Ones to Watch July/August 2020July 22nd, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs
With: Filip Geeraert, outgoing CEO and President of Deceuninck North America
For 20 years, Filip Geeraert has been a steadfast figure in the industry. As the CEO of Deceuninck North America, he is best known for the enthusiasm he devotes to Deceuninck, and for ensuring the company’s fabricator customers succeed. In June, he announced that he would retire, effective July 1, 2020—a decision that he says was in the works for several years. Noting the time of his retirement (amid COVID-19), Geeraert says he regrets the inability to “say goodbye” to his industry peers in person, but notes that once trade shows and public gatherings recommence folks shouldn’t be surprised to see him again, as he transitions to board chairperson for Deceuninck North America.
What do you expect to miss most from your role as CEO?
The people side … I’ve known the employees here for 20 years. I’ve known customers for 20 years and the industry for 20 years. Interacting on a daily basis will be what I miss the most. The last couple of weeks I can say have been, to a certain extent, emotional, because you relive those 20 years … I keep saying that this isn’t goodbye, but we will see you.
Regarding the philosophical benchmarks you’ve set—like zero defects—do you think those will continue?
That’s a little bit of the reason why I want to stay on as chairperson of the board. I want, to a certain extent, to ensure that my legacy will continue … We have a plan. We have a vision. And I want those to continue … that’s based on what we always hold as our three pillars: innovation, design and sustainability … We [also] have our customer council meeting twice a year, so I want that to continue because it’s the customers [who] in the end define how successful we are.
What can you tell us about your role as board chairperson?
I will be involved, or free to be involved, not in the day to day but more in the vision, the strategies and the future of the company … making sure that the needs of the customers are met, making sure that we continue to grow, maybe think of mergers and acquisitions, if there are any opportunities there … [I’ll] be a soundboard and a coach for my current team, and hopefully for my successor … And, of course, it’s always possible for my successor to bring new things to the table. I just hope that we don’t start over from scratch, because a lot of things [are] already in place.
Is there anything about retiring at this particular time, amid COVID-19, that’s especially hard or that feels difficult—timing wise?
It was nine months ago when I decided to retire … As of July 1, my last couple of months look a little bit different … I was planning the last couple of months to travel to customers, to personally say goodbyes … that didn’t happen. The good thing is that [I will] still do that, but maybe in 2022. So, from that point of view, I must admit COVID-19 did put a little strain on the whole plan, but it is what it is and I still have it to come.
In terms of your career, what would you say you’re most proud of?
I would say building a team that always looks forward and making sure that the whole organization is customer oriented. We used to be very much operations oriented, and I think we have shifted that to customer orientation and creating a theme, which really can move mountains … our key objectives are simple. It’s four zeros: zero incidents, zero turnover, zero defects and zero back orders. And if you do that, I can guarantee you will be successful.
Tune in for More
Days ahead of his official retirement, Geeraert joined [DWM] as a guest on its podcast. For more insights and to listen to the full interview, visit dwmmag.com or search for Door PODCAST and Window Discussions on Apple podcasts.
Kenny Retires from Vitro
Patrick Kenny recently retired from his position of vice president of marketing for Vitro Architectural Glass. A pioneer throughout his 40-year career in the glass industry, Kenny led new departments and assumed roles that didn’t exist previously. After spending his entire career with PPG and, later, Vitro Architectural Glass after PPG sold its flat glass division, he now
operates Value Ingineering, a consulting company he started with five of his colleagues. Together, they have a combined 250 years of business-to-business expertise, he says.
RazorGage Announces New National Sales Manager
Officials for RazorGage appointed John Thomas as the company’s new North America national sales manager. Thomas brings 25 years of experience in the glass, metal working and fenestration machinery industries to the company, which manufactures automated stop/pusher systems and cutoff saws. Prior to joining RazorGage, he served as the national sales manager for Italmac USA, and before that served in the same role with Omga Inc.
Sales and Marketing
Vytex Adds to Sales and Marketing
Vytex Windows added three new members to its sales and marketing team.
Lucas Chapman now serves as regional sales manager for the Midwest, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and St. Louis, Mo. Chapman has several years of sales experience, including one year in the door and window industry. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University in sales and marketing.
Larry Creech now represents the Southeast, which includes North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. Creech’s company, Allied Innovative Materials, serves as an exclusive window manufacturing partner throughout most of the Southeast region.
Melanie Thomas serves as the company’s new marketing coordinator, helping to oversee both corporate- and customer-based marketing efforts. Thomas has nearly 20 years of experience in the door and window industry and holds a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Garcia Joins Quanex as VP of Human Resources
Quanex Building Products hired Kim Garcia to serve as vice president of human resources. Garcia has more than 20 years of experience, “driving successful employee engagement and retention initiatives, developing and executing talent management strategies, and spearheading leadership development and organizational design programs,” officials said. She’s held several key leadership roles over the years, including in human resources for medium- to large-sized companies across numerous industries, most recently as vice president of human resources for Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston.
Vitro Names Bracamonte VP of Operations
Vitro Architectural Glass named Martin Bracamonte vice president of operations. In his new role, Bracamonte oversees four U.S. plants in Carlisle, Pa., Wichita Falls, Texas, Fresno, Calif., and Salem, Ore. His primary responsibilities center on increasing operational efficiencies, production output, product quality and overall customer satisfaction.
During his 29-year career in the glass industry, Bracamonte has held senior management and executive posts at several leading glass manufacturers, including at IGE Glass Technologies, where he served as president and chief operating officer.
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