12B — July 27 - August 9, 2018 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic
Real Estate Journal
Real Estate Journal — Owners, Developers & Managers — July 27 - August 9, 2018 — 13B
M id A tlantic
C ompany P rofile of the M onth Company strikes a practical balance between planning and flexibility The Future is Bright for Crystal Window & Door Systems
C rystal Window & Door Systems president Steve Chen has over-
all responsi- bility for the operations of Crystal's na- tional family of vinyl and a l u m i n u m window com- panies , i ts 700 employ-
ees, and one million s/f of manufacturingspace. Leading the parent company, Crystal Window & Door Systems, with locations in Flushing, NY and northeast PA, Steve guides the company’s affiliate fenestration manufacturers Crystal Chicago in Illinois and Crystal Pacific in Riverside, CA, as well as Missouri-based subsidiary, Gateway Extru- sions. Crystal manufactures nearly 500,000 window and door units annually for all types of buildings, which are distributed in over 40 states across the country. Steve has significant first- hand experience in window manufacturing and installa- tion. He grew up in the busi- ness launched in 1990 by his fatherThomasChen. Through high school and college, Steve worked during school breaks and each summer, on the fac- tory floor making windows, helping in accounting or with computer systems, even load- ing trucks, which enabled him to see many aspects of the operations directly. At an early age, Steve came to the U.S. with his parents from Taiwan. He attended New York City public schools and graduated with a degree in economics from Penn State University. After college, Steve leda teamof investment account managers in Phila- delphia for a major financial services company. In 2003, he rejoined Crystal as a project manager, gaining experience in many aspects of managing the business and gradually taking on greater responsibil- ity for the operations of the entire company. InMarch2018, 15yearsafter joiningthecompany, Stevewas named president, completing the successful transition from
Crystal’s butterfly insulated glass equipment assembles dual and triple pane windows.
Crystal’s new energy efficient windows at new college residence Varsity on K in Washington, DC.
Crystal Windows’ 336,000 s/f Scranton, PA area factory
Chen. “I sought to change that at Crystal by streamlining processes and improvingqual- ity.” To accomplish this, Steve aggressively pursued integra- tion of technology throughout Crystal’s manufacturing op- erations, which has improved products, operations, quality, and grown sales. It has also freed up employees tomanage new operations. Ten years ago, before it was popularized, Steve champi- oned 3D printing technology to fast-track prototype de- signs and acquired comput- erized window test chamber equipment to expedite new product testing. He pushed mobile connectivity through smartphones, laptops, GPS, company intranet, and video conferencing, assuring ac- curate and efficient quoting, order placement, delivery and invoicing. Steve invested in the development of a new multi-million dollar enter- prise-wide computer system which came on line in early 2016, further transforming operations. Qualified trade and dealer customers can now obtain quotes and enter orders directly into the Crys- tal computer system, greatly speeding turnaround time from order placement to de- livery.Othernewtechnologies includeautomatedproduction equipment for glass cutting, insulatedglass assembly, and window framewelding. Anew state-of-the-art 2Dbar-coding system to trackmaterials and components through all phas- es of production and delivery has been initiated.
The company embraced vertical integration in its pro- duction operations to better manage quality, lead times, and material availability. Crystal extrudes its own vi- nyl and aluminum lineals for window frames and operates its own paint and powder coat finishing lines to offer an infinite array of color choices. Crystal utilizes sophisti- cated production equipment to assemble and argon fill dual- and triple-pane energy efficient insulatedglassunits, providing customers the best in thermal performance. Be- yond its own manufacturing, Crystal has forged strong re- lationships with curtain wall, storefront, fenestration, and architectural metals product manufacturers that enable it tomeet evenmore of theneeds of its trade customers, archi- tects, general contractors, and property owners. Since Steve joined Crystal and with his push for technol- ogy and automation, Crystal national production spacehas increased four-fold to nearly one million s/f at five factories aroundthe country, saleshave grown 78%, and the company employs over 700 nationally. Recognized Industry Expertise Steve believes in investing in personnel for Crystal’s future growth and success. Most of his managers have been with Crystal for many years, taking on new roles, responsibilities, and chal- lenges as the company has grown.Newemployees receive extensive training and orien-
tation, cross-trainingbetween departments and locations is offered, and professional development and continuing education is encouraged at every level. Crystal’s exper- tise is sought frequently by industry media outlets for input in major issues and news of the industry, and trends in markets, products, and manufacturing. “I think the outstanding reputation our professional production, engineering, and sales teams have in the indus- try is inpartbecause theentre- preneurial spirit of the compa- ny runs deep,” saidSteve. “We offer innovative, consultative, cost-effective solutions for all types of building projects, in- cluding historic renovations, challenging redevelopment situations, and brand new high-rise glass towers, along with single-family homes and multi-family complexes.” The Future is Bright for Crystal Windows Steve is excited for the company’s future. “There are new opportunities to seize all the time in this industry, and Crystal is well positioned to take advantage of them,” said Steve. “By striking a practical balancebetweenplanningand flexibility, Crystal is always ready tomove. Things couldn’t be more interesting, and the future is bright!” C r y s t a l s u p p l i e d n e w commercial windows for the rehabilitation of the historic PNC Bank Building in Wilkes- Barre, PA.
Crystal Windows President Steve Chen (right) and Founder and Chairman Thomas Chen at New York factory.
Crystal’s fleet of trailers delivers products to 40 states.
Crystal’s inhouse aluminum extrusions powder coat finishing offers an infinite array of color choices.
Crystal’s new windows, custom engineering, and innovation saved time and money for renovations at John Fox Towers in Philadelphia.
one generation to another. ThomasChen isnowchairman and devotes much of his time now to strategic investments and philanthropic endeavors. Steve has been involved with many business and trade organizations, includ- ing serving as past president of the Northeast Window & DoorAssociation (nowmerged with nationalWindow&Door Manufacturers’ Association), as a former member of a New York Federal Reserve Bank Advisory Council, and as a national judge for Window & Door Magazine’s annual industry achievement award program. He also continues
Crystal’s tradition of phi- lanthropy, supporting many educational, art, and cultural initiatives. Steve’s business expertise and success has been widely recognized by leading trade and business publications, including Crain’s New York Business , whichnamedhimto its prestigious 2016 40 Under 40 list and by the Northeast Pennsylvania Business Jour- nal as a 2017 20 Under 40 Leader. Technology Integration A Priority “Windowmanufacturinghas traditionally been a labor-in- tensive endeavor,” said Steve
New Crystal windows at Windows Park Towers, Cherry Hill, NJ are part of a major renovation project at this apartment complex.
Crystal uses 3-D printing for new product design and testing before full scale production.
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