Blenko Glass: management team reduced

West Virginia-based Blenko Glass Co. has reduced its management team by three, cutting the position held by president Richard Blenko, a great grandson of the company“s founder, and two others.
Assis…

West Virginia-based Blenko Glass Co. has reduced its management team by three, cutting the position held by president Richard Blenko, a great grandson of the company“s founder, and two others. Assistant vice-president Katie Garrison-Trippe said he remains a shareholder. His position was axed along with Gene Weekley, who was chief executive officer, and Brent Aikman, who was in the marketing and antiques division. Walter J. Blenko, Jr., who will now serve as president, said cuts were made in light of economic conditions. “It is a family company but we“ve got to run it as a business”, he said. “The feeling was it was time for a change. We had a concern with general reorganization. We are sensitive to the economy like everyone else. We are not a necessity like buying at the grocery store. We have to have something that appeals to people. We are navigating through troubled waters”. Decisions regarding cutbacks were made by company shareholders, who are all family members, he said. Asked if it is unusual to cut a family member from the staff, Walter Blenko said, “I“m sorry we had to cut anybody. I would rather we had not been under economic pressure. That does not help me cope with the reality of this”. He said the company is still trying to determine how much will be saved by the staff cuts. “We are looking at expenses”, he said. “Our feeling was we had to streamline and reduce staff”. The company faces challenges simply because customers“ spending habits have changed over the years, he said. “When we started doing business in Milton in the 1920s, nobody was doing Internet sales”, he said. “We are looking at ways to run more economically. We don“t want to repeat what we did last year just because it is what we did last year”. The company has fewer than 100 employees, he said. At a stockholders meeting on 29 September 2008 William H. Blenko, Jr., Walter J. Blenko, Jr., and Don B. Blenko Jr. were elected directors. William was elected chairman, Don named vice president and Walter chosen as president. “Our objective is to keep this as a family organization”, Walter Blenko said. “We want to continue with handmade glass”.