Reporting Pat Kessler
WARROAD, Minn. (WCCO) – President Obama’s acceptance speech contained a big surprise for a Minnesota company that he praised for its American values and sacrifice.
Marvin Windows and Doors employs 4,300 workers, including 2,000 in Warroad, Minn.
It was hit hard by the recession, just like other companies. But unlike others, when times got tough, Marvin Windows and Doors got tougher.
The 108-year-old manufacturer is already revered in Minnesota. But what the company did during this crushing recession was big enough to get a shout-out from the president during the Democratic National Convention.
Susan Marvin is president of Marvin Windows and Doors.
Like many companies in 2008, it was forced to cut costs quickly when the economy crashed.
“If we value our people above all else, why would it be the first thing we cut, and not the last?” Marvin said. “And it was that simple. We need our people.”
Instead of laying off workers, Marvin cut pay, perks, and profit sharing for everyone — including the owners and top executives.
And it may have saved the company.
President Obama singled out Marvin Windows and Doors for “giving him hope” by not cutting jobs.
But Susan Marvin describes herself as a fiscal conservative, and won’t say if she supports Obama.
“I tell you what,” she said. “We sure appreciate the recognition, but when it comes time for me to vote, I’m going to go into that voting booth, and I’m going to pull the lever for the individual I believe will do the very best job to restore prosperity to this country.”
Marvin told us she is still worried about the economy going back into recession, and that she considers the recovery very fragile. She said the company is beginning to restore some of the pay and benefit cuts, but very slowly.
Susan Marvin told us she tends to vote Republican, but would not say if she supports Mitt Romney either.
Campaign finance records show she has donated to the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Tim Pawlenty.