By Hailie Tagner, O-N-E Contributor
If you've lived in North Carolina for more than a few years, you probably know the rich history of textile manufacturing found here. At one point, North Carolina was referred to as the "King of US Textile Manufacturing" because of our research, factories, and skills in the field. In 1980 however, many big companies moved their production overseas to cut costs, leaving many North Carolina manufacturing companies crippled. For a while, there was no one to train in the field, lest of all anyone with the skills for it. But in the late 1980's Catawba County Community College was asked to create a training space for hosiery industry workers. In 1990, Dan St. Louis stepped up and established the Hosiery Technology Center (HTC) to help regrow and train the hosiery industry. Soon after their establishment, however, HTC realized that North Carolina had other needs in order to rebuild their crippled manufacturing industry. They became what they are called today: Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) located in Conover with an operating Standards and Testing Laboratory. They opened with a simple message that has carried over all these years later: "To create and maintain jobs". Twenty-five years later, MSC has grown to become a birthplace of innovative ideas for the world of manufacturing.
With over two thousand entrepreneurs helped (and growing), MSC's customers span from all corners of the United States as see in the picture above. The passion you can find in MSC is rare and welcomed, with twenty-six dedicated employees working to find faster, cheaper, easier and safer ways to create the items most of us use every day. In their testing facility, you can find machines working with furniture, sporting equipment and even clothes to figure out how to better improve them. The science and research branch work to create innovative fabrics that can provide greater sun protection, soften skin, and even heal cuts and burns.
When an entrepreneur approaches them with an idea for a design, MSC will work closely beside them every step of the way to help them create their plan, budget, and eventually hand them off to the perfect manufacturer. Not only do they help individual entrepreneurs, MSC also rents space for new manufacturing companies who are just getting started, providing them with a safe place to grow and test their skills.
In short, MSC has so much to provide for the world of manufacturing. They care deeply about helping fellow manufacturers and are constantly working to figure out the best ways to create jobs in the industry. To say that the future of manufacturing in the United States is in safe hands, would be a vast understatement.