PROFILES IN EXCELLENCE
with Hope’s Windows
Last winter, Team DSC® traveled to Jamestown, New York. Many great things have come from this small town in Upstate New York, a few worth mentioning being Lucille Ball and DSC President Jerry Meek’s grandmother who actually went to school with the famous comedian. This last trip to Jamestown was made with the purpose to visit Hope’s Windows, Inc., the world’s preeminent manufacturer of custom steel windows and doors.
During our time with them, it became clear how the legendary 100-year-old organization is the true culmination of “ancient history meets modern welding”. We’ve worked closely with Hope’s Windows since 1994 because of their unrelenting pursuit of the highest standards, and we will continue to be one of the largest purchasers of their quality windows and frames in the state of Arizona.
We had the opportunity to speak with Adam Irgang, Regional Sales Manager at Hope’s Windows, Inc., to talk about how he survived one of the worst snow storms in Jamestown’s history to ensure our team arrived back to Arizona safely. We also discussed the history of Hope’s Windows and discovered what their team is doing today to ensure they will continue to be an industry leader for another 100+ years to come.
A CULTURE OF HOPE
Team DSC®: We heard you drove through a terrible snowstorm to get our team back to the airport so they could catch their flight back to Arizona after visiting your headquarters about a current project. What happened?
Adam: It was the worst snowstorm I’ve ever seen. We were driving through the snowfall and the wind was screaming. We were literally going three miles an hour on the freeway. Then the Charlie Brown Christmas Song came on the radio because it was just before Christmas. That’s when I knew everything was going to be all right. Team DSC® caught the flight, I managed the drive home ok, and the storm died down. At Hope’s Windows, we’ll do everything we can to ensure the safety and satisfaction of partners like Desert Star Construction.
Team DSC®: Glad you got home safely as well. Tell us about your company and its history.
Adam: Henry Hope, who founded Hope’s Windows, Inc., moved his window company, Henry Hope & Sons, to Jamestown, NY when he acquired International Casement Company in the early 1900s. The company was incorporated to Hope’s Windows on October 25, 1912, in the same location that we are at today. A lot of the machines that we have within our factories have been there since the day the plant started. It’s important to note that our company had been manufacturing steel and metal windows, roofing, gearing, and decorative metal ironmongery in the United Kingdom even beyond that 1912 date. We have a legacy of going the extra mile to provide high quality products and service, which is very similar to what I see with Desert Star Construction.
Team DSC®: What’s the longest any employee has worked at Hope’s Windows? How long has the average employee been there?
Adam: Of our roughly 250 total employees, we have one employee who has been with us for 63 years. The average employee has been with us for around 20 years.
Team DSC®: How old is the equipment in your factories?
Adam: I would say a lot of our equipment is on average between 80 to 90-years-old. We also have machines that are brand new, with less than one year of use. Also, I believe most of our equipment is made in the United States.
Team DSC®: With so much history, what is Hope’s Windows doing to modernize its technology and processes?
Adam: We like to keep the old-world feel and the handcrafted nature of our products for the quality and the artistry of the product.
In addition, like Team DSC®, we’re very much about streamlining the efficiency of our processes. We are always looking for more effective and efficient ways to manufacture our windows and products. We are always discovering and implementing new machinery and new computer programs that allow us to generate drawings at a quicker pace with more accuracy so as to cut down on read times and any unexpected defects that may occur during manufacturing.
We’re also utilizing a streamline initiative where we’ve implemented a number of renovations within the plant based on a physical step-by-step analysis. We’ve literally counted how many steps a person takes to get their part of the manufacturing process completed.
We can tell you how many literal steps any individual in our shop takes to go from one place to the next. For example, how many steps does it take to get a drawing from the engineering plant to the layout department? Then from the layout department, we’ve counted how many steps it takes that same individual to reach the bus that will take them to the exchange centers. We’ve even counted how many steps it takes someone to carry our product from one machine area to another. Our aim is to eliminate time in between the processes to keep things moving as efficiently as possible.
Team DSC®: Describe the company culture at Hope’s Windows.
Adam: Everybody here understands the history of the company. We are a privately held manufacturer where the owners live in Jamestown and have known Hope’s Windows their entire lives. The current owners are siblings who took over the company from their father who purchased Hope’s Windows back in the early eighties. There was a lot of respect for him and what he did to help the company succeed. His children have been in charge since he passed away in 2010, and they do a great job. There’s definitely a lot of pride in our leadership and our business.
Team DSC®: Tell us about the value you build in the relationships you have with your suppliers as well as your partners like Desert Star Construction.
Adam: It’s a two-way street. We’re always looking for new relationships to build because in this industry there’s always somebody new coming up with some new technology or hardware that helps take our product to the next level or allows us to do something we weren’t able to do previously.
At the same time, we are loyal to our community. We have local hardware manufacturers that have produced our brass and bronze hardware levers, locksets, scat flexplates, and items like that for decades. We also stay loyal to the trucking companies that have delivered our product for years in an efficient and safe manner so there are no damages.
All in all, our relationships also go to a deeper level than just manufacturing and processes. For example, every year we have a fundraising campaign where our suppliers donate items for a silent auction or raffle and all the proceeds go to help the United Way. Prizes range from Buffalo Bills football tickets and Buffalo Sabres hockey tickets to golf clubs and other gifts like cash or a wine basket. It’s an investment on the suppliers part to send donation items our way, and I think it shows the level of loyalty and support we have for each other.
With our partners like Desert Star Construction, we’re always looking for ways to improve so they can do the best job possible for their clients. We’re fortunate to be doing an incredibly large project with Team DSC®. It was great to have the team come to Jamestown with the architect to discuss their design questions directly with our team of engineers. There were a lot of technical details they needed in order to determine the right look and function of their client’s windows based on the concept they wanted to achieve.
They visited our shop and were able to look at the physical detail of the windows we’re going to manufacture for them. We were able to get their shop drawings completed in two days instead of the months it would have taken had they not visited our factory.
Team DSC®: What’s the best part about working at Hope’s Windows?
Adam: Hope’s Windows is a true Jamestown company worked and run by Jamestown residents. We have a lot of pride in what we provide. The people that work at Hope’s Windows realize it’s not just a job, but a career with a local company doing great things.