Ashley and Richard Munro launched their own glass company 10 years ago, with its first job fixing the front door of a commercial building.
Evolution Glass was housed in a 5,000-square-foot industrial bay they fixed up themselves in Vista Heights. They called on previous contacts here to let them know that only a year after they had moved to New Brunswick they were back in town — and in business for themselves.
Handing out promotional flyers and networking, they acquired the necessary equipment and four trucks, and have never looked back.
Two years later the business had grown so much they needed to lease more space and moved into 14,000 square feet, but by last year it was evident they had run out of space again. The Cushman Wakefield team of David Reich and Kevin Tang moved them into 35,000 square feet of office, plant and showroom in the Kingswood Cabinet manufacturing plant in Melcor’s The District development, south of Country Hills Boulevard and west of Deerfoot Trail N.E.
Ashley started her career in the industry in the accounting department of a Calgary glazing company, and was soon involved in its day-to-day service operations and streamlining its manpower. Richard had 12 years of experience in managing glazing projects of all sizes when they started Evolution Glass with four other employees.
Today they have a staff of 59, and projects have significantly increased in size from that broken glass door to several in the multimillion-dollar range.
Hence the need for room to house new equipment to increase efficiency and productivity, larger storage capacity, space for its 15 trucks, and a showroom to help clients understand the systems they work with.
Evolution Glass still fixes things, but way beyond the broken panes in a door. Today they repair windows on highrise buildings and change exterior ones 30 storeys high.
But much of the business is with new construction. A good example is manufacturing and installing all of the glass for the podium tower of Brookfield Place, and all of the windows, doors and storefronts in the construction by PCL of the 14-storey Minto residential development at the bottom of 4th Street, N.E., in Bridgeland.
Also in the Bridgeland community, Evolution Glass is working with Clark Builders on a continuing-care facility for Alberta Infrastructure.
New schools have also kept the company busy in Mahogany, Auburn Bay and Springbank Hill for the Calgary Board of Education, as well as a school for the Tsuut’ina Nation and a K-9 school in Airdrie.
The crews are very experienced and able to take on all kinds of projects, but some jobs present interesting challenges, such as overhauling Plus-15 overpasses that require working over moving traffic.
Evolution Glass boasts a busy department specializing in continuous service contracts, including for the City of Calgary and the Calgary Catholic School District.
The Munros have also launched a special projects division that has consulted on adding support to existing systems in older buildings, determining the best method of handling unique building envelopes and any specialized needs, such as installing the glass on the 61st executive floor of Telus Sky.
One of its more glamorous and challenging projects may never be seen by passersby, but the magnificent large glass dome on the rooftop of the MacEwan Hall tower at the University of Calgary must be a grand sight from inside the building.
Way Out West Fest is a series of events to help people get connected to the West. It is an annual event taking place June 10 to 12 to discover and celebrate the diverse culture and spirit of the modern West, embracing the community and lifestyle, stories, adventure, grit and attitude that we should be proud of. Many of the events will take place west of the city, including in Longview, Millarville and Turner Valley. But others are in the city and include From Canvas to Interiors at Shedpoint on 34th Avenue S.E., on June 10. It’s an evening where art meets storytelling interiors by viewing the western art of Paul Van Ginkel in his new studio, and rooms designed by Paul Hardy showcasing the likes of Sam Livingston, Nellie McClung and Chief Red Crow.
David Parker appears regularly in the Herald. Read his columns online at calgaryherald.com/business. He can be reached at 403-830-4622 or by email at [email protected]