Glaziers Speak Out: About Their Code of Ethics

There has been a dramatic increase in the ethical expectations of businesses and professions over the past ten years. Increasingly, customers, clients and employees deliberately seek out those who define the basic ground rules of their operations. Written or unwritten, a "code of ethics" helps establish a framework for professional behavior and responsibilities, define acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, promote high standards of practice, provide a benchmark for companies or individuals to use for evaluation and can be used as a vehicle for occupational identity.

Established business ethics and practices appear to be an integral part of some professionals in the industry today.

"Creating a written mission statement, business plan and code of ethics were completed long before we opened our doors a year ago," says Jim Boutin, vice president and general manager of the Longmont-based Colorado State Glass and Mirror Company. "As a new entity in a highly competitive market, we needed to be sure we were all on the same page from day one on how we would operate the business, build our customer base, conduct ourselves and clearly handle issues that come our way. With partners, we knew we needed standardized guidelines for behavior and manage our day-to-day business operations to ensure consistency when dealing with customers. It's made a difference in helping us to build solid relationships and bring in repeat customers."

Rogers Aluminum & Glass in Jamestown, Ky., has had a code of ethics for several years. "We're a family-owned and operated commercial glazier and we are very interested in the way our employees perform their jobs and represent our company," explains Sally Barnett, who has been the company's bookkeeper for 26 years. "The company has been in existence for 50 years and developed a written code of ethics as a guideline to help employees provide courteous, professional and consistent service."

United Glass & Mirror in Norwich, Conn., just recently incorporated a written code of ethics into its safety manual. Founded in 1985, a small, family-owned and operated commercial glazier serving the tri-state area of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the company has always worked by the highest of standards. "While we were updating our safety manual, we noticed that a number of other companies had their code of ethics written and included in their manuals," recalls Robin Coak, who compiled the newest version of the company's safety manual. "We thought this made good sense and that we should put our ethics guidelines in writing and incorporate them into our safety manual as well."

Dave Norman from Dave Norman Glass, a glazing contractor serving the greater Portland-Vancouver area, has always operated by a set code of ethics. "These codes are the basis of our business," he explains from his shop in Clackamas, Ore. "Here, we operate from an unwritten code that guides us in our dealings with suppliers and customers and is based on our experience and philosophy. It's pretty simple. We conduct business with honesty and integrity and believe in treating people fairly. With that said, we expect to be treated likewise. It's worked well for us for more than 20 years."

Like Norman, Dave Hardy, president of Roaring Fork Glass in Glenwood Springs, Colo., also conducts business by an unwritten code. "We are a small family-owned glazing contractor serving high-end clientele in the Aspen and Snow Mass area. We operate from a personal code based on strong moral and work values. We have high expectations, hold ourselves to high standards and apply the Golden Rule, 'treat others as you would like to be treated,' everyday."

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