Volume 38, Issue 9, September 2003
All Eyes On …
Glazing Contractors to
Watch in the Coming Years
|A. Zahner Co., Kansas City, Mo.
Private; More than 100 years in business; 150 employees; annual sales N/A.
A. Zahner provides a full range of services from initial consultation to design, engineering, 3-D modeling, mock-ups, samples, custom finishes, fabrication and installation.
L. William Zahner, president; Robert Zahner, vice president; Mark May, chief financial officer; Craig Baker, chief operations officer.
Innovative qualities: The Zahner difference is the Z-Axis, the third dimension. We realized early on that by utilizing and embracing the new technological advances in 3-D computer modeling, more complex forms would be achievable. A. Zahner utilizes digital definition technology to create solid, 3-D computer models of its work. We transfer this technology to the shop floor, effectively marrying the highly regarded craftsmen with computer-assisted manufacturing.
What type of projects do you take on primarily? A. Zahner Co. works with all kinds of metals in a wide range of finishes. No project is too large or too small, too simple or too complex to be considered.
What has been your company’s biggest achievement? We continue to be challenged by architects and designers and respond to their challenges. We have an enlightened, well-trained workforce that both manufactures and installs the work we engineer.
What is the next milestone your company would like to achieve? A. Zahner utilizes the same CATIA program that the aviation industry uses to design fighter jets and airplanes. We also use ProE to computer model projects. We have also developed our own software programs. Then, we transfer that information directly to the shop floor, resulting in a leaner manufacturing process, while maintaining the highest level of craftsmanship.
What do you look for in the jobs you take on? Some of the projects that continue to be of interest are ones where the architect or designer is attempting to do something that has never been done before.
Describe the most cutting-edge project in which you’ve been involved. While we continue to push back the boundaries of what can be accomplished in the world of architectural metal, the project that pushed us back the most was the Experience Music Project in Seattle designed by Frank O. Gehry. When we started that project about seven years ago, it was the first real test of our marriage to digital definition technologies that allowed us to go directly from computer to fabrication.
Why we’re watching: Unlike some glazing contractors that also dabble in metalwork installations, A. Zahner focuses on metal projects, but also is involved with glazing on some projects. Many of the jobs the company takes are of the Frank Gehry type, and often use large amounts of metal in unique ways. As more and more of the construction industry heads toward digital designs, A. Zahner is one of the leaders in that area.
|Bagatelos Architectural Glass Systems Inc., Sacramento, Calif.
Private; 6 years in business; 80 – 100 employees; annual sales, N/A
Bagatelos is a full-service curtainwall subcontractor. We do 20 percent of our sales in public works and 80 percent are medical and private developer work.
Nicholas P. Bagatelos, president; Christopher J. Bagatelos.
Innovative qualities: We provide integrity in our design budgets and every interaction we have with general contractors and owners.
What type of projects do you take on primarily? $1-$9 million dollar range. We specialize in design build and close relationships with general contractors in Northern California. Campus facilities have been our focus. We are also very experienced with OSHPOD work and have a running backlog of large public school projects. Most projects are negotiated or bid in a pre-qual status.
What has been your company’s biggest achievement? Every employee in our company feels as though they are a part of the BAGS family. We have grown quickly and managed that growth by sharing the decision-making process with our trusted employees.
What is the next milestone your company would like to achieve? We want to be the best glazier in the United States. Not the biggest—the best.
What do you look for in the jobs you take on? A relationship with the contractor and ease of management.
Describe the most cutting-edge project in which you’ve been involved. We are installing the curtainwall and sunscreens on the UC Berkley Jean Hargrove Library. All systems were designed by BAGS and the architect was MSME Associates in Atlanta. The details create a sloped wall with, at times, seven different mitres that integrate the insulating glass, art glass and an extensive sunscreen system.
Why we’re watching: Though this management team grew up in the glass industry, it is putting new ideas and management principles to work in the field. The company concentrates on a tight niche of work in Northern California and on campuses.
Haley-Greer Inc., Dallas
Private; 24 years in business; 200 employees; annual sales, $30-$50 million.
Provides management and installation of major curtainwall projects for both new and retro buildings.
Don Haley, chief executive officer; Letitia Haley Barker, president; Mark Hogan, executive vice president; Louie Duncan, vice president; and Norbert Klotz, vice president.
Innovative qualities: We are constantly striving for quality control and proper people management for our projects.
What type of projects do you take on primarily? New commercial and retro.
What has been your company’s biggest achievement? Along with staying in business and growing for 24 years, successful completion of major projects such as the restoration of the Houston Power and Light building and management and installation of the Enron project in Houston.
