Steven Benscoter Appointed New President and Chief Operating Officer of Special-Lite, Inc.

(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.

Product Update: Fire Cores

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.

New Product Announcement: LiteSpace

Announcing LiteSpace Interior Aluminum Framing

Over the past year we have test marketed a line of interior aluminum framing for glass walls and office fronts. We refer to this line as “LiteSpace.” It complements and provides an alternative to our Omega line.
LiteSpace is characterized by minimal profiles for high glass content. While Omega installs into rough openings, LiteSpace installs into finished openings. Its aluminum profiles are symmetric and subtle, celebrating the glass they serve and the light that passes through. Further information on this product is available on the LiteSpace product page.
We are now releasing LiteSpace outside of our initial target market. We refer to this introduction as a soft rollout because our intent is to serve a limited radius around our manufacturing headquarters so we can properly support the product during its adoption.
Ideal distributors for this product would be currently in this line of business and promoting a competitive product line. They will have on-staff project managers and sales representatives. They will have their own glass and glazing installer on staff or have a contracted relationship with such. All requests for LiteSpace distribution must be approved by Roger Stempky, Special-Lite VP of Sales & Marketing.

CEU Course: “Performance and Durability in Retail and Hospitality Design”

New Educational Resource Available: “Performance and Durability in Retail and Hospitality Design” CEU Course

Special-Lite sponsored this new course, made available through Architectural Record magazine. The course appears in article form in the August 2018 issue and is also available through the online Architectural Record Continuing Education Center. Those seeking credential credits may do so by reviewing the written or online version and then taking the online quiz. You can view the course here.
We also offer two approved AIA/CES courses (1 learning unit credit each) to help professionals maintain their credentials. These are available in lunch-n-learn or other live venues. FRP 101 offers a description of flush doors for commercial and institutional entrances. FRP 401 gets into the science behind FRP doors. Further information is available via

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.


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.
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

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