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Honors and Awards

Startup Founder and Textile Leader Shane O’Toole ’15 Pays Forward His Alma Mater’s Support as a Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council New Member

From a Wolfpack student-athlete to a sustainability leader in the textile industry, Shane O’Toole ’15 is paying forward his love for the Wilson College of Textiles by joining the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council.

Shane O'Toole

Shane O’Toole, a Pennsylvania native, was introduced to NC State University while being recruited to play football for the Wolfpack. 

He was surprised when his love for athletics grew even more — in combination with a passion for sustainability — during his time as a student at the Wilson College of Textiles. It was there that he found his family. 

“I was fortunate to be guided into the program by some incredible academic advisors based on my professional passions,” he says. “The Wilson College of Textiles became home for me.” 

Since earning his bachelor’s degree in polymer and color chemistry in 2015, O’Toole has worked in various roles within the textile industry, including stops at Under Armour, On Running, Tenere, Carhartt and TegraGlobal. In 2020, he founded Red Wolf Innovations, an innovative material and color-sourcing consulting firm. In addition to his role as the owner of his startup, O’Toole is the senior manager of product development at Origin Materials.

The thread that connected O’Toole to the Wilson College of Textiles wasn’t cut at graduation — even with his busy schedule. He previously served as the college’s young alumni representative in Charlotte, and he continues to happily connect recent graduates and prospective industry partners to his alma mater.

In 2022, O’Toole was honored with the 2022 Distinguished Young Alumni Award for his dedication to the Wilson College and extraordinary textile industry achievements. 

This fall, he joined the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council as one of its newest members. This volunteer position will allow him to provide leadership and guidance to Dean David Hinks and the North Carolina Textile Foundation, specifically regarding alumni engagement and fundraising. 

Learn more about O’Toole’s career journey by reading his Q&A below.

Degree B.S. Polymer and Color Chemistry, 2015
Job Title Senior Manager of Product Development, Origin Materials and Founder, Red Wolf Innovations
Current City Charlotte, North Carolina
Hometown Downingtown, Pennsylvania

What is your fondest memory of being at NC State and the Wilson College of Textiles?

I have so many fantastic memories of bonding with my classmates, and we’re all still close to this day. I also cherish my amazing mentors and interactions with my professors who supported me by going above and beyond what I could have expected.

Who influenced you most during your time at the Wilson College of Textiles? And why or how?

I had some extremely influential professors and advisors. Dean David Hinks was my advisor and helped spark an intense passion for sustainability in me. Associate Professor Nelson Vinueza helped to push me to think deeply and to push through obstacles. Distinguished Professor Renzo Shamey opened my eyes to the creativity of science and psychology, and he always gave me the help I needed. Professor Emeritus Samuel Hudson influenced me to think outside the box and explore how materials can be developed for incredible end uses.

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

My education gave me critical tools from the best in the industry who are leaders in every sense of the word. With a strong foundation in chemistry, polymers, dye processing and textile engineering, my education from the Wilson College of Textiles allowed me to quickly establish myself in leadership positions at large companies.

What activities were you involved in as an NC State student and how did they impact your experience?

I was involved in Wolfpack Athletics through football and baseball. It was difficult balancing athletics with a highly technical and demanding degree. If it wasn’t for such a unique and supportive relationship that the Wilson College of Textiles offers, I don’t believe I would have obtained the tools and lessons that have made me successful today. 

Learning about the same technologies I was training and playing in as an athlete set me up for success to innovate within the textile industry and at major athletic apparel and footwear brands. 

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

I have served as a regional representative for Charlotte, North Carolina, and participated in numerous talks on subjects for the college to industry, students and prospective students. Also, I was fortunate enough to be a reader and interview candidates for the Centennial Scholarship Program

Today, I’m a proud member of the Dean’s Young Alumni Leadership Council

To connect with O’Toole on LinkedIn, you can view his profile here.