Biography of Ernest J. Moench
The Moench Entrepreneurship Lecture Series was made possible by gifts from the late Ernest J. Moench, Sr. and his wife, Anna. Mr. Moench, Sr. was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ, husband, father of two, long-time president of the Tennessee Tufting Company, and believed strongly in entrepreneurism.
In 1926, Mr. Moench's employer, the Philadelphia-based Thomas Henry Company (a yarn and towel manufacturer), decided to move to Tennessee in order to take advantage of lower costs, and Mr. Moench was sent ahead to Nashville to install the new plant equipment. What was supposed to be a "short-term" project, turned into permanent relocation for Mr. Moench and his wife. Sometime later, the Thomas Henry Company was bought by Mr. O.H. Ingram (and became Ingram Manufacturing Company), where Mr. Moench invented the first sewing machine designed to make tufted carpet, helping set the company apart from the competition.
Some years later, Mr. Ingram decided to sell the tufted rug division of Ingram Manufacturing to Mr. Moench, and it became Tennessee Tufting Company. Mr. Moench successfully led the Tennessee Tufting Company to become the world's largest maker of throw rugs, and won several recognition awards including the Sears Award for Excellence.
In 1971, Mr. Moench decided to sell Tennessee Tufting Company to Hillsboro Enterprises, a local group of investors, which later sold the company to Collins and Aikman. Mr. Moench continued to manage the business throughout this period until his retirement in 1973.
Mr. Moench also served in the U.S. Navy during World War I; was the president of the Tufted Textile Association; vice president of the Sales Executive Council; president of the Society for Advancement of Management; vice president and treasurer of Family and Children's Services; a member of the City Traffic Commission; board chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank - Nashville Branch; and president of the Rotary Club.
He was also a committed Christian and an active member at Belmont Heights Baptist Church; chairman of the executive committee of the Baptist Sunday School Board; and a member of the board of trustee of Belmont College, where he served as chairman for three years.