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[NWI Behind the Scenes] Eric Lawrence, Lab Manager

Eric Lawrence, The Nonwovens Institute, NC State University

Eric Lawrence

Job Title: Lab Manager – Fiber Science, Filament Spinning and Staple Carding
Years at NWI: 10
Years in Nonwovens/Materials Science: 12
Favorite Nonwoven or Something Related to Nonwovens: Meltblown

After starting his career in industry, Eric joined The Nonwovens Institute (NWI) in 2013, supporting projects in the Staple Carding Lab. Over the years, Eric has progressed to his current role as a Lab Manager, with responsibility for overseeing student research projects and industry trials in NWI’s Fiber and Polymer Science, Filament Spinning and Staple Carding labs. During his time at NWI, Eric has worked on a wide variety of projects, and this experience has given him the knowledge and expertise to problem solve and develop solutions to varied nonwoven application challenges.

What was your experience leading up to your joining NWI?

I graduated from North Carolina State University’s Wilson College of Textiles in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Textile Technology. After obtaining my degree, I spent two years working in the nonwovens industry as a Carding Operator. In 2013, I was lucky enough to join NWI as a Process Technician in our Staple Carding Lab, and I’ve been here ever since running experimental trials.

What kind of work have you done/do you do at NWI? What do you find exciting/interesting about your work at NWI?

Initially I started in the Staple Carding Lab and then moved to our other labs as required by business needs. In 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, I was heavily involved in producing filter media for facemasks and respirators, which was an exciting time here at NWI, as we were making a huge contribution to help protect people from the spread of the virus.

Eric Lawrence spinning fiber in NWI's Fiber and Polymer Science Lab
Eric sets up a fiber spinning trial in NWI’s Fiber and Polymer Science Lab.

My time at NWI has afforded me the opportunity to work on projects across several nonwoven platforms. In my current role, my daily tasks are centered around managing three of our labs (Fiber/Polymer Science, Filament Spinning and Staple/Carding), which certainly keeps me busy, but I have the most fun when I’m actively helping our student researchers and industry partners to run trials and make exciting new discoveries.

In lab-scale research, every day is different, every polymer is different, and with this brings new challenges and problems to solve.

Why did you choose what you chose in the “Favorite Nonwoven or Something Related to Nonwovens” item above?

Meltblown is awesome because it’s a simple process, and it’s a highly flexible platform – so fairly easy to make changes on the fly. I’ve worked on some really unique projects utilizing our meltblown equipment, which have helped inform our student researchers in knowledge creation, while also enabling our industry partners to make technological breakthroughs.   

Oh, and let’s not kid ourselves, who doesn’t love cleaning up fiber fly in the lab after a meltblown run?

When you are not working at NWI, what are your personal interests, hobbies … any activities you enjoy during your free time?

I love my job, but I also love my time at home with the family! I enjoy relaxing with the dogs and playing video games to unwind. A favorite hobby is to try hard, but still lose to my wife in just about every game we play.

Eric enjoys spending time with his pup, Pepper.
Eric enjoys spending time with his pups, Pepper and Bear. Pictured here you see Pepper celebrating her birthday, mugging for the camera, and relaxing in her official NWI gear.

Lately, most of my free time is spent taking care of our adorable little four-month old son, Arc.

If you have questions about Fiber and Polymer Science, Filament Spinning or Staple Carded Nonwovens, you can reach Eric at or +1 910.200.4403.