What’s your experience with window and door families?

June 4, 2008
THE TALK...

 

The Talk, Page 2...

Survey Results for 06/04/2008:

What’s your experience with window and door families?

I don’t work with any of my relatives, but I work for a family-run business.

  

 

44%

 

I neither work with my relatives, nor a family-run company.

  

 

31%

 

I’m part of a window and door bloodline—working with family members.

  

 

25%

 

I sure love my sister, but I’m not sure we would cut it working side-by-side. Of course, she’s a nurse and I have this thing about blood and cranky people so that rules out her profession. Mine might be a little more reasonable for a family working relationship. As I mentioned last week, I have met countless families in this industry working together, running their window and door businesses and carrying on family companies started by their parents and grandparents.

I have a couple of favorite, awe-inspiring window and door families that make me smile: The Cavanna family owns and operates Brothers Home Improvement in the California/Nevada area. They have seven—yes, seven—of nine siblings making that business run. (Check out the company Web site to see all nine brothers and sisters). Then there’s the Doerger family growing Vinylmax Windows like crazy. The Hamilton, Ohio-based company has five family members heading up different aspects of the organization. And the crazy thing is that they all actually LIKE each other!

So what’s the key to making it work? How to run a business with family members without killing each other?

Bill Cadieux, operations manager for A.W. Hastings & Co., a Marvin Window & Door distributor in the Northeast, has been working alongside his wife for more than 22 years.

“How do we make it work? There is no single formula. What has worked for us is, first of all, respect and support for each other and each other’s careers. Both of us are highly committed and dedicated to the company and our positions. We respect each other’s time and work commitments. We look at it that no one's time at work is more valuable than the other’s. We try to strike a balance with time at work, child care needs, home-front needs etc., each of us making sacrifices and concessions to support the other’s efforts. It would be difficult to make it work if it wasn’t for the family and community oriented values at the heart of A.W. Hastings company culture. There is a genuine caring and respect for others that goes way well above the norm for most companies.”

Joe Klink, marketing projects coordinator for ProVia Doors, says he, too, has seen first-hand that family companies can offer a great work environment:

“I’ve been here at ProVia Door 7 years, and it’s impressed me from day one that Bill Mullet (President & CEO) has his older brother, Ed Mullet as his VP of Operations, his two sons (Craig & Brent Mullet), and his son-in-law (Freddie Miller) ALL working here for many years. They all get along great, too.”

Maybe there’s hope for me and my sis yet. Of course, I doubt she’d hang up the needles and stethoscopes for windows and doors. We’ll see…

E-mail Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at clewellen@glass.org.

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