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Steven Bethell

Steven Bethell
CEO, Bank & Vogue Limited

As co-founder of the Bank & Vogue family of companies, Steven Bethell has been a thought leader and pioneer in the post-consumer textile space for over 20 years. He has dedicated his work life to innovative and relevant solutions to the crisis of stuff. Steven and his team have traveled to over 30 countries, working extensively amongst the robust second-hand markets of the world.

Steven is also the brainchild behind the largest remanufacturing plant in the world, where the circular economy for textiles is brought to life. Taking post-consumer waste and transforming it into relevant products, Steven works with big brands to help them bring their sustainability platforms to the next level.

In his spare time, Steven lives off the grid in the Canadian wilderness. He is an avid woodsman: fishing, paddling, and learning about the outdoors and its many wonders.

Jessica Franken

Jessica Franken
Director of Government Affairs, SMART

Jessica Franken, SMART’s Director of Government Affairs, has more than 20 years of professional government relations and public policy experience—including positions on Capitol Hill. She has many years with industry association clients, such as the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textile Association, as well as groups representing nonwoven fabrics, pharmaceutical printing, and healthcare packaging industries. In this capacity, Franken has acted as a primary policy liaison and advocate between clients and public officials on a diverse array of issues, including the environment, product safety, trade, tax, healthcare, manufacturing, and labor and workplace policy.

An accomplished writer, Jessica has contributed to and authored more than 150 policy-themed articles for trade publications, and has developed numerous industry-adopted position papers and formal submissions to the U.S. government. She has also been involved in drafting and advancing legislation at the state and federal level, benefiting her clients, and has testified before numerous state legislative bodies on behalf of her clients, achieving legislative victories in challenging policy environments.

Franken received a master’s degree in public policy from George Mason University’s School of Public Policy, and was named the 2006 recipient of the university’s coveted Alexis de Tocqueville Award for academic achievement and professionalism in the field of public policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in government and politics, graduating with honors from the University of Maryland – College Park, in 1997. She is the President of The Franken Group, LLC, a government affairs consulting firm offering services to multiple association and industry clients. In her spare time, she makes and sells “Frankenballs” confections—a sinfully delicious cross between cake pops and truffles—and enjoys running and posting pictures of her cats on social media.

Yasir Hashmany


Yasir Hashmany
Owner, AJWA Rags LLC
Richmond, Texas

Yasir Hashmany went to the University of Houston and majored in electrical engineering. He worked at Hewlett Packard for four years as a system design engineer, working on cutting-edge technology which was led by optimizing server space for data centers. With the entrepreneurial spirit he has, he is always looking to add some value and start something on his own. Yasir was fascinated by how motherboards were being recycled and thought he could get into that field; while researching that, he stumbled upon the field of used clothing and wipers. He started pursuing that as a part-time business and established AJWA Rags in 2011. Around the same time, he joined Baker Hughes as a manufacturing support engineer supporting drilling tools.

Yasir decided to pursue the recycling business full time in 2013, quitting the field of engineering—and has never looked back. He joined a partnership in grading/sorting in 2017, taking over the operations in 2018 after the other partners wanted to exit. He has been in the industry for 12 years.

Given his technical background, he keeps up with the latest tech and tech companies, which fulfills his passion of investing. Yasir loves to follow financial markets and is always learning about macroeconomics. He likes to play cricket over the weekend and volunteer time for the community and do faith-based work.

Joe Howlett

Joe Howlett
Vice President, St. Pauly Textiles
Farmington, New York

Joe Howlett, a resident of Victor, New York, has been with St. Pauly Textile Inc. since February of 2007. His education includes a Bachelor of Science from Roberts Wesleyan College and a Master of Science from Nazareth College of Rochester.

He retired from the United States Army Reserve in 2016 with over 20 years of service, having received the rank of Sergeant First Class (E-7). He received the Meritorious Service Medal, three Army Commendation Medals, and one Army Achievement Medal for exemplary duty in service to the United States Military.

Joe and his wife, Nikki, have two daughters and one son.

Harold Kalfus

Harold Kalfus
Managing Director, Rescon GmbH
Zug, Switzerland

Born in the Netherlands and now living in Switzerland, Harold Kalfus is a third-generation textile recycler. He has worked and traveled through 88 countries, gathering vast experience in multicultural environments and enlarging his scope of recycling into areas of plastic and chemical recycling. While chemical recycling activities are project based, the main focus of his activities is on pre-consumer, postindustrial, and post-consumer wastes for transformation within the circular economy; some focus is also on raw material for the traditional recycling industries. For this, he runs his own collection and sorting operation with his partner in Bangladesh and close cooperation from partners in other countries. Recycling is a passion, and as his father said many years ago, “Once a recycler, always a recycler.” In his spare time, Harold loves to travel the world with his family, spend time in nature, and sculpting.

Nohar Nath

Nohar Nath
Executive Director, Kishco Group
Mumbai, India

Nohar Nath has been the Executive Director of Kishco Group India for the last 25 years.

He has an MBA from one of India’s premier business schools and started his career as a banker with HSBC. After a couple of years, he joined his family’s four-generation textile business and has grown the business on a worldwide platform with his team at Kishco group.

Nohar has been a regular speaker at various international recycling forums, including the Bureau of International Recycling, Europe. He also co-founded India’s largest thrift-fashion online store, Kiabza, with his son, Abhishek.

His present business is committed to providing all kinds of services in the field of textiles, starting from procurement of raw materials through to handling wastes for upcycling and recycling—covering fibers, yarns, fabrics, new garments, used clothing, wiping materials, blankets, carpets, home furnishings, shoes, and more.

Kishco is actively working with approximately 45 countries on five continents and is a market leader in sustainability practices within the global textile industry.

Nohar is also a passionate sportsman and has represented India at golf during his junior days. He also won the World Corporate Golf Challenge (2008) in La Manga, Spain.

Mario Peña
General Manager, Megapaca
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Brian Rubin

Brian Rubin
Vice President, Erie Cotton Products Company
Erie, Pennsylvania

Brian Rubin is Vice President of Erie Cotton Products in Erie, Pennsylvania. The company was started in 1946 by his grandfather, and Brian is now a third-generation textile recycler and wiping cloth producer.

Brian has been boxing rags since he was 12 years old. Before joining the wiping cloth industry full time in 2016, Brian attended the University of Pittsburgh and received a business degree in marketing and supply chain management.

Brian currently serves on the Board of Directors for SMART and has been bringing focus to the “Next Generation” of SMART leaders. Fun fact, Brian attended his first SMART convention in the year 2000—at the age of 6, in Maui.

In his free time, Brian is an avid golf, pickleball, and tennis player. In 2016, while at the University of Pittsburgh, the United States Tennis Association presented Brian with the National Leader of the Year award for his contributions to tennis at the university.

Aside from hobbies, Brian just got married in September of 2022 and is joined in Dubai by his wife Rachel.