Company Of
The Month

Skyline Windows

History
Founded by Sam Kraus as a roofing and waterproofing business in 1921, Skyline Windows is now a premier window manufacturer run by fourth-generation President Matt Kraus. The firm operates out of Bronx, New York, employing more than 350 people with a sales, engineering, and service headquarters and two production facilities.

Skyline Windows can be seen throughout New York in Rockefeller Center, The Chrysler Building, The Hearst Building, The Puck Building, The Pierre Hotel, The Palace Hotel, and residential buildings embellishing Central Park. They’ve also worked with the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission to restore some of the city’s famous historic buildings, helping them retain their original splendor using the newest technology and rigorous design standards.

While the business model has continuously iterated throughout the years, Skyline Windows continues to operate under its founding principles of craftsmanship and superior service and will be celebrating its 100th year in business in 2021. 

A Custom Approach
Reflecting on Skyline's position in the market, Kraus sees more competition for the business now than ever before. Much of that competition is coming from foreign markets importing finished goods, which has only increased with U.S. tariffs on raw aluminum. To remain a leader in the New York City market, Kraus credits the specialization and integrated approach that Skyline Windows takes with many of its projects. Skyline Windows operates both a large volume team which focuses on full building development for new builds or complete facade replacements, and a custom team which can provide solutions for a single apartment or special custom window design. The firm's ability to provide a custom design that can truly meet whatever the customer can imagine accounts for nearly 70 percent of the firm's revenue. 

Many of New York's highly designed buildings require a flexible, solutions driven team that knows the area well, and Skyline Windows has found that its clients prefer its vertically integrated process. With somewhere around 65 percent of the tall buildings in the U.S. residing in New York City, Skyline Windows has seen it all. They continue to build that expertise and apply those unique learnings to new markets, targeting geographies like Boston, Philadelphia, and D.C. for continued growth.

 

Photo credit: Daniel Levin Photography

Skyline Windows’ Culture
The Kraus family motto, “Let the work speak for itself,” permeates the culture of the organization. In addition to being well-known due to its longevity in the NY building market, Skyline Windows is known for its consistently high-quality work. Beyond the fourth-generation family leadership, Skyline Windows boasts multiple generations of other families within its ranks, fostering a culture of people who genuinely care about each other and the success of the business. It’s not just who, it’s how they get the work done that matters to the team making them very effective at delivering at a high level regardless of the complexity of the job. Kraus comments, “We often have a lot of cooks in the kitchen on our projects, and that may not be for everyone, but it allows us to see where we may have problems before they even exist. We are all interested in helping each other in every way we can.” The team has learned through the years that it’s important to bring people in that are on board with their unique working style. They’ve developed an apprenticeship program which partners new hires with one or multiple subject matter experts. Skyline Windows also encourages everyone, regardless of their position in the firm, to participate in the work of building, installing, or taking a window apart and putting it back together to gain an appreciation for the work. This has helped the firm develop the skilled labor it needs to be successful. 

The impact of COVID-19 has only made the firm’s family orientation even more relevant. Operating mainly in New York City, Kraus stressed the importance of making sure every employee consistently had access to high-quality PPE. This became a primary objective to maintain employee safety and ensure the continued success of the business, something Kraus views as one-in-the-same. 

 

A View of the Future
Skyline Windows is looking forward to recognizing its 100-year milestone, though they’ll see what that recognition may look like as it gets closer. Kraus credits their century-long success with ensuring that their customers are happy. “Word gets around fast and the building community is pretty small. We have to ensure 10 out of 10 customers are happy with every job we do,” said Kraus. 

His advice for other middle market executives is to first understand who they are and where they want to fit in the market. Then, stick to it. “We’re on the high end of the spectrum and we hold ourselves accountable to delivering at that level. Don’t sacrifice against your values as a person or an organization,” advised Kraus.