Building the Special in Special-Lite

Building the Special in Special-Lite

With a name like “Special-Lite,” we have a certain reputation to uphold.  So, we took stock of what’s special about Special-Lite and came up with a long list of items.  Not surprising, many product-related features appeared on the list as did many process-related components.  
Still, we knew there was a critical element missing—the wonderful people of Special-Lite.  
With a new marketing team in place, we could take a fresh look at our advertising and messages to the world.  And, while a focus on products is needed, we could no longer ignore the people of Special-Lite.
Thus, a new campaign was hatched.  We would talk to people in various departments of the company to discover how they “build the special in Special-Lite.”  In other words, how do their individual contributions help to create world-class products and services. Then, we would talk to people outside of the company to discover how they “see the special in Special-Lite.”  
The results have been revelatory.  For instance, one of our fire door specialists imagines that each door he builds is protecting his daughter in school.  And the campaign appears to be connecting with the various building markets we serve.
You can explore some of the print and digital ads as well as a few related videos below.  And we’re just getting started. So, stay tuned.

VIDEOS


SecureLite Now Available with Muntins

SecureLite Now Available with Muntins

SecureLite has become the go-to product for security glazing and intrusion-resistant applications. This lite kit offers a secure ½” or 1” glass bite, is flexible in terms of glass thicknesses (¼” to 1”), and is appealing visually with no visible fasteners despite its strong through-bolt assembly.
New for SecureLite is the presence of integrated muntins as an option. Now, you can have the security the product offers along with a look that can complement other project openings or that gives the designer some appearance options. These surface-mounted muntins are constructed of extruded aluminum and are applied to both sides of the frame. Once the finishing caps are installed on the frames, the muntins offer a flush and cohesive appearance.
Like the remainder of the SecureLite frame, the muntins may be factory anodized in one of 6 colors, painted in one of 20 Kynar colors, or custom finished to your specifications.
security-lite-muntins
More information is available on the SecureLite product page of the website.

FR Series Fire-Rated Doors Now Available with Continuous Hinge

We have received an updated listing for our FR Series fiberglass fire doors based on latest testing to applicable standards. As a result, the FR Series doors are now approved for use with continuous hinges. Our previous listing included butt hinges as the only approved hinge type.
The latest listing demonstrates the results of the inspection, tests, and evaluation of the FR Series doors for compliance with applicable requirements of the following standards: UL 10(b) Revision 1 (2009), UL 10(c) (2009), CAN / ULC S104 (2015), UL 10(c) 2016, and NFPA 252 (2017).
Watch for updated product training for the FR Series in the form of video. They will be available on the respective product pages in the coming weeks.

Special-Lite Congratulates Second Group of Management Development Graduates

Special-Lite Congratulates Second Group of Management Development Graduates

The Special-Lite executive team and ownership continue to demonstrate their interest in developing the staff.  Just last month, the second group of employees graduated from our Management Development program. It represents a significant investment for the company and a significant commitment from candidates.
The program lasts 14 months.  Candidates, who represent a diversity of employee departments, are divided into teams but receive combined instruction from a variety of leaders.  A variety of leadership topics are addressed, including, leading up, leading down, leading across, working with different communication styles, presentation skills, writing and oral communications skills, project management, employment laws, discrimination and harassment, motivating others, and dealing with difficult employees.
The cornerstone of the course is a group project that spans the entire 14 months. For this project, each 5-6 person group tackled a project they thought would impact the company in a positive way. For this graduating class, Group A dealt with issues of new employee onboarding as well as employee training.  Group B tackled the challenge of enhancing the customer experience. Final project presentations are made before an audience of executives and those managing the candidates.
Company President, Kevin Hanley: “Each of the participants devoted a significant amount of personal time over the last year, getting exposure to a broad array of management and leadership skills.  These skills provide them the tools they need to excel both personally and professionally. I offer my sincerest congratulations to each of these graduates and look forward to their continued growth and contributions to our company.”

