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Press Release: Rick Helfenbein Becomes AAFA Chair

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Arlington, VA – During the 2014 American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) Annual Executive Summit, outgoing AAFA Chairman Philip C. Williamson, Chairman, President and CEO of Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company, turned over the chairmanship of the AAFA Board of Directors to Rick Helfenbein, President of TellaS Ltd., Luen Thai USA. The officer rotation ceremony was held Thursday, March 6, 2014, at a gala dinner and reception at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.

“Philip has been an instrumental partner as AAFA carried out its mission in Washington over the past year,” said AAFA Executive Vice President Steve Lamar. “Because of his leadership, AAFA continued to amplify our political voice, expand our valuable educational programs, and grow our membership. As a fourth-generation apparel and footwear business leader, Philip brought great vision, and we appreciate his service to our organization.”

“As our new chairman, Rick will bring an unparalleled understanding of the political process and the challenges our industry faces each day in Washington,” said Lamar. “In the years I’ve worked with him, Rick has always been a passionate and tireless advocate for the U.S. apparel and footwear industry. We look forward to his significant industry expertise as we seek out new and expanded opportunities for four million U.S. industry workers.”

“The U.S. apparel and footwear industry moves at rapid pace, so it’s essential our trade association stay ahead of the immense challenges before us,” said Rick Helfenbein. “We must encourage Capitol Hill to rise above partisan gridlock and work to help us maintain our competitive edge in the global marketplace. We will continue to educate Congress on the merits of new trade legislation, and remind them of the havoc and loss of trust that ensues when they fail to renew existing legislation. I look forward to working with the expert team at AAFA to navigate these political challenges in pursuit of our results-oriented agenda for 2014.”

Rick Helfenbein is President of TellaS Ltd., Luen Thai USA. He is a strong advocate for a robust U.S. trade agenda and often lectures on the subject of supply chain and international trade at prestigious universities around the country. He participates annually in the Consortium for Operational Excellence in Retailing at Harvard University and the Wharton School of Business.

As part of the annual officer rotation, Rob DeMartini, President and CEO of New Balance Athletic Shoe Inc., moved in to the Vice Chairman position, Paula Zusi, Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer of Ann Inc., moved in to the Treasurer position, and Thomas A. Glaser, Vice President and President, Global Supply Chain, of VF Corporation, joined the board leadership as Secretary.

By a recent vote by the AAFA membership, 15 Board members were re-elected and three new Board members were elected to the Board of Directors to serve three-year terms through 2016. New to the AAFA Board of Directors are Harold L. Stone Jr., Sr. Vice President Corporate Marketing of Renfro Corporation, Jim Hardy, Chief Supply Chain Officer of Under Armour, Inc., and Kevin Toomey, President and Chief Executive Officer of Kayser-Roth Corporation.

A complete list of the AAFA Board of Directors and officers can be found on the AAFA website.

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