Monterey Mills pleased to host Romney

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Friday, June 15, 2012
— Monterey Mills has hosted national news media before, but never someone with the stature of a major-party presidential candidate.

Republican Mitt Romney will speak in a loading dock area of the Janesville manufacturing plant Monday morning.

Doors will open at 8 a.m., and the event will start at 9 a.m., according to Romney's website, mittromney.com.

Janesville is the only Wisconsin stop on Romney's bus tour, a Republican source confirmed to The Gazette.

Company President and CEO Dan Sinykin has been busy making arrangements, including food for Romney's entourage and news media and setting up chairs for about 200 people.

A large area near a loading dock is being cleared for Romney's speech.

Most of those chairs will be filled by Monterey Mills' 125 first-shift employees. Second shift has been invited, too.

Those employees—some of them who have been with the company for 20 years or more—were on Sinykin's mind as talked enthusiastically Thursday about a visit that will put Janesville on the map, at least for a day.

"I'm, very excited to meet the (former Massachusetts) governor, and I'm very excited to show him what we do, and I'm very proud of our employees," Sinykin said.

The last time the company at 1723 E. Delavan Drive was on the national radar was in 2010, when the company offered absorbent fabric to help clean up after the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Visitors at the time included gubernatorial candidates Scott Walker and Tom Barrett and U.S. Senate candidates Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson. There was no word Thursday on whether Gov. Walker would be joining the event Monday.

"We were notified over a week ago," Sinykin said Thursday.

Sinykin said Romney has asked to take a tour, and he's thrilled to show him what Monterey Mills is all about.

"We want to make sure he really gets a chance to see the breadth of products we supply and breadth of industries we support," Sinykin said.

Monterey's biggest-selling line is paint roller fabric. The company also supplies material for air and water filtration, liners of instrument cases, stuffed animals, buffing pads, faux fur and other apparel.

One sideline is a line of blankets and throws that feature eagles, American flags and other "Americana" designs. Sinykin said Romney will receive a custom-designed blanket made uniquely for him.

"I'm really excited that Janesville was selected," Sinykin said. "I'm hoping he can energize and put excitement into the community for the short period of time that he's here."

Manufacturing built this country, Sinykin said, so it's important to recognize companies that have been making things for decades. Monterey Mills was established in 1965. Sinykin and his wife bought the company in 2005.

"What we do is try to build the economy, and I think that's why they selected Monterey," he said.

Sinykin said he's hoping for a stimulated economy so he can sell more product and hire more workers. A resurgent building industry would be especially helpful in selling the company's paint roller fabric.

The plant's workforce is 30 percent smaller than it was in 2007, he said.

Monterey has looked for ways to work leaner and be more competitive during the Great Recession, he said.

Sinykin said his goal is to grow in Janesville, add employees and for his children to take over the business so it flourishes for decades to come.

Asked whether he prefers Romney's or President Barack Obama's vision for how to grow the economy, he demurred.

"Because I supply a variety of industries, I try to stay as apolitical as possible," Sinykin said. "I don't want to offend or upset any of my current customers.

"I'm going to support a government that's going to make sure my kids are well off and can support the Janesville economy like I was able to do for the last seven years."

Cops trained for political visits, expect more to come

Janesville police trained for this months ago, Chief Dave Moore said Thursday.

"This" is the appearance Monday of Mitt Romney, who is challenging President Barack Obama for the presidency.

Late last year, 15 officers each from the Janesville and Beloit police departments and the Rock County Sheriff's Office trained with Secret Service agents at the Holiday Inn Express in Janesville.

They learned about security for motorcades and dignitaries, even using a limousine to learn how to move someone securely between a vehicle and a building.

The 45 officers now make up what is called the Mobile Field Force.

In addition, the entire Janesville Police Department trained in crowd control earlier this year, Moore said.

"We believe Wisconsin is going to play a very important role in the presidential election, and with that we anticipate many campaign visits," Moore said.

The planning and training was an example of something his department tries to do all the time, Moore said. Officials look at trends and try to forecast challenges. For example, police once trained to deal with flash mobs, although they haven't had to use that training.

Police will be able to employ their political-event training during Romney's visit Monday. Some of the same Secret Service agents who trained local officers have already met with police to discuss how to handle the visit to Monterey Mills, a manufacturer on East Delavan Drive, Moore said.

Janesville Deputy Chief John Olsen said he expects more discussions with the Secret Service as the event draws near.

Olsen said he doesn't expect traffic problems on Delavan Drive, a four-lane road.

Arrangements will be made so that people who want to welcome Romney or express their opinions can do so.

"They'll be able to be a part of it," Olsen said.

Details of the visit have not been released publicly or to police, so it's not known whether the general public will be able to see and hear Romney speak.

Those are details yet to be worked out, Olson said.

"We're there to make sure everybody's safe—the community, Mr. Romney and any protester or support person that shows up," Olsen said.

Last updated: 8:46 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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