Jon D. Hall - Glastender Inc. - Manufacturing Lifetime Achievement

This article appeared in the November/December 2023 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

For Jon Hall, CEO of Saginaw-based Glastender, manufacturing is a story of innovation and change. Jon got his start in the foodservice industry working in the company his father founded, which sold and leased commercial ice machines. It was during this time that Jon developed and patented the first automatic ice dispenser in the U.S.

From those early days, the company adapted to meet ever-changing market dynamics. Or as Jon puts it, whenever they started running out of customers, they would move on to the next idea.

“At a certain point, we were running out of customers so I developed a rotary glass washer,” says Jon who started in the industry in 1961 when he was just 21-years-old. “We just keep making new products and selling more things.”

Glastender is now an international bar and food- service manufacturing business that keeps growing and evolving largely thanks to Jon Hall’s passion and drive, which is why he’s been named the 2023 Manufacturing Lifetime Achievement recipient. The company also remains a family affair primarily led by Jon’s children — Todd Hall, President, and Kim Norris, Vice President of Administration. Kim’s husband, Mark Norris, is Vice President of Operations.

Innovation and Hard Work

Jon is a natural-born innovator focused on continual improvement. He has a passion for tinkering and developing new products which is something that attracted him to manufacturing from an early age.

“I enjoy doing the work,” says Jon. “I like to learn different processes and be able to pass them on to other people. It’s kind of fun.”

Jon’s emphasis on innovation, having a relentless work ethic and a passion for his work has influenced his children and helped lay the foundation for Glastender’s culture and success.

“His drive, spirit and integrity have created the values that really guide our company,” says Todd Hall. “He’s the backbone of it all, really.”

Jon is also a very driven person, according to his son. He has been in the industry long enough to have seen lots of good days and bad, and his determination helped guide the company through lean times.

“What comes to mind when I think about my dad is his determination, his drive, and his passion,” says Todd Hall. “He has always believed if you work really hard you can make it happen. He’s not someone who accepts defeat.”

Collaboration Drives Success

Roughly 20 years ago, Jon made the decision to empower his children as the next generation of company leadership while simultaneously removing himself from day-to-day operations. Since that time, Jon has focused on teaching, mentoring and collaboration.

In fact, Ed Cunningham, Engineering Manager, says Jon’s success over a storied career has been influenced by his drive to help others succeed.

“Everything that he’s done and achieved, he’s done with a mindset towards making sure that others were successful,” says Cunningham.

Collaboration has been a key driver of Jon’s success in the industry and has been ingrained into the culture at Glastender. By empowering your people, you increase ownership and accountability, he says.

“When you have people with you, you get them involved in a piece of equipment and let them take a little ownership of it,” Jon says. “Once they have ownership, that makes them lead better.”

He adds, “Every job in the building is important, from packaging the equipment to designing the equipment. All the people here are great at teamwork. We work together with everybody.”

Giving Back

Over the years, Jon estimates they have supported as many as 170 of the regional non-profits in the Great Lakes Bay Community, which includes Saginaw and the surrounding areas. And the economic impact of Glastender by providing jobs and revenue for local businesses has been invaluable.

“Roughly 97 percent of our revenue comes from outside of the state,” says Todd Hall. “There’s basically a lot of money that comes into the area because of what we do. I think of us as kind of a net importer, effectively. We help to import funds into the area and support the community. We take our responsibility for our employees, their families and the community very seriously.”

Now that Jon Hall is looking back on a long and successful career, one of his biggest thrills is being able to pass his own knowledge to his family and employees and to see his legacy cemented for years to come. He is somebody who has left an indelible mark on the industry and being awarded the Manufacturing Lifetime Achievement Award is a fitting next chapter.

Manufacturing Excellence AwardsThe Manufacturing Lifetime Achievement award is part of the annual Manufacturing Excellence Awards which celebrates the leaders and products that are pushing the industry forward. Learn more about the awards program and gala.

Excellence Sponsor LogoThe 2023 Manufacturing Lifetime Achievement award was sponsored by Rehmann. Visit online: