Morbern Blog Articles

Interview with Lou Vizoco

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How long have you worked with Morbern, in what role, and when will you retire?

I have been in the vinyl business for 44 years, 30 of which have been with Morbern. I have been a manufacturing sales representative for almost three decades, starting in the automotive and marine market, then as a salesman for Futureline Fabrics in Philadelphia. Since becoming a sales representative for Morbern, I diversified and now work with the hospitality, healthcare and auto and marine aftermarkets.

Of the markets you have served (contract, marine aftermarket, recreational vehicle, etc.) do you have a favorite?

I really enjoy the automotive and marine markets because I spent most of my career there and became friends with many of the distributors. The markets often change as automotive OEMs change their patterns and colors yearly. But those changes don’t impact the aftermarket for three to four years.

Are you a car guy, being in this business?

Maybe it’s because I travel a lot, often driving as much as seven hours to see a customer, but I really just need a car to get me where I’m going. My wife and I have a beach house on the Jersey shore, and I do enjoy the classic car shows on the Boardwalk every summer where there could be 400 to 500 corvettes on display. But I never got into collecting cars.

No boats either?

Honestly, I’m not much of a collector. I’m a golfer. I love to play golf and I enjoy the history of golf and of course, I have lots of golf paraphernalia. My favorite courses are Pine Valley, which is five minutes from my house in Clementon, NJ, and ranked the number one course in the world. My second favorite golf course is Pebble Beach.

Or do you have a favorite product line?

By far, my favorite product line is Allante. It has consistently been my number-one seller and can be used in the automotive, marine and hospitality markets. And it’s the most beautiful piece of vinyl I’ve ever seen and felt.

What will you miss about Morbern after you retire?

I don’t even have to think about that answer – it’s the people. Mark Bloomfield’s father hired me at Morbern. In all my years with the company, I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t been kind or fantastic to work with. Morbern people are intelligent, from the executives to the mill employees and sales representatives. And I’m proud to say they are all personal friends of mine.

Do you have any funny or poignant stories to tell about your time with the company?

When it’s time to work, we work and there’s no nonsense going on. But over the years we also had a lot of fun together at conventions and sales meetings. I have plenty of memories of staying out late with coworkers and having drinks, telling stories about our golf game and playing liar’s poker. We always had a lot of good, clean fun.

What is your most marked memory about visiting Cornwall?

Cornwall is a pretty small, quaint town. Over the years we have had events at the nearby escape room or casinos. It is a nice town, but I could do without the weather! Or maybe we should have meetings in Cornwall in June rather than in February or March when it’s still so cold. Two years ago, we had plans to go curling during our visit but COVID ruined those plans.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

Be yourself and make friends. It’s easy for any salesman to be professional, but you need to establish relationships with people in order to be successful. I’m proud to say that I’ve been invited to customers’ weddings and their children’s christenings. I’ve even joined them on vacations to the beach, the golf club and on fishing expeditions. I have my customers’ home phone numbers and I consider them my friends.

What are you currently reading?

I don’t read many novels anymore, but every morning I read the newspaper. I like to stay up-to-date on current events in this country and abroad, as well as entertainment and sports. I want to know what’s going on in the towns that I work in, and reading a newspaper provides me with that information. It’s also helpful when working with customers as it allows you to be educated and informed about what’s going on in their world.

Do you have any quotes that guide you in business or in life?

If at first you don’t succeed, knock on their door again.

What would people be surprised to know about you?  

 There probably isn’t much they don’t know about me! I do take things seriously. I don’t take the answer “no” very well. And while I make it a point to laugh with my customers, I do take business very seriously.

What can we find you doing when you’re not at work?

I love going on vacations. I recently took a river trip down the Mississippi River. I also enjoy golf vacations. Sports are a big part of my life, including pulling for the Philadelphia Phillies and my beloved Philadelphia Eagles, with whom I’m a season ticket holder. But my favorite thing by far is spending time with my three-year-old granddaughter.

What do you consider your greatest business accomplishment?

For 44 years, I was in sales and I was never guaranteed a paycheck. If I didn’t sell anything, I didn’t get paid. Over the years I made a nice living not being guaranteed a penny.

What habits have you purposefully developed (in business or in life) that have served you well?

