Abe Asllani, founder and president

In 1988, I started working at Midwest Glass Company as an entry-level glass-door fabricator and machinist. Within a few months, I became a driver, accompanying the glaziers into the field. During that time, working with men who had as many as 40 years of experience in the trades, I gained hands-on knowledge about glass and aluminum installation. Midwest Glass was the premier local glass company at that time, employing 70 or 80 people.

After a year and a half I was promoted to shop foreman, overseeing the glaziers, sheetmetal workers, glasscutters, drivers, and shop help. The position came with a lot of responsibility, and as young as I was, I had to work hard to gain the respect of the men working under me. I supervised and scheduled 50 to 60 people while also working in the shop, cutting glass and fabricating metal.

At one point, our lead salesman went on vacation, and I asked if I could take some stops. My first was a building at LaSalle and Washington that needed a large-scale wire glass replacement. I bid on the job and landed it. It was a $130,000 job, and throughout the project, I kept a very close eye on it to keep our costs down. In the end we made a profit of $45,000. I received a $100 cash bonus, but I had anticipated much more. Eventually, the owner told me, "Abe, you will never be happy until you own your own business."

I left Midwest Glass Co. in 1994 and worked for a variety of companies. But I decided my old boss was right. I wanted to work for myself, so I took my savings and my brand-new Mustang GT convertible and started Midwest Building Services, working out of the trunk of my car. I had a partner whose father had a fence and general contracting business, and he gave us some work to get us going. About six months later, my partner decided it wasn't for him. I called on my longtime friend and current partner, George C. Rizos, and since 1997 his tenacity, hard work, and dedication have provided the company with the backbone it needs.

By 2003, we had moved away from general contracting and changed our name to Midwest Contract Glazing. The company has come a long way from the trunk of my car and now operates out of 54,000-square foot building.

With dedicated, honest, and hardworking employees, and backed by the great team of our bank, lawyer, accountant, and insurance broker, we intend to be the premier glass and glazing contractor in the Chicagoland area, and we are succeeding. It looks like I am proving my old boss right on a daily basis.

We get the job done!