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Winter  2001

Ones  to Watch                                                                                                                                                                          

Chelsea Names New Senior VP 
Chelsea Building Products of Oakmont, Pa., has named Chris Mathews as its new senior vice president of sales and marketing. Mathews has 27 years experience in building products and has spent the last 12 years in the area of vinyl window extrusion. He is an active AAMA member and has held several roles in the work of the National Fenestration Rating Council, Efficient Windows Collaborative, the Alliance to Save Energy and the Vinyl Window and Door Institute, according to Chelsea Building Products. 

LCS Adds to Staff
LCS Precision Molding of Elysian, Minn., has added Bob Valesky to its ranks as an independent sales representative. Valesky, who is based in Hatboro, Pa., with Avalanche Inc., will serve window and door companies in Eastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

In addition, Jenny Kelley recently joined LCS as an account representative. Kelley will work with both an established customer base and with the company’s outside sales representatives.

WDMA Names Perry Director of Industry Standards
The Window and Door Manufacturers Association, based in Des Plaines, Ill., has appointed Rick Perry to the position of director of industry standards. Perry will be responsible for working directly with all technical committees in the process of developing and maintaining WDMA’s portfolio of industry standards and test methods.

Former CWDMA President Retires; New Technical Consultant Added
Paul Deveau, a former president of the Canadian Window and Door Manufacturers Association (CWDMA) and a current board member, retired from Kohler International of Canada on September 30.

“[Paul] has been a dedicated, loyal and enthusiastic representative of our association and our industry,” said a CWDMA representative.

In other news, CWDMA has appointed Jeff Baker, P.E., president of WESTLab Canada in Waterloo, Ontario, as its new technical consultant. 

VEKA Moves Several Through Ranks
VEKA Inc., which is based in Fombell, Pa., has promoted several of its employees recently. The promotions were announced by the company’s recently appointed president Walter Stucky (see Fall 2001 Door & Window Maker, page 84). James H. Druschel, who has been with the company for more than ten years, will now serve as vice president, finance, and chief financial officer for the VEKA USA companies. His new responsibilities include planning corporate strategies, corporate finance administration, cost accounting, financial forecasting, financial reporting, budgeting tax administration and acquisition.

Charles H. Spaulding, who has been with the company since 1986, has been promoted to vice president, services,    for VEKA Inc. He is now in charge of operations for VEKA West and VEKA Tool & Die.

Ian D. Shearer, who has been with VEKA since 1987, will serve as vice president, marketing and sales. He will be responsible for the growth of the company’s sales and market share, along with marketing the company.

In addition, Thomas C. Richards has been promoted to the position of director of manufacturing for the company’s plants in Fombell and Reno, Nev. He has been with VEKA since 1983 and will now be responsible for overseeing manufacturing extrusion, compounding, tool and die repair, painted lamination and purchasing for all tooling for both facilities.

“These gentlemen have played a vital role in the building and growth of VEKA in the USA. I have no doubt that they will continue to lead us to years of success and be a great support as I start my venture as president of VEKA USA,” Stucky said.

Making Changes?
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Door & Window Maker
P.O. Box 569
Garrisonville, VA 22463

CHEN Thomas Chen founder and president, 
Crystal Window & Door Systems

I know you came to the United States from Taiwan 19 years ago. How did you choose New York as your home and corporate headquarters?

I had heard from childhood in Taiwan that if you wanted to be successful in life and in business you had come to the United States and to be successful in the United States, the place to come to was New York. Since coming here my opinion has been reinforced that America, and especially New York, is the land of opportunity. New York is extremely supportive and accepting of immigrants such as myself coming here and starting businesses. New York is also the center of perhaps the largest window market in North America. Those are some of the reasons why I have decided to stay, expand and open my new 165,000- square-foot factory here.

How did you get into the window and door industry? How did you come about founding Crystal?

Soon after arriving in New York I was working three jobs, putting in 14-hour-plus days. By day I worked in New York’s garment district. I was also the superintendent of the apartment building where my family lived, and I soon began “moonlighting” making window guards in the basement of my apartment house and installing them in the local Queens neighborhood. Crime in New York in the 1980s was much worse than it is today so window grates were in big demand, and making and installing them gave me an opportunity to use my welding and ironworker skills that I used in construction in Taiwan. As I would install the guards, many homeowners would also ask me to replace the old windows, which I did. Soon I was studying the construction of aluminum and vinyl windows and had the dream to begin making them myself. I gathered together a few partners and we launched the company that was to become Crystal Window and Door Systems in a large commercial garage space shortly thereafter.

Tell us about how you’ve assisted with the New York recovery efforts.

On September 11 and in the days following, I, like everyone at Crystal, was shocked, stunned and deeply grieved by the tragedy. An incredible desire to help in anyway possible came over me and many others. Initially, I thought about grabbing Crystal’s in-house welding equipment and heading down to “Ground Zero” to assist personally with the debris removal and search for survivors. As overwhelming aid poured into lower Manhattan, I soon realized that my role, and Crystal’s role, in defeating terrorism was to stay at the helm of my 210-person company and maintain business as usual. The assistance we could provide was economic and that’s what we are doing. We’ve donated 1 percent of sales through the end of the year and that probably totals about $60,000 to date and could reach as high as $150,000 by year-end. We are trying to get the first checks out to the five or six charitable relief organizations we are targeting in the next few weeks.

How did it come about that at least 60 of your employees donated a day’s salary to the recovery efforts, totaling more than $13,000?

Like me, most of Crystal’s workforce are immigrants to this country. They all felt outrage that their new homeland and home city was so viciously attacked. They felt compassion for the victims and families of victims and independent of my actions with the percentage of corporate sales, through the human resources department started their own pool of donations.

If you know someone who stands out from the crowd, email us at ttaffera@glass.com


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