The glass and glazing industry does more than just build commercial and residential structures, solar farms, doors and windows – they also build lasting and loving relationships. This Valentine’s Day, USGNN ™ is recognizing some of the power couples in the industry, and how their love stories came to be.
Marriage: Passions for Glass and Business
Donna Braden and her husband, Jack, started their company Jack’s Glass, based in Allentown, Pa., in 1976 and continue to work alongside each other every day.
“Jack grew up in the glass business,” Donna says. “We have a picture of his grandfather at the cutting table with the calendar behind him on May 1914. Jack’s father, Carl, took over the family business and sold his five glass businesses in 1970 to National Glass. The businesses did not survive. So, in 1976, we married his passion for glass with my passion for business, and Jack’s Glass was born.”
Working with your spouse provides two people with the same passion to see the business grow and succeed, Donna says. However, one downside she has seen is that romantic dinner conversations will inevitably involve some business topics.
Later this year, the pair will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Janet and Lee Harrison, from Walker Glass Company, based in Montreal, say they haven’t been apart since finding out they shared a passion for glass.
The couple met at a lakeside guest house at age 15 and say they quickly developed a passionate dislike for each other. Three years later, they went for a walk and realized there was that there was a lot more passion than there was dislike. Forty-eight years later, the couple says they haven’t been apart since.
The pair has worked together at Walker Glass for 40 years and been married for 42 years.
“Fire and Dynamite”
Sophia Stephens and Bryan Carroll met and started their business, A-1 Glass, in 2010 “from scratch” in their early twenties.
“Bryan was brought up in the glazing trade by his father, who had a small glass shop in Coalinga, Calif.,” Sophia says. “Bryan was his father’s shadow, and after his parents separated when he was 18, his father left the business to Bryan, who kept it going on his own… We signed a lease to move into our shop and showroom’s current location, which we now proudly own, in downtown Paso Robles, Calif. With the support of our amazing community and a tremendous amount of dedication and hard work, we have developed a thriving business with an incredible team of 18 employees.”
She says the best part is having created and built the business together from the start and being each other’s’ inspiration and reason for persevering through challenges and growing both personally and professionally.
“All along, it’s been for each other and with each other,” she says. “The foundation of our business is love, and our team members see and feel that every day and we believe that is what has made all the difference. With our business as busy as it is today, we don’t see much of one another now on workdays, as he and I truly do divide and conquer… We make a great complimentary match in skillsets, as I have a background in business management, HR and marketing, and he has a background in engineering, building and installation. It’s no wonder our family calls us ‘fire and dynamite’ as a metaphor for what we can co-create and manifest together.”
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Joyce Cully became best friends with her husband, Mike, before they realized their relationship amounted to more.
“I started working for Mike’s dad in 1980 before he owned United Plate Glass,” she says. “When his father purchased the business, Mike was working for a glass company on the West Coast and moved back home to help his dad and brother run the business… We have worked together for 40 years. The best part of working together is that, while I work in the office and he loves working in the plant, we have someone who understands our struggles and provides support and can share in all the rewarding aspects of our job and celebrate our successes. We can’t imagine a life where we didn’t share each aspect of [it] together.”
The two have been married since 1986.
Generations of Love
Kevin and Jessica Bricking purchased Carmel Glass & Mirror in Carmel, Ind., from Jessica’s parents, who founded the company in 1980 and worked together until their retirement in 2020.
“I have worked at Carmel Glass since 2002 and Jessica joined in 2006,” says Kevin Bricking, president. “I started in sales, moved up over the years to run our sales department and now I run sales and oversee the installations. Jessica handles everything else, which includes billing, insurance, office matters and oversees our expansive showroom– she keeps me in line,” he says.
USGlass Magazine and USGNN ™ wish all of the couples in the glass and glazing industry a happy Valentine’s Day! We were shocked at the amount of submissions we received—we had enough to even make a quick slide show of more of the industry’s glazing couples. If you’re not featured this time, don’t worry—there’s always next Valentine’s Day.