NC Textile Foundation Appoints Brendan Sullivan as the Next Board President
With more than 25 years of leadership experience in the textile and apparel industry, Brendan Sullivan was the clear choice for the North Carolina Textile Foundation’s next board president.
As the fundraising arm of the Wilson College of Textiles at NC State, the North Carolina Textile Foundation (NCTF) makes the college’s innovative and industry-leading work possible. Since its inception in 1942, the NCTF has raised nearly $70 million in funding to provide students with life-changing scholarships, recruit and retain world-class faculty, conduct groundbreaking research and maintain state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for education.
The NCTF board of directors is composed of 16 distinguished textile leaders. They work closely with the dean of the college to solicit individual, corporate and foundation donations that will enhance the Wilson College’s resources and educational mission.
I’m very honored to serve the North Carolina Textile Foundation in this new capacity,” Sullivan says. “I look forward to working alongside the dean, the foundation’s team and other industry leaders in support of this dynamic college while also following in the footsteps of former board presidents, such as Ellen Rohde, Charles Heilig and, most recently, Rick Elmore.”
– Brendan Sullivan
In addition to his seven years of service on the NCTF board of directors, where he held roles as treasurer and chair of the finance committee, Sullivan will bring his experience as an executive within the VF Corporation — a global leader in branded lifestyle apparel, footwear and accessories — to his new appointment.
“The foundation’s board of directors plays a significant role in ensuring that our college can extend extraordinary opportunities for growth and development to our students, faculty, researchers and staff,” David Hinks, dean of the Wilson College of Textiles, says. “As an esteemed thought leader and partner of our college, Brendan will bring his expertise in the textile field and his extensive portfolio of industry partners to this position.”
Sullivan first joined the VF Corporation in 2007 as vice president of retail services after leading retail marketing and operations for Express, Limited Brands and the Borders Group. In 2014, his role at VF expanded to vice president of direct-to-consumer operations. He was promoted three years later to the president of VF Sportwear, where he led the performance improvement and management of the NAUTICA brand. In 2020, Sullivan retired after 13 years with the organization.
It was at VF where Sullivan was first introduced to the Wilson College of Textiles and the NCTF through his colleague, friend and fellow foundation board member, Ellen Rohde. While neither graduated from the Wilson College of Textiles, both Rohde and Sullivan credit the college for expanding their understanding of the many ways in which the textile industry impacts our society.
If I could describe the Wilson College of Textiles in one word, it would be ‘innovative.’ It has an eye on the past while also keeping a keen focus on the future. I’m impressed by the college’s continuous dedication to challenging students and faculty to think about what’s next and how they can be a significant part of that innovation.”
– Brendan Sullivan
“Dean Hinks has such a great vision, and he’s passionate about positioning the college to adapt and be flexible as it remains at the forefront of discovery within our industry.”
In his new role, Sullivan has developed three main goals for the foundation board as they work alongside the NCTF and Dean Hinks:
- To continue supporting the dean’s strategic vision: As the only college in the United States devoted entirely to textiles, the Wilson College is uniquely positioned to fuel the success of this industry within the state, the nation and around the world. The dean’s strategic plan outlines opportunities to do just that.
- To engage with students: Mentorship and volunteer opportunities will bring foundation board members face-to-face with the next generation of textile leaders. They also look forward to connecting students directly to the industry through internships.
- To provide even more life-changing scholarships: By expanding the college’s Centennial Scholarship and Textile Pioneer Scholarship programs, the foundation and its board will empower students to focus on changing the world instead of having to worry about student loan debt.
“Since his start on the board in 2015, Brendan has been a vital collaborator with the dean and our North Carolina Textile Foundation staff. He shares our foundation’s vision of fostering lifelong relationships and inspiring philanthropic investment in our college,” Michael Ward, executive director of the NCTF, says. “Brendan’s dedication to the college also extends to the personal generosity shown by his family.”
As members of the Chancellor’s Circle at NC State, Sullivan and his wife Kristine provide annual support to the college’s Dean’s Textiles Innovation Fund and the enhancement fund for the Textile Engineering, Chemistry and Science department.
“You don’t have to be a graduate of the Wilson College to get involved,” Sullivan says. “When you give a gift to the college, you are able to see the fruits of your labor firsthand. Whether that’s a scholarship recipient who lands their first job or a young person who wouldn’t have had the opportunity to come to NC State without your help. There are so many powerful stories that are a result of donations and various forms of support.”
Sullivan was sworn in as board president on Nov. 19 for his two-year term, and he succeeds Rick Elmore ’92, who served as president since 2020.
Other board leadership changes include naming Nancy Webster ’75 as vice president of the foundation board, Ty Huggins ’94 as treasurer and Cres Calabrese ’89 as secretary. The NCTF also named three new members to the board of directors: alumni and textile leaders Johnny Champman ’85 and Prashant Prabhu ’77, ’79 and industry partner Mindy Oakley.