April 26, 2023

Visit to Andersen Windows

As you all know, Andersen Windows has been generous enough to sponsor our podcast this year. They have also partnered with us to create some unique digital media for them. I cannot express how grateful we are for this opportunity. It is not only affording us to create this podcast on a weekly basis, but affording us the opportunity to display our skillset and offerings moving forward. At the beginning of this month we flew out to their headquarters to create some of this content, tour their facilities, meet with personnel, and interview their CEO. Truth be told, these trips typically are very stressful and exhausting. We have an agenda, we are meeting many new people, we are traveling, and we have to be “on.” I was pleasantly surprised how great this trip went for me. Everyone was welcoming, kind, patient, and allowed us to do our thing. The Andersen team put us up in a very cool little hotel, provided us with a ton of insider experience, fed us, and were very down to earth. In all seriousness, it was the most enjoyable and least exhausting work trip I have ever had. I may be ready to go back!

The trip started with an early flight out of Philadelphia on Monday 4/10. I left my house around 3:30 am to head to the airport. Lucky for me, I am a professional plane sleeper, so I caught up on my flight to Minnesota. The Andersen team coordinated for all of us to land in Minneapolis around the same time, so I met up with Nick, we loaded up on coffee, and then met up with Doug and Cathern. We hopped into our car and headed straight to their facilities. Although we record on a weekly basis, Nick, Doug, and myself do not get to spend as much time together in person as I would like, so it is always good to see them. I had also not met Cathern in person. She just came on this year and is fully remote, so it was great to finally meet her and spend some time together in person. Our first day was packed with a tour of the Andersen research and development facility as well as our podcast recording with Chris Galvin. 

Unfortunately for you and all of the Andersen competition, we cannot go into detail about all that we toured at these facilities, but take my word for it, it was very impressive. The amount of testing that goes into every product that rolls off of their production line is substantial to say the least. As with most window and door companies, they are testing their products to an industry standard (actually to exceed said standard), but they are also developing proprietary testing and equipment that pushes their products and technology to extremes that would be difficult to mimic in mother nature. They are truly developing products that will outperform and outlast their competitors in some of the most rigorous conditions. 

All of the staff at Andersen was knowledgeable, professional, courteous, gracious, and generous. If someone could not answer a question for us, they immediately found someone who could and sent them our way. Even their CEO, Chris Galvin set time aside to record a podcast with us. He had never done a podcast before, and he did great. It was truly humbling to look across the table and see the podcast prep document that we sent him with notes scribbled all over the page. He took this very seriously and was completely prepared. Chris has the experience and acumen to show up to an interview or podcast and perform, but the fact that he did his homework and left nothing to chance was eye-opening and insightful. It was an honor to sit across from him and witness  his commitment to his job and this company. 

We spent the next couple of days touring the rest of their window and door making facilities in this location. They provided a golf-cart guided tour led by some great and knowledgeable guides. It was an interesting mix of history, tradition, means, methods, and systems. I can convincingly say that I had no idea how many hands and machines touch every single window and door that rolls off of the production line. The engineering, processes, and efficiencies that not only have been developed, but continue to be refined is mesmerizing. Andersen is constantly looking for ways to innovate and improve. From their milling processes to their packaging line, they have developed standards, tooling, and systems that streamline output without sacrificing quality. Again, these tours typically make me feel as if I am on a school field trip, going through the motions, mildly happy to be out of the classroom, but still bored. This was not the case with the Andersen operation. I was truly engaged, intrigued, and impressed. I have a new perspective and appreciation for the product, the company, and the entire operation. 

I want to give a special thanks to Ellie from Andersen as well. She was the impetus for this entire relationship, and she has put so much work into making this successful. Not only this trip, but everything on the back end as well. She has coordinated so much to make all of this a success, and the entire Modern Craftsman team is extremely grateful for that. I also want to thank Amanda, Brooke, Chris, Jeff, Simon, Graham, Juliette, Kristi, Kendra, Grant, and Joe for all of their time and knowledge. Everyone of these people made us feel right at home and made this trip educational as well as enjoyable. Please keep an eye out for our podcast with Chris, and all of the digital content that will be rolling out in the next couple of months. We are ecstatic to be given this opportunity to showcase our skills and capabilities. We are just beginning to scratch the surface over here at the Modern Craftsman. It is important to mention that without Doug, Cathern, and Anna none of this would be possible.

- Tyler Grace