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Q+A with VEKA North America | The Long Game

Growth, environmental commitment, employee engagement and more as VEKA celebrates 40 years in North America

VEKA employees hand out anniversary mugs

VEKAVEKA North America celebrates 40 years in North America this year. Window + Door had the opportunity to participate in the celebration at its Fombell, Pennsylvania, headquarters and speak with Joe Peilert, president and CEO; Steve Dillon, corporate marketing director; and VEKA employees about the milestone, the company’s growth and what we can expect to see in the future.

Window + Door: The growth from a dozen employees in a rented location to four locations with over 800 employees in North America is remarkable, especially during some really pronounced challenges, including COVID and the Great Recession. How did you maintain growth and do so sustainably?

Joe Peilert: Being a family-owned business, we focus on the long game. We cultivate enduring customer relationships, often spanning decades or even generations. VEKA assisted numerous companies in starting their businesses from day one, and these companies now generate revenues exceeding $100 million. Those are the partnerships we are particularly proud of. Our primary source of growth comes from our existing customers. VEKA’s goal is to provide products and services that contribute to their continued growth and success.

WD: Are there plans for further growth? 

JP: Yes, we are planning on further growth. During 2021 and 2022, we completed a major expansion of our North American extrusion capacity. Our four plant locations are strategically positioned in key growth markets. We have open capacity at each site. To address local product requirements and performance expectations and meet regulatory compliance like Energy Star 7.0, it’s crucial to understand individual customer needs. Offering tailored solutions for their market is more effective than adopting a one-size-fits-all approach. Depending on the specific needs, we draw on custom, shelf or hybrid systems to find the right solutions.  

WD: What are some of the 40th-anniversary celebrations? 

Steve Dillon: We organized celebrations at each of our facilities (Reno, Nevada; Terrell, Texas; Morganton, North Carolina; and Fombell), starting in July and finishing with the final celebration held in Fombell. We will also acknowledge the Anniversary in our booth at GlassBuild America in Atlanta.

WD: What have been some of the most significant changes in the past 40 years? 

JP: Let me address the work environment first. What stands out is that today every role within our company, whether in a plant or office setting, requires a basic level of comfort with digital solutions. That has profound implications for how we recruit and develop our team members. At the same time, our work style is much more collaborative than in our early years. COVID and remote/office hybrid work schedules have not changed that; to the contrary, it has encouraged us to be more deliberate about and to empower team members.

Over the decades, the capabilities of vinyl window profile systems have advanced in response to market conditions and regulatory requirements resulting in better thermal efficiency, impact strength and sound insulation. Above and beyond, we have seen a steady increase in the demand for color solutions. With today’s product technology, we can install black laminated vinyl windows in any climate zone.  

WD: Tell me about VEKA’s role in vinyl recycling and environmental commitment.

JP: VEKA’s environmental commitment started with our founder, Heinrich Laumann. He pioneered post-consumer window recycling in Europe. In addition to our initial recycling facility in Germany, we have expanded to include plants in both France and England.

In the North American market, we have utilized pre-consumer recycled vinyl material as a substrate in our Outdoor Living Product business, specifically for fences, decks and rail. As a member of FGIA, Kevin Seiling, vice president of engineering at VEKA, is co-chairing a task force to assess options for introducing post-consumer vinyl window recycling in the United States.

For VEKA worldwide, our long-term goal is to be carbon neutral by 2045.

WD: Community outreach is something VEKA continuously commits to and serves as the foundation from which everything grows. Why is it such a critical part of the business? 

JP: For our team members, especially the younger generation, it’s important that we stand for more than merely supplying vinyl window profile systems and paychecks. Our Mission statement, “We Care, We Act, We Grow,” resonates with our team members, especially when we engage in community initiatives like supporting veterans or collaborating with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

WD: VEKA has incredible employee tenure, reportedly twice the industry average. We talked about the education center during one of our last conversations, and in Joe’s speech during the 40th anniversary celebration in Fombell, he mentioned internal mentoring, train-the-trainer programs, leadership programs, and forklift license training, among others. Tell us more about the employee experience, from hiring to training.

JP: What brings me the most pride is that after 40 years, we are seeing increasing numbers of multigenerational family members working at VEKA. The biggest compliment we can get is a friend and family referral. In Fombell, about half of our new hires are through referrals. I felt a strong sense of pride while attending this year’s apprenticeship graduation gala. During the event, two graduates received their diplomas, and their fathers, who are VEKA team members, were present as well.  

WD: With GlassBuild America right around the corner, I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you what we can expect to see from VEKA at this year’s show. 

SD: This year, we have a new booth design and layout. Drawing inspiration from our parent company’s approach to tradeshows, we’ve provided focused areas for showcasing products and services, along with a designated area for customer and prospect interaction, as well as providing meeting space. You can expect to see a display of large doors, color options and our service platform. 


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Laurie Cowin

Laurie Cowin is editor of Window + Door. Contact her at