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Made in America

Dan Barousse

Co-Founder and CEO

As the United States approaches its 246th birthday I hope we can agree on two things: this great country is worth preserving and one of the ways we do that is to have more jobs in America.

I spent most of my childhood in Irkutsk, a large Russian city in remote Siberia, observing the societal collapse that accompanied the dissolution of the USSR. As a child, the 53-year average male life expectancy and 60% adolescent substance abuse rate in Irkutsk seemed…normal. My family was there to try to help the situation, establishing an independent adult school and the first non-governmental addiction treatment center in the region, among other religiously-based community outreach efforts. Every few years we would return State-side on sabbatical leave and I would experience severe culture shock that left me with burning questions. How could there be a place where most families owned not just one vehicle but two? Seeing strung out addicts in the stairwell of the apartment building isn’t normal? Finding used needles on the playground is strange? You have multiple TVs in your house? Public urination and littering aren’t the norm? Half-finished, abandoned construction sites don’t litter the skyline?

Obviously, some of those things are true about certain areas of the United States (Detroit has plenty of abandoned buildings and areas with high incidence of drug abuse), but the experience of the “average” American family involves no heroin usage or frozen corpses on the sidewalk near their home. In spite of the issues we have as a country, our standard of living is quite high, and the freedoms we enjoy make most zip codes in America look like Disney World compared to the 85% of the world that lives in developing countries. This is a great place to live, and it is worth preserving.  

When observing the addiction treatment center graduates that filtered through my childhood home, I noticed that the ones who were able to find a steady job stayed clean. These new jobs gave the graduates a routine, a purpose, and a place to belong. It gave them money to move out of their old circumstances and into a new social circle of people who didn’t think getting high was a solid life choice. This pattern of a job leading to better life outcomes was so consistently successful that by my early teens I was confident that one of the things I wanted to do with my life was to create jobs for people. Good jobs. Jobs that paid fairly, had a sense of meaning, and had a positive team culture. 

This is why one of our Core Values at Slice Engineering is Localization - striving to produce whatever possible as local as possible. Controlling and localizing your supply chain prevents atrocities like the Nike child labor issues, ensures everyone in the manufacturing process is fairly paid, and even has strategic implications when there are supply chain disruptions due to global events. 

Is it more expensive? Yes.

Is it worth it? Absolutely. 

We’re proud that 95% of what ships out of our facilities in Florida is Made in America. We strive to create as many well-paying jobs in our community as possible. Our suppliers are all audited for both quality systems and ethical treatment of employees. Making things here makes good jobs here, and good jobs create stability, enable families, build communities, and eventually, create a stronger country. And strength is something we could all use a little more of in these uncertain times.

Happy Independence Day. Happy Made in America Day.