I’m a good conversationalist. And because I’m a big reader and stay up-to-date on current events, I can talk to anyone about anything.

What are your plans for retirement?

I plan to spend as much time as possible with my granddaughter, and hopefully my future grandchildren! I also plan to travel with my wife and spend more time with my children.

 

 

Interview with Chris Zappala

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As sales agent for the West Coast, Chris Zappala leads the company’s presence in California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, within the contract market, marine aftermarket and the automotive aftermarket.

How long have you been with Morbern and what is your experience in coated fabrics?

I have been with Morbern since March 2018.  I began my career with coated fabrics in 2009 with Naugahyde.

You previously worked with the venerable Uniroyal brand. What were you doing for them?

I was a Senior Account Representative at Uniroyal, working in the Contract, Industrial OEM, Mass Transportation, Vac Form, and Distributor markets segments.

You have a lot of experience working in/with Central & South. America.  Can you tell us about that? How did that come about?  Do you have a particular interest in this part of the world?

When I was in college, my then-girlfriend was from Costa Rica, and I visited there on spring break and immediately fell in love with the country.  After college, I had the opportunity to move there and study medicine for two years, before pursuing a career in business. I  continued to live in Costa Rica for the next six years.  During that time, I became “encantado” with Latin culture, and had incredible experiences with friends across many different countries.

If my research is correct, you hold a degree in biochemistry.  How did you go from science to sales?

When I graduated from Tufts University, the objective was always to go to medical school, but I also worked at a big pharma/life sciences company before moving to Costa Rica. After studying medicine for 2 years, I had an opportunity to open an import/export business on my own, and my heart followed in my father’s footsteps – he was a businessman and salesman.

Why work for Morbern?  What makes them stand out?

As with any successful company, Morbern puts innovation first.  This focus on Innovation allows me to bring solutions to my customers, rather than just another roll of vinyl.  Without innovation, you become just a commodity product with no way to stand out.

How are Morbern’s vinyls superior to other products in the marketplace?

Again, I will say innovation.  Look at Allante FRee – we were one of the first on the market to make a product with no additional FR additives, which became a hot topic when California passed AB2998 requiring seating material (as an example) to comply by not having FR additives.  Morbern continues to perform at a high level in the marketplace because of their focus on innovation.

What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t be afraid of failure. Too many times, people’s fear of failing prevents them from even trying. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t take steps forward even when I was afraid of failing.

What are you currently reading?

“Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

Do you have any quotes that guide you in business or in life?

Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I am a huge country music fan! My favorite artist is Garth Brooks and in particular his song,  “Unanswered Prayers”.

What can we find you doing when you’re not at work?

My evenings are filled with dinner around the table with my wife and daughter.  We talk about our day–the highs and lows–and then I usually walk our dog.  The weekends are spent with family, oftentimes at a cousin’s house, filled with homemade Mexican food.

What do you consider your greatest business accomplishment?

Learning from all my past failures to successfully launch EMZ Contract Sales in 2018  with Morbern as my sole line.

What habits have you purposefully developed (in business or in life) that have served you well?

The answer is very simple: I remind myself to say please and thank you.  Showing gratitude can soften the hardest of hearts.

Interview with Marty Roberts, Part 2

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We return this week to our conversation with Sales Manager for Vacuform and Transportation Marty Roberts, where we learn about his hidden passions and most useful habits.

Why work for Morbern?  What makes them stand out?

Morbern offered an opportunity for personal and professional growth similar to what working with textiles in mattresses provided me. In my career in seating, I have worked with nearly every material and process of making a seat, except vinyl. Learning the ins and outs of a new product was an exciting opportunity, and the transition to Morbern also kept me in the industry I have been a part of for so many years.  In my role at Morbern, I am the supplier to several companies I have worked for in the past.  The ability to continue fostering long-established relationships in the industry is rewarding on both a personal and professional level. I knew my predecessor in this role, Rich Ostriker, for 10 years, and when he asked if I would be interested in taking over his job, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Morbern stands out because they provide a quality product with excellent customer service, and that’s a team I was excited to join.

How are Morbern’s vinyls superior to other products in the marketplace? 

