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USGNN Original StoryVisitors Peek into the Future as Dependable Glass Celebrates 40 Years

Dependable Glass Works in Covington, La., is celebrating on the job today. The glass fabricator is commemorating its 40th anniversary today and tomorrow with an open house, bringing the community together to mark the milestone in style.

"We made a decision to celebrate with the community," says Norman Foxworth, president. "We sent out invitations to the [local] architects, designers and businesspeople, and we're inviting them to bring any of their employees that they would like to our shop and we will give them guided walking tours."

Along the way, the visitors will pass through the company's showroom and into the facility-through its laminating department, edging machinery and water jet cutting-learning all the while about the company's varied products. Projectors will loop images of the company's glass products, as well as images of how glass is made. Food and door prizes will add to the festivities.

"Not only do we want it to be entertaining and fun, but we also want them to leave here with a new perspective on what the glass business is all about," Foxworth says. "Our whole theme is: 'Peek into the Future with Dependable Glass.'"

Guests also will be treated to demonstrations of the fabrication process. In addition to areas roped off for breaking hurricane- and impact-resistant glass, visitors can view the process for creating its "iced glass."

"In the first phase of manufacturing it just looks like regular glass," Foxworth says, "but just before you start doing the edgework on it a 'bolt of lightning' shoots through the glass. That seems to be very exciting for someone who hasn't seen it."

Foxworth attributes the special two-day event to a very special group. "This is all possible as a lot of our vendors have stepped up and been a part of helping us put this together," he notes.

There's another group to which Foxworth attributes the company' s long-term success. "If you were to ask what our biggest asset is, I'd say it is our employees. We have people who have been with us 35 years. I would say that 60 percent of our employees have been with us 10 years or more."

As he notes, the vast majority of employees are local people that the company trained, making the community connection that much more important. In addition, he says, "Covington is a small country town but we've been right downtown for 40 years in the same location."

Certainly the location has stayed the same, but the business has changed a great deal in 40 years.

"About every 10 years I see there's been a change," Foxworth says. The company began with a focus on the auto glass industry and the residential housing market. That eventually moved toward the commercial market. In the mid-1980s, Foxworth says, the company worked on glass furniture. The 1990s saw a shift to security glass, and then the hurricane- and impact-resistant products it offers today.

"Out of that hurricane-resistant business we have developed a tremendous architectural market where we create specialty colored glass, glass floors, thick pieces of glass really on the architectural design side of the business we spend a lot of energy working with architects developing new products," Foxworth says. He notes, "I guess one of the newer products that we feel like has tremendous potential for us is glass floors."

The industry won't have to wait another 40 years to see changes from this company. While Dependable currently occupies about 40,000 square feet of space, it is making big plans for the next year.

"I see that we have to modernize," Foxworth says. "The machinery that we have has served its purpose and served us well, but for us to move on into the future we have to modernize our machinery where we can be more efficient in what we're doing.

And to do that we're looking to build a new plant-we hope to do that in the next year or year and a half."

The company currently is in the process of acquiring property to make that addition.

But that's for the future. Today and tomorrow is for fun.

"You can tell we're excited about it," Foxworth says.

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