What is the next milestone your company would like to achieve? An annual, profitable volume in excess of $50 million, and to establish additional market basis within our territory.
What do you look for in the jobs you take on? Jobs that lend themselves to a complexity in nature and a high degree of difficulty.
Describe the most cutting-edge project in which you’ve been involved. Enron, for the fact t hat we had ten different wall systems intermingling on one project, plus the tie- in at the existing structure. The main features that made this a unique project was the Saturn bridge that spans three lanes of traffic, tying the bridge into the original structure, along with the parking garage and new building.
Why we’re watching? Haley-Greer has been regarded as one of the top players in the contract glazing industry. Just a few months ago, Don Haley’s daughter, Letitia Haley Barker, was promoted to president, making the company a first to have a woman leading one of the country’s top-tier glazing contractors.
Juba Aluminum Products Company Inc., Concord, N.C.
Private; 10 years in business; average of 75 employees; annual sales of $15.5 million for past three years.
As a subcontractor, Juba Aluminum Products specializes in constructing high-performance building exteriors and storefronts for low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise structures. Juba’s completed projects include new commercial buildings and re-cladding projects in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Joni Juba, chief executive officer; John Juba, president; Phil Campolo, director of finance & operations; Johnny Ray, VP of field operations; Janna Juba Riley, VP of sales; Michele Juba King, director of communications & HR; Mike Ray, senior project manager.
Innovative qualities: We are constantly exploring new ideas to help architects, general contractors and owners in the pre-bid pricing of commercial projects, i.e., Juba Aluminum “Estimate Calculator,” a tool available through our website and to our current and potential customers. This feature provides a ballpark price on projects based on specifications entered into the calculator. Additionally, we have built our reputation on finding effective solutions to challenges involving curtainwall, storefronts and aluminum panels.
What type of projects do you take on primarily? In terms of price, million-dollar-plus curtainwall for new commercial buildings and recladding projects for low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise structures.
What has been your company’s biggest achievement? We believe our biggest achievement has been becoming a premium and leading glass and glazing subcontractor in the Southeastern United States. Since our inception, the company has grown from three employees to 20 full-time professional staffers and an average of 50-100 field employees.
What is the next milestone your company would like to achieve? Enhance our current relationships, establish new relationships and find opportunities to participate in more specialized and challenging projects that allow us to demonstrate our expertise in performance and quality of work.
What do you look for in the jobs you take on? Many considerations come into play when choosing to bid and install our systems. We have extensive experience in granite, skylights, glass, aluminum panels, ornamental metals and aluminum curtainwall. Our projects range in size from 85,000 to 230,000 square feet of curtainwall area. Finally, partnering with the architect, owner and general contractor on any project is fundamental for an on-time and on-budget project completion. Our mission statement and core values embody the concepts of respect and teamwork. This philosophy is always present when bidding projects.
Describe the most cutting-edge project in which you’ve been involved. Cox Enterprise in Atlanta was the most challenging due to the scheduling of the dry-in of six months on a project that was 195,000 square feet of wall area, including glass and granite. One project that has been widely publicized and recently awarded recognition is the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC). In terms of project details and intricacies of design, the GICC was most challenging in respect to the SCG rating and radius glass wall tilting earthward, special frame units with 1-inch glass and 4-inch air space with 9/16-inch laminated glass.
Why we’re watching: Juba Aluminum is quickly making its way into the contract glazing mainstream and has been recognized throughout the South as an up-and-comer.
Probably one of its most intriguing qualities is that it is a female-owned company and is holding its own well amongst the majority male players in the industry.
|Lake Shore Glass Co., Chicago
Private; 17 years in business; 35 employees; $10 million.
Installs low-rise curtainwall, windows, custom architectural applications; offers in-house fabrication.
Dan Naughton, president; Greg Crider, vice president.
Innovative qualities: I really don’t consider us innovative.
What type of projects do you take on primarily? Low-rise curtainwall, storefronts and entrances.
What has been your company’s biggest achievement? An excellent safety program—11 years without a lost work day.
What is the next milestone your company would like to achieve? To continue profitability and survive the next 17 years no matter what the economy is doing.
What do you look for in the jobs you take on? Profit.
Describe the most cutting-edge project on which you’ve been involved: N/A
Why we are watching: Lake Shore Glass has been called the “stealth bomber” in Chicago, in that it has grown tremendously in the past few years and continues to expand to new and more complex jobs. “It’s been growing like crazy, behind the scenes,” said one of its competitors, “and is working hard not to be noticed.” But noticed we have. True to form, Naughton’s comments were brief and to the point.
|Masonry Arts Inc., Bessemer, Ala.
