Client Spotlight: W.A. Wilson Glass Plus

Client: W.A. Wilson Glass Plus

Project/Grant Application Lead: Tim Moore

Title: Vice President Process Engineering

Funding Received #1: $500,000.00

Funding Organization #1: USDA 

Funding Opportunity Title #1: Rural Energy for America Program (REAP)

Funding Received #2: $26,601.00

Funding Organization #2: U.S. Department of Energy

Funding Opportunity Title #2: Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) Implementation Grants

W.A. Wilson Glass Plus reels in $526K in grant awards

The WV Grant Resource Centers’ Client Spotlight series is a monthly feature highlighting the incredible work our clients are doing to secure local, federal, and private funding to empower their communities and economies. See all previous Client Spotlights here.

This month, the West Virginia Grant Resource Centers’ Client Spotlight is on W.A. Wilson, Inc. Glass Plus, a Wheeling-based business that recently received two federal grant awards totaling $526,601.00. The awards, distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy, will support energy efficient upgrades to W.A. Wilson’s equipment and workspaces. 

Established in 1841, W.A. Wilson is a family-owned and operated business known for fabricating and distributing innovative glass and architectural aluminum products across West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. The business serves a variety of residential and large commercial clients, from universities and health care centers to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Last year, the W.A. Wilson team, whose operations depend on reliable equipment, began exploring their options for more energy-efficient production and applied for technical assistance with the West Virginia Grant Resource Centers.

Tim Moore, Vice President of Process Engineering with W.A. Wilson, served as project lead. He began working with Jessica Shaw, a grant writer with the Grant Centers, who helped draft competitive proposals for the USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant and the 

USDOE’s Industrial Assessment Centers (IAC) Implementation Grant.

In May, Moore was notified W.A. Wilson was awarded both federal grants.

REAPing the Rewards

The $500,000 REAP award will fund the purchase and installation of a new glass tempering furnace to replace the business’ aged furnace, which was less compatible with Low-E and other new glass coating technology. Low-E glass coatings help reflect heat and insulate a building interior’s temperature. 

“Technological advances in energy efficient Low-E glass coatings require constantly increasing furnace heating times by our current direct radiant heat process,” Moore said. “Our old furnace was struggling with the more advanced coated glass with increasing quality tradeoffs. Newer heating technologies use convective heat to negate the effects of the Low-E coating, reducing the heat cycle and improving visual distortions in the final product.”

Because Low-E coating fabrication has a reduced heating time, he added, it uses less energy.

“This is a win/win for W. A. Wilson and our customers in West Virginia today and positions Wilson to be on the front line of producers of new and more efficient low e coated glass products in the future,” Moore said.   

The $26,601 IAC grant award will focus on replacing inefficient lighting on site with LEDs.

“This [IAC] was part of an upgrade to improve facility lighting for our office, warehouse and production facilities,” Moore said. “Taking advantage of co-operative funding opportunities is just a smart move from a business perspective.”

The new LED installations, Moore said, will positively impact and lower the business’ overall energy consumption. 

“The upgrade has a demonstrable energy reduction and payback for our business,” Moore said. “Besides the direct benefits to our energy usage, the better lighting will also make improvements in our processes as better lighting contributes to better inspections of material, reduced scrap rates, and higher employee morale.”  

Reflecting on the Grant Centers’ impact

Moore, who had previous grant writing experience, referred to working with the Grant Centers as “the easy part” of the grant writing process. 

“Once we got the ball rolling, our contacts [at the Grant Centers] helped in navigating all the ins and outs making the applications, as well as working out basic drafts which we could collaborate on,” Moore said. “The responses were timely and well directed and our input was well received. Our primary contact, Jessica Shaw, was truly a joy to work with.”

Moore said the team’s key takeaway from the collaboration was the importance of perseverance, which will be beneficial as they continue applying for funding. 

“These were the first major grants our team at Wilson went after,” Moore said. “It was very good training for the team’s future.”

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