Meet The Team

NWTexnet has an exciting portfolio of European research projects and are recognised as the only UK Technical Textile Cluster on the European Cluster Platform. We help our member companies source business solutions and provide personal development for their staff. Based in Bolton in the North West of England project partners include Bentley Motors, Sigmatex and Panaz in the UK. Our projects include developing new cooling systems for fire fighters, lightweight components for the automotive and aerospace industry.

More importantly we use our research to help inform and design our training programmes. Strategic partnerships with the Textile Institute Nottingham, Trent University, University of Bolton and the University of Galway have all helped to ensure that our material is current and relevant. We helped design and develop the new Higher Level 4 Apprenticeship with specific units for Product Development and Technical in partnership with Skillset. Our recent work with Fashion Enter has taken us into the Retail sector.

Prof Richard Horrocks is one of the founder members of NWtexnet since 1999 and has chaired the Board since 2005.

Prof Richard Horrocks graduated in chemistry from Oxford in 1965 and gained his PhD from the University of East Anglia in 1967. He was awarded Fellowship of the Textile Institute in 1986 and Honorary Life Membership for exceptional leadership as Chairman of Council in 2006.

After 3 years with ICI fibres in Pontypool he joined the University of Bolton in 1972. He commenced research into the burning behaviour and flame retarding of textiles in the mid-1970s. The research at Bolton now covers all materials and he continues to work within the Institute for Materials Research and Innovation. His main research interests are industrial textiles and heat resistant and flame retardant textiles within the context of technical textiles.

To date he has published over 180 refereed papers in recognised journals, 5 patents and 6 edited texts.

He works closely with the UK textile and related industry, is a founder member of the Northwest cluster organisation.

Steve is a textile technologist with over 30 years experience in the industry. He joined the medical textiles division of Smith and Nephew as a management trainee after leaving school. He studied at Blackburn and Burnley colleges to ATI level.

Steve became the quality manager with Smith and Nephew and went on to work in similar roles for William Baird and Drummond. He left Drummond in 1997 to join Coats Viyella as senior fabric technologist in their menswear division. During his time at Coats Viyella he worked for a year in Morocco, setting up testing laboratories and fabric technology systems in Meknes and Rabat.

He then moved to Business Link North Manchester, with whom he worked for 5 years. After a period with the sector skills council Skillfast-UK he joined NWtexnet in 2006. He has recently been appointed on to the Euratex expert’s panel for technical.

Steve was awarded CText FTI in 2010.

Mike is a founder member of NWTexnet and became one of our first directors when we were incorporated in 2001.

Mike has over 30 years experience in the weft knitting industry. Early work included the development of new yarns and production technology working with DuPont and ICI. After a number of years running the making up, packaging and finishing operations at Pretty Polly, (European brand leader in hosiery), he moved on to the human resource division of Sara Lee and set up the senior management development programmes for the top 40 business managers and directors.

When he left Sara Lee in 1996 he was recruited by industry leaders to set up the first National Training Organisation (NTO) for textiles and as Chief Executive he lobbied the government to invest money more into the sector. He was successful at generating over £2.6m worth of support for industry and went on to form the first trailblazer Sector Skills Council with the clothing NTO.

He is MD of an HR company and ran the Women in Work Initiative for Skillfast-UK. He has been recognised by No 10 Downing Street for his work on European Exchange programmes for managers and apprentices and is currently project manager for our highly successful leading edge training programme, Advanced Skills for Advanced Materials.

Mike was awarded CText FTI in 2011.

A Freeman of the City of London, Tony Attard sits on the Board of NWT, Creative Lancashire and the General Assembly of Manchester University and is a past IoD Lancashire Director of the Year. He is currently the BCFA spokesman on design and export matters, and was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen in the 2010 New Year’s honours.

Tony is the founder and Group Chief Executive of Lancashire-based Panaz Limited, where he has spearheaded the design and technical advancement of flame retardant fabrics for the worldwide hospitality, leisure, cruise ship and healthcare sectors. Formed in 1986, the company today exports to 46 countries, operating worldwide through subsidiary companies in Europe and the USA and a global network of agents.

Megan is a doctoral researcher in the department of management at the University of Birmingham Business School. Her research interests are within the discipline of economic geography and her research is exploring the evolution, innovation and competitiveness of UK textile manufacturers. Her research has involved working closely with the UK textile industry and interviewing in depth over forty manufacturing firms.

Megan believes collaboration is important between academics and non-academic representatives. During her PhD Megan has organised and delivered two national research conferences, which have attempted to connect academic research with the wider community it serves to achieve impact.

To engage and inform her research at the beginning of the PhD, Megan undertook a three-month industry placement with NWtexnet (April to July 2012). During her placement, Megan had the opportunity to understand the significant role NWtexnet plays in driving business transformation through current and future developments in innovative service and training provision.

Megan has continued to be part of the NWtexnet team as a Project Assistant. This has involved assisting NWtexnet in the development and operation of European Projects. Megan has been closely involved in the 2BFUNTEX project, which aims to boost industrial uptake of functional textile innovations from research institutions.

Roger Warburton was born in Cardiff but lost the Welsh accent some time ago! Roger studied astrophysics Sussex University and then won a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania (one of the ‘Ivy League’ universities).  He told his family and friends that he would be back permanently from America when he stopped having fun.

After university, Roger worked for Raytheon as a Computer Systems manager in its Advanced Technology section. He moved on from Raytheon to become vice president of Jaycor’s Software Technology division, during which time he directed a study of potential cheating methods for the chemical weapons convention based in Geneva.

The obvious next career move after this was to go and work in textiles, so he joined the performance wear business Griffin Manufacturing, originally on a consultancy basis and later as a full time director.

His work at Griffin nearly came to an abrupt end when its major customer announced it was transferring its orders to a factory in Honduras. Roger and his team countered this threat by developing a strategy of ‘balanced sourcing’.

During his time at Griffin, he also worked as team leader on several United States government funded ‘national textile center’ projects related to a balanced sourcing and putting forward the arguments in favour of the competitiveness of domestic manufacturing. The executive summary of one of these projects begins ‘the loss of manufacturing jobs is not inevitable – there are cost effective survival strategies for manufacturers in high wage countries’.

Some of his work at Griffin involved working with customers to ensure new products were delivered on time and within budget, hence his expertise in the area of new product development.

Roger joined Boston University as associate professor in the administrative sciences department in 2005, and, in addition to his work in Boston, has been working with NWtexnet on several projects related to new product development and balanced sourcing since 2008.