Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie



Errol Baade discusses the future of Jack's with Senator Heinrich on May 1st, at Jack's Aztec manufacturing facility. PHOTO-J.Ritchie-TALON

Senator Martin Hienrich dropped in at Jack's Plastic Welding on Tuesday to talk about the future of small business manufacturing in our area. "I get to see one of New Mexico's great manufacturer's in action." said the Senator. Currently serving his second term Senator Hienrich, a Democrat, began as a Albuquerque City Councilman before being elected as a Congressman to the New Mexico House Representatives in 2009. Hienrich spent about a half an hour on Tuesday checking-out the production floor and visiting with Jack's 10 person crew. "I think that some of the things Jack's is doing with MEP (Manufacturing Expansion Partnership) and Sandia National Labs is a good model for how to get better profit margins and more efficiency. The more we can replicate that across the state the better manufacturers we can get that can expand. This is a great example of what you can accomplish."

Hienrich, an avid outdoors-man and long-time environmental advocate applauded Jack's enterprise at expanding production beyond recreational water-craft to things like creating inflatable units designed to protect endangered coral reef beds. "Product-wise we are becoming a lot more environmentally-focused," explained Jack's founder Jack Kloepher. Kloepher a former Grand Canyon river-raft guide established the company in 1988. Originally established to design and build custom inflatable water-craft and accessories the company located at 115 S. Main has more recently taken on some out-of-this-world projects for NASA and other more earthly endeavors including hospital beds for injured pets and specially designed Paco Pads for use in burn-units for human patients.

The production floor was busy as Hienrich accompanied production chief Errol Baade who explained different stages of assembly. Hienrich stopped briefly at each station greeting crew members, "How's it going?" Surprised staff grinned, shook hands and generally answered with, "Whoa! good, Senator! How about you? What a trip!" Rod Baade has worked at Jack's for 28 years, "Hey, this is just another day when you work here!" Baade said.

The Senator with Jacks staff-PHOTO-J.Ritchie-TALON.JPG

During the tour outdoors-man Hienrich couldn't help doing some in-depth product comparisons, "I had to remind him, 'hey, we aren't here to shop'" said Hienrich Press Secretary Vanessa Valdivia.

While in town the Senator also visited with Mayor Victor Snover and APD Chief Mike Heal, "We got to sit down with the mayor and spend some time with him and get his input on school safety issues. It's been a productive day."

When asked if a 2020 presidential bid is a possibility? Heinrich Campaign Manager Brad Elkins said, "Right now the Senator is focused on his re-election in November and what is going on in New Mexico." According to Elkins the upcoming mid-term looks good for the democratic party, but he stressed the importance getting out to vote saying, after everything that happened in 2016 we can't take anything for granted.


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