Gomez Sparks Memories of the Way it Was
He says he's the "oldest guy in the glass business," but 75-year old Sparky Gomez doesn't plan to slow down any time soon. Gomez, who still works full time at Avalon Glass with shops in Gardena and Carson, CA, celebrated his fiftieth year as owner in August. And the anniversary didn't go unnoticed. Guardian Glass threw Gomez a party at its headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI.
Why all the fanfare? "I've been loyal to them for the past 20 years," said Gomez. Although he only expected a "little get together," he was joined by more than one hundred people at the celebration including Guardian president Bill Davidson and Glass Group president Russ Ebeid.
Thinking back to his early days in the glass business, Gomez marvels at the changes. "When I started you could only produce 300 feet of mirror per day. Today, you can manufacture more than 100,000 feet," he said. "And, we did everything by hand. Today, you put the glass in one end of the machine and it comes out the other end as a finished product."
While the evolution of technology is a change for the better, Gomez views other developments as detrimental. "We're the only industry where we're giving our products away," he said. So, what or who is to blame for this low pricing and underbidding for jobs? "There is a lack of leadership," he said. "Years ago, the old W.P. Fuller, and others, set the pacetoday, we have no one who is leading the parade."
It isn't likely that the industry would want to revert to the days of dinosaur technology, but should it revisit the business practices of years ago? Gomez says yes. "In my days, if you knew someone was bidding on a job, you stayed away from it," he said. "Today, anyone can bid for a job, regardless of their credit rating."
While it is difficult to accept some company tactics, Gomez cherishes his years in the business and the relationships he formed. "Retiring is not in my vocabulary. What would I do?" he asked.
Although he has no plans to leave in the near future, Gomez realizes he will someday have to depart from the glass business. When will that happen? "I'd like to get out when I'm a winner," he said. Would it then be time for his retirement? Not likely. "Maybe I will be a crossing guard for school kids." A smart choice for a man skilled at leading the way.
NFRC Names New Administrator
Susan Douglas, previously the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) administrative director, has been named administrator of the organization. The NFRC board of directors elected her to the position last November. Douglas will serve as the chief executive officer and will oversee all aspects of the organization. She has been a part of the NFRC since 1993 and is the second administrator for the organization.
Kennedy Replaces Bradford at AFG
D. Roger Kennedy has succeeded James W. Bradford, Jr. as president and chief executive officer of AFG Industries Inc. of Kingsport, TN. Kennedy will manage the company's nine float plants and other operations located throughout the United States and Canada. Previously, Kennedy was the president and chief executive officer for AFGD, AFG's distribution and fabrication group in Atlanta. Bradford left to start UGC (see Issue at Hand, USGlass August 1999 pg.4).
JLM Wholesale Appoints New Branch Manager
JLM Wholesale Inc. of Oxford, MI, has chosen a new branch manager for its JLM Wholesale SE Inc. located in Charlotte, NC. James Lee brings over 14 years experience in the door and hardware industry to the company. He has extensive training in all facets of the wholesale industry, according to the company.
Bostik Names Cochran Territory Manager
Jody K. Cochran has been named territory manager for Bostik of Middelton, MA. She will be responsible for sales of industrial and construction products across California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii. Cochran will work to expand the distribution network for the company's general industrial line as well as specialty products for the construction marine and watercraft industries, according to the company.
O'Brien Promoted to Director of Finance and Administration at Harmon
Shelbie O'Brien has been named director of finance and administration for Harmon Inc. of New Brighton, MN. She will oversee finance including management reporting, policies, procedures and planning as well as the company's information technology group.
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