2023 COMPANY OF THE YEAR: NEW BALANCE ATHLETICS, INC.
A discussion with Joe Preston, President and CEO
Joe Preston has been an inspiring member of the footwear industry for close to 30 years. As we look forward to his Company of the Year acceptance on April 25, we’ve asked him for some reflections on the evolution of the industry, what excites him about the sport and athletic market, and what’s ahead for New Balance.
In his words…
To start, can you reflection on the evolution of the industry of recent?
I continue to be impressed by the dynamic nature of our industry has driven incredible advances across product design and development, digital capabilities, and supply chain operations as we continue to meet the evolving needs of our consumers. Our industry is uniquely collaborative where we come together on important issues from global working conditions and environmental concerns to the COVID pandemic and supply chain crisis. We have great respect for one another as competitors and peers, and I have learned a lot from the talented leaders that continue to drive our industry forward.
What ESG parameters do you use to define success?
From the materials we use and the methods we employ, to the people who craft our products, we are dedicated to making our operations sustainable and ethical. Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) is part of our commitment to conducting business with integrity. We're also passionate about working to make a positive impact on the environment and in the communities where we operate. We’ve established multi-year environmental and social goals and are tracking our progress as well as setting new targets to push ourselves to always do better.
New Balance opened its 5th manufacturing facility in the U.S. last fall and plans to open a new distribution center this summer. How do these new operations help fulfill New Balance’s mission?
New Balance MADE is an integral part of our company heritage and culture. We have never wavered in our support for American craftsmanship and jobs and we will continue to invest in our New England domestic manufacturing operations. We believe our MADE product line is a competitive advantage that enables product innovation and creativity, showcases the craftsmanship of our skilled associates, and helps meet our significant U.S. and global consumer demand. Our new distribution center in Tennessee also reflects our strong commitment to our North American retailers and consumers by ensuring best-in-class operations.
Since its inception, New Balance’s Foundation has granted more than $130 million to charity, and last year the Foundation distributed $8.5 million to more than 70 non-profits. What will the Foundation be focusing on in 2023?
Since 1981, New Balance Foundation has invested in research, and clinical, educational and community programs that promote healthy lifestyles, children's fitness and nutrition, and overall community wellness. The Foundation’s primary focus is the prevention of childhood obesity through resilient partnerships that are research-driven, collaborative in nature, and innovative in approach. In 2023, the Foundation will focus on global expansion and work to more than double grant distribution to global non-profits with a goal of reaching more than 7.5 million individuals.
What musical lyric or quote inspires you on a tough day?
As a lifelong Rolling Stones fan – “You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find, you get what you need.”
Read his extended bio (and fellow 2023 American Image Awards honoree bios too!). Share our exclusive conversation on social with #AmericanImageAwards: