Pittsburgh Glass Works hires 50, prepares to run 24/7

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Robust vehicle sales are providing a boost to Pittsburgh Glass Works, which is adding 50 to 60 employees at its plant in Creighton, East Deer.

The facility fabricates glass used mainly for automobile windshields.

About 225 employees worked there before the company decided to add a fourth shift at the facility that sits along the Allegheny River about 20 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The additional shift will keep the plant operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Robert McCullough, vice president, human resources for Pittsburgh Glass Works, which is headquartered on the North Shore.

All of the company's other manufacturing facilities are now operating round-the-clock, except for one in Poland that is not yet fully on-line, said Mr. McCullough.

Including Creighton, the company has more than a dozen facilities in North America and Europe engaged in production, fabrication, assembly or distribution of auto glass and vehicle replacement glass. Other plants in the region are located in Meadville, Crawford County, and Tipton, Blair County.

Besides windshields, the company sells sunroofs, side lights, back lights and other glass accessories. It also sells insurance, software, marketing and e-business services for the glass industry.

Total employment is more than 4,000, including a technical center in Michigan and some sales offices, including one in Tokyo.

The Creighton plant was the original glass making plant for PPG Industries when that Pittsburgh company was founded in 1883. In 2008, PPG sold 60 percent of its auto glass business to private investment firm Kohlberg & Co. for $330 million.

After the deal closed, the joint venture shuttered several plants, citing a sharp downturn in automobile manufacturing as a result of the economic crash.

But a surge in demand for new vehicles as the U.S. emerged from the recession prompted Pittsburgh Glass Works to reopen one of those plants, located in Evart, Mich., last year. It also opened a new plant in Elkin, N.C., last year.

The outlook for the auto industry continues to be upbeat.

Sales jumped by 7 percent in October, lower than analysts' projections of an 11 percent increase because Hurricane Sandy kept many consumers away from showrooms and some dealers experienced storm-related losses on their properties.

But much of the difference is expected to be made up in November and December as some storm victims buy new vehicles and other shoppers return. An estimated 1.09 million vehicles were sold in October, the highest number since 1.23 million in 2007 before the economic downturn.

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Joyce Gannon: jgannon@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1580.


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