New Apogee CEO and President Talks Shop
August 30, 2011

By Sahely Mukerji

Joseph F. Puishys has taken over as chief executive officer and president at Apogee Enterprises Inc., Minneapolis, effective August 22. He succeeds Russ Huffer, who retires after a 25-year career with Apogee.

USGNN.com™ talked to Puishys about his new role, priorities and the industry.

USGNN: How does your background prepare you for heading Apogee?
JP: I know commercial construction fairly well. I most recently ran the Honeywell Environmental and Combustion Controls division, which provides integrated product solutions in heating, ventilation, cooling and refrigeration, lighting control and combustion controls. Sectors served include commercial (more than one third of the business), residential and industrial. Prior to that, I led Honeywell Building Solutions, a global leader in the installation and service of integrated building solutions – this was all commercial construction, including new, energy retrofit and service. We installed and serviced HVAC, fire and security products.

USGNN: What are the top issues on your agenda for Apogee?
JP: Top line growth is important, and I see opportunities for global expansion, both organically and through more acquisitions.

USGNN: Will you be acting president of Viracon as well? If not, how will that business unit be handled?
JP: I don’t intend to run Viracon, and plan to fill the president position as soon as possible. In the meantime, I am taking advantage of the open president position to learn the business.

USGNN: Last year Viracon acquired a company in Brazil and seemed to be focusing on an international push. Will that continue to be the focus?
JP: Yes, we’ll continue to pursue international opportunities for Viracon. We’re pleased with the Brazilian acquisition and the projects they are winning.

USGNN: When do you see non-residential construction turning the corner?
JP: I expect it will bounce along the bottom a bit longer, but anticipate it will improve quickly when things turn.

USGNN: What are the three most important things a company should do now to reach the turning point?
JP: 1) Focus on operational performance to ensure your business is operating well when markets improve.
2) Ensure you have clearly identified your market focus for the upturn, and have your sales, marketing and manufacturing aligned to support this focus.
3) Develop the team that can lead your business to success as our markets grow and improve.

USGNN: What will the next year look like for Apogee/Viracon?
JP: We expect to see some market improvement, and in the meantime will focus on operational excellence and future opportunities.

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