Morbern’s products stand out to me in terms of innovation. Prior to joining Morbern, I had heard people say that “vinyl is vinyl.” Sure, there may be some similarities, but I have learned that each customer has a unique set of requirements to ensure their product meets the needs of their customers. Morbern has been able to develop product characteristics and features to meet those needs, whether it is for durability, feel, environmental conditions, processing, or others. The knowledge and skill of the team in Cornwall are truly fantastic and this has allowed Morbern to stand out in the marketplace in so many ways.

What are you currently reading? 

“How Not to be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking”, by Jordan Ellenberg.  (My wife wasn’t thrilled when I first showed her the title.) Jordan is a Math professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and this book really resonated with me. He shows how math can be used in everyday situations to help us understand and guide us in making decisions. It is a fun and fascinating read and I find it enlightening.

Do you have any quotes that guide you in business or in life? 

That’s simple–it’s the Golden Rule: Treat others as you wish to be treated.

What would people be surprised to know about you? 

I’m a music lover and have an eclectic taste in music. My Spotify playlists are a collection of heavy metal, jazz, classical, country and slack key guitar (Hawaiian music). I am also a bluegrass lover through and through and even play the banjo. I grew up attending bluegrass festivals with my parents and started playing banjo when I was about 10. I peaked at 12 when I had the chance to play on stage with Rhonda Vincent, an American bluegrass singer and member of the Grand Ole Opry. I still play the banjo today, but not as often as I would like.

What habits have you purposefully developed that have served you well?

I find that staying organized and following up with people are habits that have served me well over the years. Keeping up with both is hard, but making them a priority does help maintain continuity

What do you consider your greatest business accomplishment?   

My greatest business accomplishment is having maintained good working relationships and friendships in the seating industry for over 30 years. It has opened doors and opportunities for me professionally and makes my day-to-day work a lot of fun as I get to visit customers and former employers in my current role.

Interview with Marty Roberts, Part 1

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Professional Perch Master Marty Roberts talks to us about vacuforming, comfort and the appeal of the great outdoors. After 30 years in the seating business, if you sit on it, he’s worked on it.

At Morbern, you serve as Sales Manager for Vacuform and Transportation. I think we can agree that the term “vacuform” isn’t entirely self-explanatory. Can you help us understand it? 

Vacuforming is a process where a material is formed into a shape using suction. For example, to make a seat cushion like a golf cart or a lawn mower seat, the vinyl is heated and placed over a mold and a vacuum pulls it into the mold and shapes it. Next, foam is poured into the mold on top of the vinyl. Or sometimes once the vinyl cools, it is removed and stretched over a foam cushion. Vacuum forming is used in manufacturing for many applications, like forming plastic for (food or medical) packaging trays.

We know you have vast manufacturing and engineering experience. What were you doing before you joined Morbern?

I started my career working for Woodbridge Corporation, an automotive seat foam manufacturer. During college, I interned with the Woodbridge plant engineer and upon graduation, I was hired as a full-time employee.

I stayed with Woodbridge for more than thirteen years in various roles, starting as a process engineer formulating parts on the line, monitoring foam line equipment and eventually launching new programs. In 2007, I moved to Minnesota to work for Select Comfort, makers of the Sleep Number Bed. I began as a foam project engineer and moved into textiles and overall bed construction. After seven years with Select Comfort, I returned to Woodbridge to work with their non-automotive customers’ off-road vehicles and golf carts as a product manager, and then as the business development manager for their diversified group.

Four years ago, I relocated back to Wisconsin to work for Milsco Manufacturing as a project and sales manager in the heavy industry seat market.

Overall, my experience has taken me from pouring foam, to designing tools, to testing seats for performance and comfort. When it comes to seats–whether in cars, trucks, tractors, snowmobiles, motorcycles, golf carts, or even beds–I have 30 years of experience in all aspects of manufacturing and sales.

You’ve worked on many products over the years, from mattresses to sheet metal.  Which has been the most interesting and why? 

The most interesting product I have worked on so far in my career was mattresses. Working for an innovative company and being responsible for designing and developing new materials and products was a rewarding challenge. I truly enjoyed the complexity of figuring out the right combinations of materials and constructions to balance the aesthetic side of mattresses with durability and function. Comfort is so subjective. People spend one-third of their lives on mattresses, but usually spend only an hour or two selecting one that they will have for 7 to 10 years. My job was to ensure customers had the best choices available and were happy when they laid their heads down to sleep every night.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

I had an uncle who mentored me as a kid, and I grew up working most summers on his farm. He encouraged me to work hard, play hard and enjoy what I do!

