Categories >  Interview >  “When You’re Here, You’re Family”: We’re Thankful for You

“When You’re Here, You’re Family”: We’re Thankful for You

What a challenging time 2020 has been! During a year unlike any other in recent human history, there’s no better time to express our heartfelt gratitude for our customers, partners, and vendors.

We’re also thankful to our founders, John and Mary McGrory, and to our staff, many of whom have grown up with the company. In fact, seven of John and Mary’s children work at McGrory Glass today. We love to say, “Everyone here is family!”

Thanksgiving is a time to think about our “families.” At McGrory, we’re celebrating 36 years of being a family owned and operated company. Today, the second generation of McGrorys have built on John and Mary’s legacy, and new employees who join the growing team benefit from that strong foundation. 

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You don’t have to be a McGrory to be part of the family

Most of our employees build long-term careers at McGrory Glass because of our close-knit culture. This November, we asked our team members to weigh in on what their year has been like.

Regional Sales Manager Bridget Lira became a mother—and says that from the moment she announced her pregnancy, to her baby’s birth, she felt total support from the McGrory team. 

“Our owners and managers always ask how my daughter is doing,” she says. “They understand that we’re experiencing unprecedented times and their flexibility and willingness to adapt with working families is something that I truly appreciate. They support me as I balance motherhood and work.”

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When Gabby Magenta, Senior Resource Manager in McGrory’s Sample Room, thinks about the care and support that the McGrory family has provided over the years—and especially during 2020—the word “selfless” comes to her mind. 

“Their continued support and personable communication has made this chaotic year calmer,” she says. “The endless amounts of hard work and focus to keep the business running on all cylinders is unmatched. It’s a privilege to work with the McGrory family.”

Jessica Wagner, Senior Product Manager, faced a challenging year, working remotely with a small child at home and a husband in the military. “McGrory helped by always being supportive, flexible and understanding,” she says. “My husband has to leave sometimes for a couple days, a week or even two weeksand that leaves me juggling everything. The McGrory team has always been supportive of any time I need to leave early or adjust my schedule.”

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Richard Whitcombe, Senior Product Manager & Fire Rated Division Lead, agrees wholeheartedly.

“You don’t have to be a ‘McGrory’ to be part of the family, and the immense care coming from the company leadership during this pandemic has absolutely been a true testament to our family-first culture,” he says. “This dedication to the staff is inspiring and not something you’d easily find in a publicly owned company.”

“I’ve been in the workforce for almost 20 years now,” adds Helena Mutak, Director of Marketing. “I haven’t seen this level of togetherness in any other company, regardless of industry. It’s never been clearer to me that McGrory “walks the talk”, even when times get tough. It’s an honor to be here.” 

Promotions, new hires and plenty of support

Happily, Daniela Rampa, now a Regional Sales Manager, celebrated her five-year anniversary at McGrory in July. But her biggest hurdle during 2020 came while transitioning from project management to another department – sales. 

“My biggest personal challenge was learning to work remotely, while also training for a new position,” she says. “However, everyone at McGrory is always willing to help in any way they can. Every person and department are like individual puzzle pieces that work together to form a single unit.” 

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Marketing Coordinator Pat Tackney came on board with McGrory as an intern in January (when things were still “normal”), and joined the team full time in May, during the pandemic. He acknowledges that saying 2020 has been challenging is an understatement. 

“I was lucky to secure a position,” he says, “but not being able to learn in an in-person environment was definitely a struggle.” Pat credits Director of Marketing Helena Mutak with being a great mentor. “I’ve learned so much with the help of Helena and the rest of the McGrory team,” he says.

And you’ll find that the McGrory siblings make it a priority that the team feels the support of their “work family.” 

“We want everyone to feel good, whether it’s feeling safer due to the COVID-19 protocols that are in place or feeling the support of our owners and colleagues when we’re forced to work remotely,” says Mike McGrory, Vice President of Sales. “It’s great to watch our employees support each other as well. It’s a regular thing to see  project managers reach out to each other when they’re caught up on their work to assist someone who’s feeling overwhelmed.”

‘We haven’t missed a beat with our customers’

Now, more than ever, Richard reports that dozens of customers have told him that McGrory has been the most reliable and communicative vendor they’ve worked with throughout this entire pandemic year.

“In a time where their typical go-to people were hard to reach or even furloughed, we’ve made it a point to always be immediately accessible – by phone, video call, email, any medium that works,” he says. 

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There are several clear indicators about McGrory’s level of quality and reliability as a resource to the architectural glass community. 

“Those include effective communication with our client base, keeping our entire sales and office team working, and safely allowing production to continue servicing our customers,” Richard says.

Part of McGrory’s commitment to customers included quickly investing in virtual platforms to communicate seamlessly. 

“This has been a great tool for us since we haven’t been able to meet with our customers face to face,” Bridget says, “so we haven’t missed a beat.”

McGrory’s IT department, headed up by Rich Chin, has enabled the team to effectively support our customers during these trying times. 

