Volume 48, Issue 8- August 2013
The Industry’s Best Companies
to Work For
A There’s no doubt about it: the glass and metal industry is one of the best industries in which to work. We here at USGlass magazine hear regularly from employees who are passionate about the products they make, take pride in a job well done and feel strongly about the companies they represent. But have you ever wondered how your company stacks up against the competition? That’s where our “Best Companies to Work For” survey comes in.
The following pages include a ranked sampling of just such. Through extensive benefit plans, continual training and corporate cultures that promote their employees’ wellbeing, these companies work hard everyday to make it a joy for employees to come to work.
About the Survey
Vetrotech Saint-Gobain is headquartered in Auburn, Wash., with 50 employees. According to Lori Jerome, web publisher, it is truly the supportive employees who make working at the company a daily pleasure. Jerome says that having the backing of a huge corporation (Saint-Gobain) and the operation of a private company “that really truly cares about the health, safety and happiness of its employees” are just part of what goes into making this company one of the best for which to work.
Vetrotech Saint-Gobain North America’s
2. TIE: American
AAMA Schaumburg, Ill.
The Schaumburg, Ill.-based American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) employs 20 individuals who support its numerous fenestration, glass and supplier members.
“As a not-for-profit, we are not money/market driven. Instead, we are driven by our customers/members and their satisfaction,” says Andrea Rhodes, technical operations supervisor. “This makes my job much more enjoyable than worrying about commissions and profits. Instead, I can worry about making sure our members are happy and represented.”
The company further rewards employees with an annual bonus incentive program, yearly staff outings and monthly staff lunch and learns.
Arlington Glass Chicago, Ill.
Chicago-based Arlington Glass is home to 24 employees at two locations. Patrick Hill, senior project manager, says the company fosters an atmosphere of support, where “no one cares about titles or position” and “it’s all about taking care of the customer and helping each other.”
As a result, Hill says, the customer wins. “The Arlington team will do whatever it takes to treat the customer with respect and to deliver high-quality products on time and at competitive pricing. The customer is always first.”
The company also strives to put the community first, by allowing employees paid time off for community service work such as election judging, food bank participation and so forth.
Arlington Glass’s Benefits
3. TIE: M3 Glass
M3 Glass Technologies
M3 Glass Technologies in Irving, Texas, is home to 100 employees at two locations, and those employees say the family-owned and -operated fabricator treats them like family as well.
“They help guide and encourage growth in and out of the office and everything is an open door,” says Chris Fennell, in sales for M3, of the company owners. Mike Pfaffenberger, decorative glass manager, agrees. “We maintain a small company, ‘family’ environment while providing world class products,” he says. Pfaffenberger adds that the multi-generational company has “stayed true to its roots,” never compromising on the way it treats its employees or the processes and technologies it adopts to stay at the forefront of the glass industry.
M3 Glass’s Benefits
After nearly 50 years in business, Wood’s Powr-Grip in Laurel, Mont., employs approximately 100 individuals. Lisa Hagel, marketing/advertising coordinator, says the company’s philosophy to “do the right thing” for customers, employees and the community is part of what makes Wood’s such a great place to work. “Although this philosophy seems very basic, it is important to the prosperity of Wood’s Powr-Grip, especially in today’s business world,” Hagel says.
Part of this philosophy is reflected in the company’s individual product testing. Part of it is reflected in its benefits, such as the company’s wellness programs. Among other offerings, employees receive health incentives for participating in the company’s annual health fair. A nurse visits monthly to take blood pressures and answer health questions, with free hearing tests performed annually. Employees also receive fitness club discounts. In addition, the company hosts a discounted annual company golf tournament and an annual company-paid picnic or outing.
Wood’s Powr-Grip’s Benefits
The more than 200 employees at Walker, Mich.-based Tubelite Inc.’s four locations demonstrate their pride in their company through their commitment to their clients. According to controller Shari Ludy, that’s because “we’re growing by leaps and bounds and the company shares that with the employees.”
She points to the company’s generous benefits package as partial evidence of this. In addition, she says, the company works to celebrate its success and growth on a quarterly basis through such things as group family activities, internal promotions, tuition reimbursement and certification rewards that all work to make employees feel supported.
“We are well supported by our parent company, Apogee, and the Apogee umbrella of companies allows people to grow and move across the country. Apogee is very supportive for personal health and wellness and provides numerous events throughout the year to help increase healthy activities,” she says.
Shelley Van Dyke, human resources manager, adds that the way the company treats its employees is reflected in the pride they demonstrate through commitment to a job well done.
“Tubelite employees have a sense of ownership,” Van Dyke says. “We have a great team that takes pride in providing quality products and services to our customers on time and complete.” Ludy agrees, “The people are phenomenal.”
Ludy adds that having a large parent company provides additional opportunities for employee growth and health.
2. TIE: J.E. Berkowitz
J.E. Berkowitz L.P. Pedricktown, N.J.
J.E. Berkowitz L.P. employs 185 individuals at its facility in Pedricktown, N.J., and, according to human resources manager Beverly Humenik, the family-owned and -operated company shows employees through its benefits how much they appreciate these employees’ hard work.
