Up Close with Heinaman: What Makes Him "Glazing Man of the Year"
December 21, 2010
John Heinaman, president of Heinaman Contract Glazing, with offices in Lake Forest, Calif., and Las Vegas, received the Glazing Industry of Nevada's "Glazing Man of the Year" award for 2010. The award was presented during the association's annual Christmas party in Las Vegas. But Heinaman tells USGNN.com™ that he wasn't immediately embraced by the Las Vegas market when his company set up shop there 11 years ago. Today the company has an impressive reputation and Heinaman talked to USGNN to tell us why.
USGNN: What do you think makes you glazing man of the year?
Heinaman: First, our company has been around for 23 years and in Vegas for 11 years. One of our customers had us go to Nevada because they needed things done correctly. That was a real uphill battle because quite candidly it is a small town--the locals did all the work. It was very difficult to come in from out of town and it took time to get recognized. It took about five years to become a local and considered part of glazing industry in Vegas.
As far as why I received the award, I joke that all the old guys in Vegas died or already got the award or are out of business. So they had to find someone and import them from out of state.
My son Mark runs the operation in Vegas but I spend some time there and participate in the activities of the glass association there. With our hard work we have become recognized and are the busiest company at the moment and we predict that will continue.
But I really think I won the award because back in 2005 there was a problem with the Southern California Pension Plan impacting retired glaziers that were part of a union in California, Nevada, Colorado and Arizona. The glaziers in these states were all part of a common pension plan. In the late 1900s, the trustees who were half union and half employers were given bad advice from an unscrupulous broker who convinced them to put money in a piece of land that was supposed to be for a new NFL stadium. It turn out the land was contaminated and worth only 20 percent of what they paid for it. So due to bad judgments the pension plan did not have adequate funding to pay retirees in the future. I thought it would be resolved but sure enough I was at a meeting and I found this isn't getting solved. So I, and two others, all volunteered to find a solution. We worked with the government and the IRS so we could stay in business and make settlement payments over a 15-year period.
USGNN: What do you love most about the industry?
Heinaman: I'm always challenged with how we can do what we do and do it correctly and professionally. I've seen so many contract glazing companies that do shoddy work. A lot of companies have gone out of business and bonding companies have to be involved and complete the work. I've always been challenged myself to never fall in that category. I'm known as doing things correctly the first time, on time. Those are my principles of excellence. I was inspired by Jim Collins book, Good to Great. We can be great. I get challenged to get up every day and go to work and do that.
My son and I said we were going to create a company that would be known as the best of our size and create a better package for employees, etc., and be better than the competition and we've been successful at it.
USGNN: What are the biggest challenges in the industry?
Heinaman: Right sizing your business to the volume you have and making the tough decisions. You have to make enough money to pay the overhead and hopefully you will break even. In 2010 we did half volume from 2009 and we will be profitable this year. Our backlog is double what it was a year ago. We have been successful because we do things right and our business is relationship driven and not price driven.