Jon and Jay Hayden have both worked at San Antonio Shoemakers for over 30 years, like many SAS employees. These two, however, have a special connection to the company; their dad, Lew Hayden, was one of the founders.

Jon started at SAS in 1980, just a few years after graduating college. His original plan was to go into the military, which he did for a short time. In 1980, however, Jon visited his dad in San Antonio and hasn’t left since.

Jon started out working on machinery, and eventually ran the sewing room. Over the years, he picked up on each part of SAS factory operations and now he heads up manufacturing. Jon says one of his favorite parts about working for SAS is that he feels he has a voice. “I don’t always get my way, but I’m heard. That’s something I think everybody wants,” Jon explains.

Jay started a year after Jon in 1981. His first job at the factory was in Quality Control where he sorted through polyurethane soles. Since then he’s worked in Purchasing, Design and Development, and even helped build up the sole factory in Del Rio. Now Jay works partly in Purchasing, partly in Sole Engineering.

Jay says he feels like SAS has kept a family atmosphere alive, even after the passing of the two founders including his dad. Yet he and his brother both share an excitement for the future of the company. “We have a lot of cool styles now, and cool shoes!” Jay says. Jay is also a fan of technology and says he’s excited about the new website and social media integration.

Jon and Jay explain that what sets SAS apart, both for them and all SAS employees- is that the company has respect for the workers. “My father made me one promise, that as a manager I would be treated much worse than the ones on the floor,” Jay explains, “The leaders weren’t the special ones at SAS, and still really aren’t today. It’s those people on the floor making the shoes.” Jon adds that he feels indebted after all SAS gave his family because “SAS has been good to us, SAS has been good to us.”