Guardian Glass Float Plant in Carleton Celebrates 50 Years of Operation

Guardian Glass celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Carleton, Mich., glass plant in August, and with it the company’s entry into float glass production. Under the leadership of William “Bill” Davidson, Carleton pulled the first ribbon of glass on August 20, 1970. Up until that point, the company had been a manufacturer of automotive laminated windshields using glass sourced from others.

With the launch of the Carleton float line, Guardian became the first new company to enter the glass manufacturing business in 50 years. The facility was 275,000 square feet and pulled 350 tons of glass per day. Three years later, Guardian launched a second float line at the site.

“It is a testament to the hard work and dedication to safety of all our employees over the years, and to our customers and suppliers, that our Carleton team has maintained 50 years of float glass production consistently at the highest levels of quality,” says Ron Vaupel, Guardian Industries president and CEO. “It is wonderful to celebrate this first float plant as we prepare to launch a new float glass plant in Poland just over a month from now.”

“The team that led Guardian into the float glass business was learning on the job how to start up and operate a float glass manufacturing line,” adds Rick Zoulek, executive vice president of Guardian Glass Americas. “They illustrate the best of the entrepreneurial spirit at Guardian. This environment made success and growth at Carleton possible, creating momentum that carried Guardian toward rapid expansion across the Americas and then globally.”

The Carleton plant’s growth included the addition of coated glass capabilities in 1977 to improve performance and aesthetics, and a tempering furnace in 1978. Carleton was also the site at which the Guardian SunGuard product family of value-added glass coatings was launched in 1995. Carleton helped Guardian to another milestone in 2018 when the plant began producing jumbo coated glass, the company’s first jumbo coater installation in the Americas. The team has completed several cold tank repairs over the five decades to maintain the assets, improve safety and environmental controls, increase capacity and better meet customer demand.

Trex Commercial Products Celebrates Three Decades in Business

It’s been three decades since a company that was originally called Staging Concepts entered the market with a portfolio of platforms, risers and stairs. Today that company is Trex Commercial Products, a national provider of custom-engineered architectural railing and staging systems for the commercial and multifamily sector. This year, the Minneapolis-based company is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Initially focused on the performing arts market, Staging Concepts started out working with theaters and live event spaces. Following the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), venues across the country sought to enhance the accessibility of their facilities and Staging Concepts’ platforms proved a solution—particularly for major sports stadiums and arenas.

“This was a pivotal time in our company’s history,” says Laura Rygielski Preston, president of Trex Commercial Products. “We had the right products at the right time, and business took off.”

As the company designed ADA-compliant solutions for performing arts and sports facilities, railings became a natural part of the equation. Before long, customers were asking Staging Concepts to engineer railings for entire venues, according to the company. In 2004, it contracted its first major railing job at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Over the years, the business has continued to diversify within the commercial and multifamily market, taking on projects in hospitality, healthcare, worship and retail, according to the company.

In 2017, Trex Company acquired Staging Concepts to form Trex Commercial Products Inc. In the past three years, Trex has made investments in manufacturing capabilities and capacity aimed at reducing operational costs for the commercial division. The combined companies also have focused on leveraging synergies to drive efficiencies, innovation and growth.

“While a lot has changed over the past 30 years, our core philosophy remains the same,” says Rygielski Preston. “We understand that our role is more than just a fabricator of a designer’s vision. It’s about being a meaningful partner with our customers, from the conceptual beginning to the successful completion.”

MY Shower Door/D3 Glass Earn Regional and National Honors

Fort Myers, Fla.-based businesses MY Shower Door and D3 Glass have been recognized by Inc. Magazine and the Business Observer.

For the fifth time in six years, MY Shower Door was placed on Inc. Magazine’s Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing and most successful independent businesses in the United States. In the 2020 list, MY Shower Door made the grade at No. 4,186, based largely on its growth in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area.

The Inc. Magazine list ranks the 5,000 fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States by overall revenue growth over a three-year period. For the 2020 Inc. 5000, winners were ranked according to percentage revenue growth from 2017 to 2019. MY Shower Door’s Tampa/St. Petersburg location alone showed 81% revenue growth
over that three-year period.

More locally, MY Shower Door/D3 Glass was named to the Business Observer’s 2020 Top 500. Each year, the Business Observer spends seven months researching companies on the Gulf Coast from Tampa to Naples. The Top 500 list ranks the 500 largest companies by gross revenues for consistency and comparability.

On this year’s list, which reflects 2019 fiscal year data, MY Shower Door/D3 Glass ranked 289th with $17.8 million in combined 2019 revenue, an increase of 8.54% over the previous year. This reflects a jump from the previous year’s ranking of 299th.


PGT Innovations recently hired more than 100 new employees at its headquarters in North Venice, Fla. Positions filled include manufacturing technicians, fabricators, material handling technicians and drivers.

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