Celebrating 40 Years: Weathering The Storm

May 12, 2020
Though the company was a much smaller entity back in the 90s, PGT Innovations (known as PGT Industries, at the time) provided valuable support after a thread of bad storms—bringing hurricane relief supplies to impacted areas, sharing engineering insight about why homes fail during hurricanes, and offering forward-thinking solutions to protect against those failures. After Hurricane Andrew demolished much of Homestead, FL and the southeast coast of Florida in ‘92, the community acknowledged that repeated Category 4 and 5 storms were destroying entire neighborhoods, breaking windows and doors, driving water and debris into houses, blowing roofs off of homes, and causing devastating failures.
“We were seeing all that time and time again,” says Dave McCutcheon, Sr. VP of Business Integration, who served as VP of Engineering back in the ‘90’s.
Miami-Dade thought they had the strongest building code in the country.
“They probably did,” says McCutcheon. But after Andrew hit, the city officials recognized that the code was not nearly strong enough, and not enforced well enough. PGT partnered with a team of government officials and a few other manufacturing companies to draft the rewrite of codes “we live and build by today,” says McCutcheon.
As part of this recruited team, PGT traveled to Miami-Dade every single week to meet and discuss the elements of a new set of codes—one that would require “opening protection”.
“Once Miami-Dade did it, the whole state of Florida started falling in line,” McCutcheon says. “By the early 2000s, all parts of Florida had come up to speed and started adopting those codes—though there are still none quite as stringent as Miami-Dade’s.”


In the meantime, many window manufacturers started working on how to make a window as strong as a concrete block wall, without having to use plywood or shutters—one that could withstand hurricane-force winds and was able to save lives and buildings.
“At the time, there was no such thing,” says McCutcheon. “But after Andrew, engineers, researchers, and everyone in that area were asking, ‘How do we do better so something like this never happens again?’”
PGT made it happen first, in 1994, receiving the very first NOA (Notice of Acceptance) from Miami-Dade County, approving the first impact-resistant glass window product to ever be made, which would go on to be used in all areas of Florida, specifically High Velocity Hurricane Zones.
“We initially blossomed, if you will, and got on the radar, because we were the first impact company,” shares McCutcheon.
As four heavy-hitting hurricanes pounded Florida in the early 2000s, the awareness factor heightened even more, that really changed architects’ and builders’ mindsets.
“Before, they were hesitant to adopt impact-resistant products as a standard,” says McCutcheon. “But then, people began hearing either their neighbors or their friends were installing them. The dynamics of dealing and distributing grew rapidly.”


Today, PGT Innovations continues to stay at the forefront of product development, looking for opportunities to further improve, “whether the code asks for it or not,” says President and CEO Jeff Jackson, “because we have to continue to evolve as storms continue to get stronger. Our company is headquartered in Florida. We care about storms. But moreover, we care about the people who have to weather those storms.”