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Tribute To Louisville Plate Glass

Sen. Mitch McConnell

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Mr. President, I rise today to pay tribute to a native Louisville business that is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, Louisville Plate Glass, and the company's owner, my good friend, Bill Stone. Louisville Plate Glass specializes in custom glass products such as laminated and insulated glass and was founded in 1911. The company is among an elite group of Louisville firms that have survived 100 years of business success.

Louisville Plate Glass has been hit hard by the struggling economy and faltering housing market that we are all familiar with, due to its close attachment to the real estate industry. Owner Bill Stone, 75, reclaimed ownership of the business in 2009 in order to ensure the business stays afloat. At the time, Bill was a partner in parent company United Glass Corp. when it announced its plans to sell Louisville Plate Glass to consolidate the company's business into other holdings outside the State.

Bill's pride took control however, and he decided to trade in a portion of his shares in United Glass Corp. to independently reacquire Louisville Plate Glass. ``It's not about money,'' Bill said. ``It's about pride now. It's about making it a success again.'' Bill says he is taking a ``survive-and-advance'' strategy with the business until the real estate market picks up again, and he rarely takes a salary from the company to further help company profits.

Louisville Plate Glass has recently had major projects at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J., and also an outlet mall in New Hampshire, and Bill is optimistic that the real-estate industry will pick up soon and the business will grow. The company is also responsible for work on other notable projects in my hometown of Louisville, including Churchill Downs, the Humana Building, Louisville Slugger Field, Preston Pointe, and the University of Louisville Medical Faculty Building.

Bill is currently flirting with the idea of adding a tempering plant to grow the business. He says there is a ``50-50'' chance that he will invest in the new plant, which would add 20 employees and would bring in-house the production of safety and architectural glass work that is currently outsourced. The new plant would require several million dollars in investment, and Bill says his decision will be based upon whether he can secure State or local funding for the project.

``I take a great deal of pride in this business,'' says Bill, as he is determined to protect the 30 employees currently working at the company's headquarters on West Broadway. For anyone who is concerned with surviving the current down economy in similar fashion, Bill has three suggestions: always keep a strong balance sheet with cash reserves even when times are good, build the best product and provide the best service and the money will follow, and finally, answer every client phone call and customers will take notice.

Mr. President, I would ask all of my Senate colleagues to join me in congratulating Louisville Plate Glass as it celebrates its 100th anniversary. Owner Bill Stone's wisdom and effective business practices will, I hope, provide the company with great opportunities for success moving forward. Louisville Plate Glass is an inspiration to the businesses of Louisville and the people of Kentucky, and it is my hope the company will continue to prosper in the years to come. The Louisville publication, Business First, recently published an article recognizing the company's accomplishments over the past 100 years. I ask unanimous consent that the full article appear in the Record as follows.

There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows:

Louisville Plate Glass Co. owner Bill Stone admits that he should be celebrating a major milestone. His business, which traces its roots to 1911, is among an elite group of Louisville firms to last 100 years. Stone, a longtime Louisville businessman, recognizes the achievement and said he is proud the firm has lasted this long. But he's not exactly jumping for joy. Louisville Plate Glass produces custom glass products, designing and assembling products such as insulated and laminated glass. Its business is closely attached to the commercial real estate industry, so the company has seen declining business in recent years as real-estate development and construction practically halted, he said.