Custom window and door company RAM Industries, Inc. brings light into people’s lives
“There’s something right in front of you that you’re not seeing, but it’s the first thing you’ll feel,” a soothing voice says.
You find yourself staring at a serene waterfront view with trees gently swaying in the breeze. In the background, there are sounds of softly chirping birds. And then, as the view pans slowly back, you realize that you’ve been looking through a giant, breathtaking glass window.
Suddenly, the contact details of a company flash onto the screen and it’s clear that you’ve been watching a TV commercial for RAM Industries, Inc.
The tranquil commercial conveys what the company prides itself on most: outfitting gorgeous structures with high-quality windows that bring the outside in.
Known by its brand name RAM Windows (RAM), the Texas-based designer, manufacturer and distributor of high-quality windows and doors has a wide range of commercial customers throughout the United States. The company’s comprehensive portfolio includes hotels and apartments, hospitals and schools, government projects, offices, retail outlets and more.
The company also provides innovative solutions for residential projects, helping to create custom, one-of-a-kind homes that typically range from $500,000 and up.
Considered a key “one-stop” provider for every opening on a building project, RAM’s ultimate aim is to help vendors, architects, builders and clients achieve their unique visions.
“We treat windows as art,” says RAM President and CEO Eric Spence. “They’re integral to any design or building, and yet they’re probably one of the most underutilized architectural accents.”
An Artistic Approach
Treating windows as art is possible for RAM because, in contrast to competitors that offer limited or preset options of their products, the company designs and manufactures its own brand, allowing it to create customizable solutions for clients.
This competitive edge is also rooted in RAM’s history. When the company was first founded in 1978 by Robert A. Miller (who named the company after his initials), it originally operated as a distributor for Mayfair windows, but as it grew it was able to manufacture its own line.
A few decades and ownership changes later, that’s still key to the company’s success.
“Our in-house engineering and design capabilities are what allow us to value engineer our own window solutions and solve any difficult issues or needs,” says Eric, who became CEO in January 2019. “If you can dream it up, we’ll find a way to build it for you.”
That’s clear after one quick glance at the company’s website. Photo galleries boast commercial buildings and custom homes with modern, stylish windows that soar across high ceilings, stunningly frame state-of-the-art venues and glide open to expose the world outside.
The company also offers a vast selection of paint, finishes and custom glass options that make good on not just aesthetics but the enhanced energy performance offerings that particularly lure commercial and civic clients.
Texas has taken notice. RAM has been busy outfitting windows for high-visibility projects such as the new addition of a biergarten at the Saint Arnold Brewing Company, one of the original breweries in Houston; the White Oak Music Hall, a newer concert venue in the Heights area of Houston; and a 15-story Embassy Suites. The company also provided the windows and doors for a multistory mixed-use project in the Buffalo Heights area of Houston that garnered attention.
Juana Reyes, who leads the company’s business development activities, cites a recent home build as her favorite project: an award-winning house in Fredericksburg, Texas, designed by architect Jim Gewinner. The Hill Country residence with its glass, limestone and wood exterior boasts stunning panoramas of the surrounding wooded landscape.
She admits, though, that every time RAM has a new project, it becomes her new favorite.
“As I’m driving around, I see hotels that have our windows and I think, ‘There are our windows!’ and it’s very exciting,” she says.
Light After the Storm
Juana has reason to feel emotionally tied to RAM’s mission. After 15 years in the building industry, she joined the company in July 2017 to serve as a liaison with communities across Texas.
Just two months later, Hurricane Harvey hit.
The historic Category 4 storm brought shearing winds and huge swaths of rain that left Houston under water for days. It caused $125 billion in damage and is considered the second-most costly hurricane to hit the U.S. mainland since 1900.
RAM’s office was closed for a week. When it opened again, Juana says her job, which involved sourcing sales leads and helping people pick out window treatments, took on a deeper purpose.
One of the first projects she returned to was a home remodel scheduled before the hurricane. Due to severe damage and flooding, the family’s home needed to be completely torn down and reconstructed. While following the stages of construction, Juana learned the owners had a unique request—to have a Bible buried within the foundation of their home.
“That really hit me,” she says. “Projects after Hurricane Harvey gave me a whole different feeling. These people had lost everything and now they were rebuilding their lives, and we were a part of that.”
For months, Juana continued to be reminded of RAM’s critical role during a most vulnerable time in her clients’ lives. Many distributors in the impacted area at that time refused to work for Harvey victims unless they had a prior relationship with the client, Juana says, citing a strain on their everyday business.
“We had people who were just in tears in our showroom, not knowing what to do,” she says. “But we were there. We didn’t turn anybody away. I’d tell people, ‘I’m so sorry you have to rebuild, but now you can make a new home, a fresh start.’ ”
RAM is there for the community in more ways than one. The company is heavily involved in builders’ associations across Houston, Austin and Dallas and annually sponsors local home tours such as The Bellaire New Home Showcase, which benefits the Friends of the Bellaire Library and the Bellaire Police and Fire Foundation. RAM also donates materials to Habitat for Humanity and sponsors HomeAid Houston’s Project Playhouse, a fundraiser that builds hope and homes for Houston’s homeless community.
“It’s about getting to know our communities and building those relationships and letting them know that we’re there,” Juana says. “We want them to know they can count on us.”
Clear Growth Strategy
It’s that steadfast reliability that has always been at the heart of RAM’s success. Under former CEO Tim Payton’s relationship-focused model, the business doubled in size from 2015 to 2018 and the number of employees grew from about 20 to 120.
Eric intends to continue that growth, with a target of doubling the company’s sales and business revenue within the next five years. As part of that plan, the team is set to move into a new, state-of-the-art, 100,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility in Houston in January 2020.
“This facility will not only allow us to grow, it will allow an R&D lab to further improve the quality, efficiency and design of our products, and work as an incubation lab for new ideas and designs as well,” he says.
When asked what led him to accept the opportunity to work at RAM, Eric doesn’t hesitate.
“What appealed to me is the people,” he says. “We have a great, diversified group of folks with a wealth of experience that can take this company to the next level. Our staff is passionate about providing customers with the most beautiful, durable and innovative window and door solutions on the market.”
For Juana, it’s about the people who live and work inside the buildings they help create.
“To be able to look out of a window and see your kids playing in your backyard, or look out of your office—you want to look out those windows and you want to love them,” she says. “Windows are made to be seen through. They define the building.”
Eric can’t help but agree with her passion.
“It’s a lifestyle that we bring,” he says. “The right window configurations can bring the outdoors right into your house. And when it’s time to close it off, you can close that world right back again and be warm and safe in your home at night.”