From pool reporter Don Walker with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
President Obama arrived at Orion Energy Systems at 11:03 a.m., ahead of schedule. The President took a tour of the plant, which makes energy-efficient light systems and stopped briefly at several work stations to meet with workers. With Obama was Neil Verfuerth, chief executive officer of the firm.
One sign was seen near a workstation: “Welcome President Obama-Orion Foundation Team.” Obama met with one worker, identified as Merisol DeBausche, who was finishing a light fixture. “You can tell she is pretty good,” the President told the media as DeBausche did her work.
“This is how we are going to win the future.”
Obama began his speech at 11:26, with Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels and Governor Scott Walker in the audience. Obama joked that he had already received three Packers jerseys. “I am not here because I lost a bet,” the President told a laughing crowd, in reference to his support for the Chicago Bears, which lost to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in Chicago. “Sunday was a tough day for Bears fans,” Obama added. “We will get you next year. I wish you good luck in the Super Bowl.”
Earlier in the motorcade, the President was treated to true back-country roads leading to Orion Systems. At several intersections there were small crowds. Some had signs saying, “No to Obamacare.” Others said, “Thank You, Mr. President.”
Obama plans two more company stops in Manitowoc: Skana Aluminum Co., and Tower Tech Systems.