October 14, 2008
Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc. welcomed President George W. Bush to its world headquarters and manufacturing plant in Cleveland on July 29.
Bush toured the facility and learned about the company's welding products, including its automated welding technology. He participated in live robotic and submerged arc welding demonstrations highlighting the company's patented processes for the pipeline, offshore, and power generation industries.
The day Bush visited Lincoln, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland honored the company as Large Business Exporter of the Year as part of the 2008 Governor's Excellence in Exporting award program. George Blankenship, president of Lincoln's U.S. welding business, discussed with Bush how Lincoln invested in new-product development, equipment, training, process improvement, and a culture focused on maximizing efficiency and performance, the company reports. Blankenship also explained the company's guaranteed employment, piecework wages, and profit sharing. Last year the company awarded $86 million in bonuses to its Cleveland work force, with an average individual bonus of $26,000.
Bush spoke at a town hall-style meeting with more than 700 Lincoln employees, along with several local elected officials, including Rep. Steven LaTourette and Rep. Patrick Tiberi, two members of the Ohio delegation to Congress.
"This is a site that proves with good investment and good education, and a company that treats its workers well, that America can compete with anybody, anytime, anywhere," Bush said at the meeting. "You're good at making a product that people want. People want it here in the United States of America, and when people are introduced to it around the world, they want it as well.
"Technology has changed how we can find oil and gas in environmentally friendly ways. That's part of your business, to make products that make it easier to move oil and gas from remote parts of the world under challenging conditions to markets in an environmentally friendly way. That's what you do. And by the way, you do a really good job of it."
Lincoln, which earned the President's E-Star award in 2006, exports approximately 30 percent of the products it manufactures in Cleveland to customers around the world. The company designs and manufactures arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems, and plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment. It also has a global position in the brazing and soldering alloys market.