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.

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

Special-Lite to Exhibit in Nashville for BOMA 2017

Join us in Nashville for BOMA 2017

We are excited to be exhibiting at the 2017 BOMA International Annual Expo in Nashville, TN on June 24 – 27. Widely recognized as commercial real estate’s premier annual trade event, the conference provides commercial property professionals with unparalleled learning and networking opportunities across three days on some of the most important issues the industry faces today. This year, we’ll be at Music City Center in lively downtown Nashville, TN! Special-Lite Regional Sales Manager, Brian VonDette, and Phelan & Associates Sales Representative, Jerry Phelan, will be representing Special-Lite at the Expo. We are at booth # 1036.  Brian and Jerry look forward to answering any questions and telling you more about Special-Lite’s entrance and interior solutions! We are proud to be exhibiting at an event that has gained its reputation for being at the forefront of market trends. We are sure that you will have much to learn from this conference. Hope to see you there! Register today.

Special-Lite Names Ken Bowditch as Vice President of Engineering

“…I am confident in Ken’s ability to lead us forward and drive these current and future initiatives.” –Henry L. Upjohn II, CEO

  DECATUR, MI, May 8, 2017– Special-Lite, Inc. announced today that Ken Bowditch will assume the position of Vice President of Engineering. Special-Lite’s Board of Directors approved this promotion on April 20th, 2017.

Accomplishments at Special-Lite

Bowditch joined Special-Lite in 2007 as a Research and Development Engineer and was promoted to Director of Research and Development. His accomplishments at Special-Lite include extensive research and testing for hurricane products, including doors for high-velocity hurricane zones. In 2014, Bowditch and Henry L. Upjohn II, CEO of Special-Lite, designed an air cannon for hurricane door testing. They designed the cannon to deliver large missile impact testing to doors used in high wind areas. The team can use the cannon for both hurricane and tornado testing. Bowditch also led the Research and Development Team to develop and test the first ever pultruded fiberglass ballistic door. Since 2009, Bowditch simultaneously serves as a Department Associate for the University of Florida, Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure & Environment. Special-Lite and the University of Florida partnered to design and build a pressure simulator. The pressure simulator enables engineers to research the impact that hurricanes have on architecture in high wind areas of the country. Bowditch, as a member of a team with the University of Florida Research Foundation, received a patent earlier this year for the Dynamic Wind Velocity and Pressure Simulator. Henry L. Upjohn II, CEO of Special-Lite, Inc., commented on Bowditch’s promotion, “This is an exciting time at Special-Lite, our continued growth in our core educational market remains strong and is driven by the market’s demand for scalable safety, security and environmentally responsible products. We continue to invest significantly in maintaining our market leadership position with our focus on these priorities. In addition, we continue to broaden our product offering, especially in the interior products segment. This all places significant demands on our Engineering team, and I am confident in Ken’s ability to lead us forward and drive these current and future initiatives.”

Prior Experience

Prior to joining Special-Lite’s team, Bowditch, a graduate of Lawton High School, worked for Stearns-Stafford, Inc. as a machinist for 19 years. He then joined Stryker in 1995 where he began his career as a machinist and was promoted to Manager of the Experimental Shop. Bowditch’s career also includes 19 years of voluntary service to the Lawton Fire Department.

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. View PDF Sign Up for News Releases

Special-Lite Expands Thermally Broken Aluminum Framing Product Line

More Design Options for Energy Efficient Entrances

DECATUR, MI, April 6, 2017— Special-Lite has engineered additional sill sizes for their Thermally Broken Aluminum Framing to provide a more robust offering to the product line. Both the SL-450TB (2″ x 4-1/2″) and SL-600TB (2″ x 6″) thermally broken framing provide excellent performance that matches or exceeds the thermal performance of glass. With the addition of new sill sizes (listed below), the added variations provide customers with a better energy efficient entrance solution. New thermally broken sill sizes:
  • 2″ x 4-1/2″
  • 2″ x 6″
  • 4″ x 4-1/2″
  • 4″ x 6″
  • 6″ x 4-1/2″
  • 6″ x 6″
 

Unique Finish Options for Your Thermally Efficient Entrance

With Thermally Broken Framing, you can even choose to have the interior side of framing a different finish than the exterior! This design option is possible because we apply the finish on the aluminum first. After finishing, the thermal strut completes the construction of the framing. Class 1 anodized finishes for the thermally broken framing include clear, dark bronze, black, champagne, light bronze and medium bronze. Special-Lite can also paint thermally broken framing with any of their established Kynar 500® paint colors. If you would like the look of wood without the maintenance, select the ‘Wood Expressions’ decorative finish as an option.

About Special-Lite, Inc.

Special-Lite manufacturers engineered, made to order architectural products, including commercial entrance systems, interior aluminum (Type II) 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.   View PDF Sign Up for News Releases  
architectural-details
Architectural Details
product-page
Product Page
color-selections
Color Selections

A Win for School Security: Ballistic Door Wins New Product Award

ballistic-door-award

About the Award

College Planning & Management announced the winners of their 2016 New Product of the Year Awards in Mid-December. They state,
“The New Product Award program honors the outstanding product development achievements of manufacturers and suppliers whose products or services are considered to be particularly noteworthy in their ability to enhance the learning environment. An independent panel of judges from the industry selected 15 Platinum and 26 Gold winners in the second year of this contest. Twenty-nine additional products were awarded an Honorable Mention.”
We are excited to announce that Special-Lite’s AF-100BRwon the Platinum New Product award in the category of Doors for educational door and frame safety. We are so passionate about school safety and school security, and we continue to develop new products to meet these needs. You can read more about the award and other winning products here.
bullet-resistant-door-school-security

About our Ballistic Door & Frame

The AF-100BR3 Door is the first ballistic door manufactured using fiberglass pultrusion technology. This process produces a smooth-faced, corrosion and bullet resistant fiberglass door. This door is incredibly strong and is also fully sealed for easy cleaning. Special-Lite developed this bullet resistant door to support the need for increased security at educational, government and military facilities. You can read the details on our ballistic products here.

