knitting, Color commercialization, product development
*Product Development, Sourcing/Supply Chain, Design, Alternative Manufacturing Methods
*Apparel/Workwear/Sportswear, Fabric Structures

Peter offers:
G. Peter Macon is a material and manufacturing solutions consultant — my company works with large Fortune 50 companies to determine product path from early design to final engineering. We have worldwide expertise and assets.


*Knitting, Coatings, Laminating/Coating, Testing, Cut/Sew, cellular foam plastics
*Product Development, Sourcing/Supply Chain, Design, Intellectual Property, Organizational Developmnet, Entrepreneurship/Startup, Alternative Manufacturing Methods, Sustainability
*Medical/Healthcare, Military, Safety/Protective, Smart Fabrics

David offers:
up-to-date awareness of the nonwoven industry, technology trends and markets.

David’s Expertise:
David Nelson retired from 3M after a 40 year career that included more than 30 years in nonwoven technology, research, product development, and manufacturing. Currently the Director of Industry Engagement at the Nonwovens Institute at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC.Link: Website

*Product Development, Alternative Manufacturing Methods
*Apparel/Workwear/Sportswear, Automotive/Transportation, Fabric Structures, Filtration, Industrial Applications, Medical/Healthcare, Safety/Protective

Kanti Offers:
Kanti provides guidance for process, product quality and cost management. Best practices in manufacturing and customer support.

Kanti’s Expertise:
Kanti Jasani has over 35-years experience in textile manufacturing. Fabrics and laces manufacturing for fashion, activewear, home furnishing, industrial, automotive and more. Process development, cost management, LEAN and process optimization, trouble shooting and customer support and more.

Link: Linked In

*Fiber/Yarn, Chemicals, Knitting, Weaving, Coatings, Laminating/Coating, Testing
*Product Development, Organizational Developmnet, Sustainability
*Apparel/Workwear/Sportswear, Automotive/Transportation, Industrial Applications, Safety/Protective

David offers:
David will help short-circuit specific problems you may be having, to triage and prioritize activities over a short or intermediate time horizon, to help reenvision your product or service’s path to success, or to offer a constructive/critical review of your plans with recommendations to fill or live with gaps. From whatever starting point you’d like, you would end up with a clear set of next steps to take, specific recommendations, high-value referrals and ideas for being accountable to your plan.

About David:
David Kemper is an experienced manufacturing leader and mentor in fiber-based and electronics industries. Angel investor and multiple board roles with early-stage companies. Successful commercializing new products to reinvigorate later stage companies.Link:

*Machinery, Weaving, Nonwovens, Cut/Sew, integrated electronics
*Product Development, Sourcing/Supply Chain, Organizational Development, Navigating Company Politics, Fundraising, Entrepreneurship/Startup, Alternative Manufacturing Methods.
*Aerospace, Apparel, Workwear, Sportswear, Fabric Structures, Filtration, Geosynthetics, Industrial Applications, Medical/Healthcare, Military, Smart Fabrics.

Mary offers:

For the 2017 IFAI Expo, Mary is available to discuss your company’s needs and has prepared a take-home folder with information highlighting business and engineering considerations she employs for success in technical textile product development.

Mary’s Expertise:

Mary Hakam’s forte is combining the art & science of textile product development with hard core engineering to produce game-changing products that work. At home in the C-suite, she is a high performance team business leader and CTO who bridges the gap between vision for new products and the bottom line – a solid return on investment.

Mary has grown from Padawan to Yoda, mentored by The-Best-of-The-Best in the NASA-JSC community, W.L. Gore and Global Business Management Consultants. Her expertise is technical textile products to enable human performance in extreme environments – specifically, NASA space suits and military Special Operations garment systems. Well versed in human/machine interface via human factors engineering, she was taught to do “good science” through designed experimentation. Mary has a broad knowledge and experience with all things textile: fibers to fabrics, manufacturing to performance testing. She is an expert sewer and is by profession, a mechanical engineer.

In 2015, Mary created Woodlands Textiles LLC, with a vision for consulting services to help companies navigate the adventure of next-generation, textiles product innovation on a customer confidential, intellectual property protected basis. She volunteers time mentoring university student entrepreneur/innovation projects and is a member of the IPC Association e-Textiles Committee working toward standard test methods for e-textiles.

Emiel offers:
Emiel helps companies with testing and evaluation of novel materials, relating to comfort and human performance and protection. This may help avoid unnecessary cost and time for testing and identifying appropriate technologies for product innovation in this area.

