(Decatur, Michigan, June 17, 2019) Special-Lite, Inc. announces the appointment of Steven Benscoter as their new President and COO. He will assume responsibilities on June 17, 2019, and will succeed Interim President/COO Brad Lawton who remains on the Board of Directors.
Mr. Benscoter brings to Special-Lite a strong record of delivering results in the areas of cost-savings and long-term revenue generation as well as building talented and engaged teams. His reputation for putting the right people, processes, and technology in place, has led to tremendous success in building sustained business performance and supporting business growth.
Earning his MBA from Loyola University and his BA from Illinois Wesleyan, Mr. Benscoter’s career spans numerous leadership positions in human resources, commercial integrations, sales and marketing, product development, distribution and materials management, and plant management. He previously held a Senior Executive position for a Fortune 500 medical technologies firm with 44 manufacturing and R&D locations worldwide, +$12B in revenues, and +33,000 global employees.
He currently resides in Kalamazoo, Michigan with his family and is an active member of the Michigan Colleges Alliance Board of Trustees.
About Special-Lite, Inc.
For nearly 50 years, Special-Lite has engineered and built custom architectural products for the toughest customers on earth. Delivering durable, high-cycle products to commercial and institutional markets around the world, these long-lasting, eco-friendly products deliver the lowest total life-cycle cost and include interior and exterior doors, complete entrance systems, restroom partitions, and interior aluminum framing & glass walls.
Special-Lite is now producing fire cores for all of our fire-rated doors in the recently acquired Benton Harbor facility.
Changes in the fire core marketplace have been creating disruption and related market uncertainty. The changes in the market have resulted in considerable increases in pricing, as well as delays in production and delivery of fire-rated doors industry-wide. To create stability and reliability for customers, Special-Lite has invested heavily in the new facility, as well as production-related capabilities. These investments allow continued delivery of products to our Special-Lite customers, in a reasonable time frame, at a competitive price.
By beginning of April, all cores for Special-Lite fire-rated doors will be manufactured in the new Benton Harbor facility.
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):
Jul 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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Read the Article:
Blog Adaptation & Video
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.
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.
Introducing the AF-219-1 All Fiberglass Composite Contemporary Wood Grain Door
DECATUR, MI, May 26, 2017–
Special-Lite, Inc. introduced a new door model to their All Fiberglass Composite Door series, adding the warm look of a wood door.
Special-Lite will manufacture the new AF-219-1 Contemporary Wood Grain Composite Door in their Marshall, Arkansas facility. It features the same construction method as the All Fiberglass Composite door series. Constructed by factory bonding FRP face sheets to pultruded fiberglass stiles and rails, this method produces doors that are lightweight, strong, impervious to moisture, and resistant to rust, rot, and corrosion. The addition of the AF-219-1 adds a wood grain texture to Special-Lite’s existing FRP face sheet texture options:
This contemporary wood grain FRP face sheet first gained popularity when Special-Lite released the SL-19-1 Contemporary Wood Grain FRP/Aluminum Hybrid door
. The FRP face sheet has a realistic wood look featuring authentic cherry species replication in four standard stain colors:
- American Cherry
- Dark Cherry
- Dark Walnut
- Light Maple
- Custom paint colors also available
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, and fiberglass or 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.
“…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 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.
Sign Up for News Releases