By Janelle Fisher
City Pages Editor
GREEN BAY – Fiberglass Solutions, a Green Bay-based business specializing in custom fiberglass reinforced plastic products, was recently honored as the recipient of the Greater Green Bay Chamber’s Growth Award.
The Growth Award is intended to recognize a local company which has demonstrated significant or continuous growth over at least three years and under current ownership.
For Fiberglass Solutions and Ben Bertram, who bought the business with his wife Amy just five years ago, growth has manifested in more ways than one.
“It’s been a pretty wild ride and it’s vastly exceeded any of our expectations for where we thought we’d be,” he said. “We had two employees when we first bought it, plus ourselves, and we were about a 9,000-square-foot facility over on the north side of Green Bay. And now we’ve got upwards of 20 employees and a 34,000-square-foot facility over on the west side of Green Bay.”
While Bertram said there were several factors which made that growth possible, he emphasized how important the employees have been to the process in their willingness to do the job at hand and their openness to tackling new projects.
“There’s a lot of contributors, I think,” he said. “Really, it was just getting the right people in the right seats. We’ve got a really great group of employees… When you think about fiberglass, it’s as I tell everybody when they interview — it’s itchy and it stinks. To say it’s less than ideal on most days would be pretty accurate. But we’ve got a great group of people around us and they really came in here and took off. People call and ask, ‘Hey, can you do this?’ And the answer is yes. And then we go out to the guys in the shop and say, ‘Alright guys, we committed to this. How are we going to do it?’ They’re a group of people that just get stuff done.”
Another contributor to the growth of Fiberglass Solutions, Bertram said, is a priority that carried over from the former owners.
“The other reason is just customer service,” he said. “People call and need things in a pinch, and we could drop everything and help them out. The previous owners, Ken and Mary (Glowacki), really focused on making sure their customers were happy, and we just kind of try to take that to the next level and make sure we keep up that level of service.”
Bertram said that one part of the business he hopes to see continue to grow is the manufacturing side of things.
“When we bought the business, we didn’t really have a manufacturing arm — it was mainly custom projects and then service and repair,” he said. “We traveled to wherever customers would take us and we really kind of expanded from regional to nationwide to assist our customers wherever they may call from, but we want to continue to grow the manufacturing side of the business. Green Bay is really a manufacturing town, and we really like that that side of the business, too, provides a little more stability and allows us good opportunities to train our employees and get more predictable outcomes in the long run.”
Whatever the future holds for Fiberglass Solutions, Bertram said the goal is to maintain a pattern of growth.
“We’re definitely going to have to watch the economy here and see what it does,” he said. “We definitely want to continue to grow.”