Dealer of the Year Awards 2016: Honoring Excellence
Excellence in Community Service
Weather Tite Windows
TAMPA, FLA., WEATHERTITEWINDOWS.COM
Weather Tite Windows is a family owned and operated window and door replacement company that serves the greater Tampa Bay area. PGT’s largest dealer in West Central Florida, the company reports steady growth over the last few years after experiencing exponential growth from 2011 to 2013 at 50 percent per year. Weather Tite sells, installs, services and warranties all of its jobs. And it still finds time to give back to the Tampa community.
Of particular importance to the hurricane-prone sunshine state, Weather Tite maintains a relationship with the Tampa Bay Fire Department for ongoing training with hurricane windows, which, owner Michael Hollander points out, look no different than regular windows to a layman. As hurricane windows are made to withstand 180 mile-per-hour blasts from tree branches, “no natural human is going to get through the hurricane glass,” he says. Obviously, this can become a life safety concern.
In 2012, Weather Tite took on the responsibility of addressing this particular risk by building practice walls outside its Tampa headquarters. The company invited the different fire houses over for some training on how to identify and—the fun part—break through hurricane windows.
Hollander frames the scene: “There are all these strapping young men—very big and strong and muscular—and all of them think they are going to just get through a piece of glass with their pickaxes or whatever tools they usually use.” Having fun with the trainees, he and business partner Jarrett Kass tape a $100 bill behind the glass to start the training and pick the biggest firefighter of the bunch. “Last time, it was a guy who used to play football for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who’s now a volunteer fireman. I said, ‘if you can get through this glass, with 10 swings of your ax, you can have my $100.’ Wouldn’t you know it, he broke his axe. He couldn’t get through the window.”
Fun and games aside, the point is to train the professionals on the extremely important task of identifying a hurricane window so they can immediately retrieve the necessary tools to get through it, a goal the company accomplishes over and again with new trainees. Whenever there is a scare or a natural disaster, most recently with Hurricane Hermine, the department reaches out to their friends at Weather Tite.
A CULTURE OF COMMUNITY
Besides its work with the local fire fighters, Weather Tite participates in and donates to the local Habitat for Humanity. To serve a similar purpose, the company also supported the work of a missionary group that houses homeless veterans. The housing the church was using was falling apart, so the Weather Tite team replaced sliding glass doors and windows for them. And, Hollander adds that the company makes small financial donations to the Holocaust museum in St. Petersburg, a contribution that touches close to home for him.
In an effort that stands to help an entire industry in desperate need of qualified talent from the future generations, Weather Tite also works with local universities and community colleges to help employ and teach business methods to the students. “We call it somewhat of an internship program,” Hollander says. “They come out, we teach them marketing, management, sales and some trades as far as installation, things of that nature. We rely heavily on these people coming out of the university and we actively recruit them.”
Of course, all of this outreach has helped elevate the Weather Tite name in the community, which doesn’t hurt business, either.