Kathie Leonard Named Maine 2018 Business Leader of the Year: Small Business

Auburn Manufacturing Inc. CEO and President Kathie Leonard has a packed schedule, managing operations at Auburn Manufacturing’s locations in Auburn and Mechanic Falls, overseeing product development, planning for expansions of facilities and equipment and seeking new ways to streamline operations. AMI is the industry’s leading expert in the manufacture of high performance textiles for extreme temperature protection.  Running a business-to-business, manufacturing operation she is on top of the latest in high-tech fibers and enhancement technologies that come in, and the ever-growing product variations designed to meet customers’ specific needs. Recently, she was expecting that portfolio to grow, thanks to the federal government’s new tax law, which is expected to result in new capital investments in equipment throughout industries she serves.

“She is a force to be reckoned with, as far as thinking strategically and managing the business,” says Wayne Messer, a senior project manager with the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which in 2017 awarded Leonard its Manufacturing Excellence Award of the Year. Messer has worked with Leonard on lean process management since 2011. “I get emails from her at 3 o’clock in the morning,” Messer says. “I don’t think she ever sleeps. She understands her business very well. And she’s a great spokesperson not only for Auburn Manufacturing but for manufacturing in general for the state of Maine and for New England.”

Leonard started the company in 1979 in a small space above a public library. With asbestos having been banned, there was an immediate need for heat-resistant materials.

Today, Auburn Manufacturing is a leader in its field, turning 1.5 million pounds of fiber per year into over 2 million yards of fabric, in turn supplying multiple industries with hundreds of product lines.   Read More