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USGNN Original StoryDads Inspire These "Glass Acts"

It seems to be particularly common in the glass business to find a company that is being run by the second-, third- or more generation. Maybe that's because these young sons and daughters learn early what a great industry their family is involved in. With Father's Day approaching on this Sunday,™ asked our readers to honor their fathers by sharing their reflections. Here are a few we received:

A Dad's Mark on Today's Glazing Contractor

My father, Elia Karas, a newly arrived immigrant, started in the glass business around 1915 by lugging a heavy box of glass on his back through the tenement areas of East Boston while calling out a heavily accented "I replace broken glass."

One day, a woman on a fifth floor called down that she had a broken pane that needed replacement. My father climbed the five flights of stairs with the heavy box on his back and replaced the lite of glass. When he asked her for 50 cents to pay for the replacement, she replied she did not have any money. "But you asked me to replace that break," he said. To which she replied, "Yes, but I never said I could pay for it." Frustrated, my dad left unpaid, but started a new credit policy of getting cash in advance before he did any more replacements.

From this tiny start, he developed one of the largest distribution and contract glazing operations in this country while maintaining a very close eye on corporate credit policy.

With great respect and love for my dad,

Leo Karas
Karas & Karas Glass Co. Inc.

A Window Maker from the Start

My father passed when I was 14. Stories of him in my youth are sometimes fuzzy and hard to recall. However, I vividly remember one of the first Yiddish words my dad taught me. We were sitting on our couch in front of our 8-foot bow window when my dad uttered the phrase "fernstermacher!" I was probably 5 years old at the time, and I repeated back … "fenstermacher" … and asked what that meant.

He said that "fenster" is Yiddish (and German) for window and "macher" meant "maker," so a fenstermacher is a window maker.

I'm glad I knew that at 5 years old. This January marks the start of my 20th year in the fenestration industry.

Thanks, Dad, for inspiring my careers at Great Lakes Window and Republic Windows & Doors and now at 1-800-HANSONS.

Hal F. Yaffe
Marketing Director

Inspired Paths

  • In April, Zach Weiner, chief executive officer (CEO) of Colonial Glass, shared with USGNN how he got involved in the industry at the request of his father. (CLICK HERE for more.)
  • In a March 2008 USGlass interview, Letitia Barker, CEO of the Haley-Greer, recalled helping her dad start the Dallas-based glazing contractor by joining as its first employee. CEOs Robyn McGinnis of Sierra Glass & Mirror and Joni Juba of Juba Aluminum Products Co. Inc. likewise got into the industry by following the family footsteps. (CLICK HERE for more.)
  • In this May 2007 USGlass article, Ed Berkowitz, chairman of J.E. Berkowitz, shared how he was "born into this business" started by his father; a business that his son Arthur currently runs as president and CEO. (CLICK HERE for more.)
  • publisher Debra Levy shared a story about her father, the world's greatest hockey fan, in a 2001 USGlass column (CLICK HERE), followed by a column on their trip to see the Stanley Cup (CLICK HERE).
  • CLICK HERE to share stories about how your father inspired your path in the glass industry.

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