Having been in business for 128 years, New York City contract glazier David Shuldiner Inc. has seen a lot of firsts—its first window, its first curtainwall, its first glass staircase. Two weeks ago, however, the family business took on something it hadn’t seen in five generations.

For the first time since its founding in 1888, David Shuldiner Inc. added its first outside equity shareholder in John Toohey. Toohey isn’t a blood relative, but he’s still considered as much a family member in the business as anyone, according to president and CEO Brian Land.

Land, representing the company’s fifth generation, took the reins of the company from his father and uncle in 2013, and has since helped it grow from an $11 million business to more than $30 million, with the size of its office staff tripling, and its field numbers more than quadrupling. The company now has approximately 75 employees.

Land Toohey
Brian Land (right) represents the fifth generation of the David Shuldiner family business and is the company’s president/CEO. John Toohey (left) has been with David Shuldiner for 27 years and is now the company’s COO.

An integral part of that growth has been Toohey, who started with the company 27 years ago—literally pushing a broom.

“I like to think we had the cleanest floors in Brooklyn back then,” says Toohey, who worked in the shop for a number of years before moving to project management and project executive positions. He’s now the company’s chief operating officer and is a new minority shareholder in the company.

“I’ve always believed in promoting talent, promoting success,” says Land. “John is a perfect example of that.”

“We’re changing the culture here,” adds Toohey. “We’re growing the company, bringing in young talent, and Brian wants them to know that even though this is a family business, all things are possible with hard work.”

Land says he strives to strike a balance between maintaining old traditions within the company while expanding with the times.

From a responsibility standpoint, the roles of Land and Toohey overlap. Land, though, is more focused on sales and internal development, while Toohey handles field operations.

“I’m all about setting the tone and vision for the business, and I really rely heavily on John helping me execute that vision,” says Land.

David Shuldiner’s recent work is well-documented: the Apple Cube store, the TKTS Red Stairs in Times Square, and the Madison Square Garden Transformation, among many others.

But the company is striving for more moving forward, and Land felt the best way to position it for long term success was to make Toohey part of the family—officially.

“I like to think that we’ve created a culture here where people can grow, succeed and know there is opportunity down the road if you really want it,” says Land. “And we can use John as a model for that.”

7 Comments

  1. Great story. A company ran with a vision and forward thinkers is a winner. Congratulations!

    Marc

  2. Moving ahead and thinking forward ! Congratulations on a good move Brian . Congratulations John Toohey an awesome leader!

    Sincerely ,
    Joe Toohey
    Project Manager
    David Shuldiner, Inc.

  3. Congratulations John for always looking straight ahead and achieving all goals.
    Job well done

  4. It is so cool that this business has been around for 128 years. That is definitely an impressive amount of time to be in business. This definitely seems like it would be a good field to go into. It is amazing how much help glaziers can actually provide. They really help take care of and maintain your windows.

  5. I just love that this nation has been built upon the backs of blue collar workers. Even though this family went to an outside source for continued growth help. Sometimes outside help is what is needed to take these home grown businesses to the next level. Even my company went to an outside financier to help us get ourselves to the next level of company wide growth.
    http://robertsonsglazing.com.au

  6. One of the things that I have noticed is that when people start a business, there is usually a mold for that business. Meaning that there is a set way that they should run their business. It’s always good to see that people are breaking that mold and doing things their own way, which in turn probably work out better than the conventional ways. Being a glazier hasn’t changed much, but I’ve seen technological advances in the glass and tools that they use.

  7. I feel like Toohey at my commpany!

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