Serious Re-opens Former Kensington Plant
|Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell (left) and Kevin Surace, CEO of Serious Materials, participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday to re-open the former Kensington Windows plant in Vandergrift, Pa. Re-hired workers and members of the media looked on.|
With state and local officials on hand to mark the occasion, Serious Materials, the California-based sustainable building materials supplier, re-opened the former Kensington Windows plant in Vandergrift, Pa, on Monday. The plant closed abruptly when Kensington's parent company filed for bankruptcy in October, leaving 150 employees out of work.
Serious Materials brought back some of those laid-off workers in the last few weeks to begin production of its enegy efficient products, and hopes to bring back as many as 100 workers as demand increases.
"Today, we start rebuilding," said Kevin Surace, CEO of Serious Materials, the Sunnyvale, Calif., manufacturer of high performance windows and glass. "Today we write a new beginning to this story. We will get this economy back on track."
The re-opening festivities gathered returning employees, local and state government officials, window and door retailers and members of the media. Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell applauded Serious Materials' effort to bring green-collar jobs to the area. "It's great to have a job ... but it's also great to feel that you're doing something that's really important."
"I never expected to walk in here again," said an emotional Robin Scott, a worker laid-off by Kensington and now re-hired by Serious Materials. He told press conference attendees that he's looking forward to returning to the plant floor to make green products that can help ease the country's energy dependence. "This is more than a job to me—it's doing our small part in this tiny corner of America to do what's right."
Serious Materials acquired the assets of Kensington Windows earlier this year. Kensington was previously owned by the Jancor Cos., which shut the operation down last fall and filed for Chapter 11 shortly thereafter.
Serious Materials bills itself as a manufacturer of energy saving green building products. Its recently re-branded product line includes SeriousWindows and SeriousGlass, as well as Eco-Rock, an environmentally friendly sheetrock. It operates plants Sunnyvale and Newark, Calif., as well as Boulder, Colo., and has announced its intent to re-open shortly the former Republic Windows & Doors plant in Chicago. The company was voted #1 at Cleantech Venture Forum XII, and has been recognized by TIME/CNN, Fortune and Business Week as one of the most promising green companies.