Thermal Barrier Exception

Thermal Barrier Exception

The International Code Council (ICC) is responsible for the International Building Code (IBC).  According to IBC section 2603, foam-filled building products, such as walls and doors, must use an approved thermal barrier between the foam and the interior of the building.
But there are exceptions.  When the door need not be fire rated, it must pass related tests to qualify for an exception.  Recently, we put three of our doors through the tests performed by the ICC Evaluation Service.
All three doors (SL-17, SL-19-1, SL-20) met the test requirements which evaluated the following door properties:
  • surface-burning charateristics
  • wind resistance
  • durability
ICC ES mark
Thus, ESR-1669 was re-issued in December 2017 for these products.

Special-Lite Completes Move of Interior Products Operation to Benton Township Facility

Special-Lite, Inc., a manufacturer of high-performance products for the commercial entrance and architectural interior markets, announced in February the purchase of a 130,000 SF building located at 1394 Empire Avenue in Benton Township, Michigan. The building had not been occupied in over a year.

Growth in Manufacturing

Headquartered in Decatur, MI, Special-Lite’s growth in commercial entrances and interior architectural products made it necessary to acquire additional manufacturing space. This $1 million investment provides space for unlimited new product and job growth for Special-Lite in Southwest Michigan. Over the years, Special-Lite has grown organically as well as through acquisition. The company’s most recent acquisitions have included pultruded fiberglass products and interior architectural product manufacturing.  Five years ago, they acquired Universal Pultrusions of Marshall, Arkansas. Two years after the acquisition, Special-Lite added 65,000 square feet to their Marshall, Arkansas site while substantially modernizing that facility. Two years ago, they acquired Omega Interior Aluminum Framing and leased a building in Niles, MI to support the acquisition.

Now Manufacturing in Berrien County

This month, after months of renovating this abandoned building, Special-Lite has begun manufacturing at the Benton Township facility. The Niles manufacturing of Omega Type II interior aluminum framing and SLI Interior Aluminum-Framed Doors has now moved to the Benton Township location. This facility will also begin manufacturing a new aluminum and glass demountable wall system – LiteSpace. Kevin Hanley, President and Chief Operating Officer at Special-Lite, commented, “We are excited about our move into the Benton Township facility and becoming a member of the local business community. This has been a significant investment by Special-Lite in the building as well as the community. They have transformed this closed and neglected building into a manufacturing facility that will contribute to the area’s economy. We are looking forward to continuing the good working relationships established with the local township officials and community leaders.” Special-Lite, Inc. is a privately held company. Special-Lite has a long history of engineering and building high-quality architectural products, providing superior customer service to their customers, and actively supporting their employees and surrounding communities. View PDF Press Release    

Special-Lite Upcoming Trade Shows

Special-Lite participates in many trade shows throughout the year. Here are the trade shows we are looking forward to yet in 2017 (check back for updates):  

appa-special-liteJul 21 – 23: APPA/PCAPPA 2017 Annual Conference & Exhibition | San Francisco, CA

APPA/PCAPPA/BayAPPA 2017 is the platform for discussion, information share, networking, and much more! Join over 600 educational colleagues for this distinctive international event where we discover best practices used around the world from more than 100 presenters, to include the professions most recognized and talented educational facilities leaders representing facilities officers, directors and managers throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and the world! July 21-23 in San Francisco, CA, we will convene, identify and discuss the most current and pressing challenges facing educational facilities, and determine the common path forward. Visit the APPA website for more information! Who you’ll meet: Graig Young, Quixsilver Systems Booth: # 503   enr-conference-special-lite

