Assistant US Secretary Of Commerce For Import Administration Tours New Balance, Wears Safety Glasses In Case There’s A Massive Shoelace Explosion

shoe tour

SKOWHEGAN — New Balance’s “Made in America” line of athletic footwear begins in Skowhegan with plant manager Patrick Welch. He who knows all 300 of his employees by their first name. It’s just part of the commitment to success, Welch said Thursday, hosting a tour of the manufacturing plant for Assistant U.S. Secretary of Commerce for Import Administration Paul Piquado. “I think the leader should take a big role — essentially the responsibility is mine to ensure that we’re safe, we’re making quality and delivering to our customers on time what they expect,” Welch said at the Walnut Street plant. “I know the folks that I work with, both from a management perspective and leadership group to the direct labor workforce. Without them I know I can’t be successful.” Exported worldwide, New Balance is the only company to still manufacture athletic shoes in the U.S. The company has about 1,000 employees in Maine, including a plant in nearby Norridgewock and another in Norway. The company in 2011 reported worldwide sales of $2.04 billion, according to Amy Dow, New Balance communications manager in Boston. Piquado, who oversees the Office of Textiles and Apparel, was accompanied for the tour Thursday by Kim Glas, deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Textiles and Apparel at the U.S. Department of Commerce. (read more at MorningSentinel)