Crystal Executive Participates in Panel Discussion with VP Biden
Steve Chen, executive vice president of Crystal WIndow & Door Systems, was invited by U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden to be part of roundtable discussion last week about the impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The event, held June 2 at Pace University in Manhattan, brought together business leaders from the New York area and other Northeastern states to highlight successes resulting from federal stimulus initiatives.
“Crystal was feeling the effects of the downturn in the construction and remodeling industry, as was the rest of the window manufacturing sector,” Chen told the audience at the session. “Sales were at a standstill and it was impossible to maintain our current level of production. For the first time in our 19 year history, it looked like we would have to make some serious workforce reductions at the beginning of this year.”
He then pointed to tax credits for homeowners purchasing and installing highly energy efficient windows that were part of the stimulus package. Having invested significantly for the past several months in upgrading its products to meet more stringent Energy Star performance criteria, Crystal was in an excellent position to take advantage of the tax credit initiative, Chen explained.
“Once tax credits became available for high performance windows, Crystal promoted it aggressively to its customers and received a tremendous amount of interest,” he reported. “Our sales leads started coming in almost overnight. It was exactly the stimulus that homeowners needed to make the investment in their homes with very energy efficient windows, and it was exactly the stimulus a business like ours needed.”
Crystal has 16 windows that qualify for stimulus tax credits, a fact that helped drive the company’s sales this fiscal year up slightly over last year’s sales. Crystal did not have to implement severe workforce reductions and is now looking to fill some engineering positions instead of eliminating them, Chen also reported.
The Partnership for New York City, which has worked with Crystal on its expansion investments, made Vice President Biden’s office aware of the Flushing, N.Y., based window manufacturer and its success.