Guardian Forms Joint Venture to Serve Automotive
Retail Glass Market; Partners Include Former PGW and GlasPro/Elite
September 22, 2010
Guardian Industries announced today that it has formed a joint
partnership with a company called LRST LLC to manage and grow its
retail auto glass business. LRST LLC was formed by four equal partnersformer
Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) executives Jim Latch and Marc Talbert,
along with former GlasPro/Elite Auto Glass founders Jerry Ray and
Neil Smith, according to a statement
from Guardian. The new joint venture will be named Guardian Auto
Guardian will have the majority ownership in the new Guardian Auto
joint venture company.
"We see the new joint venture enhancing Guardian's current
operations as well as key in developing a nationwide presence,"
says Mike Morrison, president of Guardian's Automotive group. "Guardian
is focusing on growing all its businesses and we anticipate greater
and stronger opportunities in the automotive retail glass (ARG)
segment as a result of this strategic decision."
With the formation of Guardian Auto, the new retail joint venture
will be managed and operated by the LRST partners.
Latch was involved in the creation of LYNX Services and had responsibility
for PPG's ARG distribution and services business. Talbert was president
of PPG Auto Glass and also had responsibility for PGW's ARG distribution
Ray and Smith were two of the founders and owners of the 34-store
GlasPro/Elite retail business that was purchased
by Belron in 2005. They previously partnered in the formation
of Western Windshields, a West Coast auto glass distribution business.
Latch will be president and managing partner of the new company
with Ray, Smith and Talbert all holding titles of vice president
and managing partners. Talbert left
PGW in late 2009, and Latch was
released from the company on April 1, 2009, during a round of
Guardian Auto has developed an entrepreneurial business model that
utilizes local ownership and involvement under the new joint venture.
"The joint venture brings focus on growing the business with
a local ownership model," says Latch. "Local ownership
combined with a national presence will enhance our service to our
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