Case Studies

Sharp Glass

Growing San Antonio creates opportunities for family business

The ability to grow and adapt to the ever-changing market is crucial in any industry and construction is no exception. Over the past 30 years, Sharp Glass has become a premier glazing contractor throughout the San Antonio market with innovative thinking and technology. The company has also set itself apart from the competition by maintaining the ability to take on complex custom projects that other contractors shy away from.

Sharp Glass was founded in 1986 by Alan Sharp with the purpose of creating a company that is committed to quality fabrication and installation of glass, aluminum and specialty framing products for commercial and industrial applications. “We like to find jobs that have elements of complexity and customization to them,” says Kyle Sharp, chief operating officer for Sharp Glass and son of Alan. “We bring a value to those complex jobs that we feel our competition is unable to match.”

Sharp Glass

Alan gained experience that prepared him to start his own company by working as a contract manager for PPG Industries, when it had a glass contracting division. When PPG decided to shut down its contract division, Alan found himself at a crossroad. At 27 years old and the father of twin boys, he decided to start his own company. “Fortunately, he was able to pick up some of the work that PPG needed to complete before closing,” says Sharp. “That really helped him get started.”

A strong team in a strong market

With approximately 80 employees, Sharp Glass primarily focuses on the San Antonio market but has completed work throughout the state of Texas. “We’ve done work in Dallas, Houston and Austin,” shares Sharp. “It depends on the contractor. Sometimes a client will be doing a project outside of our usual territory and they want us to travel with them.”

While Sharp Glass will travel for the right client, starting out in the construction industry often forces companies to take any work they are awarded. Sharp Glass has traveled as far as the Gulf of Mexico to work on an oil rig. “That’s not the type of job we would pursue nowadays, but it was good to gain the experience and build our brand,” says Sharp.

In November 2015, Sharp Glass completed a project for Hotel Emma in San Antonio. The hotel involved the renovation of an old abandoned brewery and has been named one of the Best New Hotels in the World by Travel + Leisure Magazine. As of May 2016, Sharp Glass is involved with the renovation of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. This project contains unique aspects and specialty products such as colored Bendheim channel glass. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Working for a family business offers many rewarding aspects. In addition to taking pride in working for a company founded by his father, Sharp says he enjoys working in the local community. “It’s really great to be leaving a legacy in San Antonio,” he says. “I enjoy driving around and seeing the work we have completed.” As one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S., San Antonio offers Sharp Glass an opportunity to place its stamp in new areas of the city that will be present for years to come.

Sharp Glass maintains the ability to self-perform a majority of its work. The company provides a single point of contact throughout the process, which is convenient for clients and contractors. With a set of in-house hardware technicians who install hardware onto the doors, Sharp Glass does not have to rely on the manufacturer, which can take between four and eight weeks. “The only things we would sub out are sealants and automatic doors,” says Sharp. “We have a 40,000-plus-square-foot facility that includes all of the equipment we need.”

Promotion from within

Sharp Glass is consistently evolving and adapting to the demands of the market. Sharp has recently made a transition from project manager to operations manager. The company is also incorporating Sharp’s brother into a safety supervisor position, which is another aspect that helps Sharp Glass to stand out from the competition. “The general contractors really appreciate that,” says Sharp. “We’ve had multiple superintendents tell us that they have never seen a safety supervisor with a glass contractor be so thorough.”

In addition to the thorough safety practices, Sharp Glass has also started a quality control program, which includes an individual working hand in hand with the company’s superintendent and installers to focus 100-percent on quality.

As San Antonio grows, Sharp Glass will expand with it. The company shows no sign of slowing down and will continue to promote from within to maintain the values, integrity and quality that have contributed to its success.

Published on: November 21, 2016


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