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Breaking Barriers and Navigating the Glass Industry

Kristie Rehberger shares how gaining extensive experience and expertise earns her respect in the industry

Kristie Rehberger

During the first California Glass Association meeting of the year in January, I had the chance to sit down and talk to Kristie Rehberger, general manager, A GlasCo Inc., about how she got started in the industry, challenges she faces, what advice she has for other women and her future plans in the industry.

In a world where male dominance often overshadows, Kristie Rehberger stands tall as a beacon of inspiration for women navigating the intricacies of niche industries. With over two decades of experience in the glazing sector, her journey is a testament to resilience, determination and a passion for her craft.

Watch Rehberger in action at last year’s Camp NAWIC in San Diego.


Setting a course in glass

“I started working with my dad when I was 16,” Kristie reminisces, tracing her humble beginnings in the glazing industry. Her father’s foray into glazing in Ohio laid the foundation for Kristie’s own venture into the world of glass. Sweeping floors and answering phones may have been her initial tasks, but her unwavering commitment propelled her forward. “When I turned 18, I remember thinking, ‘I kind of like this. I can see myself thriving [in this industry] and I think I’m going to stick around for a while,’” she recalls, setting the course for her future in glass.

As a woman in a predominantly male field, Kristie encountered her fair share of challenges. “You’re still young. You don’t know what you’re doing,” she says, recounting the skepticism she often faced at the beginning. Yet, her extensive experience and expertise spoke volumes, earning her respect. “To be a serious player in this industry, I sometimes find it hard to be taken seriously. It’s one of my biggest challenges. It’s not a common everyday occurrence, but keeping your head and showing that you know what you’re doing goes a long way.” Balancing assertiveness with congeniality became her tightrope walk in a male-dominated arena.

Despite the hurdles, Kristie’s advice for aspiring women looking to jump into the industry remains simple and steadfast: “Stick with it. Never give up.” She underscores the beauty of the industry, from the intricate designs adorning buildings to the satisfaction of watching a project come to fruition. “Whether it’s my work or someone else’s, there’s just something about when the fenestration goes in that makes you think, ‘Now, that is a work of art,’” she says, reflecting on the awe-inspiring moments her profession affords. “Everything comes together through a combined effort and it’s glowing, it’s popping, it’s gorgeous. It can be really exciting to sometimes just look at and admire the work that other companies are doing.”

One of Rehberger’s first projects is also her favorite: the historic Balboa Theatre in downtown San Diego. “There were a lot of trials and tribulations, but through the blood, sweat and tears, it turned out really nice and was a great project overall that I just loved.” And even 15 years later, she is thrilled to hear that people are still appreciating the work of her and her company. “At a NAWIC meeting last year, someone was talking about all the renovation and revitalization going on in the downtown area [of San Diego] and boasted about how beautiful the Balboa Theater is and what an important part of the history of the area. I was like, ‘That’s me and and my company. We all did that!’ Our heart and soul went into the project and it was gratifying to know that it still looks beautiful today.”

"Our talent pool is shrinking, and getting people into the industry is constantly on our minds. If we don’t take steps now to find the right people, there’s going to be a bigger problem down the line.”

Paving the way for the future

Beyond a passion and enthusiasm for the work, Rehberger believes that some traits are vital for women looking to jump into the industry. “An open mind is needed,” she says, “as well as strong problem-solving capabilities. Whether you’re working in the office or out in the field, you are constantly having to solve problems and issues that come up. Projects are never cookie cutter.”

“A strong will, the drive to see projects through, and determination to keep pushing through barriers and progressing forward are needed,” she explains. And education plays a vital role as well. “Education ties into manpower, and that’s part of why the CGA was born, to educate and get more people involved. Our talent pool is shrinking, and getting people into the industry is constantly on our minds. If we don’t take steps now to find the right people, there’s going to be a bigger problem down the line.”

Beyond her personal journey, Kristie is passionate about paving the way for future generations. Her involvement in initiatives like Camp NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) reflects her commitment to nurturing young talent. “We need to figure out how to get glass involved in educating the next generation,” she says. “Camp NAWIC was very motivating, for the students and for us, and we need to pull the trigger and start actually making it happen.”

As Kristie Rehberger looks towards the horizon, her enthusiasm remains undimmed. “It’s exciting times. I’m super thankful with where we are now, and hoping that others will join the bandwagon and help because we need people’s support and enthusiasm to get the word out and help interested people find their own passion for glass,” she exclaims, embracing the collective effort needed to propel the industry forward. “We all play a part in sparking this passion and curiosity in potential future glaziers. There’s so much to this industry, it can be so many things, and it’s really awesome to put your name on something and be proud of your work and the end results of what you’ve accomplished.”

With each project, each challenge, and each triumph, Kristie Rehberger continues to leave an indelible mark on the ever-evolving landscape of the glazing industry.


Tara Lukasik

Tara Lukasik

Tara Lukasik is Managing Editor of Glass Magazine and Window + Door Magazine. Email her at