Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Company - a Premium Window & Door Manufacturer
Judy Gorski, CEO
Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co.
Message from the CEO
Over sixty-five years ago, two brothers, my father Herb Kolbe and my uncle Ervin Kolbe, began a business repairing and building windows and door frames. Their little shop was located in a wash house on an 80-acre family dairy farm in Marathon, WI.
Since those days in 1946, Kolbe & Kolbe has grown into a nationally recognized leader in the high-end window and door industry, selling its broad range of product offerings through hundreds of distributors and dealers across the United States, Canada and beyond.
The story of Kolbe & Kolbe is more than a business success story. It is a shining example of a business that has grown both in the size of its facilities and in numbers of employees, yet has retained those important family values that remain at the core of the company's very existence.
While my father and uncle are no longer with us, their spirits live on in our company today. As Chief Executive Officer, I am committed to continuing Kolbe & Kolbe as a closely-held, family business. We will not depart from the philosophies that made our company successful. We will continue our commitment to our employees and we understand the very important role that Kolbe & Kolbe plays as a major employer in Wausau and the surrounding communities. Our commitment will not be deterred by the vagaries of the national or local economy. We will remain true to our principle that was best stated by my father when he said, "our success is due to the people, the many employees who have served loyally over the years. They are, in essence, an extension of the Kolbe family."
Mike Salsieder, President
Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co.
As a young boy growing up in the Wausau, WI area in the 1950's and 60's, I quickly developed a love for our community and a respect for the work ethic exhibited by the workers in what was then, primarily, a manufacturing dominated area.
Almost ten years ago, upon returning to my hometown, I was blessed with an opportunity to join Kolbe & Kolbe. I was immediately impressed with the people and their unparalleled dedication to produce window and door products that are of the highest quality in the industry. So too, I was very humbled by what had been accomplished at Kolbe & Kolbe in the past. The courage of the founders to grow the enterprise from its early beginnings to what has become a leader in the high-end window and door industry is truly remarkable, and I know, greatly respected by all who come in contact with Kolbe & Kolbe.
As economic times have changed, and as our industry has changed, our dedicated management team recognized the importance of taking the strengths that were forged in the past and modifying those to maintain our leadership position in what is a very competitive window and door industry. Throughout this, we have always remained committed to the principle originally espoused by Herb Kolbe – that our employees are our most important asset and will always be the key to our future success.
No better example exists than our company's immersion, starting in 2005, in Continuous Improvement – a cultural transformation that is designed to provide our employees with the tools and opportunities to make them as productive and challenged as possible. We have found that our employees are up to the challenge, have embraced change, and have become the driving force in taking Kolbe to even higher levels of success.
In this sense, we have successfully married the past, the present and the future to continue our formula for success. We shall never abandon the principles upon which Kolbe was built, for success and growth can be achieved while still remaining true to the principles upon which Herb and Ervin Kolbe founded our company.
Executives of Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork
Standing, left to right: Don Huehnerfuss, Mike Tomsyk, Jeff DeLonay, George Waldvogel, Bob Kasten; Sitting: Judy Gorski, Mike Salsieder
Kolbe & Kolbe is blessed with a very dedicated team of executives, all of whom help guide the course for our company. Much of our success can be attributed to those leaders and the decisions they have made regarding Kolbe's position in the marketplace, and how we can best achieve these goals. Ours has not been good fortune based on luck, but rather one of strategically building on the strengths of our vast product line, and further establishing ourselves in the high-end market. Our marketing and sales efforts have been targeted to architects and builders of residential and non-residential projects, as well as homeowners who seek windows and doors that can be built to the most exacting standards. In a time when many window and door companies are struggling, we are fortunate to have such capable leaders, many of whom have guided us for most of their careers.
This leadership has not gone unnoticed in the fenestration industry. In 2006, our president, Mike Salsieder, was recognized in the People to Watch column of Door & Window Manufacturer magazine. Also in 2006, Jeff DeLonay and Mike Salsieder were invited to give a presentation on Kolbe's ongoing lean manufacturing initiatives at the 2006 "Lean University" conference in Las Vegas (sponsored by MRO Today magazine) and at the 2008 AME conference in Toronto.