Progress Glass Co. Inc.
- Written by: Jeanee Dudley
- Produced by: Progress Glass Co. Inc.
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Progress Glass Co. Inc. (PGC) is a family-owned glass and window manufacturer, offering design, installation and maintenance services for customers in Northern California. “The business has been around since the ’30s,” says Chuck Burkard, president of PGC, “And it has been in the same family since 1958.” Chuck’s father, Tom Burkard is the CEO of the company, and his son, Chuck Jr. (CJ), is also involved in the family business.
The company employs 100 people and serves San Jose to Livermore and up to Fort Bragg, Calif. “We’re based in San Francisco, so that’s comfortable for us,” says Chuck. “As far as services, we’ll do anything from a window replacement to a $5 million job. We’re more service based instead of just focusing on small or large projects. We are a union business and we operate out of two locations. In San Francisco, we don’t do the guy who is calling up on the phone shopping windows. In the North Bay, we are more competitive. If we do residential work, it is high end. Those projects start around $30,000 and range up to $250,000.”
PGC stands apart from other glass businesses through experience and quality of work and products. “We do a wide spectrum of work,” says Chuck. “We can work with a contractor who does small to medium work and help him through the whole process. A lot of companies won’t come down to a certain level or won’t go up to a certain level. Within our two locations we have two divisions, contract and service. Our service division does the smaller type of projects.”
The business has remained busy despite the recent recession. “We’ve had a lot of work over the last year and a half,” the president notes. “Right now we are working on a large contract in San Jose. The project is the San Jose State College Extension and our portion is $3.4 million. We’re doing a lot of very large curtain walls. We started three months ago and there are several phases. We should be finished with our portion in another three months.
“We have a lot of design jobs. Another recent project was a series of big, glass walls on Battery Street. We just put a piece of glass in that was nine feet high and 24 feet wide. We do all of the fabrication and installation, but we sub out the caulking work. We have a network of subcontractors and suppliers. It’s all about relationships in this business.”
Navigating the Market
Many businesses in the construction industry have struggled throughout the recession, but PGC has maintained stability. “Our biggest challenge was keeping the company together basically from a financial standpoint,” Chuck explains. “For a lot of companies, when they do have the work, they hire. When they don’t have the work, they fire. Our average tenure here is around 15 years.” Through managing costs and offering a wide range of services, PGC has managed to weather the worst of the storm.
With the economy making a gradual comeback, Chuck and his team are positioned for growth. “I think in this area we have a good 18 months of good, solid backlog work,” he says. “My big thin is that it still seems like a lot of people, the state included, are still broke. The key for us right now is to keep our customers and make new ones. Our retention rate and repeat customers are the best indicators of our success. All of our business is sent to us. We are so busy that we have to turn jobs down.”
Customers return and refer colleagues and friends because PCG offers dependable quality. By producing everything in-house, the team maintains control over product, meanwhile cutting costs from shipping and price hikes from external manufacturers. Performance does not end at installation, either. The crew performs maintenance and repairs, and clients can take advantage of a 24-hour emergency service line in case windows incur unexpected damage.
PCG is dedicated to people, and Chuck and his team value relationships within the company as well as those outside of the company. Building connections with suppliers and subcontractors ensures quality and value, which the business can pass along to clients. Chuck embraces the high caliber of his employees, who bring high levels of experience and knowledge to each project. Progress Glass Co. Inc. is a family business and will continue to operate with the friendly professionalism that customers have enjoyed for over 75 years.
For more information about Progress Glass Co. Inc., please visit: www.progressglass.com
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