From Paper to Glass: Glaston Reaches 150 Years by Reinventing Itself

Staying in business for 150 years requires adaptability. That’s why the company now known as Glaston Corp. transitioned into the glass industry in the 1980s after more than 100 years in business.

The Finnish company began in 1870 as Hammarén & Comp., a forestry and paper company. In 1941 the company changed its name to Kyro and in 1981, Kyro acquired Tamglass Oy, expanding its reach into the glass processing industry. It wasn’t until 2007 that Kyro changed its branding to Glaston Corp., signifying the company’s focus on both glass and stone.

Juha Liettyä, head of heat treatment technologies, says the owners in the 1980s wanted to focus on a less investment-driven business with a better future, as paper was a competitive business in Finland at the time.

“The owners have always understood the importance of development and innovation, as well as the potential in the global marketplace,” he says. “They were able to successfully transition the company from paper into the modern glass industry, which is a remarkable achievement.”

Liettyä describes the decision to acquire Tamglass as a bold move that came with challenges such as how to grow and develop that operation. Then, when the global recession began in 2007/2008, the company had to downsize and transition to its current business model. However, since around 2015 the company has grown each year, and in 2019 acquired Bystronic, which expanded its offerings.

“We never gave up and always had new things in the pipeline,” he says, adding that the company has become increasingly global and now offers sales and service in more than 30 locations worldwide. “We’ve truly become an international company with all of the things large companies have despite not being a large company. Ninety-five percent of our sales are outside of Finland.”

Liettyä points out that the biennial Glass Performance Days conference in Tampere, Finland, has played a large part in connecting Glaston with companies worldwide.

As the company moves forward he expects the integration of automation and digitalization with glass machinery to continue. He says Glaston will also focus on smart glass technology and automated lines that can take measurements of the glass, allowing the control system to access the parameters and function without an operator.

Glaston will celebrate its 150th anniversary throughout the year with special events for stakeholders, shareholders and cooperative partners.

Western Window Systems Launches Women’s Leadership Network

Western Window Systems, part of the PGT Innovations family of brands, has launched Leading Ladies, a voluntary women’s network initiated in 2017.

“Now more than ever, businesses need to view diversity and inclusion as a strength and use these types of networks to lobby for real change,” says Laura Hahnefeld, Western Window Systems marketing vice president. “The network is specifically dedicated to helping women gain professional development support, while also providing community outreach. The program offers lectures, group activities and self-reflection exercises, as well as mentorship, inspiration and insights from top female leaders.

According to Hahnefeld, among the program’s short-term goals are building a foundation of active female members who are passionate about developing leadership capabilities, supporting policies that promote fairness and empowering women through community outreach.

“In the long term, our goals are to build the next generation of leaders, establish Western Window Systems as a workplace of choice and leverage our experiences with Leading Ladies groups across PGT Innovations’ family of brands,” Hahnefeld says.

So far, Leading Ladies has welcomed over 30 participants.

Debbie LaPinska, PGT Innovations senior vice president of human resources and a Leading Ladies founder, adds, “It’s great to see incredible women leaders sharing their experiences, building connections and finding support networks. And we’re just getting started.”

New Quanex CEO Rings NYSE Opening Bell

Quanex Building Products rang in the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on January 16, 2020 in commemoration of the company’s 55 years being listed on the exchange. George Wilson, who was named Quanex’s president and CEO in December, did the honors.

In 2016, Quanex rang the NYSE closing bell to commemorate its 50th anniversary of trading on the NYSE. The company, based in Houston, is a manufacturer of engineered materials, components and systems for residential and commercial fenestration.

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