After a career spanning more than 30 years in the window industry, Azon’s Director of Market Communications, Nancy Peterson, retired in June.
Peterson joined Azon’s marketing department in 1995. The fit was perfect, she said. Not only was Peterson’s father the co-founder of Azon, but she had previously managed a satellite office for a wholesale door and window distributor. She also held a building license and worked to sell wrap materials to commercial and residential contractors.
While at Azon, Peterson developed the company’s website during the rise of the internet. She was also a project manager for an online platform designed to perform web-based electronic quality audit services for Azon’s manufacturing customers.
With retirement at hand, Peterson plans to keep busy. She volunteers and runs a small business that offers continuing education programs in the form of independent self-study courses for all inspector classifications.
What was it like working for your father?
Let’s start the story by saying that the company (Azon) was co-founded by my father, Jim Dunstan, and my mother-in-law, Ruth, in 1977. Ruth passed away in 2019 and Jim is now 95 years old.
While Azon has employed many family members over the years, it was always understood that the company was destined to become an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) as a succession plan. Employee-partners share ownership of Azon. The longer you work for an ESOP business, the more favorable it is as a wealth-building opportunity.
Did you always think you would join the family business?
I joined Azon a year after the company became an ESOP. About 15 years later, I was appointed to the board of Azon. My dad was always a natural storyteller and an entrepreneur, and he had the spirit to have good leadership at all levels of the business.
Azon had a marketing communications position open at Azon in 1995, and with my previous sales career in a related industry, it was only natural to join the company. I had previously worked managing a satellite office for a wholesale window and door distributor that was closing the business. I had held a builder’s license working primarily in the sale of wrap materials to residential and commercial contractors while engaging architects in developing product specifications in commercial construction projects.
How long have you been in the industry?
Between wholesale windows, doors and sunrooms and my career at Azon, I enjoyed working in the fenestration industry for 34 years.
Why did you stay in this industry for so long?
It’s easy: I enjoy architecture and I enjoy working with other people in a construction-related industry. The contribution of Azon’s thermal barrier technology to building energy savings and the ability to communicate industry innovations has been extremely rewarding.
What do you plan to do now?
For several years, I have been the owner/partner of a small business offering Continuing Education (CE) programs in the form of self-paced, self-paced courses for all Inspector classifications (construction trades). Our customers must earn a certain number of CE credits to meet licensing requirements in Michigan. I also volunteer with several organizations.
Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Azon’s leadership is to be commended — and fellow owner-employees deserve a lot of credit — for steering the company through some challenges over the years, including recent pandemic-related supply chain issues.
What are some of your fondest memories over the years?
Having worked with wonderful people and being part of the successful growth of a business is rewarding, especially when you reflect on so many good times. Watching new hires propel Azon into the future will continue to be amazing. Participating and exhibiting at trade shows has always been a highlight. Connecting with others in the industry is something I will miss.
How has the industry and technology changed over the years?
Using machine automation to improve manufacturing processes is one of the biggest and most effective changes for companies that manufacture building envelope and glazing materials in recent years – from strategies that benefit owners by reducing operating costs and ensuring occupant comfort, especially in high temperatures. high-performance thermal barriers are integrated into the framework.
What are the highlights of your career?
Joined the company in 1995 as head of market communication, I had the opportunity to develop the first website just when the internet was beginning to impose itself for companies. Soon after, I was the project manager when the company developed an online platform to perform web-based electronic quality audit services for our manufacturing clients.
For about 20 years, I walked through LEED education when USGBC was a fledgling organization.