Volume 50, Issue 8 - August 2015



Garrity Gerber
was promoted to sales manager with Waite Park, Minn.-based Heartland Glass Co.
He has been with the company since 2013, previously serving as estimator and sales representative. In his new role, Gerber will be responsible for the commercial sales, project management and drafting departments.

He has a sales and estimating background and earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from St. Cloud State University in 2006.

Sean Hummel was promoted to director of research and development at Quanex, where he will oversee the company’s R&D efforts for its insulating glass systems business unit.

Hummel has 20 years of product development, marketing, project management and leadership experience, with an emphasis on R&D. He has spent the last six years managing R&D for the company’s IG systems operations.


Chris Casazza
is now the CEO of Midwest Wholesale Hardware.

Casazza most recently served as president of security products at Stanley Security Solutions. Previously, he worked at Ingersoll Rand, where he rose to leadership positions in several business units.

He brings more than a decade of experience in the door hardware industry and a strong background in business development, sales and product management to Midwest.

Fenzi North America appointed Bob Lalonde, based in Montreal, Quebec, its new national sales manager.

“Bob joined Fenzi North America last spring and has shown a strong commitment to his customers throughout all of Canada, ensuring Fenzi’s place in the marketplace is well-represented,” says general manager David Devenish. “With Bob’s extensive background in IG sealants, his knowledge and support to all his customers has proven invaluable as we move forward with our expansion plans. The recent opening of our warehouse in LaSalle, Quebec, is the first step under Bob’s direction. Bob’s experience in the sealant industry and his dedication to servicing his customers’ sealant needs is exactly the philosophy that we want to bring to all of our customers.”


William (Bill) J. Birch

The glass industry lost another individual who had worked tirelessly for its betterment. William (Bill) J. Birch passed away on June 27, in Topeka, Kan., at the age of 81.

He served as the executive vice president of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) from its formation in 1994 to his retirement in 2000. He previously served in a management capacity for the Flat Glass Marketing Association (FGMA), Laminators Safety Glass Association (LSGA) and the Glass Tempering Association (GTA) before they merger to form GANA.

Birch was recognized numerous times for his contributions to the industry. In 1997 he was inducted into the Glass and Metal Hall of Fame™, sponsored by USGlass magazine. In March 2001, Birch also was the recipient of the Glass Professional of the Year Award.

Birch was the first president of Association Services Corporation (the precursor of Centric Management and Consulting Inc.) starting in 1976, and retired December 31, 2000, serving in the capacity for 43 years.

“Our company was created years before an association management company was the norm, so the glass and glazing industry was on the cutting edge to create this type of collaborative organization,” says Bill Yanek, president of Centric Management and Consulting Inc. “Bill Birch helped to form our company and lead us through growth, change and consolidation, and we are grateful for his 43 years of leadership in our organization. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

“[Birch] really led the flat glass marketing association and GANA at a very critical time, transitioning from the Flat Glass Marketing Association, the Laminated Safety Glass Association and North American Association of Mirror Manufacturers all into GANA,” says John Dwyer, president of Syracuse Glass Co., and a GANA past president. “He was at the helm at that critical time. On behalf of everyone at GANA, our sincere condolences [to his family].”

“I worked a lot with him in the early days of FGMA,” says William Lingnell of Lingnell Consulting Services. “He was a pioneer in a lot of the things we did with association work. He did an awful lot for that organization and a lot of organizations patterned themselves after what he did … We will miss him.”

Kim Mann, general counsel for GANA, added that Birch was always a great friend of the glass industry, “managing to steer GANA, and the three trade associations (FGMA. GTA, and LSGA) that came together to make up GANA, through turbulent waters. He was one of the good guys, his heart always in the right place.”

Birch was born June 22, 1934, in Parsons, Kan., the son of Larry and Louise Spalding Birch. He graduated from high school in Greensburg, and obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Kansas State University. He then attended Washburn University, where he earned his Juris Doctorate degree. Birch served in the U.S. Army from February 1955 until March 1957.

Birch is survived by his wife of 59 years, Alice; two sons, Michael J. Birch and Christopher D. Birch; two grandchildren, Elizabeth and Everett; and his sister Linda Reimann. He was preceded in death by his sister, Nancy Morphis.

Memorial contributions may be given to Midland Care, 200 SW Frazier Circle, Topeka, Kan., 66606 or to the KSU Cancer Center, 1 Chalmers Hall, Manhattan, Kan., 66506.

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