Representatives John Moolenaar and Bill Huizenga tour Bates® military footwear factory

BIG RAPIDS, MI (Thursday, May 28, 2015) – At the invitation of Wolverine World Wide, Inc. President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board Blake Krueger, Representative John Moolenaar (R-4th District) and Representative Bill Huizenga (R-2nd District) visited and toured Wolverine’s manufacturing facility in Big Rapids, one of the few remaining footwear manufacturing facilities in the United States. This event presented the opportunity for both Western Michigan Representatives to observe first hand the manufacturing of footwear for the United States Armed Services and meet personally with the men and women employed at the factory.

Bates Footwear, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, is the largest supplier of high-quality footwear to the U.S. Department of Defense. Wolverine’s Big Rapids plant features multi-line capability with the ability to manufacture a broad spectrum of products, ranging from high-performance athletic shoes to mountain combat boots for the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Special Operations Forces.

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) said, “It is vital that our men and women in uniform have access to quality, American made equipment. The employees at Bates Footwear in Big Rapids have manufactured footwear worm by our service members for nearly 130 years. I am working to promote competition, fairness, and consistency in the defense procurement process so that businesses like Bates can continue to provide our warfighters with the highest quality footwear available.”

The tour was the first visit for both Rep. Moolenaar and Rep. Huizenga to the Big Rapids facility. As the new U.S. Representative for the Fourth District in Michigan, Moolenaar enjoyed the opportunity to meet with the employees he represents in Congress. During the tour, Moolenaar stopped to introduce himself and speak with employees about his role in the House of Representatives.

“I enjoyed meeting with the hardworking men and women at Bates Footwear today. Bates’ boots protect our military in battle, and the company has hired many of our returning heroes, easing their transition to civilian life. There’s good work being done here in Big Rapids,” said Representative John Moolenaar (R-MI.)

The event also provided an opportunity for Wolverine Worldwide to showcase their new products and continued commitment to the United States Armed Forces. Company representatives, including Mr. Krueger, have actively engaged both Congressional and Department of Defense leaders to ensure that the federal government continues to support the footwear needs of the Armed Services.

“I am pleased to have had the opportunity to host Congressman Moolenaar and Congressman Huizenga at our domestic manufacturing operations here in Michigan,” said Mr. Krueger. “Our Bates brand has been building footwear in the United States for more than 130 years and we are fortunate that both members of Congress are working to help maintain a robust industrial base in the United States.”