Sept 12: ENR Port Authority of NY & NJ Annual Conference | New York, NY

Join us for the 4th Annual Port Authority of New York and New Jersey conference where attendees will learn about new and existing construction project opportunities. This year, the Port Authority Board approved the largest ever $32.2 Billion 10-YEAR Capital Plan for 2017-2026. Approved projects include the area’s major airports, bridges and tunnels, railways, ports, and p3 on major transportation and terminal projects. The approved plan will create 235,400 job years, $20 billion in total wages and $56 billion in overall economic activity… Find out how you can get involved in these projects by attending this year’s conference. Visit the conference website for more information! Who you’ll meet: Mark Schustek, Special-Lite, Inc. & Joe Boltzer, LaPorte Associates Booth: TBD  

October 18 – 20: IFMA’s World Workplace Conference & Expo | Houston, TX

The most all-encompassing learning and networking event on facilities and how to manage them. Immerse yourself in all things FM — from groundbreaking discoveries impacting the industry to achievable strategies for your daily to-do list. Discover a new way to do it, a different place to source it, a cool tool to fix it or an action plan to solve it. Whatever your “it” is, pursue, perfect or attain it at World Workplace. Learn more on the conference website! Who you’ll meet: Brian VonDette, Special-Lite, Inc. Booth: #1542 edspaces-special-lite

October 25 – 27: EDspaces 2017 | Kansas City, MO

EDspaces is the gathering place for architects, dealers, educational institutions, IMR’s, dealers and corporations to learn about trends and experience the latest products and services to enhance student learning. Visit the EDspaces website for more information! Who you’ll meet: Brian VonDette, Special-Lite, Inc. Booth: #740

October 26: Contech 2017 | Quebec City, Quebec, CA

The Building Expo held at the Centre de Foires every fall features 150 exhibitors and welcomes 1 000 visitors. Designers, building managers, and builders come to Contech to learn about the exhibitors’ new products, but also to meet with industry peers and keep up to date on the latest and best practices. Learn more on the Contech website! Who you’ll meet: Karyne St-Hilaire, Repère Architectural Booth: TBD

Special-Lite Investing in the Future: Management Development Program Graduates

special-lite-management-development

About Special-Lite’s Management Development Program

When Special-Lite put this management training program together, the objective was to give interested and motivated employees the opportunity to develop and improve their personal and management skills.  While having trained employees would benefit Special-Lite in filling future leadership positions as we grow, it was also just as important to the executive team that the program helps the participants grow as individuals. They can use what they learned in the program– both inside and outside Special-Lite.  Another objective was to foster communication between individuals in different departments by working together collaboratively. The participants committed a significant amount of their time in the classroom learning and growing. In addition, they spent significant time outside of the classroom reading, doing homework and working on a large group project.  These projects, chosen by each group, focused on a specific process within Special-Lite and took the last 16 months to complete. This effort culminated in a presentation by each of the three groups to their managers, the executive leadership team, and the other groups on June 12.  Kevin Hanley, COO of Special-Lite, commented on the graduating class, “Each group did an outstanding job in their presentation.  It was incredible to witness the growth in skills and confidence demonstrated by all the participants in this program.  It was truly powerful and inspiring! Thank you to all the participants for the willingness to take this journey and go outside your comfort zone. Congratulations for an outstanding job!”

Special-Lite’s Commitment to Employee Growth

Special-Lite continually strives to be an employee-centered manufacturer. In addition to the Management Development program, Special-Lite hosts other development classes, such as Customer Service. Special-lite also offers tuition reimbursement for employees pursuing training or a degree at a higher learning institution.

Article on Fiberglass Pultrusion Wins 2017 DHI Robert G. Ryan Award

Pultrusion Technology Delivers Performance Enhancement won Second Place in Technical Articles

Special-Lite’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Roger Stempky won the 2nd place award in the Technical Article category of DHI’s 2017 Ryan Awards, for his article “Pultrusion Technology Delivers Performance Enhancement.” This article appeared in the November 2016 issue of Doors + Hardware Magazine. You can read about all the 2017 DHI Achievement Award Winners in the June issue!

