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(April 29, 2014- Top: U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Mark Sawitsky, Director of Global Engineering and Quality, Velcro USA. Bottom: Mark Sawitsky testifies before the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee.)

(WASHINGTON, DC) – This morning, the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee heard from Velcro USA, whose North American manufacturing and innovation facilities are based in Manchester and Somersworth, New Hampshire, during a meeting chaired by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on the economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency. Shaheen, who serves as Vice Chair of the Committee, invited Velcro USA to participate due to the company’s nationally-recognized successes adopting energy efficiency improvements throughout their facilities and supply chain.

“Velcro USA’s commitment to energy efficiency is woven into almost every part of their business,” said Shaheen. “The company continues pushing the envelope in order to achieve energy savings, and that’s why I invited them to the Senate today to share the story of their successes to-date and the challenges they see ahead. I believe it’s important to learn from Velcro USA’s experience as we in Congress craft smart energy policies that will create jobs, save consumers money, reduce pollution and help American companies like Velcro USA remain competitive in a global marketplace.”

During the hearing, Director of Global Engineering and Quality for Velcro USA, Mark Sawitsky, discussed the companies’ philosophy and approach on energy efficiency, as well as ways public policy can help the private sector in this area:

“As not only business leaders, but as residents of this country and specifically the State of New Hampshire who appreciate the natural resources and quality of life that our great country and the State has to offer, we also appreciate the need to balance the benefits of economic growth with the impacts on our environment,” said Sawitsky. “We believe that with thoughtful and well defined public policy this balance can be achieved without compromising both objectives.”

Sawitsky continues, “Velcro USA has benefited from numerous public programs that have enabled the implementation of energy efficiency measures that may have been ‘out of reach’ without such programs.  We support programs that provide access to best practices, proven technologies and, of course, funding sources that are well designed and targeted for such purposes.  It is refreshing to be part of a conversation today that focuses on such an important topic as energy efficiency.  I welcome any opportunity to work with our state and federal elected officials to advance the pursuit of energy efficiency for all businesses.”

Sawitsky’s testimony comes the week after Congress approved one of Senator Shaheen’s bipartisan energy efficiency bills, the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act, and sent it to the President for signature.

Last week, Senator Shaheen also introduced the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Act that would assist small- and medium-sized U.S. manufacturers in adopting what’s known as “smart manufacturing technologies” that among other things, would give these businesses access to some of the latest technology to improve their energy efficiency.  In addition, the Senator’s broader bipartisan energy efficiency legislation with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, is scheduled for a hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, April 30.