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Two Textiles Faculty Recognized for Outstanding Extension Service

OESA winners

By Cameron Walker

Two Wilson College of Textiles faculty members have received the NC State University Outstanding Extension Service Award (OESA) for the 2017-2018 academic year. Recipients Dr. Karen K. Leonas and Dr. Bryan Ormond were recognized at the University Outreach and Engagement Awards ceremony and reception on April 11 at the McKimmon Center. The OESA acknowledges exceptional extension engagement and economic development activities and honors faculty and staff for these efforts.

Leonas, a professor in the department of Textile and Apparel, Technology and Management (TATM), organized dozens of events over the past few years, including visits, lectures and workshops. These events were aimed at strengthening partnerships with companies and organizations such as VF, Unifi, American and Efird, Carter’s Children’s Wear, HanesBrands, Cotton Incorporated and the International Textile and Apparel Association. Her efforts have borne fruit, increasing the exposure of Wilson College of Textiles programs, forging connections between the College and industry leaders and expanding student opportunity.

She is a leader in a number of industry organizations, including the International Textile and Apparel Association, the International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) and the Hong Kong Industry Advisory Network, for which she led two Hong Kong study tours for NC State students. AATCC identified her as an expert in the area of sustainability and she is serving as guest editor for an upcoming AATCC Journal special issue on sustainability and green chemistry to be published in the fall of 2018. She was selected as an NC State University Graduate Mentoring Fellow for 2015-2016 and organized a workshop on mentoring graduate students for 35 faculty members.

She has formed, led and participated in several interdisciplinary teams, most recently with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), which has over 100 corporate members from industry, for which she represented the university at the 2016 and 2017 summits and currently serves as co-chair of its Clothing, Footwear and Textiles committee. Leonas was invited to be a founding member of the Walmart Apparel Group’s Technical Collaboration Board, whose goal is to develop best practices throughout the supply chain; she serves on several subcommittees including as chair of Textile and Color Education. She was also a founding member of Walmart’s Technical Sustainability Board and the Technical Collaboration Board for Home Soft Goods. Through these partnerships, she has been able to advocate for the Textiles Fundamentals eLearning course, which has been adopted by a number of companies.

Leonas is an alumna of the Wilson College of Textiles, earning her B.S. in Textile Chemistry before going on to earn her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Tennessee. She worked for Burlington Industries, was a faculty member of the University of Georgia for nearly 20 years and served as chair of the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles at Washington State University for six years before returning to the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State in 2013.

Ormond is a research assistant professor with the Textile Protection and Comfort Center (TPACC), which he joined as a graduate student in 2007. He is a Wilson College of Textiles double alumnus with a B.S. in Polymer and Color Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Fiber and Polymer Science. He is currently conducting research in two primary areas: developing new chemical, biological and particulate protective clothing for first responders and military personnel and providing analytical testing services for clients in the textile industry.

One of his primary objectives is the evaluation of whole chemical protective ensembles. He began studying the Man-In-Simulant-Test (MIST) as a graduate student, when TPACC’s MIST facility was under construction; the laboratory allows testing of protective gear by mannequins and human subjects and is the only facility of its kind on an academic campus. Ormond has been a champion of the test facility, working with numerous manufacturers, test standards organizations, protective clothing certification test labs and government organizations to promote NC State’s expertise and capabilities in the area of MIST evaluations. He serves on the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Hazardous Materials Protective Clothing and Equipment committee and is the current chair of standards and testing organization ASTM International’s Chemical Hazards subcommittee.

He has developed analysis techniques that companies have adopted for quality control testing and further research, including an extraction technique used to analyze an insecticidal fabric finish for company Vestergaard Frandsen and a method for evaluating an anti-odor finish on textile substrates for Adidas International. His ongoing work includes leading a team of six full time graduate students on a 3-year Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency-sponsored project investigating the protective hoods worn by firefighters.