URI professor working to bridge the textile world together

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Martin Bide’s term as president of textile organization

focused on international relations

KINGSTON, R.I. – February 13, 2009 – When he was named president of the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) in 2006, University of Rhode Island professor Martin Bide aimed to bring an international flavor to the organization.

Headquartered in North Carolina, the AATCC sets worldwide standards in how textile materials are tested. Founded in 1921, the organization is the world’s leading non-profit professional association for textile design, materials, processing and testing industries.

With his two-year term complete, Bide has helped the prestigious textile organization take major steps toward worldwide expansion. Bide, a Hope Valley resident and native of the United Kingdom, continued a strong working relationship with the U.K.-based Society of Dyers and Colourists. Last July, the two groups combined with the China Textile Information Centre to sponsor a conference on Color Technology for Best Practice and Sustainability in the Global Textile and Apparel Supply Chain, which was held in Shanghai, China. In March of 2008, Bide attended the inaugural meeting of the AATCC’s second local section in India.

The focus on moving the AATCC to an international stage made sense for many reasons, according to Bide.

“For many years, the textile industry was heavily U.S.-based,” Bide said. “This is not the case anymore, as more of our members are overseas. More and more laboratories are handling work around the world now.”

Products may be made from several different fabrics, each manufactured in a different country, and assembled somewhere else. The final item will be washed in an American washing machine using American detergent. Using a standard test and a standard detergent allows everyone in the supply chain to be on the same page when it comes to product quality.

The stronger international relations have helped students at URI, and not just those entering the textile field. Students looking to fields such as retail and design will be better prepared for their respective industries when they have a more complete understanding of what is happening around the world.

The winner of the AATCC’s fifth-annual student design competition – which had the theme of Color Concepts – will represent the AATCC at the Society of Dyers and Colourists’ International Conference and Design Competition finals in Goa, India this June.

“Our industry is constantly expanding,” Bide said. “By understanding the industries from a worldwide perspective, it opens up more opportunities.”

Though his term as president of the AATCC is complete, Bide will remain on the AATCC Board of Directors as “immediate past president” under new president Fred Cook, professor in the school of Polymer, Textile and Fiber Engineering at Georgia Tech.