As the largest sub-contracting glass installation company in Central Texas, Bell County Glass in Killeen continues to expand — offering glass installation services from Waco to San Antonio and employment opportunities for local residents.
The plate glass windows in several large-size construction projects in recent years feature the craftsmanship of Bell County Glass including: The Killeen Police Department, Seton Medical Center-Harker Heights, The Killeen Lions Club Senior Park and Recreation Center, Bell County Justice Center, Bell County Expo and the Advent Health Hospital.
While the company has worked as far north as Waco and as far south as San Antonio, 80 percent of the company’s work is done between Temple and Austin, said Ken VanHoozer, president of Bell County Glass.
“We mainly do new commercial construction such as schools, hospitals and universities and projects for the military,” VanHoozer said.
Bell County Glass buys aluminum in stock lengths and sticks to build frames for glass panes in commercial spaces, VanHoozer said.
“We buy the aluminum, then we cut it, screw it and weld it,” he said. “Whatever is needed to build the frame.”
Bell County Glass works strictly on commercial properties — no residential or auto glass, he said.
“We handle the frames — the metal that holds the glass in — and we install the glass itself,” VanHoozer said.
The glass the company installs is outsourced from suppliers such as PPG and Guardian. Each company has locations here in Texas and all over the United States and the world, VanHoozer said.
“PPG actually makes the glass from raw sources,” VanHoozer said. “They ship the glass to the fabricators who in turn temper it and insulate it for end use.”
Finally, the glass is shipped to sub-contractors like Bell County Glass for installation.
After buying out Dean Bell in 1969, the company got its start with just six employees, according to the company’s website. Over the years, the company has grown to employ 56 full-time employees.
VanHoozer, who transferred from a sister company in Midland in 1988, said the company outgrew its old location on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, prompting them to buy a newly constructed building at 4801 Roy J Smith Drive in the Killeen Business Park.
It installed the glass in the new building before occupying it last spring.
“We love our new building,” VanHoozer said. “It has improved our production capabilities.”
The company plans to continue growing and expanding, offering more jobs to community residents, he said.
“Our biggest hurdle like all construction companies at the moment is qualified workforce,” VanHoozer said.
The qualifications to begin a career in glass installation are not extensive.
“Honestly, it takes common sense; showing up to work on time and a commitment to earn a living,” he said.
While specified training can be sought through national glazing institutes or reputable glass companies, there is no specific licensing required to begin a career in glazing in Texas, VanHoozer said.
There are currently no schools that offer specific vocational training for the glazing industry, he said.
Bell County Glass offers training for new hires, as well.
“We’re one of the largest commercial glazing sub contractors in the Central Texas area,” VanHoozer said. “We have a commitment to quality.”