Glaziers Speak Out: About their Most Important Asset

In today's competitive global market, companies are under increasing pressure to improve their return on its assets. Some of the highest returns in this industry come from investing in people. While new developments in technology certainly have their place, most of the individuals interviewed for this topic say it's people who remain the key differentiator. Attracting, motivating and retaining knowledgeable and skilled workers can bring many rewards.

"It's our people that we couldn't do without," says Tamara Oldaker, owner of Glass World, a small, full-service glass company that has served southeast New Mexico for more than two decades. "We have a diverse, loyal and hard-working team that enjoys its work and it shows. I feel very fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and reliable group of employees who play a vital role in making our business a success. We wouldn't be here without them."

Marty Priddy from Community Glass & Mirror in Escondido, Calif., agrees.

"Our people are our greatest asset," says Priddy, office manager for this small glazing contractor serving the North County/San Diego area for more than 16 years. "It's our employees who have the rapport with our clients and who bring in repeat business. Most of our employees have been with our company for an average of eight years. Retention is not an issue here. They like the owner, are treated well and work hard--it's a winning combination."

Kurk Rogers, general manager, SPS Corporation, a mid-sized glazing contractor in Indianapolis, says quality, organized field leadership (foremen and superintendents) is his most important asset. "These individuals are critical hands down to any successful project," Rogers points out. "Good labor management is essential. Mismanaged field labor can have a negative impact of hundreds of thousands of dollars on your project."

"It has to be our glaziers," adds Bettie Albers, vice president of Brentwood Glass Co., a small glazing contractor now in its second generation of ownership. "The quality of glaziers who represent our company on any project is impressive. We are a union shop and have a pool of highly trained and knowledgeable glaziers from which to choose for our construction projects thanks to our local union. As a matter of fact, our union [Glaziers, Architectural, Metal and Glass Workers Local Union 513] is ranked among the top five percent in the nation for its glazing apprentice program."

For Tommy Bankston, owner of Phenix Commercial Glass Co., a small glazing contractor serving the Phenix City/Columbus, Ga., area, it's his customers who are the greatest asset to his company. "Customers are vital to any business because you have to have them before you have anything else," explains Bankston, who says repeat customers comprise more than 75 percent of his business. "No customers, no business."

It's the caliber of employees that Victory Glass Company, a small glazing contractor serving the greater Oklahoma City area, credits for its nearly half-century of success. Secretary Dana Wicks says it's the attitude and work ethic of the staff, many of which have been with the company for more than 20 years, that makes them such a valuable asset. We're not just employees, we're members of the community who take pride and ownership in our work here."

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