As the COVID-19 outbreak spread across the globe in early 2020, Elizabeth Trexler, junior engineering major, had the opportunity to help her family’s knitted fabric manufacturing business pivot to produce cloth face coverings. When face masks grew in demand around the world, Trexler’s father realized sewing capacity was limiting global supply of basic face coverings and recruited his daughter to assist with the new product line. Elizabeth’s engineering education quickly added value to her family business venture as she stepped into the role of production manager for RockFace USA this summer.
Trexler credits her background in engineering from TCU as critical to her contributions this summer, especially due to her familiarity in working with small teams as many of her engineering courses have required. She has been collaborating with an executive team of six individuals within her family’s business to roll out the new face covering products.
“I work hard to make current production processes more efficient, and I use my younger perspective to bring new ideas to the table. We also continue to innovate our line of face covers to meet a variety of market needs,” she said. “My engineering background has taught me to pay attention to detail – a very important skill when managing production.”
“We designed a face cover with no sewing involved by cutting fabric to create coverings with ear slots for an easy fit,” Trexler said. “Our team used a fabric originally designed for the United States Armed Forces and added a durable water repellent and antimicrobial finish. This approach allows us to produce affordable face masks in large volume from a premium, military-grade fabric with added features that improve their effectiveness.”
“My engineering experience with MatLab has also helped me to implement a new inventory management systems in depth in order to find the one that would best meet the specific needs of our face cover business,” she said.
MatLab is a programming language that aids a variety of tasks including data analysis and simulating various scenarios. “In the Applied Programming MatLab course I took through the engineering department, we completed an image tracking project, which was very challenging, but taught me a lot about computer programming. This has helped me to be successful with setting up an Inventory Management system this summer,” Trexler said.
“This has been a wonderful opportunity to learn many different aspects of running and starting a business. I am in charge of our MRP manufacturing system and inventory management system. I also work with Quickbooks and Shopify to manage online integration.”
“I have learned that starting a new business, even within an established organization, is a 24/7 job and that you must be truly dedicated to be successful,” Trexler said. “Before my job as RockFace USA’s production manager, I considered engineering to be a stand-alone career. Over the past few months however, I’ve seen how important the mix between engineering and business can be – requiring a clear understanding of both to deliver on my responsibilities to the fullest.
Learn more about Rock Face USA and use code TCU20 for a 20% discount from the Trexler family.