Glass Magazine December 2015 : Page 22

Viewpoint Gantt W. Miller III Miller is CEO of Winco Windows, wincowindow.com, which recently marked its 100th year in business. The family business was founded by Johann Otto Kubatzky in 1915 and is currently in its fourth generation. Winco, a window manufacturer of high performance, heavy commercial windows and doors, was a founding member of the American Architectural Manufacturers Asso-ciation, aamanet.org, and has been a leader in the development of impact-rated systems. It is a rarity for any business to make it to its 100th anniversary, particularly family businesses, which face additional succession challenges from generation to generation. What sets Winco apart? The family involvement and owner-ship of Winco Windows has always been multi-generational from the founding by Johann Otto Kubatzky, who was a German immigrant and an architect by trade. Today there are two generations actively involved in ownership, management and sales. We seem to pass down the “genes” through the generations for a deep love of architecture and bringing the gift of natural light into buildings. products, performance and efficiency and doesn’t become complacent. As for the most frustrating [challenge or change]—that has been the increase of paper processing time, and the complex multiple steps necessary to get a job from purchase order to the production floor. This process has increased manyfold over the years. Most of this time-con-suming effort provides little or no value to the end user of the product. Fortu-nately, the production time for the actual product has decreased significantly. [impact] products became available, we responded quickly to the need for blast-and weather-resistant products. Can you talk about Winco’s involvement in developing impact systems? How did this become a focus for the company? The development of impact window systems was a logical and natural evolution for Winco, because we have always tended to make a more robust product. We responded to the mar-ket demand and many code changes quickly and with relative ease. Because more areas of the country require tornado and/or hurricane resistant windows, and because there are more building classifications that require these features, the demand for these systems keeps expanding. In or-der to meet the codes and requirements in the different portions in the United States, Winco has been developing products to meet the demand. We’ve also had a lot of fun developing and testing these products. There are not many companies that have built their own live blast test chambers, some of which are 400 feet underground. Shoot-ing off air canons with various projec-tiles at windows to meet FEMA, AAMA and building code requirements for impact is another fun “toy” for Winco’s in-house testing. Can you talk about the role of innovation at the company in its history? The secret to our success has been our ability to flex our product lines with the current needs of the market. We’ve come a long way since our first ventilator product, which helped cool homes and businesses years before air conditioning was even a dream. Energy efficiency is now the standard by which we develop all products. Additionally, when high performance What are some of the major challenges and changes in the glass and window industry that Winco has faced in its history? A major challenge over the years has been to maintain a workforce that stays focused on improving Winco’s Today, one needs to be savvy in financial, technological, tax, energy and legal implications in order to understand how the window product can be successfully incorporated into the built environment. 22 Glass Magazine ® • December 2015

Viewpoint

Gantt W. Miller III

Miller is CEO of Winco Windows, wincowindow.com, which recently marked its 100th year in business. The family business was founded by Johann Otto Kubatzky in 1915 and is currently in its fourth generation. Winco, a window manufacturer of high performance, heavy commercial windows and doors, was a founding member of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, aamanet.org, and has been a leader in the development of impactrated systems.

It is a rarity for any business to make it to its 100th anniversary, particularly family businesses, which face additional succession challenges from generation to generation. What sets Winco apart?

The family involvement and ownership of Winco Windows has always been multi-generational from the founding by Johann Otto Kubatzky, who was a German immigrant and an architect by trade. Today there are two generations actively involved in ownership, management and sales. We seem to pass down the “genes” through the generations for a deep love of architecture and bringing the gift of natural light into buildings.

What are some of the major challenges and changes in the glass and window industry that Winco has faced in its history?

A major challenge over the years has been to maintain a workforce that stays focused on improving Winco’s products, performance and efficiency and doesn’t become complacent.

As for the most frustrating [challenge or change]—that has been the increase of paper processing time, and the complex multiple steps necessary to get a job from purchase order to the production floor. This process has increased manyfold over the years. Most of this time-consuming effort provides little or no value to the end user of the product. Fortunately, the production time for the actual product has decreased significantly.

Can you talk about the role of innovation at the company in its history?

The secret to our success has been our ability to flex our product lines with the current needs of the market. We’ve come a long way since our first ventilator product, which helped cool homes and businesses years before air conditioning was even a dream. Energy efficiency is now the standard by which we develop all products. Additionally, when high performance [impact] products became available, we responded quickly to the need for blast- and weather-resistant products.

Can you talk about Winco’s involvement in developing impact systems?

How did this become a focus for the company? The development of impact window systems was a logical and natural evolution for Winco, because we have always tended to make a more robust product. We responded to the market demand and many code changes quickly and with relative ease.

Because more areas of the country require tornado and/or hurricane resistant windows, and because there are more building classifications that require these features, the demand for these systems keeps expanding. In order to meet the codes and requirements in the different portions in the United States, Winco has been developing products to meet the demand.

We’ve also had a lot of fun developing and testing these products. There are not many companies that have built their own live blast test chambers, some of which are 400 feet underground. Shooting off air canons with various projectiles at windows to meet FEMA, AAMA and building code requirements for impact is another fun “toy” for Winco’s in-house testing.

Winco has been actively involved in AAMA for many decades. Can you talk about the importance for the company in being involved in such organizations and in helping to shape codes and standards?

Fifty-plus years ago, Woodrow Kubatzky, the founder’s son, was an active member of AAMA and felt strongly that standards were needed to provide a yardstick for architects, contractors and building owners to fairly compare one manufacturer’s product to another. Since becoming a charter member of AAMA, Winco has stayed true to this belief and has enjoyed being part of developing new standards as the market has evolved.

What are the most major challenges facing the industry in the current market?

Today, one needs to be savvy in financial, technological, tax, energy and legal implications in order to understand how the window product can be successfully incorporated into the built environment. Winco has hired individuals with competencies in areas other than window manufacturing in order to meet these challenges and has encouraged continuing education.

A major challenge for both Winco and the custom architectural window industry is meeting everincreasing government regulations. These regulations have created man-power and financial drain on small innovative manufacturing companies, forcing some out of business, others to merge and others to be acquired by large multinational corporations. The result is a lessening of competition, service to the customer and innovation. This, coupled with the also increasing litigious environment, stifles all industries’ advancement.

Winco family tree

First Generation

Johann Otto Kubatzky (“Otto”) filed the first patent application for the business in 1915. The business was officially incorporated as Winco Ventilator Co. In 1931.

Second Generation

Otto Kubatzky’s sons Theodore and Woodrow went on to take the helm at Winco. Woodrow Kubatzky served as Winco’s president and chairman until his death in 1980, when his wife Helen was named chairman of the board.

Third Generation

Woodrow and Helen Kubatzky’s daughters, Karen, Kristen and Korliss (“Kory”) became the third generation owners along with Korliss’ husband Gantt W. Miller III, who has been chairman of the board since 1986

Fourth Generation

Today, Otto Kubatzky’s greatgrandchildren, Brad Barnes, Elise Macchi, Gantt Miller IV and Woodrow Miller, actively contribute to the business.

Read the full article at http://www.glassmagazinedigital.com/article/Viewpoint/2323669/281090/article.html.

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