Promotions & Additions

Scott Cook is General Glass International’s (GGI) new regional director of fabricated sales for the Mid-Atlantic. For more than seven years, Cook has been a territory sales manager for GGI, working directly with customers, architects and designers to increase the specification rate and to drive sales of GGI fabricated products.

GGI has also appointed Alex Lafaras to chief financial officer (CFO). He succeeds Ron Vance, who recently retired.

Lafaras brings nearly 20 years’ experience in accounting and executive financial management from a variety of industries, most recently serving as the North American CFO and executive vice president for Alumil S.A.

The company also named Gus Trupiano as the national sales manager for its specialty glass division.

Trupiano joins GGI following a long-term career with AGC Glass North America, where he most recently held the position of director of sales for AGC’s industrial-OEM business unit. Trupiano brings more than 35 years’ glass industry and leadership experience to his new role.

Biesse Group has promoted Niki Kaltsounis-Kampiziones to chief operating officer for Biesse and Intermac in North America. Kampiziones is currently in her 24th year with Biesse, and will oversee the daily operations of Biesse and Intermac in North America, continuing to be responsible for directing and managing innovation and excellence within the organization, according to the company.


Consolidated Glass Holdings (CGH) recently appointed Ben Baum to vice president of security sales. In his new position, Baum will be responsible for leading both inside and outside sales teams for CGH’s security glass business units, including Dlubak Specialty Glass and Global Security Glazing. Previously, Baum served as national sales manager for Panasonic. He also held positions at United Technologies Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices.

New Hires

Dirk Schulte has joined Roschmann Steel & Glass Constructions, a member of Roschmann Group, as pre-construction executive of its North American operations. In this role, Schulte’s responsibilities include leading all pre-construction operations, commercial sales and technical advisory, as well as strategic business development, primarily in the
Northeast and Southern region of the United States and Eastern Canada.

Schulte previously served as vice president of North American operations for two years at Tianjin North-Glass (TNG), a member of NorthGlass group. Prior to that, Schulte was vice president of business development, sales and engineering at APG International, a façade contractor in the Northeast, as well as managing director of APG’s Middle Eastern operation in Dubai for more than eight years.

Pulp Studio has hired Mike Nicklas to act in the dual role of sales agent and director of major projects. Nicklas’ territory as sales agent encompasses Pennsylvania, Delaware and southern New Jersey, and all states east of Minnesota in the position of director of major projects.

“Mike Nicklas brings 35 years of experience and industry gravitas to his new position and we are thrilled to welcome him,” says Bernard Lax, CEO of Pulp Studio.

Nicklas was previously the director of engineered glass systems with Consolidated Glass Holdings and was with J.E. Berkowitz prior to that.

YKK AP America has expanded its Western regional presence with the addition of Lawrence Soto. Soto has more than 15 years of experience and will lead the team of estimating and customer service personnel in the San Francisco Bay area. He joins YKK AP with experience in the fenestration industry, including direct sales and management, overseeing estimating teams and direct fabrication and quality control of fenestration products.


When Oliver Stepe, president of YKK AP America, began the introduction of this year’s President’s Award winner, Michelle Pearson thought she was out of the running.

“ … [He] used the ‘he’ pronoun when describing the winner,” she says. “Then he started to indicate things in my specific territory. When he used the word ‘she’ I felt extreme excitement. It’s always been a goal of mine to win this award.”

Pearson’s career with YKK AP has come a long way since she started there as a receptionist through a temp agency. Today, around 19 years later, she is a sales representative at the company’s Baltimore branch, and the first female recipient of the company’s President’s Award.

“My initial reaction was shock to be honest with you,” she says of the honor.

The award recipient is selected primarily on a series of objective measures related not only to sales performance and annual growth, but also on measures related to long-term development of territories and the importance the company places on customer relationship management, technology and brand development within the architectural community.

Pearson became a sales representative with the company in 2009. Her territory covers Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia.


