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Architectural Glass & Aluminum

Architectural Glass & Aluminum (AGA) is committed to serving its customers correctly, no matter what, Vice President of Project Management Bill Coll Jr. says. “The culture of our company is to do the right thing, even at the expense of profit, because that is what the customers [need],” he declares.

“We want to deliver even more than the customer expects, because the last impression is what sells the next job,” he says, noting that the firm holds its employees to a high standard. “That is the best way that we can ensure that [strong service] is delivered.”

Based in Alameda, Calif., AGA specializes in pre-construction, estimating, value engineering, design, project management and plant operation services. Founder Joe Brecia started the company in 1970 and initially served the San Francisco Bay area.

Since then, AGA has grown into a major Pacific Rim firm, with offices in Alameda and Irvine, Calif., as well as Honolulu. The company not only has completed work in Hawaii and California, but also Washington, Alaska and Texas.

Keeping in Control

One aspect that has contributed to AGA’s success, Coll says, is its vertically integrated structure. This allows the firm to centralize its control over such aspects as design, engineering, manufacturing and installation.

“That assures our success,” he says, noting that this not only allows AGA to deliver high quality products, but also on time and on budget.

AGA also maintains a commitment to primarily using U.S. vendors. “There’s always the exception when an architect wants a [specific] material,” he admits. “[But] when we make a promise as far as delivery, we’re always assured that our American vendor partners are going to deliver on time.”

In the past, he says, AGA’s U.S. vendors have had a better record of meeting requirements on its products. “We’re certain that [their] paint coverage on the aluminum is per the American standards,” Coll says.

Hard Workers

A 20-year veteran of AGA, Coll joined the company after working at Swinerton Builders. Today, at AGA, he strives to give its workers the proper respect “to get the most out of them,” he says.

He adds that his management style was not only influenced by Brecia, but also his father Bill Coll Sr. and Chuck Clark, who were Brecia’s partners in the business. “A lot of the ways that I operate today are the result of [their influence],” he says.

“Joe really helped me understand the strategy of business,” according to the younger Coll. “My dad taught me how to work hard.”

To The Next Level

AGA has taken the structure of an employee-owned company. This not only gives workers a personal stake in how the company performs financially, but also ensures that it will keep training new workers and developing them for management roles, Coll says.

“That’s going to propel us to the next level,” he predicts. “We’re all proud of the buildings that we can construct, but seeing the growth in the younger generation is what makes me most proud.”

AGA’s workers gain this expertise through their diverse experiences on the job, according to Coll. “[It] takes a lot of time to gain the experience to do what we do,” he admits.

Coll predicts continued success for AGA as an employee-owned firm well into the future. “I see [us becoming] a sustainable company that grows, does over $100 million a year and continues to build and grow our relationships [with clients],” he says.

He also predicts that the company will continue managing to compete with overseas competition, thanks to its multiple strengths. “Regardless of the threat, we’re still maintaining our standards, and we’ve been able to persevere,” he declares.

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