Glass sculpture celebrates Milgard's success

Tacoma-based Milgard Manufacturing, the largest window producing company in the western United States, was presented Wednesday with an original Richard Royal glass sculpture.

The company’s corporate office lobby on 54th Avenue East was the site of the presentation, which marked Milgard Manufacturing’s 40 successful years in business and sales of over a half-billion dollars in 2002.

Milgard heads, as well as officials from Masco Corp. – the company that bought Milgard a few years ago – were on hand for the feel-good event, as was the artist, Seattle-based master glassblower Richard Royal.

Those in attendance gathered just before noon around the glass sculpture, which resembles a translucent red cactus without spines, to admire the work of art and what it represents, and hear brief speeches from Milgard and Masco Corp. officials.

Gary Milgard, president of Milgard Manufacturing, said he wanted a sculpture that reached upward, symbolizing the company’s success, noting last year’s tremendous sales achievement.

He wasn’t the only one taking account of the company’s accomplishments and longevity, as Masco Corp. leadership officials heaped praise upon the company.

“We saw greatness in Milgard,” said Chuck Dowd, Masco group vice president.

“Milgard never broke a promise to us,” he continued. “I think that’s pretty darn special.”

Masco Corp. purchased Milgard in August 2001. The sale price included 16.67 million shares of Masco stock, worth $420 million when the deal was closed at the end of July of that year.

One of the world’s largest manufacturers of brand-name consumer products for the home and family, Masco is a huge force in the new-home construction industry.

The company is also a leading provider of services that include the installation of insulation and other building products.

Masco Corp., which was founded in 1929, has about 6,000 stockholders of record and employs 61,000 people.

Dowd also had kind words for the creator of the glass sculpture.

“As I said to you earlier, Richard, Dale Chihuly move over!” Dowd exclaimed, referring to the world famous glass artist and Tacoma native.

Royal, though perhaps not as well known as Chihuly, is acclaimed for large, abstract, blown shapes that combine broad areas of contemporary color.
His work is part of the Summer Hot Shop Artist Series at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass.

His work is also featured at the Mint Museum of Craft and Design in North Carolina, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, New Orleans Museum of Art and the Daiichi Museum in Nagoya, Japan.

“With an accounting background, I don’t normally like red,” joked Alan Barry, the newly appointed president of Masco Corp., referring to the color of the sculpture.

Barry used the opportunity to announce that Milgard’s sales in 2002 earned the company membership into Masco’s elite President’s Club.

Of the scores of companies owned by Masco Corp, only about five to 10 earn that distinction in a given year, Barry explained.

Milgard Manufacturing’s recent success can be traced back to 1958, when Gary Milgard helped found the Milgard Glass Co. in a small building in Tacoma with his father.

Gary’s brother, Jim, joined the glass company in 1961.

In 1962, Gary Milgard started a new aluminum window fabricating company, Milgard Manufacturing, with the goal of providing the most reliable source of quality aluminum windows and patio doors in the industry.

Milgard has been ranked as manufacturing the nation’s highest quality vinyl windows five of the last six years in an annual survey sponsored by Hanley-Wood, Inc., publishers of Builder magazine.

Today, Milgard employs over 3,000 people in 14 western states.

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