A legacy film telling the story of former Glass Group president and Guardian Industries chairman Russell Ebeid, a renowned glass industry leader and philanthropist, will premier tonight in Toledo, Ohio.

Keith Famie of Visionalist Entertainment Productions directed and produced the film. He says the local community in southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio, along with Ebeid’s friends and family, “felt it was time to tell his story.”

Former Guardian Industries President Russ Ebeid is the subject of a new legacy film by director and producer Keith Famie. The film will premier tonight at an event for approximately 150 of Ebeid's friends, colleagues and family members.
Former Glass Group president Russ Ebeid is the subject of a new legacy film by director and producer Keith Famie. The film will premier tonight at an event for approximately 150 of Ebeid’s friends, colleagues and family members.

“He’s a very quiet and reserved person, but he’s accomplished so much and touched so many people through his leadership, philanthropy and outlook on life,” says Famie, who spent a year interviewing many of Ebeid’s friends and colleagues throughout the country.

Regional nonprofit health system ProMedica and Sylvania, Ohio-based Lourdes University organized the premier event, which will be held at the Valentine Theater in Toledo. Gary M. Cates, chief philanthropy officer of ProMedica, says they expect approximately 150 of Ebeid’s friends, colleagues and family members in attendance.

Famie says Ebeid wasn’t much involved in the film aside from providing names and contacts, and tonight will, in fact, be the first time he’s seen it. He says he’s done a number of similar documentaries and that Ebeid is the first person featured who didn’t want to see the film before it was shown.

“It’s like getting a haircut for the first time in ten years and going straight into the party without looking in the mirror,” says Famie.

“This really says a lot about someone’s personality,” he adds. “I think when Russ decides he has confidence in someone, he lets them do their job.” This was a trend Famie recognized in speaking with people who worked under Ebeid throughout the years. They spoke of Ebeid as the “Riddler,” which Famie soon learned why.

“When leaders of different manufacturing departments would come to him with an issue, problem or idea, they always seemed to leave with more questions than they came in with,” he says. “He wasn’t one to give an answer, but instead provided guidance and a canvas of questions to address.

“They all look back on it now and say that was probably one of his greatest attributes, to force you to think and not just give you answers. That takes a real confident type of person and a true leader, to create that kind of environment as opposed to leading by holding the reigns tight.”

Ebeid spent more than 40 years in the glass industry before retiring in 2011. In 2008, he was featured in USGlass magazine’s list of the Glass Industry’s 50 Most Influential People and told us his heroes were his parents “who were knapsack immigrants who came to the United States (from Lebanon) without money, language or contacts … Their core values taught us that unselfishness, consideration of others, conscientious service, honesty and measured decision-making were the currencies of life.”

Throughout the years, Ebeid has made philanthropy an important life focus. He has worked closely with ProMedica, among other organizations, donating millions of dollars to many health-related causes. He has also received the National Ethnic Coalition of Organization’s (NECO) Ellis Island Medal of Honor and has been knighted by several foreign governments.

Cates says the film should run just under an hour and that the showing will be followed by a panel discussion. “It’s just a great night to honor and spend time with Russ,” he says.

The film won’t be released to the public, though Famie says there is a possibility a version could be available for industry members and others in the future.

3 Comments

  1. I would love to see the film. Russ Ebeid’s story is one I would love to read or watch. He is a true “rags to riches” story who proved that success is the result of hard work and sound decisions. He knew the glass business and knew all his customers, no matter how small. I’m glad to see him recognized for the industry icon and leader he was and remains to be.

  2. I had the honor of working with Russ in the early to mid-70’s. He was a leader then and maintained his persona through thick and thin in the intervening decades.
    Russ deserve the admiration of our entire society…he is an American success story–done right.
    Russ reflects the hope and ideals of every American and is a credit to our Country.
    Well done, amigo.

  3. I worked at Guardian with Russ. He always had time to chat and not simply in passing in a hallway, invitations to come and sit in his office and talk about the market, competitors , strategy were not uncommon. He was a common man’s CEO that didn’t over complicate things nor suffer fools gladly.

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