Chairman, General Paul Kern (retired)
General Paul J. Kern has an extremely distinguished record of service to our nation, including two tours of duty in Vietnam and service with the 24th Infantry Division during Desert Shield/Desert Storm. General Kern was Commanding General of the Army Materiel Command, and Military Deputy to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology. He was also Commander of the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) and Senior Military Assistant to the Secretary of Defense and Deputy Secretary of Defense. At the conclusion of his military career, General Kern led the investigation into Abu Ghraib and continues to work with the Center for Victims of Torture.
Yoel Fink is the CEO of AFFOA and former Director of the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). RLE is MIT’s first interdisciplinary lab, with over 700 researchers and $60M a year budget.
Yoel is also Professor of Materials Science and Electrical Engineering. His research group has pioneered the field of multimaterial multifunctional fiber devices, and is focused on extending the frontiers of fiber materials to encompass electronic, optoelectronic and even acoustic properties for textile and composite applications.
Norman Chapman is the President and COO of Inman Mills. Inman is a textile company located in South Carolina with 700 employees. Inman’s products include fire retardant fabrics for bedding and apparel, industrial fabrics including beltings, thermoplastic composite prepregs, workwear, and sportswear.
Norman holds a B.S. in Economics from Clemson University. He has served on numerous professional and nonprofit boards in leadership positions including the Southeastern Apparel and Textile Association, National Council of Textile Organizations, Inman Mills, B2B Media, Carolina Alliance Bank, Wofford College Presidents Advisory Board, Clemson Board of Visitors, Chamber of Commerce, United Way, and AFFOA.
John Anderson Fry, appointed Drexel University’s 14th president in 2010, has served higher education for his entire professional life. Through his roles as a consultant, board member, chief operating officer and chief executive, he has acquired a deep and broad understanding of the challenges of leading a major educational institution.
Fry set out to transform Drexel into what he has termed the “modern urban university of the future”—an institution that harnesses both its long-established and still-emerging strengths to serve its students, its neighborhood, its city and the nation. Under Fry’s leadership, Drexel is setting a new standard for cooperative education, transforming its online and hybrid offerings, and becoming a powerful force for economic development in the Greater Philadelphia region. Fry led the University community’s collaboration on a five-year strategic plan, launched in 2012, to guide the pursuit of those goals.
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Charles Howland is President and Chief Engineer of Warwick Mills based in New Ipswich, NH. Howland is the author of over 60 patents or patents pending on textile constructions, specializing in material science solutions for aerospace textiles, protective garments and body armor, needle-resistant fabrics, cut-resistant gloves, impermeable laminates for chemical and biological hazards among others. He holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Over the course of thirty years of material science work, Howland has focused on improving a substrate’s adhesion performance by investigating the surface analysis and surface modification technologies for products involving coating, lamination and mosaic assembly.
Steve Rendle is President & Chief Operating Officer at VF Corporation, a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories. VF had 2015 revenues of $12.4 billion and is owner of iconic brands, including The North Face®, Vans®, Timberland®, Wrangler® and Lee®.
Rendle has more than 30 years of experience in the specialty outdoor and action sports industry, including 17 years at VF where his successful, value-creating career has been comprised of executive-level positions at both the brand and corporate levels. He is a member of VF’s Board of Directors, and its Operating and Executive Committees.
Michael Spillane leads NIKE’s product engines and merchandising as President, Product & Merchandising. Spillane is responsible for developing the strategy that drives the creation of all NIKE footwear, apparel and equipment, and he leads the merchandising of all product to the global marketplace. Since he joined NIKE in 2007, Spillane has held leadership positions with Converse, Umbro, Greater China, and, most recently, Global Footwear. With extensive experience in marketing consumer products, Spillane previously held senior management roles at leading apparel and textile companies, including Malden Mills, Tommy Hilfiger USA, Jockey International, and Missbrenner, Inc. Spillane serves on the board of directors at The Boston Beer Co., and Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA).
Katie Stebbins is the Massachusetts Assistant Secretary for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and leads the State’s efforts in the areas of cyber security, big data, robotics, digital health, advanced manufacturing, IOT, marine technology, and the start-up ecosystem. In this role, Katie convenes sector leaders and prioritizes investments on behalf of the Baker Administration and diligently exposes community leaders across the state to the economic opportunities being generated in Massachusetts.
Maria Zuber is the E. A. Griswold Professor of Geophysics and Vice President for Research at MIT, where she is responsible for research administration and policy. She oversees MIT Lincoln Laboratory and more than a dozen interdisciplinary research laboratories and centers, including the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, the MIT Energy and Environmental Solutions Initiatives, the Plasma Science and Fusion Center, the Research Laboratory of Electronics, the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, and Haystack Observatory. Vice President Zuber is also responsible for intellectual property and research integrity and compliance, as well as research relationships with the federal government.