What can we find you doing when you’re not at work? 

I love the outdoors. My first love is downhill skiing, but I also enjoy hiking, biking, running, snowshoeing, bird hunting…and the list goes on. I also love working with my hands, so woodworking, metal fabrication and working on cars and engines also keep me busy.

Interview with Todd Norris

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We sat down with Todd Norris, who covers Morbern sales for the Carolinas and Virginia, to talk about his experience in the industry and some impactful advice.

How long have you been in the textile industry and what were you doing before you joined Morbern?

I have been in the contract furniture industry for 32 years, which includes 18 years spent working with textiles. During that time I have represented CF Stinson and I currently represent Panaz Textiles. In 2002, I founded Legacy Furniture Group with a focus on acute and post-acute healthcare furnishings. I continued that work until selling the company to Haworth in 2011.

You have a lot of experience in the contract furnishings world. Is there something that intrigues or excites you about that part of the commercial design world?

I have always enjoyed the hunt for the next project, the next challenge. I enjoy designing and selling contract furnishings that help people find the solutions they need.

Why work for Morbern?  What makes them stand out?

I first became familiar with Morbern in 1993 when I began my sales career with territory in Virginia. Morbern was, and is, known for manufacturing durable, coated textiles with a deep product offering and custom print options–capabilities that make them a marketplace leader. The company also is one of the last North American manufacturers of PVC-coated fabrics.

How are Morbern’s vinyl offerings superior to other products in the marketplace?

Morbern offers a wide range of vinyl options. These products are superior because of the proprietary chemistry and manufacturing processes that Morbern and its people have perfected over the years.

What have been the biggest changes in the textile business since you started in the industry?

Vinyl fabrics have come a long way in terms of their texture, and today’s offerings from Morbern feel as soft as leather. The issue that vinyl fabrics often faced with off-gassing has also been greatly improved with manufacturing advances.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I was always told to “under promise and over deliver”–advice that continues to serve me well to this day.

What are you currently reading?

These days I spend a lot of time reading about 100 emails per day! But when I do have free time I enjoy reading James S. A. Corey’s science fiction novel series, The Expanse.

Do you have any quotes that guide you in business or in life?

There are a few quotes that I’ve returned to time and again throughout my career. One is, “Common sense is not so common.”

I also admire the quote from Sam Goldwyn at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” A final quote I always return to is taken from several verses throughout the Bible, “Treat others as you would have them treat you.”

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I think people would also be surprised to learn that I’m an Advanced Scuba Diver. I’ve been certified since I was 16 and I have been fortunate enough to dive in most of the Caribbean. I earned my advanced diver’s certification about 15 years ago to allow me to achieve greater depths and longer dives. Diving is a pastime my wife, two daughters and I  really enjoy.

Are you a native North Carolinian?

I am a native of North Carolinian from Hickory. There are two “H’s” in the heart of furniture in North Carolina–Hickory and High Point!

What can we find you doing when you’re not at work?

I like to spend a lot of time hiking in the North Carolina mountains with my wife and our Lab-Sharpe mix, Zayda.

What do you consider your greatest business accomplishment?

One of my greatest business accomplishments will always be founding Legacy Furniture Group. I’m also very proud of the fact that in 2010 we won a Healthcare Design of the Year Award from Healthcare Design Magazine for our Barinomics Recliner, a standard recliner that expanded to accommodate a bariatric patient.

What habits have you purposefully developed (in business or in life) that have served you well?

I always strive for excellence in everything that I do. I also always try to return anything I’ve borrowed in better condition than it was when I borrowed it.

If there is one habit that drives me every day, it’s to remember to never give up, follow up and always look up!

Interview with Jordan Feltrup-Exum

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We sat down with Jordan Feltrup-Exum, an adopted Texan and Morbern’s Director of Sales, to discuss the changes in coated fabrics and what challenges 2023 might bring. Along the way, we discovered some surprising talents.

 

How long have you been in the textile industry and what were you doing before you joined Morbern?

