Our Team

Come get to know us! We’re a team comprised of innovative thinkers. We’re competent and responsive. We’re dedicated to helping you find the answers to your questions.

Steve Nielsen

Founder, Strategic Business Advisor

Steve began his nonwovens journey with Manning Paper Company. It is here that he learned how to make specialty papers and wet-lay nonwovens. Eight years later he was recruited by Celanese to help develop polyester fiber for wet-lay nonwovens.

After the merger of Celanese with Hoechst AG, Steve was charged with developing new businesses for the corporation. But in 1995 Hoechst AG began divesting business. Rather than move with the newly divested entities, the idea of combining the experience working with customers to develop new products with his knowledge of new business development was far more attractive. It was time to start what was to become SENW.

With the decision made, Steve called one of his friends at Manning Paper, Bryan Thomas. Bryan was also keen on the idea of starting a privately-owned R&D company for nonwovens. A few months later in October of 1997, Southeast Nonwovens, Inc. was born.

The past twenty-one years as President of Southeast Nonwovens, Inc. has been filled with interesting and stimulating challenges as Steve watched the industry evolve. “I’ve enjoyed every day. I especially enjoyed meeting and working with so many of the great people associated with the nonwovens industry. The time at SENW has been a great experience I would not trade for anything. At this stage in my career and time in my life I’ve done all I set out to do at SENW. I want to see the company continue and prosper so I believe it’s time for some new blood to come aboard. The management team, with guidance from our business development partners at Heritage Capital, have plotted the course forward to grow the business. Bryan will take over the day to day leadership activities as President. I know he will do a great job.”

Steve said, “I will miss the people I work with, but I am also looking forward to trying some new things.”

Steve remains a major share-holder and Chairman of the Board of Southeast Nonwovens, Inc. He will be working on special projects in an advisory role.

Bryan Thomas

Co-Founder, President

While they were running a trial on a paper-making pilot line, Steve asked Bryan, “Someday, we ought to do this. Don’t you think?” Fifteen years later, Hoescht Celanese spun off Steve’s division, and time arrived to seize their dream to “own and operate an independent R&D organization where we are our own bosses.” Twenty years and 20 patents later, they have fulfilled that original vision. Self-funded from day one, their business grew via word of mouth every year—despite the economic hardships of the 9/11 attacks and the 2008-09 recession.

Unlike the peppers Bryan grows, there’s never been a problem too hot to handle. “We’ve never believed that we can’t do something,” said Bryan. “It’s that attitude upon which the success of SENW was built, and on which it continues to grow.”


Paul Latten

Director of Research & Development

Your business is growing! Great! You request increasing volumes of raw material, but your supplier informs you it’s a no-go. What do you do now? Paul took this obstacle (actually, an opportunity) to innovate and commercialize a new chemistry, which ultimately replaced that immovable supplier. Pretty cool, right? Whether Paul is developing a next generation product, focusing on improving manufacturing methods or tackling how to shift a losing business into profitability, Paul’s credo is “My greatest ambition is to build something that will last.” He’s passionate about continuous improvement, innovation and problem solving. Paul sees the “big vision,” discerns its workable parts and economic impact, and then refines the project details.

Whether he’s helping customers “figure it out,” helping people develop where they desire to go—and get there, restoring antique farm tractors to their former glory or playing a round of golf, Paul enjoys the “mind over matter” approach to reaching goals. Whatever your goal may be, Paul is up for the challenge. Give him a call, and discover how he can be to turn your manufacturing obstacle into an opportunity.


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