As Bloomsburg Carpet’s Executive Vice President, Marty Bowman is responsible for overseeing all daily operations at the Bloomsburg mill including production, quality control, scheduling and administrative duties, as well as serving in the role of Chief Financial Officer for the company. He joined the Bloomsburg team in 1979 as the Financial Controller and became a Vice President in 1983. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall College, and is a very active member of the local business community including the Columbia Alliance for Economic Growth and the Bloomsburg Chamber of Commerce. In his free time you might find Marty enjoying a round of golf, volunteering for his church or going for a run. We had a chat with Marty to talk to him about Bloomsburg Carpet, the daily operations, the carpeting and design industry and more.
1)When you became VP in 1983, tell us what Bloomsburg Carpet was like then – name one to two things that are different about the company now. And what changes do you see in your industry?
Marty: When I became VP in 1983 our company was much smaller than it is today. We employed about 100 people then and today we employ about 225. Another big change is technology. We used to have to design carpets by actually having our designers paint the design on a check paper. Today all of the designing is done by sophisticated computer programs. Also the jacquard overhead that creates the pattern in woven carpets is now electronic whereas then it was all done with paper cards that had holes punched in them to create the pattern.
With regard to the floor covering industry, since 1983 there has been a trend towards more hardwood flooring versus carpet. Fortunately that has not severely impacted us because of our niche position in the industry and also the unique products that we have. Also the impact of foreign competition particularly from Asia and in axminster carpeting has been a substantial change. Finally the severe housing crisis in 2008 has been hard felt in the carpet industry. But again we have survived better than most because of our unique position in the industry.
2) You are responsible for overseeing all daily operations at the Bloomsburg mill including production, quality control, scheduling and administrative duties, as well as serving in the role of Chief Financial Officer for the company. Give us an example of what you do when you are in the mill overseeing production, or quality control.
Marty: I am fortunate to have a very good team working with me at the mill. Most of the time these individuals handle the day to day operations. I will get involved when there are problems or at the start of a large contract job. In the case of a large job we will run a trial first of about 30 feet and then we will all inspect the carpet to see how it looks and if it is within our specifications before we go into full scale production. If there is a quality problem, I along with others will inspect the carpet to see if it can be repaired or if it would need to be made over. As far as overall production is concerned we have regular meetings to both schedule our jobs and also to try and maximize our production. If production falls off I will get involved to determine the cause whether it be machinery related or personnel related and try and come up with a solution. Overall, with our reputation as a quality mill, the quality of our products is the main focus of my efforts.
3) Is there a client or a type of job that you would like to see Bloomsburg Carpet win? If so, what is it and why?
Marty: It is nice of course to have the prestigious jobs such as the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, Radio City and Carnegie Hall to name a few. Being a golfer, I am proud that we have done Pine Valley, Oakmont and Winged Foot. But really any job that we can do and do well and make a reasonable profit for the company is fine with me.
All Bloomsburg Carpet products are woven with pride in the U.S.A. Our state-of-the-art mill is located in the picturesque Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania, where the art of weaving dates back to the 1800s. As a result, you can expect unmatched quality control. All of our products are made with the highest grade materials and unmatched attention to detail. Our employees, many of them third generation Bloomsburg weavers, possess exceptional skill and passion for their work. We see weaving as an art form and are committed to instilling our passion and expertise into everything we create.