Partners acquire glass company

April 13, 2016
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Ken Graham, Linda Vos-Graham, Brian Potter, Dave Turner, John Turner
From left to right: Ken Graham, Linda Vos-Graham, Brian Potter, Dave Turner and John Turner. Courtesy Vos Glass

A long-time glass company in town announced this morning that it’s under new ownership.

Linda Vos-Graham, owner and president of Vos Glass in Grand Rapids, has sold the glass contracting company, located at 902 Scribner Ave. NW, to West Michigan construction industry veterans Dave Turner and Brian Potter.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Turner will now serve as president of Vos Glass. He has more than 25 years of leadership experience in the construction industry, having served as vice president, chief operating officer and president of Kent Companies, from which he retired recently after 25 years.

He has also served on several boards and industry trade associations, including Associated Builders and Contractors Inc. Western Michigan Chapter.

Potter is the president of Architectural Metals Inc., or AMI, of Portland, Michigan, which is a provider of sheet metals.

He will serve on the Vos Glass board of directors, in addition to his position as strategic owner and partner in the company.

Vos-Graham will continue to help guide the company, which has more than 60 employees, serving on an advisory board along with her husband, Ken Graham, who was a vice president at Vos Glass.

Vos-Graham, who has spent 33 years at Vos Glass and has been the company’s president since 2002, said Turner and Potter are the perfect fit to take over Vos Glass. The company was founded in 1982 by Vos-Graham's father, Clarence "Jake" Vos, and Barb Vos, with partners John Merryweather and Nelson Veltman.

“I’m excited that people from West Michigan will be moving into ownership of the company,” she said.

Vos-Graham said while it will be hard to say goodbye to the family business, she’s “confident in her decision,” because she knows Potter and Turner well enough to be sure the company will be in good hands.

“I can’t imagine going through this process with people I don’t know,” she said.

Vos-Graham said her relationship with Potter was a key factor in her decision to sell the company.

She noted Potter approached her about selling the business at the right time — when she was starting to think about what would be next for the company.

“I’d hired a business coach and was looking at the next generation of leaders,” she said.

Vos-Graham said the most important goal for her has always been “moving the business forward,” and she said selling was the best way to do that.

“I remember some comments my dad made — he had a brief illness with cancer. He said, ‘Remember the company isn’t a legacy. It’s a business. And decisions need to be made rationally. Don’t let tradition prevent progress.”

Vos-Graham said the transition brings the company together with one of its long-time collaborators, AMI, which she said will result in a positive outcome for both companies.

She said the industry is headed in the direction of packaging building envelope construction services.

“Construction on the building envelope is a benefit when you can partner those trades that are closely aligned,” she said.

“We want to further align our businesses to better serve architects, owners, construction managers and general contractors through a comprehensive effort that is unmatched in our industry,” Potter added.

Recent projects Vos Glass and AMI have collaborated on include the Spectrum Health Integrated Care Campus at East Beltline, the Gordon Food Service headquarters and the Meijer headquarters.

Several jobs have been jointly secured for 2016 and 2017 as well.

Under his and Potter’s leadership, Turner said employees and customers can expect “business as usual” from the company.

He said the goal is to keep Vos Glass “strong and moving forward.”

Turner said for him it’s a dream come true to take over ownership of the company.

One big reason is because his son, John Turner, will be joining the company alongside him as an owner and business development administrator.

Like his father, John Turner has a love for construction, having grown up working in the industry. He has held sales and business development positions at Kent Companies, Paycor and Michigan Office Solutions.

As part of the transition, three long-time employees have also assumed new roles: Tim Audretsch has been named vice president of construction; Terry Myers has been named vice president of retail; and Denise Volpe has been promoted to controller.

Vos-Graham said seeing these committed members of the Vos Glass team promoted is particularly gratifying for her, because they’ve all been “prepared and positioned” for their new executive roles over the past several years.

She said in addition to helping Vos Glass’ transition, she plans to spend the next year or more recharging and figuring out what’s next.

“I haven’t ruled out politics,” she said, noting she may run for local office.

Vos-Graham said she’s also going to be looking at opportunities to get more involved in construction workforce development programs in West Michigan.

In any case, she said she prefers the term “re-inventing” to “retiring” to describe what’s next.

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