Mathews Bros. Welcomes Two Tour Groups in One Day

October 8, 2012

It was "all hands on deck" recently at Mathews Brothers Co. The window manufacturer recently hosted a record number of visitors in one day as two groups visited its factory in Belfast, Maine.

 Mathews Brothers' Kyle Hawthorne reviews some of the complexities involved in producing and shipping radius windows with members of the Maine Maritime Academy’s Loeb-Sullivan School of International Business.

Mathews Brothers' partnership with Maine Maritime Academy’s Loeb-Sullivan School of International Business and Logistics generated the first tour group of 40 students and faculty. “Mathews Brothers started working with Maine Maritime late last spring,” explains Kyle Hawthorne, special projects manager for the company. “They were looking for a real-life lab for their senior students who are studying logistics, and we were looking for ways to improve on our distribution, from a logistics standpoint as well as from a cost standpoint.”

The second group came as part of “Timber Tour 2012,” sponsored by the Northeast Young Lumber Execs group of the Northeast Retail Lumbermen’s Association. Mathews Brothers was a nature stop for the group of 50 people who were in Maine as part a tour that also included the University of Maine Advanced Composites Center, and a Lousiana-Pacific laminated strand lumber facility.

“Certainly we’re accustomed to hosting visitors to our plant,” says Scott Hawthorne, Mathews Brothers president. “Over the past few years, we’ve had visits by Senator Olympia Snowe, Governor Baldacci and Governor LePage, a couple visits by Congressman Michaud, as well as countless customer visits. We like to say that we’re always ‘tour-ready’ in the factory.”

 Mike Duval of BlueLinx tries his hand at putty glazing under the watchful eye of the manufacturer's Angela Hurd. Looking on is Rob Bicknell of Bicknell Building Supply (with camera), John Roper of Mathews Brothers, and James Miele of Water Mill Building Supply.

“This summer, we started an advertising campaign, reaching out to the public at large to visit our facility,” adds Bob Maynes, director of marketing, “It started with a series of radio ads inviting people to stop in and visit us while touring Maine. It resulted in visits from a number of small groups, as well as some upcoming visits from several home school groups.”

Two large groups in one day still presented a spacial challenge. John Magri, director of sales, called in all hands from the field and developed a game plan for the day. “I more or less used the ‘shotgun start’ approach from golf outings,” Magri explains. “We had all these groups, with their tour leaders, stationed around the factory, basically ready to start more-or-less the same time. Some stations take longer than others, so we had a good spread in between groups, so they wouldn’t be bumping into each other.”

When dust settled several hours later, 90 people from seven states learned what it takes to produce advanced energy efficient windows, as well as traditional putty glazed wood windows, witnessed windows subjected to hurricane force winds, and left with a souvenir bottle that said, “I toured Mathews Brothers and got this wicked cool bottle bag.”