About the Award

DHI presents this award to the best volunteer authors of any article in Doors + Hardware Magazine written from January 1 through December 31 each year. Articles cover either technical or business-related topics. Congratulations to Roger! We are very proud to win this award, especially given the number of excellent articles that appeared in Doors + Hardware Magazine in 2016!  

Read the Article:

pultrusion-article   Blog Adaptation & Video  

Special-Lite Makes Significant Expansion of Florida and High-Velocity Hurricane Zone Approved Storm Products

DECATUR, MI– Special-Lite, Inc. announced today that they have completed testing and received approvals for an extensive group of commercial doors and building entry products for the most stringent Florida storm standards. Special-Lite’s products have been tested to the most stringent high-velocity hurricane standards (HVHZ) by the Florida Building Code and have been deemed to conform to the requirements of these wind zone requirements within the state of Florida. Special-Lite has maintained a limited product offering for the Florida and coastal storm markets since 2001. Their commitment to testing and research, directed at improving the safety of buildings and occupants within the coastal markets, increased in 2009. This demonstrated commitment was a result of an introduction between Henry L. Upjohn II, CEO of Special-Lite and the UF Wind Engineering program at the University of Florida, which provides full-scale research and is known for replicating the realistic effects of storms on complete building systems. The importance of this level of support was discussed by Mr. Upjohn, “Certainly, our goal is to sell what we feel are the best-engineered door solutions anywhere. Developing our understanding of these high-wind storms and the damage that occurs allows us to grow and improve our products. It advances our belief that there is more that manufacturers of architectural products can do to keep people safe in schools, hospitals and any other types of buildings.” Upjohn went on to say, “Working on such an important project with the University of Florida was important in helping to advance the science and was certainly a project our engineers and I found exciting and interesting.” Special-Lite has a long history of providing highly engineered aluminum and fiberglass doors for the high-cycle and high abuse markets. The company’s history spans over 40 years, with approximately 35 years of serving the educational and institutional markets. Since 1981, with their pioneering effort in the use of Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester (FRP) products, Special-Lite has become an educational and institutional market leader in building entry products. Kevin Hanley, President, and COO of Special-Lite commented, “The whole investment in safety, research and development, testing, product development and ultimately product approvals, allows us to show our continued commitment to being a market leader in the educational and institutional sectors. These sectors continue to be a core market for Special-Lite. Our commitment to providing products that can improve safety is one that we take very seriously.” While Special-Lite remains committed to its educational and institutional sectors, Roger Stempky, Vice President of Sales and Marketing acknowledged the opportunity to enhance growth in other markets with a bevy of new product approvals. “The successful completion of this testing will allow us to continue to grow the vast and increasingly populated coastal markets. Of course, California, Texas, and Florida– which are the three largest states by population– all have regions that have can be subject to these dangerous storms. It is projected by the year 2020 we will have over 134 million residents concentrated along the coastal regions of the United States alone.” Stempky went on to say, “We are excited to have a broad offering of products with Florida’s nationally recognized approvals including our stile and rail, all fiberglass, and well-known FRP Hybrid doors. This offering will allow us to better serve the hospitality, restaurant, retail and multi-family housing markets along with many others.” Special-Lite’s approvals can be found on both the Florida Building Code and Miami-Dade building approval sites, or more information is readily available by contacting the company directly. About Special-Lite, Inc. Special-Lite manufacturers engineered, made to order architectural products, including commercial entrance systems, interior aluminum framing with swing or sliding aluminum framed doors, and FRP restroom partitions. Complete entrance system products are fiberglass or aluminum flush doors with many door face texture options including wood grain, aluminum monumental (stile & rail) doors, fiberglass and aluminum framing. Special-Lite’s products are used in new construction and renovation projects for educational, commercial, institutional, industrial and municipal applications. Founded in 1971, the company pioneered the use of fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP) material for door skins. Today, Special-Lite is the largest volume producer of commercial FRP doors in the United States. pdf-hurricane-release