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Behind the Business: JELD-WEN Exemplifies Core Values Through the Decades

| Manufacturing
Three workers inspecting a manufacturing facility

JELD-WEN, the leading global manufacturer of windows and doors, started in 1960 as a small family business based in Klamath Falls, Oregon, before moving its headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina in 2015. Even the company’s name reflects JELD-WEN’s heritage. Founder Dick Wendt created the business name to honor his family members. J is for his sister Jewel; E is for his mother Evelyn; L is for his father Lester; and D is for his name. WEN is a shortened version of Wendt. Throughout the past 60 years, the focus on family and solid relationships has remained true to JELD-WEN’s company culture. As an international building products manufacturer with more than 20,000 associates worldwide, the JELD-WEN family has certainly expanded. JELD-WEN operates more than 120 manufacturing facilities in 19 countries in North America, Europe, and Australia. Here in North Carolina, there are more than 30 JELD-WEN plants in communities across the state.

Like every family, JELD-WEN has faced tough times – enduring two major recessions and overcoming obstacles that ultimately made the business more successful. More resilient than ever, the company has navigated the pandemic on a global scale, maintaining operations and headcount despite the unforeseen disruptions to the business. It’s often during the most difficult times when a family’s strength shines the brightest. JELD-WEN is proud of how its associates across the globe have stepped up to the challenges of COVID-19. United as a family, the company is confident that it will grow even stronger because of JELD-WEN’s dedication to its original values. JELD-WEN is committed to building safe and ethical businesses, investing in people, inspiring through innovation, delivering on promises, and improving every day.

Last week, JELD-WEN honored its 60th Anniversary by turning the milestone into an opportunity to engage its family of 20,000 associates through an internal campaign – celebrating each of the company’s six decades using personal stories and images. Employees around the world participated in a JELD-WEN trivia quiz (which received nearly 300 responses within 24 hours), submitted “Happy Birthday” video clips, and hosted local events at manufacturing plants in adherence to health and safety guidelines. The company also asked long-time JELD-WEN associates to share their favorite memories and advice for new employees, then posted these testimonials on social media. Employees from Australia and Malaysia to Canada and Wales and nationwide reminisced about fostering lifelong relationships with coworkers, giving back to their communities, and achieving industry firsts along the way. Associates also reflected upon how they incorporate the company’s five core values in their work every day and why they appreciate that these values have remained constant during each decade.

As Rod Wendt, a member of the founding family and current member of JELD-WEN’s Board of Directors, recently wrote in a companywide message: “If we stay true to our values, we’ll be alright. The good news about getting back to basics is that we know these values work and will help to ensure that we operate with the highest integrity, always put customers’ needs first, and be profitable for our associates and shareholders.”

From the beginning, JELD-WEN advanced by building lasting customer relationships, and the company’s employee family has been the glue that secured these relationships. All businesses must experience times of transition; the key to empowering employees during such seasons is ensuring that leadership always emphasizes and embodies the core values daily and – as JELD-WEN has proven – through the decades.

Behind each business in North Carolina are the ideas, partnerships, and people that fuel our state’s success. Behind each business is a story and a vision for the future. As the voice for business, the NC Chamber is committed to telling these stories and highlighting the organizations and people that keep our state moving forward. Behind the Business is a series of profiles featuring NC Chamber Cornerstone members doing great work in North Carolina. Interested in being featured? Contact