My background in textiles began in college and started me on a career path 13 years ago. Prior to Morbern, I held roles for designers, distributors, and manufacturers in the textile industry.

 

Is there something about the textile industry that draws you to it?  

The world of textiles is very attractive in the way that it combines attributes of engineering, technology, and design.  These three characteristics must work in harmony.

 

Why work for Morbern?

I came to Morbern to deepen my knowledge base in production, product development, and programmatic launches.

 

How are Morbern’s vinyls superior to other products in the marketplace?

Morbern offers a unique blend of qualities in its vinyl offerings, catering to the OEMs, the Tier One suppliers as well as distributors.

 

What have been the biggest changes in the textile business since you started in the industry?

Over the past 5 years, we have witnessed several significant adjustments to the industry.  These include developing products made with fewer chemicals, using renewable resources, and improvements to the durability of the cleansers used to prevent the spread of disease.

 

Do you feel like we are finally emerging from the pandemic and what does that mean for vinyl sales?

The pandemic eroded some opportunities, while others grew.  Vinyl-coated fabrics provided key elements to preserve the life cycle of upholstery in the field by offering excellent cleanability options for numerous cleansers.

 

What are the biggest challenges facing the vinyl industry in 2022/2023?

The challenges facing most people in 2022 into 2023 will be a lack of supply and ongoing inflation.

 

Which of your accomplishments with Morbern are you most proud?

My team is my accomplishment. I work with the best people.

 

Do you have any hobbies or hidden talents?

When I have free time, I rebuild vintage watches. It is a detail-oriented activity, but the payoff is in seeing a watch work again.

 

Rumor has it you have an IMDB page. Care to explain?

I do have an IMDB page! I participated in a film called “Tears of Blood” that was watched all over the world as part of film festivals. My younger brother, Brendan Feltrup-Exum, wrote and directed it in 2008, and cast me as a Greek soldier. I actually did not know I had an IMDB page until I Google searched myself one day.

 

What led you to study interior design?

Interior design offered a balance between design and function.  My passion for creating something beautiful must align with production capabilities.

 

What are you reading?

I am currently reading a book on the work of Erte’ (Romain de Tirtoff), a Russian-born French Artist.

 

Are you a native Texan?  

I have adopted Texas as much as it has adopted me, but I have lived in Florida, Kentucky, and North Carolina.  I attended college, bought my first home and married my wife – a true native Texan – in Texas.

 

What can we find you doing when you’re not at work?

A very large portion of my non-work time is spent with my growing family.  My daughter is turning two very soon and we have another baby on the way.  As I remind others, family comes first.

Morbern’s Bantam Receives Oeko-Tex Certification

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Bantam, Morbern’s lightweight, environmentally friendly healthcare market vinyl, has just received approval from Oeko-Tex, the international organization that sets standards for safe, consumer friendly textiles.

Specifically, Bantam received the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 label, one of the world’s best-known labels for textiles tested for harmful substances. The Standard 100 label ensures that every component of the product has been examined and is harmless to human health. The tests look at regulated and non-regulated substances and in many cases the requirements for the Standard 100 label go beyond national and international requirements.

Morbern joins a list of international brands that carry the Standard 100 label including Glen Raven and Unifi.

Bantam, introduced in 2020, was designed for healthcare interiors, which require high performance products that are also healthy and sustainable. Free of anti-microbial additives, phthalates and flame retardants yet CAL TB-117 compliant, Bantam shows no wear after 100,000 double rubs and is cold crack resistant to -25 F. It can handle stains like cola, coffee and ketchup, and easily cleans with soap and water.

Bantam’s environmentally friendly attributes means it falls under the MorGreen label, Morbern’s initiative to create products that are sustainable, responsible and leave as little environmental impact as possible.

Delve Magazine Highlights Morbern’s Clean Fabrics

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Thinking back to January 2020, who could have predicted that hand sanitizer would be one of the hottest selling products of the year, or that extreme cleanliness would become a critical determinant in the operability of restaurants, hotels, schools and offices? The impact of COVID-19 on these businesses is certainly painful to measure. But what did it teach us about our work going forward? Is there a new preference for design and materials?  At least two elements stand out: the need for spacing and the importance of cleanable materials. Let’s take a look at cleanable materials.