Emiel’s Expertise:
Prof. Emiel DenHartog has a Masters degree in experimental physics from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands and Ph.D. in medical physics from the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. After obtaining his Ph.D. he went to work for more than 15 years in defense research on evaluation and innovation of military protective clothing systems.
Since 2013 he has worked at the Textile Protection And Comfort Center (TPACC) at North Carolina State University on the interaction between clothing and the human body to optimize protection, performance and comfort. The main focus of his research is on using and developing test and evaluation methods for functional textiles to demonstrate and quantify protection, performance and comfort of clothing and related textile products that interact with the body.


*Testing*Product Development, R&D, Testing and Evaluations
*Apparel/Workwear/Sportswear, Medical/Healthcare, Military, Safety/Protective, Smart Fabrics

Ian Offers:
Ian can provide insights into industry best practice, consultancy on specific problems relating to your product, regarding all aspects of textile wet processing dyeing /printing, fastness issues. Provide workshops on your process to brainstorm new ideas and concepts and bring them from the drawing board to reality.

Ian’s Expertise:
Ian Smith is a technical dyer with over 25 years experience in the industry. During his career he has worked in the speciality yarns and automotive sector latterly being involved in technical consultancy for indutry best practice, new technology and process optimisation. Ian enjoys networking and working with fellow professionals both nationally and internationally.


*Chemicals, Machinery, Coatings, Laminating/Coating, Testing
*Product Development, Sourcing/Supply Chain, Organizational Developmnet, Alternative Manufacturing Methods, Sustainability
*Aerospace, Apparel/Workwear/Sportswear, Automotive/Transportation, Fabric Structures, Industrial Applications, Medical/Healthcare, Safety/Protective, Smart Fabrics

Claire offers:
Ortiz Industry is a full service idea-to-consumer service and solution provider, with proof of concept capabilities at consumer the level. By being quick to market with innovative products and product creation solutions, we help you penetrate new emerging markets, build customers’ confidence and drive new growth opportunities.
Our services include: materials innovation and development, front-end design and garment engineering, proof of concept, start-up support, fit, commercialization, e-wearables design and development, business strategic planning, full product launch, branding, consumer marketing, communication and go-to-market strategies.

Claire’s Expertise:
Claire Ortiz is CEO and cofounder of “intelligent fashion” company Ortiz Industry, Inc. For more than 25 years, Claire has spearheaded product campaigns, built infrastructure and led teams in startup environments and global corporations like Brand Jordan, Nike, Wilson and UnderArmour. She has garnered a reputation for her entrepreneurial edge and ability to transform brands into major revenue generators. She also led creative and product campaigns for more than 100 NBA, NCAA and NFL teams, and over 2,500 world-class Nike athletes during the 2008 Olympics.
With Ortiz Industry, Inc., her third start up, she is using her expertise in wearable technology, dynamic garment engineering and development to create an unmatched value to the brand through proprietary formulas for performance materials and future-tech apparel.
As a respected apparel-industry executive and proven veteran, Claire is a highly sought after innovation consultant, speaker and advisory board member to two start-ups, with clients like MagicSourcing, North Carolina State College of Textiles, USPTO, AATCC, AAFA, F.I.T., Babolat, Tennis Warehouse, Men Chuen Fibre, Lumenus, UThermic and several others.


*Fiber/Yarn, Knitting, Weaving, Cut/Sew, Biodynamic Design, Commercialization, Brand Development
*Product Development, Sourcing/Supply Chain, Design, Organizational Developmnet, Navigating Company Politics, Entrepreneurship/Startup, Alternative Manufacturing Methods
*Apparel/Workwear/Sportswear, Fabric Structures, Medical/Healthcare, Military, Safety/Protective, Smart Fabrics

Attendees and Exhibitors

This opportunity is available to all IFAI Expo participants and included in any registration type.

Application process  

  1. Register for IFAI Expo. (registration opens in May 2017)
  2. Select mentor(s) from the list.
  3. Apply for a 30 minute, confidential meeting(s). (application available Spring 2017)
  4. If your application is accepted, you’ll receive confirmation of your meeting time (during IFAI Expo) and location (meeting room on the show floor).
  5. Be on time for your meeting

Acceptance Process

Tie-breaker preferences for limited appointment slots are given to attendees in this order:

  1. Members of IFAI’s Advanced Textiles Division
  2. All IFAI members
  3. Members and Non-members with an Expo Plus – Advanced Textiles Conference registration
  4. Any participants in order applications were received


Contact Casey Strauch with questions.