Smooth as Glass

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Trisha Dunham
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Comstock Township will sparkle more brilliantly thanks to the 25,200-square-foot Forman Glass expansion that broke ground in June 2019.

While the aesthetic impact Forman Glass brings to a project is dazzling, the company’s solutions are practical. This 57-year-old company specializes in providing comprehensive solutions for the “building envelope”—all exterior glass and metal panels.

Forman Glass President Richard Phillips explains, “Our team has expertise in determining thermal values and net-zero energy properties that reduce the carbon footprint. We assist in meeting a client’s goals encompassing cost, aesthetics, and glass performance.”

Phillips began his career as a certified public accountant with companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2006, he was ready for a career change and bought into the Forman Glass business.

“I bought out my two partners during the recession,” Phillips says. And he’s moved full-speed ahead, even bringing on his son, Bob Phillips, to join the business.
Both are enthusiastic about the Comstock expansion, which will create 20 new jobs. Fabrication currently being performed in the company’s Fort Wayne facility will be shifted there. All work is custom, involving 24-foot stock-lengths of extruded aluminum cut to size and formed into frames in which the glass is installed. Commercial service and residential work will continue to take place in the Fort Wayne facility, which also houses a showroom and product inventories.

Father and son reminisced about notable projects the company has completed. One involved a client request for a 20-foot-by-25-foot wall of glass. “It would have cost $250,000,” Richard says. “We suggested cutting it down to four panels with metal framing, reducing the price to $25,000.”

“Forman Glass is able to deliver on projects of this magnitude because we have a seasoned group of journeymen,” Bob says. “We spend a lot of time training our employees. We bring people in as apprentices because you don’t learn these skills in high school or college.”

Apprentices rotate among different journeymen with varied specialties and expertise, resulting in a well-rounded team. “Our culture is one that works well with people who are self-motivated and can work independently. Goals are given, but people are not micro-managed,” Bob says. “We want to be a place where people enjoy working and care about the quality and service they provide.”

Perhaps the mission statement created by the Forman Glass team summarizes it best: “We want to be the best glass supplier in the eyes of our team members and our customers.”

 

Raise Your Glass to Celebrate Jobs

Regional economic development catalyst Southwest Michigan First welcomed the opportunity to assist Forman Glass in expanding its presence in Michigan. The project, five months in the making, began with the team at Southwest Michigan First introducing Forman Glass leadership to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Through this introduction, Forman Glass explored and attained a $100,000 Business Development Program grant to assist with project costs. Introductions were also facilitated with Comstock Township representatives for project support and infrastructure solutions. The result: 20 new skilled jobs in the region, further diversifying the area’s manufacturing base.

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