by Tara Taffera
Nearly 200 individuals in the glass industry traveled to Grand Rapids, MI, on October 2 to honor this years inductees into the Fifth Annual Glass and Metal Hall of Fame. The prestigious award, sponsored by USGlass magazine, was established to honor individuals who have given their time and talents for the betterment of the industry. The dinner was held during Glass Expo Midwest held Oct 2-3.
This years inductees were Frank Dlubak, president of Dlubak Corporation in Blairsville, PA; Ed Williams, CEO of Edwards Glass Company in Livonia, MI; and Joe Kellman of the Globe Group in Chicago, IL.
Before the awards ceremony, inductees and those honoring them, attended a cocktail party sponsored by Tubelite of Reed City, MI. After catching up with friends and colleagues, attendees entered the main ballroom for the dinner that preceded the nights main event.
While each individual inducted into the Glass and Metal Hall of Fame had a unique history in the glass industry, it was evident from the remarks given by presenters that all are admired and respected by their peers.
Alyssa Dlubak, daughter of Frank Dlubak, and an employee of Dlubak Corporation, used the words inventor and innovator to describe her father. Frank Dlubak is known in the industry for forging ahead with ideas and concepts, many of which were previously unheard of.
Frank began working for his fathers stained glass company at age 12, during summer vacations. The company moved from the stained glass business to the designing and building of window frames in 1974 and in 1975, its aluminum bending service was added. Many in the industry credit Dlubak with creating todays market for bent glass.
According to Alyssa, when people speak to her about her father, they not only talk about his business expertise, but his warm personality as well. "People in the industry are always telling me what a great person my father is. The women and men at Dlubak are always excited when Frank is in the house. He exudes a positive energy," she said.
It was evident from the crowds cheers and standing ovation, that others in the industry agree with Alyssas observations about her father.
When Lyle Hill, longtime friend and past employee, presented Joe Kellman with his award, he recounted much of Kellmans successes and achievements throughout the years.
Kellmans start in the glass industry began at the age of 14 when he worked at his fathers small glass shop, Globe Glass. When his father died, Joe and his brother Maury took over the manufacturing division of the business and Joe was given two small retail glass shops. Today, the two shops have grown into The Globe Group, the countrys largest privately owned auto glass chain, which was sold to Safelite in 1997.
Many in the industry credit the growth of the Globe Group to Kellmans invention of mobile auto glass installation, now an industry norm. The company created the first nationwide group of automotive glass centers, which quickly grew into the nations largest auto glass system, now known as networks.
Kellman boasts of many achievements outside the glass industry as well. Kellman founded the Better Boys Foundation over 35 years ago, and in 1988, he founded the Corporate Community School of America. Both programs are designed to improve the inner city public education system.
Although all of the above items are impressive, they do not accurately portray the essence of Joe Kellman, according to Hill.
"Ive known many, many, many people that Mr. Joe Kellman has helped through the years," he said. "Im certainly one of those people who has been helped greatly through this mans caring for me," said Hill.
Kellman, accompanied by his grandchildren, accepted the award. He and Hill then turned into the evenings comedy duo, trading one-liners and barbs to the delight of the crowd.
The word friend, was used many times throughout the night, when presenters spoke of the inductees. Jerry Wordhouse is a 19-year business associate of Williams, but when presenting Williams with his award, he referred to him as friend. But, thats not the only way people refer to Williams. Williams is endearingly referred to by many in the industry as Uncle Ed. "From one end of this country to the other, he is someone you would like to have as your Uncle Ed," said Wordhouse.
In an eloquent speech, Wordhouse recounted key moments of Williams career. Williams joined the glass industry in 1952 when he went to work for Iovan Glass Company in Detroit, MI. Four years later he opened Edwards Glass.
Wordhouse had a few words to describe Williams, one of which is honesty. "This is truly one of Ed Williams greatest strengths. If Ed gives you his word, you can take it as an absolute," he said.
Another word that came to mind was humility. "Ive seen him quietly reach out and help the troubled employee or someone else whether it be financial, or some other way. He truly thinks of others first before himself," said Wordhouse. "Eds willingness to serve on committees, no matter what capacity, is legendary. In all of this, there was no thought of personal reward."
Many of the people Williams has acted as a friend to through the years, traveled to Michigan to honor him at the awards ceremony. Following his presentations, they greeted him with rapturous applause.
Next years awards will be held on October 22 in Cleveland, OH. For more information or to receive a nomination packet, visit the website at www.usglassmag.com.
Tara Taffera is the editor of USGlass magazine.
© Copyright 1998 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.