Remarks of Dan LaTurno, President
Aurora Specialty Textiles Group
Aurora Grand Opening Ceremonies, October 5, 2016
Today is a tremendous day for Aurora Specialty Textile Group. It marks the symbolic end of our transition from the Aurora, Illinois, manufacturing plant where we began our operations 133 years ago, to our new Yorkville operation. It also marks the beginning of a new, exciting era for Aurora.
Over the past two years we’ve been committed to becoming a global leader in wide width coating and finishing and this new plant, and the hard work of the people here, are testament to that and to what we are calling “The New Aurora.”
We have some exciting news today related to this concept of a “New Aurora,” but first, some history with regard to how we arrived at this pivotal day, because the “New Aurora” is based on the very solid, successful foundation of the Aurora you all know and have come to trust over the years.
So, first, some history:
Aurora has been in operation for 133 years, founded in 1883 on the west side of the Fox River, just north of downtown Aurora, Illinois. It operated solely as a bleaching operation initially before adding finishing, dyeing and coating capabilities. Bruce Pindyck, owner of Meridian Industries, purchased Aurora in 1977, nearly 40 years ago. Bruce added another facility in South Carolina in 1997. That move brought wide processing into the company. However, that plant had no ability to coat. There’s a market for wide coated textiles, but since that plant did not have that capability, we outsourced that function to a wide coating operation 30 miles away. We were not fully happy with their lead times and quality, and decided to shutter the South Carolina plant.
With that, we saw an opportunity to move that plant’s wide width equipment here, plus purchase a brand new wide coating line and establish Aurora as a premier textile coater. There was one hitch to that plan and it was the Aurora manufacturing facility property. The building was old, outdated, had already been expanded nine times and there wasn’t enough space to accommodate our plans. So, two options were presented to Bruce:
1-Stay the course at Aurora and hang on to the existing narrow business for as long as we could, realizing we might slowly die as a business.
2-Purchase a newer facility that could accommodate the new vision and wider equipment along with the critical and specialized equipment we already owned at Aurora.
I guess you know which option Bruce chose! As always, Bruce chose the option of growth despite understanding the significant cash outlay that would be required.
With that, we began a search that was limited to a 15-mile radius from our existing plant. We have always had a fantastic hourly workforce and we did not want to risk losing any of our employees. After a short search, we found this building in Yorkville, which is 100 years newer than the building in Aurora, has 30-foot ceilings, a vast single-floor operation, ample office space and available surrounding land that can accommodate expansion.
Now, with a building in hand, we searched for a 130″+ finishing frame with enhanced operating controls as well as a coating head with multiple methods for coating. We searched within the US but couldn’t find a great alternative, so we selected a South Korean frame and an Italian coating head. These two units provide capabilities that we never could have dreamed of and with these additions, we were well equipped to become a substantial force within markets for the coating of textiles or other substrates.
We have since beefed up our sales staff and our technical group in order to effectively seek out and handle the multiple opportunities before us. But that’s NOT the end of the story.
So here we were, with all of these great capabilities, but we did not yet have a clear road map for the future. You’ve all heard the saying, “what get’s written down gets done.” So, we developed a Vision Statement and the we asked ourselves, “how are we going to meet this list of new objectives?”
We gave this a great deal of thought and with the help of focus, time and a dedicated staff, developed a clear vision for the future. From this we generated a new Mission Statement, which we are sharing with you now and we developed a new logo and tagline.
I want to discuss the two significant changes to the logo. First, you can all see the swirl that represents roll processing, which now has color. We added that to display that AURORA adds color through bleaching, dyeing, finishing and coating. The old logo did not send that message and we feel that’s an important distinction we want to make.
The tagline, Innovative Textile Solutions, is even more critical. What does it tell current and potential customers? Let’s look at this closely:
Innovative: This means that we are pioneering, inventive and modern with a focus on state-of-the-art R&D to help our clients and ourselves compete effectively in new markets.
Textile: Obviously, textiles represent our core market.
Solutions: Solving problems is how we distinguish ourselves from just being a transaction-based supplier.
With our new Mission Statement, logo and tagline, we want current and potential customers to think of Aurora in new terms. The New Aurora will use innovation within the textile markets to solve their problems. That’s how we will not just survive, but grow and thrive and meet our long range objectives.
So, thank you for being here today and let’s toast to the New Aurora!
This fantastic facility is a real dream for an operations person. Here we can lay out all of the processes involved in doing what we do with such an optimal process flow. I am truly blessed! I love my job and I have a great boss. Bruce has always shown great patience, guidance and support for Aurora because without that we would not be having this celebration today.
As the new President of Aurora Specialty Textiles Group, I want to welcome you to our company’s website. Additionally, I want to convey to you how excited and upbeat this organization is regarding the challenges and opportunities that we currently have before us today. We have been in business for over 130 years. Over that time, our product offerings have evolved as our capabilities have expanded. We continue that initiative as we are currently upgrading our capabilities even further. Please see the “What’s New” link to view where we are headed. Our future is very bright and we look forward to serving the industry in any manner we can for a long, long time to come.
Please feel free to contact me with any comments/questions at: email@example.com