One year ago, the COVID-ravaged world needed something that could ensure a clean and safe environment. Not just standard cleanliness, but clinical cleanliness. The best surfaces, both soft (think upholstery) and hard (think countertops), for impeccable hygiene are solid, unbroken, and impermeable. They serve as both a barrier between the product and user, and a flat surface that can’t hide dirt and germs.

Coated fabrics like PVC (vinyl) and PU meet those needs. They serve as an excellent barrier that’s cost effective, safe, cleanable and impermeable. Although the ability to withstand cleaners depends on the fabric’s coating, many vinyls and some PUs are bleach-cleanable.

This used to be an asset only desired by the healthcare market, but with the onset of COVID-19, many commercial interiors markets found themselves in need of highly cleanable surfaces that would withstand daily disinfection routines.

With solid surfaces like vinyl, the buck stops here. Or at least the germs do. A solid surface will always outperform a woven textile when it comes to cleanliness and durability. And there is no better upholstery choice when it comes to cleanliness. Fabrics succumb to harsh cleaners and harbor bacteria and viruses within its woven surfaces. Leathers are mostly impermeable but can’t handle cleaners that eliminate bacteria and viruses. PUs and PVCs are also safe, stable and PVC is inherently flame retardant and resistant. What’s more topcoats for PVC impart critical performance properties. Depending on the type of coating, they can enhance abrasion and stain resistance, surface cleanability and provide UV resistance. They can also improve mold and mildew resistance.

So why do solid surfaces like PVC and PU get a bad rap? The main challenge is user education. Lots of times we champion a seemingly superior product that’s only good until we find out the rest of the story. Often times it is the product whose story we hear the most – something that’s determined by the size of a corporation’s marketing budget, not the quality of the product. The story we hear becomes the story we tell.

In the case of PVC and PU, fabric companies have done an excellent job telling their story, and touting the importance of using a natural material that can be recycled. But what’s missing is in their story are the cleanability, durability and lifespan chapters.

Let’s look at a case study in the mass transit market. In July of 2018, The Los Angeles Times reported that the Los Angeles County Metro system switched their seating from fabric to vinyl. Citing years of consumer complaints, exorbitant dry-cleaning bills and millions of dollars spent on fabric replacement, the L.A. Metro decided to change its subway seating from fabric to vinyl because vinyl is non-absorbent, cheaper to install and easier to keep clean.

So, what were passengers and staff complaining about? Everything from blood and human waste to bed bugs and lice –not to mention spilled food and beverages— was found in the fabric seats. One of the executives even called fabric a “housing development for germs.”

Wasn’t the fabric seating cleanable?  Yes, but it often required specialty cleaning, not just a normal wipe down by Metro staff. And some of the fabric seating was damaged beyond repair, meaning the Metro system spent lots of money replacing fabric seats. If a product is replaced often, it’s not durable. And it’s not durable it’s not sustainable. Period.

It’s not that vinyl is good and fabric is bad, or vice versa. There’s a time and a use best fitted to each material. What’s more, you can’t judge the pros and cons of a product simply based on its ingredients. You must go beyond the product to evaluate the manufacturer and process. What do they do to lessen environmental impact? Do they champion waste reduction in the manufacturing process? Have they reduced emissions? Are they held to certain standards and yearly testing by an environmentally conscious organization?

Vinyl companies like Morbern have long looked for ways to reduce environmental impact. It was among the first manufacturers of coated fabrics to completely eliminate heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. It ensures that the water flowing out at the end of the manufacturing process is clean enough to drink. And it installed a new coater to better control emissions and improve the air quality of its surrounding community.

When it comes down to it, nothing does the job like vinyl. Vinyl lasts twice as long as fabric does, which often ends up in landfills because of the need to replace fabric often. And it is the cleanest upholstery option available in today’s market. Vinyl’s durability, impermeability and affordability make it the best choice for commercial interior upholstery.

Coming Clean About Vinyl

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In a post-COVID world, being clean is one of the most critical components of upholstery, particularly in commercial settings. Whether in a hotel, on a plane or in a healthcare facility, being able to properly clean and disinfect furnishings is more important than ever.

