Western Window Systems is on a mission to design moving glass walls and windows that help its customers live better, regardless of their demographic. GRAY’s Tamar Leveson spoke with Scott Gates, president of the Arizona-based brand, who discussed its products and unique company culture.
One of Western Window Systems’ goals is to blend the indoors and the outdoors with its products. What inspired that objective?
Bringing outdoor and indoor spaces together has been at the heart of our company’s renaissance for almost a decade now. This window and door technology has been around for more than 30 years, but companies, including Western Window Systems, didn’t do enough to make it available to a wide array of consumers across different geographies and demographics. After developing innovative ways to make doors and windows work for a variety of customers, the results were outstanding.
Can you share examples of how you made your products more appealing?
Our products need to be versatile enough to allow homes to be flexible, and to give a homeowner whatever they need at any given moment. Our indoor/outdoor systems, such as [a pocket door that slides into a wall], make the door and glass panels disappear completely. Our products are equally impressive when a customer wants to insulate themselves from harsh exterior elements. When closed, our doors are extremely energy efficient and strong. They are built to massive glass sizes that frame views and flood a home with natural light. We want our customers to get the best of both the indoors and the outdoors, because that is how we help them live better.
That kind of concern for others extends throughout your company, all the way to its employees and the community it serves.
Our three core values are excellence, innovation, and partnership. I often tell people that partnership is the most important—in the end, all business is about people. We call all the stakeholders of our business—employees, vendors, customers, and our community—“partners” because we believe that word best describes the symbiotic relationship we have with the people who make us successful. Our company motto is emblazoned on the walls of our building. It’s “#oneteam.” This approach has been part of our secret sauce and a big part of why we create and innovate so quickly.
Authenticity is clearly important to your brand. How do you encourage and maintain that kind of company culture?
Authenticity comes through in our steadfast commitment to our vision statement, which says, “Have fun creating a winning company that changes construction and helps our partners live better.” Our brand must reflect that vision and provide a spirit of fun. We don’t want people to choose us [merely] because of our features and benefits. We want people to choose us because we’re an incredible group of people who are hell-bent on making your life better—and if you give us the chance, we will.
Tell us about your staff, and what they contribute to the company.
We have created a unique [workplace] that attracts some of the highest quality talent in the market. We have an infectiously fun environment, punctuated by innovative methods and a commitment to top-notch service and approach.
What is the next big thing Western Window Systems has on the boards?
The market and consumers love the historic look of putty bar steel windows and doors, but hate the price, lead times, and complex friction those products inject into their construction schedules. We challenged ourselves to give the market what it wants while solving those challenges, and achieved our goal in 2018 with our Simulated Steel family of windows and doors, which is something really special. We are excited to see this product filter into custom homes and historic commercial projects throughout North America in 2019.