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JOINED THE SAS FAMILY IN 1985

Del Cardenas has lived in Del Rio, TX her whole life. A mother of six children and grandmother to more, Del says life hasn’t always been easy. That doesn’t keep her from a perfect attendance record as a San Antonio Shoemakers employee for over 30 years!

Del says she had to make her own clothes in the earlier days and even made clothes to sell for extra money. Things started looking up for Del after working a few years at SAS. She was able to buy a truck for her son when he left for college and care for all her other kids. Now Del says she’s able to buy nice clothes for herself and eat out at restaurants; things a hard working mother sacrifices.

Del has noticed she’s a rarity in the workplace. “They don’t stay in a job like I do. They change a lot. That’s how kids are.” Del says she doesn’t want kids like her granddaughter to suffer like she did. She passes on some wisdom. “Everywhere you go the work is hard.”

Still a hard worker at age 81, Del is often told to take it easy. “They tell me, ‘take your time.’ I cannot take my time,” Del explains, “I’m used to the work.” She says some have teased her in the past about retiring, but she’s going to do what she thinks is best, and right now that’s to keep working at the SAS factory in Del Rio. At least, that’s the plan for today, “I think maybe I should be sitting down at home. But I keep up. She (Del's supervisor) can tell you."

Del's hard work and perfect attendance record, along with other employees, will be recognized and celebrated at the Service Awards lunch in December.

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Oct 31, 2016 2:01:50 PM By Mandy Mullen employee spotlight, Del Rio, Employee Spotlight

Our employees here at SAS are like family, always there to offer their support and share their SAS memories. Some of our employees have been part of SAS for 20, 30, or even 40 years. Some are brand new, but feel a part of the family. In celebration of our 40th Anniversary in 2016, we wanted to share what some SAS employees had to say when thinking back on their time at SAS, and remembering the company's founders, Terry Armstrong and Lew Hayden.

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Jan 6, 2016 12:02:22 PM By Mandy Mullen Employee Spotlight

Martha Delgado is a skiver and a San Antonio Shoemaker employee of 33 years. Skiving is the important step in our shoemaking process that makes the leather pieces fit snugly together. Without skiving, the shoe can look and feel bulky and even become very uncomfortable with rough edges.

Things were different at SAS when Martha first started. “It was a small little factory…everybody knew each other because we were all together,” Martha explains. She says as the factory grew, so did her work command. Years ago Martha only had to know how to skive only two or three shoe styles. Now, she says there are about 15 to 20 different styles she needs to know to skive each day; but she doesn’t seem to mind.

“Along the way, they have always treated me right,” Martha states, “They have always been there for me.” Martha says she enjoys working today, even though she doesn’t need the job as much as she did when she started. Now, Martha enjoys coming in to work each day to see her friends, to laugh, and to make some of the most comfortable shoes in the world. “If I didn’t like my job,” she continues, “I wouldn’t have been here for 33 years.”

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Jul 20, 2015 8:10:29 AM By Mandy Mullen Employee Spotlight

JOINED THE SAS FAMILY IN 1979

Already immersed in the shoe industry, young Barry Wafford knew the quality of San Antonio Shomakers before he started working there. The young man sold shoes at a local San Antonio store where they had SAS shoes in inventory. It wasn’t long before founders Lew Hayden and Terry Armstrong approached Barry to work for them. After rejecting their offers twice for retail jobs, Barry says the two offered a position in the factory, and Barry finally said “yes.”

It was 1979, and Barry says his first job at SAS was in the sole laying department, pushing racks. He recalls the feeling of inadequacy while watching true craftsmen and craftswomen make shoes around him. Soon, Barry learned the tricks of the trade and eventually ran Manufacturing for the company. He also worked in Retail, Wholesale, and headed up Human Resources. Now, Barry claims he’s a Senior Advisor, and loves it.

One of the joys of Barry’s work, he says, is working with the people in the factory today. “There’s just such skilled individuals you work with here everyday.” Barry explains, “They really, really care about their jobs, and they really, really care about their company.” This love for factory workers is something seen throughout the company; as Barry puts it, “Listen, I could leave tomorrow…and they wouldn’t miss a beat, but if we lose a shoemaker tomorrow, we got a problem!”

It’s that spirit that keeps hard working folks like Barry around for 10, 15, even 30 plus years. Barry recalls a quality passed down from the SAS founders, “You take care of the people, and they’ll take care of the company, that’s all you got to worry about.”

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Apr 3, 2015 2:49:00 PM By Mandy Mullen Employee Spotlight

JOINED THE SAS FAMILY IN 1980 and 1981

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.”

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Jan 3, 2015 2:53:00 PM By Mandy Mullen Employee Spotlight
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