In most upholstery, fabric applications will not stand up to the rigors of cleaning required to remove viruses and bacteria. Enter vinyl.

The best surfaces for proper hygiene are solid, unbroken and impermeable, like vinyl. They serve as both a barrier between the product and user, as well as a flat surface that cant hide dirt and germs or let liquids permeate. A solid surface will always outperform a woven textile when it comes to cleanliness and durability.

And while leathers are mostly impermeable, they can’t handle the rigors of cleaners that eliminate bacteria and viruses. But vinyl can offer the style of leather, along with its impermeable qualities, with an added dose of durability that allows it to remain undisturbed by harsh cleaning products.

Topcoats are important, too. Vinyl topcoats for PVC impart critical performance properties. A coating can enhance abrasion and stain resistance, surface cleanability and provide UV resistance. They can also improve mold and mildew resistance.

But being “clean” isn’t just about maintenance techniques. That word also refers to a product’s sustainability and environmental impact, a factor that also has increased in importance since the pandemic.

Inherently, vinyl is a more sustainable product than most fabrics, because vinyl lasts twice as long as fabric does in the field. Meaning those fabrics often end up in landfills because of the need to replace them more often. And Morberns dedicated second-quality team redirects material to other markets and applications so that it is kept out of landfill sites.

Beyond that, Morbern has taken additional steps to reduce its carbon footprint and environmental impact.

Unlike other polymers such as PU, 50% of PVC (vinyl) is made up of common salt – this makes it less reliant on fossil fuel and easily recyclable. Large quantities of vinyl are re-melted into many useful products and, in contrast to silicone, numerous vinyl-recycling facilities can be found all over the world.

At the plant, Morbern uses 99% renewable hydroelectric power, and its closed-loop cooling circuits installed in 2016 reduced the company’s water consumption by more than 75%. And the water that flows out of the plant at the end of the manufacturing process is clean enough to drink.

To improve air quality, Morbern uses low-VOC (volatile organic compounds), water-based top coat finishes rather than solvent formulations. And the company installed a new coater to better control emissions and improve the air quality of its surrounding community.

Being clean—both physically and environmentally—means more than ever. And Morbern continues to innovate and improve both the cleanability of their products and the clean processes to make them.

Get to know Morbern CEO Mark Bloomfield

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For Morbern CEO Mark Bloomfield, the family business has been an integral part of his life, even prior to his 30 years of working for the company. And while many know him for his leadership of the business, there’s much more to Bloomfield outside the office.

We recently chatted with him about his personal philosophies on business and life, as well as what drives him outside the work arena.

What is your leadership philosophy, and what are the most important attributes of leaders today?

I believe that a strong leaders main role is to help his/her staff be successful. This is done by allowing an appropriate autonomy for their departments. I also strive to address issues without assigning blame, and just attack the problem itself. By the nature of my role, I usually only see the serious problems, and I am there to help address these most difficult problems in the most effective manner.

Who has been the greatest mentor in your life?

My father has taught me most of what I know about business. I am one of the luckiest executives, as I was on an executive training path starting when I was 16 years old (even though I didn’t realize it at the time).

Do you have any favorite quotes?

Two of my favorite business quotes are:

Put the right person in the right job and watch them go.”   —Unknown

In god we trust. All others bring data”  —W. Edwards Demming

What would you put on a billboard?

“Show me the data.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

I bike, downhill ski and enjoy reading. I am a bit of a tech geek, and I listen to podcasts. Pre-COVID, I enjoyed traveling, but now staycations are the name of the game.

You have several dogs—what it is about canines that you connect with?

I had three, but one just passed away. Dogs are the best. Every time your dog sees you, they react like they havent seen you in years, even if you just ran to the corner store. That kind of unconditional love – who couldn’t love that?

If you weren’t with Morbern, where would we find you?

If I had the talent? Starting left defense for the Montreal Canadiens. I love hockey. Most of the people I interact with already know I am a diehard Canadiens fan.

With the talent I do have, I would find a similar job. I truly enjoy manufacturing—working with smart people, creating physical products from ideas. In almost any commercial site, I am always looking at the seating or upholstery to see if it was made by Morbern. Once I saw a Super Bowl commercial on TV with Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander, sitting on a seat made from material I was personally involved in developing. That was cool.