Leadership Excellence: Paul O’Day


American Fiber Manufacturers Association (AFMA) President Paul T. O’Day recently passed away. Fiercely dedicated to the industry he loved, Paul led AFMA from 1984 to 2017 with a sophisticated wit and a powerful intellect. He was a true gentleman, always gracious and emphatically willing to help others; and his dedication and extraordinary contribution to the industry has been recognized by industry leaders from the United States and across the globe.

“Paul was not only a great man, but he was also a friend and confidant to so many of us in the industry,” said Mark J. Ruday, AFMA chairman, and senior vice president, Fibers, DAK Americas LLC.

“Paul was a pillar of the textile trade community and provided unfailingly wise counsel to U.S. policymakers for many years,” said Bill Jackson, assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Textiles, Office of the United States Trade Representative. “He was also an uncommonly kind man who brightened any gathering with his good humor and deep well of stories. He will be greatly missed.”

“Paul gave a lifetime of service to manufacturing  and particularly the textile industry,” saidJay Timmons, president and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers. “Paul left a lasting footprint on the business community, his state and his country.”

“Famously courteous and humble, Paul won heated policy debates through the power of his extraordinary intellect, his expansive institutional knowledge and his total command of the subject matter at hand,” said Auggie Tantillo, president & CEO, National Council of Textile Organizations. “Completely secure in his role and the critical contribution he made to every project, Paul was always quick to defer credit and to shower praise on his colleagues.”

“Paul was highly regarded by all for his knowledge, hard work and professionalism,” said Tom Dobbins, president, American Composites Manufacturers Association. “Personally, he brought joy to everyone who knew him. A great light has gone out of the world and I will always feel that loss.”

“When I was new to the textile industry, Paul welcomed me,” said Jenn Stowe, vice president, Government Relations, The Carpet and Rug Institute. “He was a great source of industry history and knowledge. He was a resource and a role model. He will be sorely missed.”

The AFMA staff would like to thank Paul for his guidance and wisdom, for his strength and tenacity and for the honor and privilege of his leadership and friendship. Paul inspired us all and will be fondly remembered always.

— The AFMA Staff

July/August 2017