Bart (left) and Mike Cully at their dad's work, getting their first experiences with the glass business. First location of UPG: 600 South Washington St, Butler PA, in 1963.
UPG has a unique history defined by hard work and foresight. It started with Bill Cully who returned from World War Two where he had served in the Army Air Force as a co-pilot on a B17 with 34 combat missions. After the war, he enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh where he graduated in 1949. At that time his brother Jack had a job with United Plate Glass (UPG) of Pittsburgh as an outside sales person distributing flat glass stock sheets and auto glass. Upon graduation, Bill decided to join his brother at UPG.
Bill was a salesman and had the northern Butler, PA, territory. Soon, due to his success, he was asked to develop a satellite site in Butler. Shortly after, he established the branch in a 5,000 sq.ft. warehouse with a small inventory and six employees. Bill moved his family to Butler and managed the operation.
27 years later, Bart and Mike Cully reenact the first picture, this time as active business managers. 330 East Cunningham St, Butler PA, in 1990.
In 1972 UPG was sold to Chromalloy and continued to operate under the new name until the parent company decided to get out of the Pittsburgh market in 1981. As a result, and with the advice of his sons, Bill decided to buy the Butler branch. That was a real turning point. The branch was wholesaling auto glass and stock sheets at the time, but not fabricating much flat glass. With an eye to the future, it was then that they started investing in fabrication equipment as the new Cully owned UPG.
This led to the company needing more space, and in 1990 they built a new 20,000 sq.ft. building, finally big enough to load and unload a truck inside as well as house the fabrication and edging equipment needed to fuel their growth.
In 1994 they wanted to expand their insulated glass offerings, so the company added an additional 2,000 sq.ft. onto the building and installed its first automated IGU line. Shortly after that, they got out of auto glass distribution to focus on the fabrication side of business. Out of room to expand in downtown butler, in 2001 they found eight acres of an industrial park just outside of town, and built a 78,000 sq. ft. building. It was at this point that they installed their first tempering furnace - and that propelled them to the next level of flat glass fabrication and distribution.
Employees taking time to create a holiday Christmas card. 108 Grundman Drive, Butler PA, 2016.
Growth certainly defined UPG, because they were not done there. In 2004 they bought an adjoining 9 acres in the same industrial park and added a second building with additional equipment to keep up with the growing demand for their services.
For their next endeavor, In 2007 UPG looked to a completely new market in Charlotte, North Carolina as a place to expand their business. They found an industrial park, constructed a 55,000 sq. ft. facility, and filled their space with the best equipment and people available in the industry. The Lincolnton facility can operate independently with their own tempering, insulating and fabrications capabilities.
Mike Cully, Bill Cully and Bart Cully - two generations, one great company. 108 Grundman Drive, Butler PA, 2008.
Expansion continued in 2013 when the company built their current 52,000 sq.ft. headquarters to complete the Butler campus of three buildings. A family business with this kind of growth is unusual. UPG has grown from its original six employees to now approximately 200. Originally focused on Butler and the surrounding counties, UPG now delivers to well beyond the tri-state area and wherever customers want UPG products.
Through the years UPG has had loyal customers who have become great friends. The UPG story is one of taking advantage of opportunities, taking risks, creating quality products, and satisfying the needs of customers. It is also a story of a family’s commitment to business and their employees. UPG can only tell this success story because of its staff. United Plate Glass is its people.