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Made in the USA - America's Still the Place

We’ve found that sourcing products as local as possible maximizes the potential benefits to the American economy, which in turn benefits us.

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October 22, 2015 |
Bill O'Keeffe

What do Weber grills, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, and SAFTI FIRST’s fire rated glazing and framing systems have in common? These products are proudly made here in the USA, with good-old American hard work and ingenuity. Each company has its roots firmly planted in American soil and family heritage.  Each company built a future based on invention and innovation. And each company plans on manufacturing and creating jobs here in the USA for many years to come. 

I’m one of many Americans hoping that lower energy prices plus advances in information technologies, robotics and materials science will power a manufacturing boom that will reinvigorate our economy and maintain our competitive edge in manufacturing sectors throughout the world.

We are one of many mid-size manufacturers expanding their facilities and equipment technologies to achieve greater vertical integration. Our company recently completed a $6 million expansion in our US manufacturing operations, allowing us to be the first fully vertically-integrated fire rated glazing USA-manufacturer. This enables us to meet the rising demand of fire rated glass and framing while providing the fastest lead times, most competitive prices and best coordination for our customers. The expansion also provides greater employment opportunities for the residents of Merced and the surrounding cities in California’s Central Valley. We are honored to be consistent recipient of the “Mid-Size Business Employer of the Year” award by the City of Merced for providing skilled job opportunities to local residents. 

SAFTI FIRST invested in a new Glaston Tempering Furnace, which is one of the many purchases made to ensure consistently high product quality using state-of-the art equipment to control and streamline the manufacturing process.


We’ve found that sourcing products as local as possible maximizes the potential benefits to the American economy, which in turn benefits us. As in the case with LEED credits, using local suppliers offers financial rewards beyond the importance of reducing our carbon footprint. For projects in California and cities in Nevada and Arizona, having the materials manufactured and shipped within relatively close proximity rather than from abroad strengthens local economies while contributing towards regional material green credits as well. 

Advances in energy production, the increasing number of energy sources, and a steady reduction in costs is no doubt driving the increasing need for fire-rated fenestration and a host of other architectural products.  We’re entering into an age where manufacturers have the option of fully deriving or at least supplementing their on-site energy production by implementing alternative energy strategies. We’re among the many manufacturers taking advantage of such options by installing a turbine energy electrical system to make our manufacturing facility more energy efficient.

Being a US-based manufacturer instead of just a supplier of foreign-made products is both challenging and rewarding. The emergence of new materials and automation technologies help companies like ours provide products and processes that cannot easily be replicated.  At the same time, globalization and information technologies provide American product designers with innovative ideas from all over the world.  Being close to Silicon Valley certainly has been a plus for us.  The internet and software technology is revolutionizing ours and the entire spectrum of manufacturing processes. Taking what’s new and making it better has been the life blood of American know-how.

In his article “America’s Coming Manufacturing Revolution” which appeared in The Atlantic over a year ago, Moises Naim points out that, “According to Martin Baily and Barry Bosworth of the Brookings Institution, for the past 50 years industrial production in the U.S. has grown at the same rate or even faster than the economy as a whole. This means that contrary to conventional wisdom, manufacturing has not lost ground in terms of its importance in the U.S. economy.”

Companies like ours are enjoying the resurgence of the US economy’s construction sector. We’re supplying the building industry with products locally manufactured that are cost competitive versus foreign suppliers, even with the Euro’s declining value and relatively low wages in Asia. Thanks to America’s technology, financial strength, and surging productivity, we’re just one of many firmly rooted manufacturers benefitting from our American heritage. MADE IN AMERICA means more today than ever… and AMERICA is still the place to be a manufacturer.

Bill O'Keeffe | Clear on Technical Glass
SAFTI FIRST Fire Rated Glazing Solutions

About the Author: Bill O’Keeffe is the President and CEO of SAFTI FIRST Fire Rated Glazing Solutions, a leading USA-manufacturer of advanced fire rated glass and framing systems.  An industry veteran and innovator with over 45 years of experience in architectural glazing, he was first to introduce and manufacture clear, fire resistive glazing products in the US.  He is also a safety advocate who exposed the dangers of traditional wired glass, which lead to code changes and fire rated glass products that are safe, affordable and clear alternatives to traditional wired glass.  Today, Bill continues to develop building products that enable architects to create beautiful, safe and energy-efficient spaces with advanced glazing systems.

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