Volume 39, Issue 7, July  2004


AFG Industries Announces 
Reorganization; AFGD to Relocate

Kingsport, Tenn.-based AFG Industries has announced itis restructuring operations. Through the reorganization the operations of Atlanta-based AFGD will be relocated and consolidated into one of three new AFG manufacturing and fabricating units. The three new units are: AFG Glass, responsible for float glass operations; AFG Coatings, focusing on residential and commercial low-E coatings; and AFG Fabrication, which will continue the activities of the former AFGD branches. In addition, AFG Insulating has been renamed AFG Residential and GPI (Glass Products Inc.) has been renamed AFG Laminating.

According to AFG’s Fred Wallin, of AFGD’s more than 40 employees, some will go to work for various different branches, others will relocate to Kingsport and others will receive separation packages and be released. 
“Our common strategy is to be better, faster and more flexible in serving our customers and achieving our business objectives,” said John Litzinger, president and chief executive officer. “This consolidation will offer our customers a more direct and efficient supply chain from melting to a wide range of glass fabrication and distribution. It is designed to improve our costs by eliminating duplication through common systems and practices, while expanding our services and the value of our products.”

Under the reorganization, titles of the following management positions will change: Tom Dougherty, vice president, manufacturing, will become vice president, AFG Glass; John Stilwell, president of AFGD, will become vice president, AFG Fabrication. Three general managers will report to Stilwell: Billy Blair, commercial (previously AFGD branches), Greg Vance, residential, and Tom Zaccone, laminating.

Interpane Closing Wisconsin Operations 
According to Wisconsin state officials, Interpane Glass Co. has filed a plant closing notice for its operations in Deerfield, Wis. While the exact closing date is not known, the state law requires companies to file notice of plant closings 60 days in advance.

In Clinton, N.C., where Interpane’s North American operations are headquartered, the city manager there said the operations would be shutting down on July 9.

At press time, Joern Hesselbach, Interpane chief executive officer, had denied the city manager’s statement that the Clinton facility would be closing.
“It is not true. We are still producing and seeking solutions for a [growing] concern.” 

Jury Awards Glasslam $22.5 Million
On May 21 the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida awarded Nebula Glass International, d/b/a Glasslam N.G.I. Inc. $22.5 million in a jury verdict against one of its former vendors, Durham, N.C.-based Reichhold Inc.

Steve Howes, president and owner of Glasslam, said that from the late 1990s through 2001 Reichhold had agreed to manufacture polymer resin for Glasslam under certain specifications. Howes explained that without his company’s knowledge or consent, Reichhold failed to manufacture the polymer resin in accordance with the given specifications. This, according to Howes, caused many of Glasslam’s customers to experience failures with their products.

During the hearing, the jury agreed with Glasslam that the problems were due to Reichhold’s failure to manufacture the resins as specified. The jury awarded damages to Glasslam for losses and for the replacement of its customers’ failed products.

“This trial proved Glasslam did nothing wrong,” said Howes. “We lost some of our reputation as a first-class resin supplier over this, and the trial proved the problem was not our fault.”

According to Phil Bridges, corporate and marketing communications manager for Reichhold, his company is disappointed with the jury’s verdict, and does not believe it is supported by the evidence. He said they are appealing the decision.

“We are confident we will prevail, because we believe our resin did not fail and would not fail in the application,” said Bridges.


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