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Our People

Meet Young Alumnus Rob Smith ’03

Rob Smith

By Tim Creedon

Rob Smith


B.S. textile chemistry, 2003

Job Title

Head of Sourcing at UpWest


Charlotte, NC


From Charlotte, NC, meet Rob Smith, an alumnus from the Wilson College of Textiles. As a member of the AATCC, the African American Textile Society, and the Phi Psi Textile Fraternity on campus, Rob built a strong base to expand from after college. As Head of Sourcing at UpWest, he has met his goal of working in retail and fashion at the business end. 

Please describe your current volunteer and leadership experience

Founder/Chairman of Breaking Bread: Let’s Talk Nonprofit

Why did you choose NC State/Wilson College of Textiles?

I aspired to work in retail/fashion for a top brand in product development. The Wilson College of Textiles was one of the best programs in that field.  

What are some of your fondest memories of being at NC State/Wilson College of Textiles?

Getting to build the foundation of friendships that have now lasted over 20 years.

Rob Smith Sneakerheads Panel

Who influenced you most during your time at the Wilson College of Textiles?

Dr. Harold Freeman

How did your education at the Wilson College of Textiles prepare you for what you are doing today?

In so many ways the college really helped establish a solid foundation for me to build on as I started my career.  I left the college empowered to really take ownership of where I wanted to go!

Are there things that you know now that you wished you had known as a student that we can share with our current and future students?

Everyone says it, but cherish the time because it goes by so fast. 

In what ways are you currently involved with the Wilson College of Textiles/NC State?

I still try to find opportunities to stay connected with current professors that help me identify ways in which I can support the college. 

Describe your career path.

I have built my career in retail/fashion first in a technical capacity and have now transitioned into more of a business/strategic role.