Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Company - a Premium Window & Door Manufacturer
Judy Gorski, CEO
Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co.
Message from the CEO
In 1946 two brothers, my father Herb Kolbe and his brother Ervin, 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, Wisconsin.
Since those days nearly 70 years ago, 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."
Message from the President
Jeff De Lonay, President
Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork Co.
Thirty years ago, I joined this organization as a general laborer because I loved working with wood. Not fully understanding where my decision would take me, I was placed in a production area responsible for making double hung windows. I was a quick study and was able to learn the parts and processes well enough to be cross-trained in a number of other production areas. Through the hands-on training that was prevalent within the organization, I began to fully understand the products and their construction. I also recognized that it was the people who really instilled in the products the lasting quality, which, in essence, is the heart and soul of the organization.
Since that time, I have held many positions within Kolbe, working with our team members and supporting our distribution base. I worked directly with Herb Kolbe, and learned the values he instilled in the culture of the company. I have seen the organization grow in size, employing a number of team members that is ever-increasing to support the needs of a unique product offering and the distribution base that promotes, sells, and services it. It is easy to see that Herb and Ervin Kolbe recognized that their story of success within our industry is one of a commitment to their team members.
The company has progressed in many ways since its beginnings in 1946, working through the adversities that various economic challenges have presented, and always coming out stronger. Its management staff and team members represent a transformation from producing windows in humble surroundings on the family farm to emerging as an industry leader, introducing and manufacturing products that perform to some of the highest structural and Energy Star ratings. These changes were possible through the Continuous Improvement (Lean Manufacturing) program that was introduced in early 2005 and embraced by all of the staff within the organization. This program ultimately allowed Kolbe to gain entry into new markets and achieve a higher level of success.
I am thankful to be a part of such a dynamic organization that continues to uses the principles on which it was built to mould its future and continue the successes of its founders. As Herb Kolbe said, "We don’t strive to be the biggest, but we do strive to be the best." This is, and continues to be, our commitment to our team members, business partners and the customers we serve.
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.