Meet the Smart Fabrics Summit 2023 Speakers! 

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Dhruv Agarwal

Vice President-Sustainability, Innovation, Development, Kontoor Brands (Wrangler & HD Lee)
Dhruv is a versatile leader with more than 20 years of experience in textiles and apparel; industry. In his current role as Vice President – Global Sustainability, Innovation, Development at Kontoor Brands (Lee and Wrangler), his primary focus is building and implementing the sustainability strategy, sustainable innovations, and developments for denim and lifestyle apparel.

He was recognized as a global influencer in the denim industry in the year 2021 by Rivet Magazine. He has been championing decarbonization, freshwater and chemical reduction, circularity, etc. in the complete value chain. He is also promoting regenerative agricultural practices in cotton, hemp, and other natural fibers for the textile and denim industry.

He has versatile experience including sustainable innovations, product development, process development, process engineering and optimization, enterprise-wide quality, enterprise & process excellence, and "end-to-end" project ownership. He has led global projects driving strategic innovations and transforming high-performance product lines. He has experience in various industries including – Fibers and Polymers, Textiles, Fashion & Apparel, Denim, Technical &Industrial Textiles, Paper Industry, Aerospace, and Consulting. He holds multiple patents and patent applications. Many of his innovations have been awarded including Fast Company Annual Innovations.
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Jack Hicks

Patent Attorney and Partner, Womble Bond Dickinson LLP
Jack Hicks practices patent, trademark and copyright law with the international law firm of Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP. He has worked with clients in a broad range of industries and technologies, helping manage IP matters, including patent, trademark and copyright filing strategies as well as licensing and enforcement. A particular active area of his practice involves crafting protection for textile industry clients. He has worked with textile sector clients on diverse materials and applications from awnings to geosynthetics, from industrial fabrics for EV batteries to active apparel, from carbon nanotubes for aircraft engine nacelles to automobile headliners, from residential outdoor furniture materials to printable synthetics, and more. Jack’s textile sector clients include large international manufacturers and some of the apparel industry’s most recognizable brands. In 2022, he was interviewed for a video documentary on the history of innovation and IP in denim manufacturing. Prior to becoming an attorney, Jack applied his advanced degrees in Mechanical Engineering as a design engineer on airborne radar and optics applications for a major aerospace company.
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Dr. Braden Li

Materials Research Engineer, Air Force Life Cycle Management Center & Air Force Research Laboratory
Braden Li received his B.Sc degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida (2017) and his Ph.D. in Fiber and Polymer Science from the Wilson College of Textiles at North Carolina State University. He is currently a SMART scholar and federal employee with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). His role focuses on collaborative acquisition and development efforts towards next-generation electronic textile technologies with the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
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Dr. Radhakrishnaiah Parachuru

Principal Research Scientist, Georgia Institute of Technology, MSE
Dr. Radhakrishnaiah Parachuru possess a BS, MS and PhD degree in textile engineering and an MS degree in Decision Sciences/Applied Statistics. Dr. Radhakrishnaiah Parachuru is a multidisciplinary scientist with more than 35 years of teaching, research and industrial experience in polymer, fiber, textile, apparel, carpet and other related disciplines. Dr. Parachuru taught almost all the dry-manufacturing courses offered to textile engineers at Georgia Tech. Serving as the coordinator of industry and public support activities at Georgia Tech, Dr. Parachuru has completed more than 220 applied research projects for the benefit of all segments of the textile & allied industries.

Dr. Parachuru has also conducted basic research in the area of textile manufacturing and served as the main adviser of several graduate students who completed MS and PhD degrees. Dr. Parachuru has been an active member of Fiber Society, AATCC, ASTM and TQCA and continues to play a leadership role in several AATCC technical committees, including chairman of the AATCC committee on statistics (since 2005).
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Glenn Saunders

Senior Research Engineer, Manufacturing Innovation Center (MIC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Glenn Saunders is a Senior Research Engineer with the Manufacturing Innovation Center (MIC) at Rensselaer where he has been conducting industrially relevant, applied research for 24 years, specializing in robotics, manufacturing processes and new product development. Prior to that, he spent 15 years in industry, where he worked in machine tools, automation systems, robotics, manufacturing and machine design. He has an M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering and is a licensed Professional Engineer. He is President and founder of the Upstate New York Laboratory Robotics Interest Group, a 501(c)(3) non-profit industry advocacy organization.