USGNN Original StoryU.S. House Republican Leader Visits Deceuninck North America for Plant Tour and Town Hall Meeting
May 12, 2009

John Boehner, House representative for the eighth district of Ohio and House Republican Leader, visited Deceuninck North America's Monroe, Ohio, facility yesterday. He began his visit by meeting with Mark Parrish, the company's president and chief executive officer. During their meeting (which was closed to the press) Parrish raised a number of discussion topics that he said were of key importance. These included the energy-efficient window tax credit and the buy-American provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; the Freedom of Choice Act; public school green building construction standards; and the implementation of the Energy Independence Act of 2007.

Parrish told that Rep. Boehner, whose background prior to politics was in the plastics industry, was very attuned to the homebuilding industry.

"He was in the moment and aware of our processes here and the fact that we have had to close two plants in the past two years," said Parrish, adding that while Deceuninck, like so many others in the building products industry, has been faced with difficult times, he is still looking forward to a North American expansion strategy when the economy can support that.

"That's part of the reason I invited him here; because we are invested and committed to a North American presence and expansion. We're here to stay," said Parrish who noted that even though Rep. Boehner had not supported the stimulus plan, it indeed has benefited the company.

"We've recently started hiring again and our orders are increasing," said Parrish.

Following the meeting, Rep. Boehner took part in a plant tour that focused on several areas including product development, tooling, testing, compounding and other production aspects. As a manufacturer of vinyl extrusions, Deceuninck serves the residential new construction and remodeling markets, as well as light commercial.

Rep. Boehner's visit concluded with a town hall meeting, which allowed employees the opportunity to ask questions, many of which focused on current economic conditions.

"You all know how difficult the economy is right now," Boehner said. "It's our biggest challenge."

Looking at the stimulus plan, the program is one that Boehner did not support. However, he is still optimistic.

"The $800 billion stimulus was supposed to be about [jobs], but it seems to be more about spending," he said, but added that he has seen encouraging signs lately that the economy is getting better.

One question an employee asked related to energy costs. Faced with increasing energy prices, the employer raised concerns over companies leaving Ohio to operate in a less costly area. "What can be done to address the cost of energy?" the employee asked.

"We can't expand the economy without expanding the energy used; the question is where you get that energy," Boehner answered. He said that right now wind and solar only produce about 1 percent of the nation's energy. "Long term, though, that's the right thing to do," he said, adding that what's also important is expanding the amount of energy that is available, including nuclear power.

"But you still need more American-made oil, coal, fuel, etc." Boehner added.

In a time in which there is so much economic uncertainty, Boehner's visit was a great experience for many of the company's employees.

"The employees were very excited to have the opportunity to showcase the plant," said Jon Hauberg, director of product research and development. "More than a dozen [employees] I talked with this morning expressed their excitement."

Parrish agreed.

"Our employees know that we would not have invested the time, energy and effort into this visit [if we weren't serious] about our future here," added Parrish.

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