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Expansion in the Age of COVID-19

It’s hard to believe that we are here… March 2021. A full year into the pandemic that changed the world in one way or another for all of us. It has been a year of ups and downs. One of resilience and silver linings.

It is fair to say the pandemic has put a strain on commercial construction in the U.S. We saw many businesses change their operating measures to heighten safety practices for employees and their local communities. We suffered great losses and we saw that not all businesses survived the sudden downturn. But, we also saw the industry embrace new ways of working and doing business, embracing technologies in many ways that are sure to outlast the pandemic. If you were averse to online meetings, the pandemic gave us some solid training. Not to mention the infamous “I am not a cat” Zoom call will likely go down in Internet history!

As an industry, we have even seen expansion take place during this uncertain time. In July, Frameless Hardware Company, or FHC, doubled its Southern California headquarters and this February, Eastman Machine Co. announced the expansion of its headquarters in Buffalo, New York. At YKK AP, we too continued to forge ahead as we expanded our West Coast business, with a focus on our Northern California hub, continued to hire across the country, and executed on big plans to bring a commercial and residential showroom to our hometown of Atlanta. This allowed us to expedite our vision of creating a customer-centric space that includes a design showroom, hands-on training, and classrooms for the future.

Reflecting on the successes of our industry and of our partners, particularly in the age of COVID-19 reminds me of one of my favorite core values at YKK AP, “Don’t fear failure.” Or as Thomas Edison puts it, “I have not failed. I now know 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

In the age of COVID-19, with so many external forces at play, this may seem like an overly simplified statement. But I challenge us to think of it differently. Maybe it is just the right motivation to bring us into this next phase of the pandemic. While we don’t know what is in store for the rest of 2021, we do know that if we move ahead with confidence and increased focus, we will be rewarded with continued personal and professional growth.


Steve Schohan

Steve Schohan

Steve Schohan is marketing and communications manager at YKK AP America, where he develops marketing strategies and leads research efforts on emerging markets and trends, with an emphasis on driving industry product evolution and innovation. Schohan has more than 25 years of experience in the construction, home improvement, retail, and consumer products industries.