When Kathie Leonard came to Maine in the late 1970's she was hired as a secretary at a textile mill in Lewiston. She took what she learned in that job and eventually opened her own company, at the age of 27, to serve a niche market in asbestos replacement materials. Four decades later, she is still leading Auburn Manufacturing and selling products to 38 countries across the globe.
The company has facilities in Mechanic Falls and Auburn. They are a U.S. manufacturer of heat resistant textiles in many forms, from fabrics to ropes, woven tapes, blankets, curtains, and pads that can withstand high heat to the point of being fire resistant. With international sales of 25-30%, the company serves major industries like oil and steel, ship building/repair, and power generation facilities.