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Ply Gem hires former Jeld-Wen executive

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Exterior building products manufacturer Ply Gem appointed Eric Spence senior VP sales and marketing for the Ply Gem Windows group.

In this newly created role, Spence is responsible for expanding Ply Gem Windows’ sales and marketing efforts, aligning the two functions under one common structure. He reports to Ply Gem Windows president Art Steinhafel, and is located at the Ply Gem corporate and windows group headquarters in Cary, North Carolina. 

“Since accepting this role, Eric has already begun to amplify the work of the Ply Gem Windows organization and is further establishing the group as a leading brand in the residential new construction and replacement window markets,” said Steinhafel. “We are confident Eric’s experience and proven track record uniquely position him to align and expand our sales and marketing operations, while building our consumer and trade branding efforts. I look forward to our new leadership organization providing the level of service our customers expect from Ply Gem Windows.”

Spence has more than 25 years of window and door experience with Jeld-Wen, where he held several sales leadership positions. In his most recent position as senior VP sales, Spence was responsible for strategic market planning, sales and business development, pricing, key account management, budgeting and expense control, and staff development through all business channels in the United States and Canada. 

“As a veteran of the window and door industry, I have had the opportunity to connect with customers and potential customers in all facets of building products sales and marketing,” said Spence. “As I come into this new role, I’m eager to maintain that strong customer focus to ensure every sales and marketing activity Ply Gem undertakes drives benefit to our customer base.” 

Immediately prior to accepting his new role with Ply Gem Windows, Spence held the position of president and CEO at Empirical Sales Solutions, where he developed strategic sales plans for accounts, such as Sierra Door, MasterGrain and Ferche Millwork.

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NRF lowers retail-growth forecast

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Retail Federation today lowered its retail sales forecast for 2014 because of slow growth recorded during the first half of the year, but said sales are expected to grow significantly faster over the next five months. NRF forecasted in January that retail sales would grow 4.1% in 2014 over 2013, but today’s revision lowers the forecast to 3.6%.

NRF calculated that sales grew 2.9% during the first half of the year and are expected to grow at least 3.9% during the second half. The numbers include general retail sales and non-store sales, and exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“No retailer was immune to the doldrums witnessed during the first quarter, and as a result, the year’s growth trajectory was impacted,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay. “That said, there is plenty of evidence that the second half of the year will be better for the industry as consumers begin to feel more optimistic about their spending decisions. 

“And though we maintain realistic expectations of retail sales growth in 2014, we are optimistic that the chances for a stronger economy still exist,” continued Shay.

“The severe weather and other factors we experienced earlier this year have taken their toll on retail, but most of those problems are behind us,” said NRF chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “A second look at our forecast shifted our expectations slightly, but it’s important to note that the outlook is positive. Sales are growing, and we expect them to continue at a moderate pace.”

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USG looks to honor drywall finishers with contest

BY David Salazar

Chicago-based Building materials company USG is looking to highlight the best drywall finishers by rolling out a new Building Greatness program.

The program takes the form of a contest whose winner gets a trip to the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. Contestants can submit photos of drywall finishing jobs they’re proud of to USG through March 1, 2015.

“We want to show drywall finishers that USG values their hard work,” USG’s director of product marketing performance surfaces Kevin Moyer said. “The skill and craftsmanship that goes into this profession is too often overlooked.”

Contestants can send in submissions once a month, all of which will be displayed on the Facebook page for USG Sheetrock. There will be four runners-up, who will receive a prize worth up to $100.

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