A clear passion for building, glass and performance
EFC Glass Systems, Inc.
Edward F. Cove was born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania called Bloomsburg. This is where he got his first job as a paperboy at the age of 12, later worked as a sales clerk at a Sears store, and earned a college degree studying business and marketing.
After graduating from college in 1979, Cove applied for a job with Kawneer, a large-scale manufacturer of commercial construction systems, aluminum architectural products and building materials. Kawneer hired Cove as a sales trainee, put him through an eight-month training program, and then gave him a position covering the Washington, D.C., territory. Before he knew it, his life changed dramatically. His move from a small town of 11,000 residents to a city of 4 million people was both eye-opening and career-defining.
“I realized that building and glass work is my passion,” Cove says. “I had the best territory with knowledgeable customers who were loyal to Kawneer. It was then that I met a number of contract glass companies who taught me a lot about the industry.” He was also impressed with the diversity of people and high level of professionalism that he experienced while living and working in Washington, D.C.
In 1997, inspired by the glass companies that he had worked with and learned from, Cove decided to start his own company. The business he established, EDCO Glass Systems, was a direct reflection of his hard work and positive attitude. What started as a business with a 3,200-square-foot facility and five staff members grew to become one of the premier contract glass companies in the region, with a 9,000-square-foot facility with over 30 staff members.
This business operated for decades, until Cove decided to sell it in 2006. At the time, the market in Washington, D.C., was booming. “I received an offer to buy the business that I couldn’t turn down,” he says. For the next six years, Cove worked as a consultant to architects, contractors and contract glass companies.
A Business Revived
Unfortunately, the once-successful company he had founded and grown went out of business four and a half years after he sold it. The new owners had decided to run it with huge overheads—just as the economy took a Eplunge into a recession. Cove was eager to resuscitate the business he had once built from the ground up, but he had signed a non-compete agreement with the buyers, which meant he had to wait an additional year and a half before starting up a new glazing company. When the agreement term finally came to an end, Cove opened a new company called EFC Glass Systems, Inc.
EFC Glass Systems is a glass and glazing company that fabricates and installs aluminum shopfronts, curtain walls, interior glass systems, composite aluminum panels and mirrors. The company focuses on commercial projects, including office buildings, shopping centers and two- to three-story warehouse complexes. It tackles complex renovations and new projects across an area that spans from Fredericksburg, Virginia to Baltimore.
Since 2012, EFC Glass Systems’ revenue has grown 25 percent to 30 percent each year. The team includes four project managers and estimators, a glazing and installation crew of 20 workers, and a 10,000-square-foot fabrication factory run by five employees.
Nearly 70 percent of the company’s work focuses on new buildings with the remaining 30 percent made up of renovation projects. Cove and his team consider every building project exciting and unique, with its own set of challenges. These challenges include correctly specifying materials and glass, while maintaining a strict timeline to bring every building project to fruition. It also means adapting to changes to minimize potential problems and suggesting economical solutions.
“The very complicated jobs with many challenges tend to be the most rewarding,” Cove says. “The real challenge is in the renovations– knowing what’s in the building prior to installing the products.” This is where Cove’s almost 40 years of experience comes into play as well as the experience of his employees.
Loyalty and Teamwork
When EFC Glass Systems opened, Cove hired back nearly 70 percent of the employees who had lost their jobs when EDCO Glass Systems closed—some of whom had first worked with Cove as far back as 1999.
“It’s a very small industry,” Cove explains. “A number of my employees have 20 years of experience.”
The expertise of Cove’s team members enables them to identify the existing products in a building and understand which systems can be replaced. They also know how to carefully design glazing systems to withstand both wind loads and dead loads while making sure the framing system they fabricate can support the weight of the glass that is being installed.
The combined experience of the team under Cove’s direction also strengthens project management. To ensure that a complex job runs smoothly, Cove and his team look at each project holistically, expertly coordinating with other subtrades on site. They maintain a professional work ethic and take care to communicate effectively with contractors, architects, building managers and others in the field. This helps to ensure a smooth installation and a successful outcome for all involved.
“Our motto is to maintain the highest level of performance for all of the products we fabricate and install, regardless of size or specificity,” Cove says. “We strongly believe that the customer comes first and we deliver a polished end result.”