Private; 40+ years in business; 460 employees; annual sales of $30 million.
High- and mid-rise custom curtainwall; blast- and bullet-resistant curtainwall; windows, doors, stone and glass facades; reglazing existing facilities and replacing entire high-rise facades while occupied.
Roy V. Swindal, president; Kenneth E. Hays, executive vice president; Theresa N. Williams, CFO.
Innovative qualities: We are the leading supplier/installer of historic replication, blast-resistant windows. We design, manufacture and install blast-resistant windows without compromising the historic attributes of windows in historic landmark buildings.
What type of projects do you take on primarily? Blast-resistant windows and curtainwall. These projects consist of both new construction and retrofits/reclads.
What has been your company’s biggest achievement? The Phoenix Project—repair of the Pentagon post 9/11. Masonry Arts assisted in demolition and debris removal after the attack. We designed, manufactured and installed 140 600-pound inserts for the poured-in-place wall to accept new blast windows as manufactured and installed by our company. We removed and restored hundreds of pieces of limestone façade, including 70 truckloads of new stone. We worked 160,000 man-hours with zero hours lost to work time injuries and finished the project in nine months, well below the two-year conventional timeframe.
What is the next milestone your company would like to achieve? To continue to procure work in our specific expertise. This would include additional historic replication and blast-resistant retrofits.
What do you look for in the jobs you take on? Masonry Arts prefers to be the single source for the entire exterior façade. This allows us to save the general contractor/construction manager considerable coordination of what usually amounts to three or four separate subcontractors.
Describe the most cutting-edge project in which you’ve been involved. The U.S. Embassy in Moscow. We manufactured and supervised installation of 5,000 blast-resistant curtainwall units; 700 7,000-pound stone units on trusses; and 900 large, highly articulated metal panels. The entire project was complicated further by distance and ramifications of shipping to a secure site.
Why we’re watching: As the building and construction industry becomes more and more concerned with safety and security, Masonry Arts is one company that has stepped up to meet those needs. The company was involved in reconstructing the Pentagon and is also active in the Protective Glazing Council.
MERO Structures Inc., Menomonee Falls, Wis.
Private; 70+ years in business; 60 employees in the U.S.; annual sales, N/A
For more than 70 years, MERO has been the global leader in the creation and application of three dimensional, structural construction systems and integrated cladding. Our single-source approach—design, engineering, supply and installation—ensures client satisfaction. From the outset of design through construction closeout, we manage and execute the complete project in a quality-oriented, coherent and efficient way.
Ian Collins, president; Terry Peterson, vice president of sales; Kent Anderson, vice president of finance.
Innovative qualities: Our in-house engineering staff is highly creative and innovative regarding the use of glass and steel.
What has been your company’s biggest achievement? Our continued growth in the United States since coming here from Germany in 1986.
What is the next milestone your company would like to achieve? Researching and excelling in the next cutting-edge technology.
What do you look for in the jobs you take on? MERO thrives on a challenge—budget, schedule, site logistics, etc. We excel on jobs that other companies cannot do.
Describe the most cutting-edge project in which you’ve been involved. Since our projects are not stick-built and do not come from a “kit-of-parts,” virtually every project we do has some unique component(s) involved.
Why we’re watching: As the use of point-supported glass continues to grow in the United States, MERO, which has been in the United States for less than 20 years, has been able to answer that call by providing system design, fabrication and installation.
Permasteelisa Cladding Technologies Ltd.; Windsor, Conn.
(Parent company is Permasteelisa sPa in Venice, Italy)
Public (parent company); 25 years (U.S. operations began in 1999); 1,500 employees in the United States; $264 million (in the U.S.), more than $1 billion globally in 2002.
Permasteelisa Cladding Technologies is a wholly owned subsidiary of Permasteelisa sPa, which also owns Joseph Gartner USA, Allied Bronze and Glassalum. In the United States the company functions as a specialty contractor, providing design, manufacturing and installation of various types of exterior cladding.
Alberto DeGobbi, president of U.S. group; Claudio Daniele, VP/CFO; Roberto Bicciarelli, group VP for sales and estimating; Michael Budd, VP and general manager for the Midwest; Mark Pasveer, VP and general manager for the West.
Innovative qualities: While the unitized approach to curtainwall isn’t all that new, we’ve developed innovative methods of fabrication and assembly that incorporate the highest levels of mechanization and quality assurance.
