Home Archives August 2008 A small window into Jeld-Wen

A small window into Jeld-Wen

| Print |  Email
Friday, August 01, 2008

PORTLAND Rod Wendt, CEO and president of Klamath Falls’ famously media-averse Jeld-Wen, was in Portland in mid-July for the opening of a showroom on the second floor of the US Bancorp tower. It was 5 p.m. and several dozen people with wine glasses wandered through the window and door displays. Wendt stood to one side shaking hands with people and chatting with Ron Saxton, a Jeld-Wen senior VP  and one-time Republican gubernatorial candidate.

At 54, Wendt has a shiny dome and a ring of graying hair around his head, and is tall, fit and tan. He looked relaxed for someone who’s the top executive of a $3.16 billion company (as estimated by Forbes magazine) that depends on the success of the housing industry for its survival.

The Wendt family has always kept Jeld-Wen out of the spotlight. Rod’s father, Richard, founded the company in 1960, but the nation’s business community knew little about Jeld-Wen as it grew to be one of the largest door and window manufacturers in the world. Rod graduated from Stanford and joined the company in 1980. By 1992 he was president and in 2003 took over the mantle of CEO from his father, who had held the position for 43 years.

The company’s reticence toward the media remained intact this evening. As we approached Saxton and Wendt, Saxton stepped to one side and waved over two members of the company’s PR team. Wendt appeared unfazed as the two women gently inserted themselves into the group. He continued talking candidly about the company and its plans: Expanding Jeld-Wen’s market into China and India will happen in the future, but not until there’s more consistency in building standards, he says. The company’s multiple resorts are incorporating more commercial projects as a way to offset the down real estate market. Jeld-Wen also is increasing its commercial work as a way to buoy its lagging residential window and door manufacturing.

Wendt was both relaxed and pragmatic as he talked. At one point he used the word “terrible” when describing the state of the real estate market. “I could have used a different word, but I don’t use words like that,” he said, leaning forward and raising his eyebrows.

Three minutes after the conversation began, it was over. What had been essentially idle chatter felt like a journalistic triumph. After handshakes with the men, we joined the crowd as it wandered around, looking through windows and doors that opened onto showroom walls.              

ABRAHAM HYATT


Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Comments   

 
Joe
-1 #1 truthJoe 2011-01-09 19:35:19
Jeld-Wen are crooks and treat their employees like dirt don't be impressed. They even use illegals. They keep a low profile don't all crooks?
Quote | Report to administrator
 
 
John
+1 #2 truthJohn 2011-01-11 00:41:49
Hey Joe,
Just curious where all the illegals are. I'm sure INS would appreciate the tip.
Quote | Report to administrator
 

More Articles

Podcast: Interview with Pete Friedes

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

082714-thumb friedesbookTom Cox interviews Pete Friedes, author of "The 2R Manager," about becoming a Best Boss.


Read more...

Green Endeavor cleans up

News
Wednesday, August 06, 2014
080614 ULnew greenendeavorBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Portland startup Green Endeavor strikes gold, inking a partnership with Underwriters Laboratories, an Illinois-based consulting and certification company with offices in 46 countries.


Read more...

Register for 100 Best Companies survey

News
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
OBM-100-best-logo-2015 150pxwBy Kim Moore | OB Editor

The 2015 survey launched this week. It is open to for-profit private and public companies that have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon.


Read more...

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


Read more...

Is this employee right?

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
081314 thumb employeefeelingsBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

When I say, “Your Employee is Always Right,” I do not mean “right about the facts,” but rather “right about how they feel” and “right about how they want to be led.”


Read more...

Podcast: Interview with Steve Balzac

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

082014BalzacBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

Tom Cox interviews Steve Balzac, author of "Organizational Psychology for Managers."


Read more...

The Scott Kveton affair

News
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
ScottKvetonBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Scott Kveton, the CEO of Urban Airship is taking a leave of absence from the company. As the story continues to unfold, here’s our perspective on a few of the key players.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS