Retired Azon Director of Market Communications, Nancy Peterson, Reflects on Career

Following a more than 30-year career in the fenestration industry, Azon’s director of market communications, Nancy Peterson, retired in June.

Following a more than 30-year career in the fenestration industry, Azon’s director of market communications, Nancy Peterson, retired in June.

Peterson joined Azon’s marketing department in 1995. The fit was seamless, she said. Not only was Peterson’s father the co-founder of Azon, but she had previously managed a satellite office for a wholesale distributor of doors and windows. She also had held a builder’s license working to sell envelope materials to commercial and residential contractors.

While at Azon, Peterson developed the company’s website during the rise of the internet. She was also the project lead for an online platform designed to perform web-based electronic quality audit services for Azon’s manufacturing customers.

With retirement at hand, Peterson plans to remain busy. She volunteers and runs a small business that offers continuing education programs as independent, self-study courses for all inspector classifications.

What was it like working for your father?

Let the story begin by saying the company (Azon) was co-founded by my father, Jim Dunstan, and stepmother, Ruth, in 1977. Ruth passed away in 2019 and Jim is now 95 years old.

While Azon employed many family members over the years, it was always understood that the company was destined to become an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) as the plan of succession. Employee-partners share ownership in Azon. The longer you work for an ESOP company the more favorable it is as a wealth-building opportunity.

Did you always think that you would join the family business?

I joined Azon a year after the company became an ESOP. About 15 years later, I was appointed to the Azon board of directors. My father is always a natural storyteller and entrepreneur, and he had a mindset of having good leadership at all levels in the company.

Azon had a marketing communication position open at Azon in 1995, and with my prior career in sales in a related industry, it was a natural fit to join the company. I had worked previously managing a satellite office for a wholesale distributor of windows and doors that was closing the business. I had held a builder’s license working primarily selling envelope materials to residential and commercial contractors while calling on architects for the development of product specifications in commercial building projects.

How long were you in the industry?

Between selling wholesale windows, doors, and sunrooms and my career at Azon, I’ve enjoyed working in the fenestration industry for 34 years.

Why did you stay in this industry for so long?

That’s easy: I appreciate architecture and enjoy working with others in a construction-related industry. The contribution of thermal barrier technology by Azon to saving energy in buildings and the ability to communicate about innovations in the industry has been extremely rewarding.

What do you plan to do now?

For several years I’ve been the owner/partner of a small business offering continuing education programs (CE) as independent, self-study courses for all inspector (construction trade) classifications. Our clients need to earn a number of CE credits to fulfill licensing requirements in Michigan. I also volunteer with several organizations.

Is there anybody who you would like to thank?

The leadership at Azon is to be commended — and the fellow employee-owners deserve much credit — for steering the company through some challenges over the years, including the recent pandemic supply chain issues.

What are some of your fondest memories over the years?

Having worked with some wonderful individuals and being part of the successful growth of a company is gratifying, particularly when you reflect on so many good times. Watching the newer employees springboard Azon into the future is going to continue to be amazing. Attending and exhibiting at tradeshows was always a highlight. Making connections with others in the industry is something I will miss.

How has the industry and technology changed throughout the years?

Making use of machinery automation to improve manufacturing processes is one of the most significant and effective changes for the companies that make building envelope and glazing materials in recent years — strategies that benefit the owners by saving operating costs and providing occupant comfort, especially when high-performing thermal barriers are included in the framing.

What are your career highlights?

Having joined the company in 1995 as market communications manager, I had the opportunity to develop the first website just when the internet was starting to take hold for businesses. Soon after, I was the project lead when the company developed an online platform for conducting web-based electronic quality audit services for our manufacturing customers.

For about 20 years, I’ve been perusing LEED education when the USGBC was a fledgling organization.

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3 Responses to Retired Azon Director of Market Communications, Nancy Peterson, Reflects on Career

  1. Lisa Naugle says:

    Best wishes, Nancy, on your next steps. It was an honor to work with you for 20+ years.

  2. Janet says:

    I am so proud of you Nancy. Not only are you a hard worker, you are a kind lady. I hope you have a fun & relaxing retirement. You deserve it.
    Love, Janet

  3. Don Johnson says:

    Hi: Nancy:
    I enjoyed working with you for many years and certainly enjoyed watching the growth and success of Azon during my 40+ years in the commercial glazing and window & door market.
    I wish you all the best in your retirement.
    Don Johnson
    Retired Ad sales – Glass Magazine

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