December’s Member Spotlight : Hunter Douglas
What is your business industry category or specialty?
Hunter Douglas Architectural is a collection of companies under the Hunter Douglas Inc (Rotterdam) umbrella that designs, engineers, manufacturers and fabricates a multitude of products for the commercial building marketplace working with architects and contractors. Our particular unit, located in Norcross, GA is a leader in the commercial building market specializing in metal ceilings and walls in North America. Typical projects are larger public spaces such as stadiums, arenas, airports. Current Atlanta-based projects are Falcons and Braves stadiums, Atlanta United’s new facilities, Porsche car dealerships. Nationally, highlighted projects are LAX, PHX and Houston airports; Nassau Coliseum in NYC, Little Caesars Arena in Detroit and Grand Central Station in NYC.
How do you describe your job to people outside the industry?
I have been in the industry since 1985 and I am one of those fortunate people who do not “work” for a living. If I won the lottery, I would still enjoy working with the people in our company, our customers and industry players. As General Manager, I am blessed with working for and leading a solid team of designers, engineers, project managers, manufacturers and administrative teammates.
Who are your main competitors and what differentiates you from the competition?
What makes you unique?
Our group is in the top three of about 10 competitors in this product and service space. One competitor, like Hunter Douglas generally, is a global player; the other top competitor is a west coast company that has grown with the market. We like to position ourselves in the middle as a company with global resources but with a local easy-to-do-business-with approach.
How was the business started?
Hunter Douglas began in Europe in 1919 and evolved from a machine development company producing roll forming equipment to a vertically integrated materials and product company that is the global leader in the window covering and fashion business. Additionally, Hunter Douglas created and acquired various autonomous companies globally to give it a leading place in a variety of commercial products and applications such as terracotta rain screens; metal ceilings, walls, exterior claddings; and fabrics for the hospitality business. Our Hunter Douglas Architectural group set up in the Atlanta area in 1985 and has been in Norcross since 1998.
How many employees does the business have?
Hunter Douglas operates globally with 130 companies and 19,500 employees. Our Norcross, GA Architectural products unit has 70 employees.
How did you end up in Atlanta?
While not involved, I understand the decision to set up in Atlanta (from the Northeast, then North Carolina) was driven by the local economy in the mid-80s with good available people, affordable facilities and perhaps direct flights from ATL to AMS!
What is your number one business goal over the next year?
Our business goal for the next year is Zero Lost Work Days in manufacturing;
Quality Products at a profitable and fair price provided by a group of people who enjoy their trades and competing in our space.
What is the best advice you have received regarding doing business with the Dutch?
I am American, born in Atlanta, so relationships and “picking up the phone” matter.
Dutch – Be comfortable being “very direct”.
Any other personal information you would like to share, e.g. hobbies, special interests, family etc…
My fabulous wife Kristi allows me to challenge myself, which at times gets entertaining, but bless her for being so wonderful and good to me. Daughters are Maggie (Univ West GA grad) and Erin (attending UGA). I graduated from and played football at Georgia Tech so my autumn afternoons are spent either at Grant Field, attending away games or in front of the TV. I’m an avid reader, particularly history and historical fiction.