Director - Product Development and Innovation

Director - Product Development and Innovation


Gaston College
201 Highway U.S. 321
Dallas, NC 28034
Phone: 704-922-6200

Job Location

Belmont, NC


Depends on Qualifications



Job Category

  • Executive/Administrative/Managerial

Application Period

Opens: Monday, November 21, 2022
Closes: Monday, March 6, 2023

Target Start Date

Monday, January 30, 2023

Expected Work Hours

Full Time

Employment Type

Full Time

Minimum Qualifications


  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution required.


  • At least ten years’ experience as a senior leader in textile manufacturing and production, brand marketing, and operations management required.
  • Proven managerial experience and knowledge of business management principles, budgeting, strategic planning, resource allocation and human resources, scheduling and familiarity with industry standard equipment.
  • Strong team building and people management skills required. 
  • Strong written, oral, and interpersonal communication skills required. 
  • Project management and strong problem-solving/analytical skills required.
  • Working knowledge and skill with various application software such as MS Excel required.
  • Valid driver’s license required. 

Physical Requirements

  • Ability to work flexible hours.
  • Some travel required.
  • Requires the ability to sit for extended periods. 
  • Must be able to lift, carry, push, and/or pull items weighing up to 50 pounds.
  • Walking, stooping, kneeling, bending, and overhead reaching required.
  • Exposure to typical elements associated with a textile manufacturing and lab environment.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution preferred.
  • Working experience in branding, quality control, testing, and R&D preferred. 
  • Experience negotiating and executing service contracts preferred. 
  • National and international marketing and sales and fundraising experience preferred.

Position Description


OPEN UNTIL FILLED - Review of applications will begin 12/2/22    

Reporting to the Executive Director – Textile Technology and Fiber Innovation Centers, leads, guides, directs, and conducts product development and innovation for the Textile Technology and Fiber Innovation Centers including the process of conceptualizing, designing, creating, producing, introducing and delivering new products and services or improving existing products and services for customers. 


  1. Collaborate with the Executive Director to lead, guide, direct, and train personnel in various materials, products, and process areas to optimize quality, efficiency, overall performance and customer satisfaction. Contribute ideas to enhance overall operations and may assist with staffing and succession planning.
  2. Lead and conduct research and development activities and strategies based on new and emerging trends and technologies for various materials, products and processes such as polymers, melt spinning, and yarn production, and assist with evaluating, selecting, and procuring new and updating existing equipment to meet and exceed quality, production, and customer needs. 
  3. Collaborate with the Executive Director, coordinators and area leaders to establish, communicate, and refine (as needed) client intake procedures.
  4. Develop, coordinate, and execute strategies to expand existing customer base and enhance customer services related to polymerization, melt spinning, injection molding, composites, texturing, wet spinning, dry spinning, nonwovens and more.
  5. Collaborate with the Executive Director, the Director of Technology and external entities to establish equipment and related needs and specifications for the Fiber Innovation Center (FIC).
  6. Responsible for maintaining regular contact with national and international clients and providing excellent customer service with regards to product development and innovative activities to establish and strengthen partnerships in service to the textile and fiber industries.
  7. Travel nationally and internationally to promote, market and create new business and expand existing business opportunities for the Textile Technology Center (TTC) and FIC with a focus on large market brands.
  8. Work collaboratively with the Executive Director of the TTC and FIC (Gaston College) and Catawba Valley Community College’s Manufacturing Solutions Center (MSC) to grow the partnership between the TTC, FIC, and MSC as part of the collaboration between the Colleges in in the establishment of the Manufacturing and Textile Innovation Network (MTIN). 
  9. In collaboration with process area leadership, assist with managing workflow to achieve or exceed quality and production goals and standards and on-time delivery in accordance with customer needs and requirements.
  10. Ensure a safe work environment with an emphasis on employee engagement, empowerment, effective and regular communications, coaching, and training and development to reinforce positive morale. Organize and maintain facility cleanliness and safety standards, and ensure maintenance and optimization of the manufacturing and testing processes including the development and implementation of preventative maintenance.
  11. Establish and monitor Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to drive process improvement to meet and exceed market demands and ensure customer satisfaction. Prepare and analyze production reports and data to optimize efficiency. 
  12. Cultivate relationships within the textile, apparel, retail, and brands and promote the services and partnership opportunities of TTC and FIC.
  13. Maintain an awareness of current trends in the textile industry while integrating brands into the short-term and long-term vision strategies to optimize the TTC and FIC’s services.
  14. Participate in professional organizations, attend state, regional, and local conferences, workshops, trade shows, and develop strategic initiatives to optimize the TTC and FIC’s mission.
  15. Participate in the negotiation, approval and assurance of legal compliance in contractual relationships for the TTC and FIC, including but not limited to, customer and vendor-related non-disclosure agreements, military contracts, service agreements, and third-party contractors. 
  16. Responsible for developing and managing an annual budget including, but not limited to, the forecast of funds needed for applicable areas of responsibility for building maintenance, consumables, equipment and staffing.  Monitor and approve expenditures, and implement adjustments-based cost performance.   
  17. May assist with developing courses and seminars as part of providing professional development and upskilling opportunities. 
  18. Maintain a high standard of professional and ethical practice in representing the College. Maintain confidentiality of relevant information. Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the field or discipline with continued adherence to professional accountability. Establish and maintain effective working relationships and partnerships. Accept responsibility for managing situations and problems. Work cooperatively with team members and colleagues and contribute positively and constructively to the achievement of team and College objectives. Adhere to the College’s policies, procedures, and other established guidelines. 
  19. Participate in divisional and college-wide meetings and activities and serve on various College committees as required. 
  20. Perform other duties as assigned, including special projects.

Job Post Contact

Maelle Keener