Scott Thomsen to Lead Guardian's North American Flat Glass Operations
February 18, 2010

Scott Thomsen

Guardian Industries in Auburn Hills, Mich., announced today that Scott Thomsen will take on the role of group vice president for North American flat glass operations, a new position at the company, as of March 1. Thomsen will oversee all aspects of its North American flat glass including facilities, fabrication, marketing, sales, financial, business development and services. Additionally, he will continue to oversee the company’s research and development activity at the Science and Technology Center in Carleton, Mich.

“We’re all trying to step up to the plate after Bill Davidson’s passing,” explained Russell Ebeid, Glass Group president and chairman of the board, in an exclusive interview today with™. Davidson, who led Guardian for more than 50 years, passed away in March 2009 (CLICK HERE for related story). As a result, organizational responsibilities are being shifted, giving Thomsen a role in leading North American functions for the glass group and Ebeid a broader role overseeing worldwide operations, as well as responsibilities as chairman of the board.

“Now that we have [active involvement with the] board we have a responsibility to shareholders, to charities and to the family, so we have to be much more engaged to make sure we’re protecting the interests of all three,” Ebeid said. “As chairman of the board I’ve picked up those responsibilities.”

Russell Ebeid

According to Ebeid, Thomsen was the ideal candidate to direct North American operations due to his background in the company’s research and development initiatives.

“We, as an industry, have to get out the commodity rut, and Scott’s a guy who is doing that,” Ebeid said, pointing to Thomsen’s leadership of the group that’s launched a number of high-performance coating products to the commercial, residential and solar glass markets in recent years. Ebeid added, “In our early days, we had rapid growth because of our international expansion. Now we’re into the next stage and that’s getting out of commodities and moving into innovative products …”

Thomsen explained, “At Guardian I have been [involved] in innovation, but in past work experiences I’ve had I have been in operations and I’ve run plants. I have been in charge of sales organizations, I’ve been in charge of marketing organizations and I’ve been in charge of innovation organizations - so I feel that I’ve had the right mix of background to help Guardian go from a rapid growth commodity-based company to an innovation-based company.”

Among Thomsen’s first priorities was to establish a North American Flat Glass leadership team, which includes:

  • Martin Powell, vice president of sales and marketing. Powell has 27 years of experience at Guardian, most recently at Guardian Building Products.
  • Jim West, senior director of channel and business development. West developed Guardian’s solar product segment from inception. In this new role, he will be responsible for market research and business analysis to help the company define its business model for the mature North American market.
  • Jim Pettis, senior director of North American fabrication facilities. Pettis has a long tenure with Guardian domestically and overseas. He will oversee Guardian’s fabrication plants and create a commercial paradigm for their success.
  • Joe Bruce, vice president of flat glass services, which includes purchasing, logistics, regulatory and related activities. Bruce has held numerous roles in his 25 years at Guardian, and will also retain his responsibilities as vice president of global purchasing.

"One of the good things about being at Guardian," Thomsen commented, "is that we were able to draw from the best people to make the best possible organization, we didn't just look to the United States and Canada, we were able to look around the 'world of Guardian,' which is a big advantage."

Though Davidson and Ebeid have for many years provided a face to the U.S.-based float manufacturer, that is a role that Thomsen, too, says he is willing to adopt.

“About nine months ago Russ asked me if I was ready for the next 35 years,” he told™. “I think this is the strength of Guardian. It’s important to have that consistency … When you look at the four big glass manufacturers in the world, Guardian has had the most consistency in the last 25 years since Russ has been in charge of the Glass Group.”

CLICK HERE to read the news release issued by the company.

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