Newsmakers December 2021

Obituaries

Leo Karas, Karas & Karas

The glass and glazing community is mourning the loss of an industry giant: Leo Karas of Karas & Karas Glass Co., who passed away November 30. He was 93. Karas spent his final years in Boston, in a glass condominium built by his family’s multigenerational company.

According to his son, Joey Karas, Leo’s impacts on the industry could be felt in several capacities.

“He had the terrible need to be involved in [everything],” he says.

A Harvard graduate and U.S. military veteran, Leo Karas ran Karas & Karas with his father, Elia, and his brothers, Arthur and Dave. But his footprint was much deeper and wider than the Boston glass industry. He served as president of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) and was instrumental in starting the Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Division and Conference. He was also recognized by USGlass magazine as one of the most influential people in the glass industry, and his company is consistently included in USGlass magazine’s top 50 contract glaziers.

Don Haley, the founder of Dallas-based contract glazing company Haley-Greer, worked with Leo Karas in starting up the GANA BEC Division.

“He was the one who started that and developed it and was instrumental in the [BEC Division],” says Haley. “He was a good glass man.”

“Leo Karas was a giant in the glass industry; he was a strategic planner and builder of all he touched—including his company and the many associations to which he devoted efforts,” adds USGlass publisher Deb Levy. “But he was something, even more; he was a beacon of morality in at a time in the industry where that was often lacking.”

Additionally, Karas and his wife were heavily involved in the Congregation Mishkan Tefi la, having spent every Saturday morning and every major and minor Jewish holiday in shul. Leo served as president of the congregation, preceding his wife in the same job.

Karas and his wife were also among the founding families of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s New England chapter and became involved when their son Joey was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

Karas is survived by his wife, Barbara; his daughter Susan and her wife, Claudia, and their children, Ethan and Brandon; his daughter Linda; his son Joey and his wife, Judi, and their children, Allix and Ben and Ben’s wife, Jess; and his son Matty.

James (Jim) Halpin

James (Jim) Halpin, 77, of Louisville, Ky., passed away on September 6, after battling cancer. He worked for more than 50 years as a plant manager for Palmer Products.

“Jim was a mentor to me for over 30 years and I Iearned a lot of what I know
about running a manufacturing plant from him,” says Lawrence Palmer-Ball, president of Palmer Products.

Halpin was an avid outdoorsman, enjoying hunting, fishing, animals and golfing, according to his obituary. His favorite place to be was Boundary Waters in Canada.

He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Janice Marie Halpin, his children Maria (Todd) Buckner and Matthew (Ashley) Halpin; his grandchildren Brooke-Anne, Madeline, Lucas, Mila and Savannah; his brother John Paul Halpin; and many nieces, nephews and extended family.

New Hires

Roto North America

Roto Frank of America Inc. recently welcomed a new laser specialist to its team, Bryan St. Amand.

St. Amand joins Roto with 20 years of experience working with industrial machinery, 15 of those years in CNC service and applications with a primary focus on laser tools. He also has experience with CNC mills, CNC lathes and plastic injection, along with eight years of experience with Prima Power, a laser tool manufacturer. He has also had the opportunity to attend many factory training seminars, with a relevant opportunity being ten weeks of total training at Prima in Italy for five-axis laser tools.

St. Amand has an Associate of Arts degree in general studies and is currently working part-time towards a B.A. in sociology.

Promotions

Pulp Studio

Pulp Studio, a manufacturer of decorative and specialty glass products, promoted Kirk Johnson to the newly created position of chief operating officer.

With over 25 years in the glass industry, Johnson started on the production floor and has worked in every aspect of the business from cutting, tempering, lamination, insulation and fabrication to sales and executive roles. Johnson joined the Pulp Studio team in 2016 after serving as director of sales and marketing, regional vice president, chief operating officer and chief administrative officer at various glass fabricators on the West Coast.

Quanex

Quanex has promoted Kim Garcia to vice president, chief human resources officer. Garcia brings more than 20 years of human resources experience to the role, and the company says her appointment reflects Quanex’s focus on its employees as key stakeholders for the organization.

As chief human resources officer, Garcia will continue to oversee global human resources and payroll activities for the company. Her responsibilities will also include driving recruitment and retainment efforts across Quanex’s international operations.

Garcia joined Quanex in March 2020 as vice president, human resources, after more than two decades in human resources for various industries. During her tenure at Quanex, she has helped bolster recruitment and retention activities as the organization seeks to better serve customers across industries.

Garcia holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Spanish from Rice University, an MBA from the University of Houston and an EdD in interdisciplinary leadership from Creighton University. She is based out of Quanex’s Houston headquarters.

New Hires

Tubelite

Daniel Politowicz is the new logistics manager for Tubelite Inc.

Politowicz reports to order and planning manager, Scott Waggoner. Together, they oversee the company’s U.S. and Canadian freight movement, distribution and improvement initiatives for storefront, curtainwall, entrances and daylight control systems.

Politowicz has more than 35 years of logistics and distribution experience and is knowledgeable in Kaizen methods and lean manufacturing. Before joining Tubelite in 2015, Politowicz was an operations and procurement manager at Palogix Supply Chain Services, a third-party logistics company based in Michigan.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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