WASHINGTON — After just under one year on the job, Parks D. Shackelford has resigned as president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute to take another job to lobby for a U.S. sugar company.
“I had planned to stay longer,” Shackelford said Thursday of his brief tenure at the textile association. “I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse,” he said of his new employer, Florida Crystals Corp., one of the largest U.S. sugar producers and owned by the Fanjul family.
Shackelford will continue to work at ATMI through the summer as the association searches for a replacement.
By the time Shackelford took the helm of a financially ailing ATMI, it had already more than halved its membership from a peak of about 150 companies in 1991. Staff had also been cut by one-third, mirroring the industry’s financial struggle, which persists today.
In his year on the job, Shackelford cut the ATMI staff by 50 percent to now employ nine people. He said ATMI is no longer operating in the red, but he declined to give details of the fiscal turnaround. ATMI now has 70 members, including two companies, National Textiles and R.L. Stowe Mills, which returned as members under Shackelford’s watch.
In the last year, ATMI has stepped up its lobbying efforts and reached out to form alliances within the industry. On Wednesday, ATMI was part of a coalition of yarn, fiber, fabric and cotton associations to announce a group effort to lobby the Bush administration to impose restrictions on low-cost Chinese textiles and apparel imports they claim are unfair competition.
Shackelford is no stranger to the sugar industry, which is engaged in a similar domestic producer versus import struggle as the U.S. textile industry. Before joining the ATMI, as an independent lobbyist he had the sugar industry as a client. Earlier in his career, Shackelford worked at the USDA on sugar issues and at the House Subcommittee on Cotton, Rice and Sugar.