TV producers visit local company to find out “How It’s Made”

(Photo by Paul J. Gately)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Ever want to know how to fill a jelly donut or how to build an M-1 Abrams tank, “How It's Made” can show you, and a crew from the TV show was in Waco Tuesday to shoot a segment that will air next year.

A four-person video crew was at Hobbs Bonded Fibers all day, shooting the facility for a “How It's Made” episode that's set to air in spring 2018.

Producers for the show, based Montreal, Canada, spend hours researching every aspect of manufacturing on the planet and they come up with episodes that are shot on location and edited back in Montreal.

The program in the United States airs on the Science Channel and in Canada on Discovery Channel.

Nick LeGrand is the team director and he oversees the shoot.

The crew came to Texas on a five-week jaunt and they'll do a different shoot every day, five days-a-week, LeGrand said.

That was the deal producers cut with John Fletcher, a local public relations specialist who works for Hobbs, said.

It took more than a year to get the segment set, Fletcher said.

"They said they weren't going to come from Montreal to Texas for one show, so I had to get them five weeks' worth of stuff to shoot," Fletcher said.

In past and coming weeks the production crew will visit East Texas, South Texas, Comanche, Denton and, of course, Waco for what Fletcher has named the "Texas Swing".

The show was attracted to Hobbs because of the unique things they do here in Waco and at their sister plant in Trenton, Tennessee.

Hobbs began making unique fabrics in both Mexia and Groesbeck, company president Larry Hobbs said.

In 1994 the company consolidated its production facilities at Waco and in 2006 opened the plant in Tennessee, Hobbs said.

Hobbs makes things for industry and for manufacturers, but they make things regular consumers use, too, like cotton batting, the kind that's in your quilt or comforter.

Batting made at Hobbs is in your bassinet when you're born and lines your casket when you die, Hobbs said.

But the cutting-edge product that comes out of Hobbs in Bison Fiber.

It's truly made from the shorn hair of American bison.

When the animals are slaughtered for meat, the hair is shorn off, packaged and sent to places like Hobbs where its blended with other fibers and made ready to be sewn into cold weather jackets and other things.

Hobbs employs about 200 workers in Waco and a hundred more in Tennessee, Hobbs said.

The Waco plant concentrates on consumer goods and industrial fibers, the Tennessee plant in automotive applications.

They also make decontamination wipes for the U.S. military

It's just the kind of place LeGrand likes.

"With more than 600 subjects I've learned a lot of things," LeGrand said.

He's been directing shoots for “How It's Made” for nine years.

"I love it because I'm learning, working and traveling all at the same time," he said.