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May/June 2000

industry Insiders
people in the news

 

MOVERS AND SHAKERS

Eric Snider is Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist

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Eric Snider of Mid-America Auto Glass of Bloomington, Minn., has been selected as one of 22 finalists for the Minnesota and Dakotas Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2000. The category Snider was selected to represent was “emerging companies,” one of eight areas recognized.

Founded and produced by Ernst & Young, the awards program is nationally sponsored by USA Today, CNNfn (CNN financial network) and CNN, the NASDAQ Stock Market and the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Recipients of the annual award become lifetime members of the Entrepreneur of the Year Hall of Fame. Past regional recipients include Time Warner’s Ted Turner, and Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos.

 

SEMA Adds Three
to Hall of Fame

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has named three new members to its Hall of Fame. New members are Jim Borré, CEO, Manik Motors; Ron Coleman, president, Competition Cams; and P.G. “Red” Roberts, president, McLeod Industries. All three will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame at the SEMA show during the industry awards banquet Thursday, November 2 in Las Vegas.

PERSONNEL CHANGES

CRL Appoints Four New Regional Sales Managers

As part of a new customer service program, Los Angeles-based C.R. Laurence (CRL) Co. Inc., is “adding more of a face” to its sales department to provide a more personal approach.

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Doug DeRusha has been promoted to the position of eastern national sales manager and will work with accounts east of the Mississippi River. DeRusha has been with CRL for more than 16 years, most recently as northeast sales manager.

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Lou Joella joins the company as a West Coast national sales manager. Joella brings 30 years of sales and management experience to the position. He joins Tinker Baumstark in servicing key accounts west of the Mississippi.

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Paul E. Kennedy joins CRL as national sales manager for Canada. He has more than 20 years experience in the glass industry, including positions with PPG and CLO Glass.

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And finally, Mark Daniels joins the company as the East Coast key automotive account manager. Daniels previously co-owned a glass shop for more than 14 years.

 

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Glass America Boasts National Volunteer

by Barbara Cummings

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From left to right: Mark Justak, Glass America sales manager; Craig Doane, NCCS vice president; and Chuck Puent, New York Life Agent.

No one would ever have been the wiser if Mark Justak had not kept his promise to God. But Justak would have known, and that was enough.

Justak, a sales manager with Glass America in Merrillville, Ind., has been recognized as one of six National Volunteers of the Year. He was honored for his work on the Northwest Indiana National Children’s Cancer Society (NCCS) Golf Outing, an event which he first organized seven years ago.

According to Sandra Jordan, public relations director for the NCCS, to be considered for this award individuals or organizations have to demonstrate exceptional leadership and create public awareness and support of the NCCS. I was able to catch up with Justak recently. Below is the conversation that followed.

Tell me a little about yourself.

I am the sales manager for Glass America, a privately-owned auto glass company here in Indiana.

You’re involved with children’s cancer. Do you have children?

No, I have been married 24 years, and have no kids. [My partner in the project,] Chuck Puent, doesn’t have kids either.

Has this disease ever come close to your family?

No. Twelve years ago my dad had cardiomyopathy and insurance wouldn’t cover the surgery. Heart transplants were considered experimental at that time. I had this idea to do a fundraiser to raise money to pay for my dad’s $150,000 surgery. We came pretty close. I made a deal with the Big Guy Upstairs and said, “If you let him pull through, I will continue doing this type of thing for other people. And my dad made it.

Why did you choose children’s cancer and not heart disease as the focus of your efforts?

About two years after that happened to my dad, I heard about a local kid, Tom Fitzgerald, here in Crown Point [Indiana] who had terminal cancer. I decided to do a similar golf outing for him. The outing was scheduled for July/August, but we had to cancel because of bad weather so we rescheduled for September. In the meantime, Tom passed away. His mother asked that we go ahead with our plans and give the proceeds to another kid that needed it.

What made you continue after the first year?

The feeling we get afterward makes it all worthwhile. We pretty much work on this year round, and we sell out every year.

Do you ever get discouraged?

Oh yeah. About three years ago, the committee was letting us down. They were coasting, you know? We were handling the luncheon and dinner, gathering prize donations, collecting for the raffle—it was just too much. I went to the National Children’s Cancer Society and said, ‘This is it. Let’s look for someone else to do this.’ My company was going through a major transition too. I had a lot on my plate.

That’s when WenDee Algozine came into this. (Algozine is an area manager for Enterprise Rent-a-Car.) Now, we have a fantastic committee. The three of us organize the event, and the others do the legwork. We have been able to raise over a quarter million dollars here in northwest Indiana. That is incredible.

Does anything about your job help you in your charity work?

Absolutely. I meet so many people, especially in the auto glass business, and golfing is a favorite fundraiser .

What do you feel are your personal rewards?

We know we are getting so much more out of this than we are giving. It is worth it to feel like you have done something good for someone else. n

 Making a Difference appears on a semi-regular basis.

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