After more than 50 years with Billco Manufacturing, solution specialist Bob Lang is retiring.

Lang spent his first two years at Billco working on the shop floor while he finished his bachelor’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh at night. He was hired as a sales assistant to the vice president of sales in the spring of 1968.

“Even in his 53rd year, Bob still forwards articles to educate and share with his co-workers and peers. He truly loves his job, this industry and educating others,” reads a company statement.

One of Lang’s most cherished projects at Billco was working with Hugh Trautmann on the development of the world’s very first CNC/XYZ/Contour Glass cutting machine, the software to support it and his time spent introducing it at the glass shows in both the U.S. and Germany. Lang recalls one of his favorite projects was working directly with Ford to develop a custom washer, designed to specifically eradicate all their cleaning and washer maintenance issues. Winning the contract resulted in a blanket order over the next few years for more than 100 washers.

Lang plans to enjoy his time with his young grandchildren and his wife, Cindy, and continue volunteering a few times a week at the Historical Society of Mars, Pa.


Doug Nelson, who served as CEO of Brin Northwestern Glass Co., passed away May 9. Nelson spent many years in the glass industry, co-purchasing Brin Glass and Northwestern Glass Company with Larry Waller in 1978. He was active in the Glass Association of North America (GANA), particularly its Tempering Division.

In 2013, after selling Heartland Glass to Brin Northwestern, Bill Sullivan, who today is president of Brin Glass, told USGlass magazine, “I’ve considered [Doug Nelson] a mentor and someone I can bounce ideas off.”

John Dwyer, president of Syracuse Glass, also knew Nelson and says his glass industry involvement was something of great importance.

“For decades, right up until his illness, Doug was very active in the industry, at GANA meetings, and the Flat Glass Manufacturers Association (FGMA) meetings before that, at industry shows … he also made it a practice to encourage his management team members to attend and support the trade associations,” says Dwyer. “Doug was also an FGMA president, his partner Pat Rome was a GANA president, and Brin Northwest’s current president Bill Sullivan, has been very involved with GANA. Doug built a great team and a fantastic business in Minnesota that he was very proud of and loved to show off.”

Dwyer adds, “I last saw him at his retirement party in June of 2018, he was fatigued by his illness, but even so, was the life of the party, trading jabs and sharing funny stories with his partners in various businesses he’d had over the years. He showed me a picture that he kept in a file in a drawer in his office of him and several of his many siblings on the porch of the farmhouse he grew up in, and told me that if he would start to ‘feel sorry for himself,’ he would get it, and look at it, to remind him how tough his parents had it, and that would help him keep problems in perspective, and help him keep going. Many of us glass guys and gals will miss Doug.”

Ren Bartoe with Vesuvius also knew Nelson well, remembering him as a quiet, thoughtful man who was a great listener and quick problem solver.

“He was at his loudest with a 5-pound walleye on the line,” says Bartoe. “I’ll miss his wry humor and wisdom.”

Nelson is survived by his wife of 51 years, Marilyn; children Beth Nelson Sather (Tom) and Paul Nelson; grandchildren Olivia Sather, Daniel Sather and Jacob Nelson; brothers Gerald, James, Wayne (Mary Ann) and Bruce (Linda); sisters Veronica Schemmel and Scena Proodian (Ronnie); brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law Roger and Sharon Klasse and James and Peggy Klasse; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.

A funeral service took place May 17 in St. Louis Park, Minn., followed by his burial the next day.

Former Iron Workers International executive director Roy Williams died on December 6, 2018 at 79 years old. He was an ironworker with Local #63 in Chicago for more than 60 years. He was appointed general organizer for the new ornamental, architectural and miscellaneous metals department in 1992. Williams retired 11 years later. He is survived by his wife, Caroline; children, Terry Barnett and Tim (Anne Marie); grandchildren, Glenn Barnett, Nick Williams, Natalie Williams, Patrick Barnett and Eric Williams; and great-grandchild Rocco Barnett. Williams was buried at Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Ill.

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