“J.E. Berkowitz truly values its employees,” Humenik says. “They believe in loyalty, integrity in the industry and giving back to the community as well as the employees. They invest in their employees as well as the business itself.”
J.E. Berkowitz’s Benefits
Technical Glass Products (TGP) in Snoqulamie, Wash., is always seeking to improve itself and its employees, according to Janice Evans, director of human resources, and that’s all just part of the company’s drive to provide its customers with the best service and products.
“TGP is unique in its mindset of continuous improvement,” Evans says. “Each new job provides us with an opportunity to innovate …” For employees, that means that in addition to the benefits listed below, the company encourages employee wellness through onsite fitness classes and discount gym memberships, just as it encourages community development through regular community service opportunities.
“Employees have a strong sense of pride in the work they do and know how their contributions lend themselves to TGP’s success,” Evans says.
Austell, Ga.-based YKK AP America has 11 locations with more than 500 employees. Oliver Stepe, senior vice president, says the company “offers its team members a well-rounded experience and an opportunity for personal challenge and growth over a lifetime, not just a job.”
According to Stepe, “The company philosophy weighs heavily on making employees whole in the benefits plan.” To accomplish this, the company keeps a low ratio of employee contribution to healthcare costs and aims to bear the majority of costs for the programs. Employee wellness programs and employee-run wellness committees that regularly hold events and promote wellness are one way the company helps to protect its employees and bear those insurance costs.
In addition, Stepe says, the company aims to support employees in their career growth through such tools as its internal job posting system and its “career development programs” that provide a defined path of development and promotion opportunities within prescribed disciplines such as field sales and customer service roles.
Mark Richard, branch manager in Andover, Mass., adds that the company’s local approach to doing business helps foster loyalty among its employees. “It is the type of company where ‘everyone knows your name,’ whether you work in Boston or Atlanta or Chicago,” he says. “Even though we are an international company, employees are not treated as numbers.”
YKK AP’s Benefits
Glazing contractor TSI Corp. has one location in Upper Marlboro, Md., that is home to 105 employees. According to Matt Gallagher, marketing manager, TSI is a unique place to work in that it offers the benefits of a larger corporation, while creating the caring environment of a family-owned company through such perks as baseball tickets for employees.
“Victor Cornellier, the owner, and all upper management are very involved in all day-to-day activities. Many TSI employees have had long tenures here, giving the company the credibility of being a special place to work,” Gallagher says.
TSI Corp.’s Benefits
1,001 and More Employees
AGC Glass Co. North
Alpharetta, Ga.-based AGC Glass Co. has more than 3,400 employees in 30 locations. According to Alice Dickerson, marketing communications manager for AGC, the company works hard to create a culture that supports strong customer and employee satisfaction. “AGC Way” training is provided with all employees globally to achieve this culture, and to inspire a commitment among associates to contribute to the company’s management policy of “Customer Satisfaction, Safety, Operational Excellence” every day.
“To say that AGC is a global leader, but decidedly local in how we do business is not just marketing fluff,” Dickerson says. “We are a global leader in the glass industry, yet our executive leadership takes the time to travel worldwide, not just to corporate offices. They visit individual plants and meet with employees face-to-face. In this same spirit our operations support the business needs of our customers specific to each locality, and in a very personable manner.”
The North American Flat Glass division of Guardian Industries in Auburn Hills, Mich., has 2,800 employees at its 11 North America locations. Paul Landgraf, director of human resources services for Guardian Industries, says the company strives to create a culture of integrity and trust, accountability and responsibility, value creation, customer focus, entrepreneurial spirit, respect and self-development; these ideals all make up the company’s “Guardian Principles.”
In addition to this principled behavior, the company works hard to reward employees through a number of means, including length of service awards, recognition of plant milestones and bonuses for productivity and safety. In addition, the company puts a big focus on health and safety through a number of bonus offerings. Landgraf notes that the company holds annual company-wide basketball, volleyball, golf and softball tournaments; provides gym discounts or onsite exercise equipment; and provides over-and-above travel accident and accidental death and dismemberment insurance to many employees. In addition, the company offers a best practice HealthGuard wellness plan that includes free annual physicals for employees and spouses, as well as a $4 co-pay on prescriptions for blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose; on-site Weight Watchers meetings; and cash rewards for participation in Winners Circle exercise program.
NSG Group, based in the United States in Toledo, Ohio, has approximately 1,500 employees at 14 locations. According to Kyle Sword, the Lathrop, Calif., plant manager, the company is a “very employee- and customer-focused organization.” Sword says that the high employee satisfaction, as evidenced through company surveys, is driven by the fact that the globally owned company is locally managed and that employees are involved in making key decisions that impact them.
“High levels of training are provided at all levels of the company,” Sword adds. “Succession planning, career progression and focused attention on high-performing employees all drive positive relationships for employees with career development and job satisfaction.”
He adds that this satisfaction is reflected in the fact that he sees very little turnover within the group and that employees take proud ownership of their jobs at NSG.