What type of projects do you take on primarily? We believe our niche in the North American marketplace consists of large and highly custom exterior cladding projects primarily, each valued at $5 million or more.
What has been your company’s biggest achievement? Of our projects in North America, it’s difficult to say which is our greatest achievement. One of our greatest achievements to date is the Walt Disney Concert Hall (WDCH) in Los Angeles. While similar in design to the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the WDCH utilized a skin of 316 stainless steel with an angel-hair finish.
What is the next milestone your company would like to achieve? We are continuing to build a team of qualified and energetic professionals to meet the demands of our growing business position.
What do you look for in the jobs you take on? We look for several key characteristics in a prospective project. Is the design of the project compatible with our means and methods of performing the work? Is the project of sufficient size to support the project management and engineering resources required, while still allowing us to be competitive? The closer the project fits our best abilities, the more value we can add for all parties.
Describe the most cutting-edge project in which you’ve been involved. Of the projects in progress currently, the most impressive is the World Trade Center, Tower 7. This monumental project is currently going through system design and mock-up testing, with installation to take place in 2004.
Why we’re watching: Operating in the United States for just a few years, Permasteelisa has made a name for itself by taking on high-end, challenging jobs. The company is continuing to establish its U.S. presence with the acquisitions of Gartner USA and Glassalum.
|Thomas Glass Co., Columbus, Ohio
Private; 30 years in business; 40 employees; annual sales of $5 to $6 million.
Commercial glazing contractor and glass replacement specialist. Also owns G Force Automatic Doors LLC, which sells and installs Dor-O-Matic automatic door products.
Andrew T. Gum, president; Charlie Condit, vice president; George Gum, COB.
Innovative qualities: An inclusive management style that allows individuals to make independent decisions, ultimately involving everyone in the management decisions of the business.
What type of projects do you take on primarily? All types of commercial glazing. Private, public, curtainwall, windows, entrances, automatic doors. We also have a separate service division.
What do you look for in the jobs you take on? We focus on construction managers and general contractors who approach business the way we do. We target jobs that allow our strengths to gain us a competitive advantage.
Most cutting-edge project you’ve been involved? Eaton Cota Transit Center. A radius curtainwall enclosure with a racetrack skylight above.
Biggest achievement? Being in business for 30 years. Putting the right people in the correct positions to establish a team that will allow us to meet our future goals.
Next milestone? To be a $15 million company by 2012.
Why we’re watching: Though Thomas Glass has been in business for 30 years, the president is just a few years older than the company. Andrew Gum is an active, vocal player in the glass industry and is involved in various organizations including the Glass Association of North America and the American Subcontractors Association.
|Universal Glass and Metals Inc., Detroit
Private; 5 office employees, 25 field employees; $8 – $10 million.
Full service glazing subcontractor, aluminum storefronts, entrances, curtainwalls, windows, skylights, glass-supported railings, mirrors, ornamental metal.
Larry Brinker, president; Pete Taormina and Gary Boyajian, vice presidents.
Innovative qualities: We like to be involved in difficult and/or intricate projects that are less likely to attract multitudes of bidders.
What type of projects do you take on primarily? Commercial and institutional work, as well as stadiums and sports facilities. Recent notable projects include Detroit Metropolitan Airport’s Mid-field Terminal, Comerica Park for the Detroit Tigers and Ford Field for the Detroit Lions.
What has been your company’s biggest achievement? To have established ourselves as one of the quality Southeastern Michigan glazing subcontractors capable of projects listed above after only five years in business. Reputation is the most important tool you can have in continuing to sell work.
What is the next milestone your company would like to achieve? To be recognized by people in the glazing industry as the company that people want to work for and do business with. To be recognized by our customers as the company they wish to continue to do business with.
What do you look for in the jobs you take on? Profitability. To negotiate a fair price with a reputable client/contractor and be able to provide a top-quality installation on time.
Describe the most cutting-edge project in which you’ve been involved. Comerica Park – We set up a separate fabrication facility designated entirely to one project. We coordinated efforts with our metal and glass suppliers to allow us to measure, fabricate, install and glaze curtainwall on an opening-by-opening basis immediately after the masonry was finished in an opening. This allowed a continuous flow of work, and glass was installed less than two weeks after an opening was ready. We fabricated more than 350 doors and frames on an as-needed basis.
Why we’re watching: Universal Glass is a small company not afraid of a difficult job and often active in planning and future construction. Located in Detroit, a city experiencing a major re-birth, Universal is finding itself on the leading edge to take on new glazing projects that arise.
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