Four winners of the Lifetime Service Award and Lifetime Technical Achievement Awards were announced by INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry. The nonwovens industry and INDA are being recognised for the significant contributions made by Jan O’Regan, Seshadri Ramkumar, Jim Robinson, and Ed Thomas.

“We are thrilled to present these well-deserved honours to Jan, Ram, Jim, and Ed. According to Tony Fragnito, president of INDA, “INDA is appreciative of their efforts in advancing the nonwovens sector and serving as INDA’s supporters. “These Awards are intended to recognise individuals who have extensive histories of service and technical excellence. All four have contributed their very best to INDA and the nonwovens industry, both personally and professionally, said Fragnito.

The World of Wipes® is where Jan O’Regan will collect her prize. International Conference (WOW), Thursday, July 18 at 4:30

On July 18 at 4:45 p.m., Seshadri Ramkumar will receive his honour at the World of Wipes® (WOW) International Conference.

On November 14 at 4:30 p.m., Jim Robinson will receive his prize at the HygienixTM Conference.

On September 26 at 4:30 p.m. at the RISE® Conference, Ed Thomas will collect his award.

The Award winners are listed below:

Jan O’Regan: INDA Lifetime Service Award “I am incredibly honoured and humbled to be selected as a Lifetime Service Award recipient for 2023 when I consider the countless experts who have contributed their time, intelligence, and insight to the progress and betterment of our nonwovens sector. I stand on their shoulders and appreciate the relationships and experiences they have provided to INDA andMy way has been opened by the nonwovens sector. My career’s satisfying fulcrum has been this work.

Jan O’Regan served as Cotton Incorporated’s Director of Strategic Initiatives and Nonwovens Marketing until her retirement in 2022. In her role, she discovered fresh chances for cotton to add value to the nonwovens sector. She oversaw strategic planning initiatives, technical and market project management, and shared cutting-edge concepts and outcomes with the worldwide supply chain.

O’Regan worked in the nonwovens sector for more than 40 years in a variety of positions, including sales, marketing, strategic planning, and company management. On regional, national, and international teams, market responsibilities covered consumer and industrial markets. She recently brought these varied knowledge to new cotton markets in unconventional uses. O’Regan has worked with INDA for many years as a volunteer and employee. Most recently, she served as head of the World of Wipes® group, which she successfully ran to provide cutting-edge conferences for the wipes business.  She spoke frequently at conferences like INDA, INSIGHT, EDANA, and others, and for almost 20 years, she was the go-to expert on hygiene and cotton fibres in nonwovens. O’Regan graduated from Penn State University with a BS in Textiles and Business, summa cum laude, and the Stern School of Business at New York University with an MBA.

Seshadri Ramkumar receives the INDA Lifetime Technical Achievement Award: “I am really honoured to get this distinction and the award is a tribute of the more than two decades of work done in my laboratory by many students from many different nations. I’m ecstatic toNotably, many of these students are making significant contributions to the worldwide nonwovens industry in important research and marketing roles. I appreciate INDA’s support of our nonwovens research at Texas Tech University since I started it there in 1999, as well as that of its employees and industry peers.

Seshadri Ramkumar has over 25 years of expertise in the field of technical nonwovens, performing research that is unmatched in the field and instructing nonwovens specialists at Texas Tech University (TTU).  He started the Nonwovens Laboratory at TTU. Numerous Ramkumar’s former pupils have gone on to hold technical leadership positions within their companies and the nonwovens sector.

The American Chemical Society has recognised Fibertect® harmful chemical decontamination wipes as a remarkable success of federally financed innovation, and Ramkumar has multiple patents and invention disclosures to his credit. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has approved it, and other military branches have adopted it.

Ramkumar has been on the editorial boards of numerous fibre, nonwoven, and textile journals in addition to authoring over 500 peer-reviewed papers, articles, and editorials overall, including one on nanofibers that has received over 2,100 citations. For more than 20 years, Ramkumar has actively promoted INDA and its technical training programmes while also organising conferences for nonwovens and textiles.

He has gained recognition from TAPPI, the Society of Dyers and Colorists (UK), the Textile Institute (UK), the Textile Association (INDIA), and many other organisations. He has also served as a member of the INDA Technical Advisory Board for a significant amount of time.

Ramkumar has a Masters of Science in Information Technology and a Bachelors of Technology in Textiles. Textile technology, Anna University, first in the discipline, and a Ph.D. in Textile Materials from the University of Leeds, UK.

INDA Lifetime Technical Achievement Award for Jim Robinson

“I am honoured to receive the Lifetime Technical Achievement Award on behalf of my industry peers, and I am humbled by the honour. Throughout my entire career, I have seen that there are many possibilities in our field to both assist others in solving their difficulties and to mutually share technical knowledge about our engineered products. I spent a lot more days having fun than not and had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful individuals and form enduring, fulfilling relationships.

Jim Robinson has worked in the absorbent hygiene sector for 33 years, including 28 of those years at BASF as a Technical Service Manager. He oversaw technical groups that worked on using superabsorbent polymers (SAP) in personal hygiene products. Robinson has in-depth understanding of SAP systems, the creation of absorbent cores, and the design, functionality, and testing of hygiene articles. While working at BASF, Robinson oversaw initiatives to co-supply hygiene converters with solutions from numerous outside businesses.

Robinson worked with the National Association for Continence to establish standards for adult incontinent product fitness for use and participated in the development and review of absorbent product test methods with INDA/EDANA due to his extensive knowledge of test methodologies and test methodology development. He also actively participates in the Technical Advisory Board of INDA and the Hygienix organising committee, and he helped create the INDA Absorbent Hygiene Training Course. Rogers has offeredseveral talks on the functionality and interconnections of absorbent system components at INSIGHT, Hygienix, and RISE.

Robinson has recently provided advice and support to a number of startups, including several that have been nominated for INDA product awards. Robinson earned both a BS and an MS in chemistry from Hampden-Sydney College and Duke University, respectively.

INDA Lifetime Technical Achievement Award for Ed Thomas

Ed Thomas noted that receiving the Lifetime Technical Achievement Award was a great honour. “Ever since I started working in this incredibly dynamic sector, I’ve been amazed by the variety and innovations that keep appearing. The scientific advancements that make the nonwovens sector so exciting have been a great pleasure to be a part of, added Thomas. After 39 years and 32 years in the nonwovens industry, Ed Thomas retired. Since then, he has continued to work as a teacher for INDA and The Nonwovens Institute at North Carolina State University and to offer consultancy services to the nonwovens sector.

Thomas has held positions at DuPont as a Process Engineering Manager and Plant Manager, Reemay as a Technical Director, Fiberweb/BBA Nonwovens as the Global VP of Research and Development, and First Quality Nonwovens as the Head of Research and Product Development.

Thomas has received more than 250 patents for numerous and varied developments that have significantly contributed to the growth of the nonwovens sector. He now holds ten U.S. nonwoven patents. These also include requests forthe market for industrial nonwovens, filtration media, and global hygiene.

Throughout his career, Thomas has delivered a number of keynote addresses and papers at industry conferences, participated in the Nonwovens Cooperative Research Centre (NCRC) at North Carolina State University before it became The Nonwovens Institute (NWI), the Technical Advisory Board for INDA, the Sustainability Committee for INDA, and served as Vice Chair of the Industrial Advisory Board for NWI before retiring and continuing to be a member emeritus.

Thomas, a veteran of the Vietnam War, graduated from SUNY Buffalo with a degree in mechanical engineering.