TOLEDO — Owens Corning began when an experiment with glass building blocks produced an unexpected result — it revealed a way to make glass fibers in commercial quantities. That discovery launched more than a new product. It set in motion a series of events that included the birth of an innovative company that would develop new industries related to the production of fiber glass materials.
The first historic step occurred on Oct. 31, 1938, when Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass officially spun off and incorporated Owens-Corning Fiberglas, based in Toledo. On Oct. 31, 2013, Owens Corning celebrated its 75th anniversary. It is one of only a few hundred U.S.-based companies that have reached this milestone.
Owens Corning’s world headquarters remains in Toledo, but its operations span the world. It is a global producer of residential and commercial building materials, including insulation and roofing shingles; glass-fiber reinforcements for products such as cars, boats, wind blades and smart phones; and engineered materials for composite systems.
“Our 75th anniversary provides a great opportunity to celebrate where we’ve been and who we are as a company, and get excited about our bright future,” said Mike Thaman, chairman and CEO, who joined with fellow employees at the closing bell ceremony of the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, Oct. 28. “What makes our employees most proud is that our products improve people’s lives. Homes and buildings are more energy efficient. Cars are lighter and conserve more fuel. Wind blades are longer and stronger. Our commitment to our customers is to enable them to deliver those solutions to worldwide markets.”
Among the many milestones of which the company takes very personally is its global commitment to safety. Owens Corning’s recordable injury rate has declined every year for 11 years. During that span, it has reduced the number of injuries from more than 1,000 to less than 100 per year. The goal is to achieve a zero-injury workplace across its nearly 100 worldwide facilities.The company’s most recent safety milestone was being named by the National Safety Council as the 2014 recipient for its Green Cross for Safety Medal for its “steadfast commitment to improving safety and health in the workplace and beyond.”
“Our safety performance is an important example of how Owens Corning sets a goal and then works tirelessly to achieve it,” Thaman said. “We must get our employees home in the same safe and healthy condition in which they arrive at work. Our ability to do that exemplifies how we execute as a company on all levels. We are honored to join a prestigious list of organizations to be honored by the National Safety Council.”
Other recent milestones include the company earning placement for the fourth year in a row in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World). This year, Owens Corning was named the Industry Leader for the DJSI World Building Products component.
“Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the world that we leave to the future is this company's unwavering commitment,” Thaman said. “Our people continue to prove that our customers, our communities, our employees and our investors can see significant benefits from that strategy. It will lead us boldly into our next 75 years.”
For more information, visit www.oc-75.com.