“Rich has allowed our employees to be as productive as possible when working remotely,” Mike says. “Having remote access to our database, files and production schedule allows us the ability to service our customer base seamlessly.”

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Jessica Wagner loves that she can quickly reach any member of the office, production or warehouse team.

“I can call anyone and get answers right away, which our customers appreciate,” she says. “Even in the midst of a pandemic, we’re still very timely with our quotes, orders, samples, and responses.”

In addition, the McGrory team understands how hard it can be for designers and architects to collaborate remotely when it comes to figuring out design intents, specs, or even finishes.

“Our Sample Room is stocked with thousands of samples—we can send the same product to each designer, one to the client if needed, and one to the firm’s materials library too for example,” Daniela says. “From the very beginning, McGrory began offering virtual consultations, expanded AIA CEU presentations, project discussions, and more to help keep our relationships with our customers as ‘personal’ as possible.”

Mike is proud of how the team found creative ways to still showcase new and exciting decorative glass products to architects and designers. “The marketing team put together incredible  presentations with significant content that our clients love,” he says. “That allows us to get in front of more customers than we had earlier in the year. Also, our Sample Room staff worked tirelessly in producing and sending out samples on a timely basis, helping us stay connected in our remote world. Gabby and Brooke have always done a great job, but due to the pandemic they were asked to go above and beyond – and they did.”

All in the family

For Mike, working in the office alongside his siblings and talking to them everyday face-to-face was the norm. 

“Oddly enough, over the past several months we’ve spoken to each other more than we had previously,” he says. “Of course, it’s usually over the phone or via Zoom meetings, but these communications allow us to share insight and ways we can continue to achieve our common goal: keeping our employees as safe as possible and the company as productive as possible.”

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In addition to the McGrory siblings, there are other biological family members working together. For example, Richard works alongside his father, Blake Whitcombe, Director of Performance Products and Key Accounts. 

McGrory Glass has essentially provided for me for my entire life, through my father’s career and now my own,” Richard says. “Growing up, I thought glass was boring, but now I can’t get enough of it. This isn’t the first economic downturn and it won’t be the last, and McGrory has held strong through the decades with each passing challenge. I see why my father has stayed with McGrory all these years.”

Multimedia and Design Marketing Intern Jessica Gulnick also joined her father, McGrory veteran and Vice President Jim Gulnick on the team. 

“I have a newfound respect for my dad after working with him this year,” she says. “I’ve watched how he handles everyday situations, even the really hard ones, with intelligence, patience, and concern for others. It was especially nice to see how seriously he took cautions regarding the pandemic and how he was able to strictly, yet nicely, enforce the rules. He has always been a role model to me, but now I can say how he inspires me in a work environment as well.”

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However, even if you’re not a McGrory, you still feel like one. “I really like my job, but the true reason I ‘love’ McGrory is because of the people,” Daniela says. “Some of my closest friends are my work friends and it truly feels like we’re siblings half the time—your last name doesn’t need to be McGrory to feel like part of the family there. We just get each other.”

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‘Coming out of this year stronger than we started’

Richard says that the prevailing feeling at McGrory is to come out of this year stronger than we started. “As challenging as this year has been, we’ve really focused on developing cutting-edge products that will launch in 2021,” he says. “These innovations will bring unheard-of solutions to our customer base that, quite frankly, no one else can bring to the table. These are exciting times at McGrory and I look forward to sharing that excitement with our customers heading into 2021.”

Bridget is also excited about McGrory’s investment in new virtual customer-facing tech. “For years to come, serving clients remotely will be very important,” she says. “We’re definitely coming through this time even stronger.”

Jessica Gulnick agrees. “I’d love to see our team continue to use virtual meetings, informational videos, and other ways to spread information quickly to large groups of people,” she says.

And Jessica Wagner is confident that McGrory will be successful, no matter how our next normal looks. “We’ll all come through this healthy and strong both as individuals and as a company,” she says. “We’ve been working hard this year, so we’ll see the results of those efforts.”

Looking excitedly to 2021

The McGrory Glass team experiences gratitude every day, recalling John and Mary’s inspiring legacy of hard work, family, and the opportunity to build their very own version of the American dream.

“My hope is that this pandemic comes under control sooner rather than later, and we can resume business as usual,” Mike says. “However, we’re blessed with the hardest-working and most creative team in the industry. We’ll continue to come up with new ways to best serve our customers in the new year.”

As Mary and John often said, “Keep doing the little things right, and the milestones will take care of themselves.” We’ve worked hard as a team and with our clients, partners, and vendors. Without all of you, none of this would be possible. We look forward to many more decades of growing together. Thank you.

From our family to yours, we wish you a healthy, safe and very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Body Image Happy Thanksgiving

Written By  Patrick Tackney

Innovation. Experience. Grit.

Family-owned for over 35 years, McGrory Glass is a national fabricator and distributor of security, fire-rated, and architectural, glass products. We offer comprehensive solutions across sectors.

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