#inoticedoors Hashtag Photo Contest: About & Rules

 About the #inoticedoors Hashtag Photo Contest

This contest has ended (for now)! Check out our winner here. Compete in the #inoticedoors photo competition! Do you notice doors? Do you find yourself checking every entrance you enter to see who makes it? We do!

To enter this photo contest, post photos of Special-Lite® Entrance Products you notice in your area or travels with the hashtags #inoticedoors and #speciallite.

You can be in the photo, or have it just of the door! Anyone can enter– including employees! Extra points for unique doors, famous buildings, and doors that BRAND a business!

  By taking photos of our doors, you will have the chance to win a Kindle Fire HD 8, a digital photography bundle (or prize of equal value), and other great prizes! Weekly Prizes: Special-Lite Logo Merchandise Prize for the Most Submissions by Valentine’s Day (February 14): Kindle Fire HD 8 Grand Prize (best photo – March 13): Digital Photography Bundle (or prize of equal value)
ipad_mini_inoticedoors

To Enter:

1. Post a photo of an interesting or unique Special-Lite Door to www.facebook.com/speciallite/, Instagram, or Twitter. You can also visit the tab on our Facebook Page to submit an entry! Facebook: Please note that if you post the photo on your personal Facebook account, it will not count as an entry. You must post to our Facebook page! Instagram: If your account is private, you must make it public for the duration of the contest and the judging period to enter the contest.  

2. Tag the photo, adding the hashtags #inoticedoors and #speciallite.

 

3. Follow the competition and get inspired by other participants by liking our Facebook page and following @special_lite on Instagram and @SpecialLite_inc on Twitter.

   

Rules:

The Contest is brought to you by the following entity (the “Contest Sponsor“): Special-Lite, Inc. The Contest entry period (the “Entry Period”) starts at 5:00 pm on January 13, 2017  and continues until 8:00 am on March 16, 2017.  All times are Eastern. Per Facebook and Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Facebook or Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Facebook and Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Facebook and Instagram’s term of use. Special-Lite, Inc. cannot control the content that is posted with the hashtag #inoticedoors, outside of our own accounts. Special-Lite disagrees with any content with the hashtag #inoticedoors that contain criminal/anti-social behavior, hate, sexually suggestive, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, violent, nudity or foul language.

This contest is not affiliated with Amazon.

Release/Consent:

By entering this Contest, you give the Contest Sponsor, their respective parent and affiliated companies and their representatives, the right and irrevocable license to use, reproduce, disseminate, publish, distribute, represent publicly, edit and modify the photos submitted in this Contest around the world and in perpetuity, with no remuneration whatsoever and, where appropriate, for all purposes related to Contest Sponsor’s activities, including but not limited to dissemination through various media, namely the Facebook page, Instagram account, Twitter account, and website. You also agree that your first and last names and/or account names may be used in association with the submitted photos.

The grand prize is awarded at the sole discretion of the Content Sponsor; photos will be judged by originality, unique qualities of the entrance, architecture of the building, quality of photography, and notability of the building or end user of the entrance product.

The Contest Sponsor will select winners within (5) business days of each contest period listed above. Prizes are subject to availability, and the Contest Sponsor reserves the right to substitute an item of equal value.

Special-Lite Introduces the BasiX™ Door

DECATUR, MI – A limited distribution sandstone-textured FRP (Fiberglass Reinforced Polyester) door that is designed as an “In Stock,” durable replacement door. The BasiX  door includes many of the features of a Special-Lite SL-20 sandstone-textured FRP flush door, but with no lead-time, and at a competitive price point. Doors are available in 4 standard sizes to fit existing standard steel or hollow metal door sized openings. Other features include doors being non-handed with aluminum square edge stiles, a 5# urethane foamed-in-place core, and are reinforced at the top of the door to accommodate standard door closers. Our innovative Lock Pocket (patent pending) is adaptable to cylindrical and mortised locks, as well as rim exit devices. The door’s flush bottom allows for a field applied surface sweep. The benefits of a BasiX Door are a quality, corrosive resistant, commercial grade fiberglass (FRP) door that is designed to fit into just about any existing frame. Doors are primed and ready to paint any color you choose. Our Limited Distribution Partners have this door in stock and available for you. To find a Special-Lite BasiX Door near you – call Special-Lite at 800.821.6531. About Special-Lite, Inc. Special-Lite manufacturers engineered architectural products, which includes commercial entrance systems, interior aluminum (Type II) framing with swing or sliding aluminum framed doors, and FRP restroom partitions. Our 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. Our engineered, made to order architectural products are used in new construction and renovation projects for educational, commercial, institutional, industrial and municipal applications. The company was founded in 1971 and pioneered the use of fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP) material for door skins in the early 1980’s, and today is the largest volume producer of commercial FRP doors in the United States. View PDF