[Case Study] Festival Foods Support Center

We recently supplied products for the brand-new Festival Foods Support Center in De Pere, WI!

Performa, Inc.  is the local architectural firm that designed this beautiful building, and Miron Construction is the project’s General Contractor. The building features a raw, unfinished look that combines functionality with style.

To discover what makes this project special and to view more pictures, click here:

LaForce Case Study: Festival Foods Support Center

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Restroom Reform: BABIES Act of 2016

Restroom Reform: BABIES Act of 2016 LaForce IncThe president recently passed the Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation (BABIES) Act to require baby changing stations in publicly accessible federal buildings. The law calls for equal access to changing facilities for both male and female caregivers. This law makes it easier for parents to find a clean, sanitary surface to care for their children.

While this law does not apply beyond federal buildings (post offices, courthouses, Social Security offices, etc.), many businesses and organizations with common restroom facilities are already aware of the need for accessible baby changing stations for customers and users. These products provide good service and demonstrate a commitment to family-friendly practices.

LaForce supplies baby changing stations such as those provided by Koala Kare, Brocar, American Specialties (ASI), Bradley, and Rubbermaid. We supply all styles and types, including plastic or stainless steel, wall-mounted or recessed, and horizontal or vertical.

There are many benefits to obtaining this product from a LaForce representative, including readily available, in-stock options as well as in-depth knowledge and experience with construction requirements and installation instructions. In most cases, we provide these bathroom accessories as part of a larger construction project.

More educational resources regarding restroom accessories can be found here. If you found this information useful, please share on social media!


What’s it Like to Work at LaForce?

Highlighting: Contract Small Project Specialists

Marc Heimerl LaForce IncMeet Marc Heimerl.

He started at LaForce over two years ago, and thrives in his role of “Small Project Specialist” in the Contract Sales division.

Small Project Specialists – or “SPS” – are crucial to LaForce’s continued success, as they serve a quickly growing portion of company business. The LaForce SPS team works closely with our outside sales representatives and customers to complete every step of the smaller projects our customers need, typically which require shorter lead times. Customers overwhelmingly appreciate the efficiency and quicker turnaround time in which their projects are completed, while also growing a relationship with another knowledgeable representative of LaForce to answer questions and assist with their project needs. Another way to describe this role is “Inside Sales,” since these individuals work in the office handling customer jobs from beginning to end.

Contract SPS team members like Marc need to be versatile, ambitious, detail-oriented, and committed to continued learning. His duties include:

  • Analyzing plans, specifications and project documents for small construction projects.
  • Developing cost estimates and effectively communicating with general contractors.
  • Scheduling and project managing each job, from start to finish.
  • Developing a deep product knowledge to ensure customers receive the proper product and troubleshoot issues in the field.
  • Understanding the needs of each customer to provide personalized support.
  • Working with subject matter experts around LaForce to solve customer needs and troubleshoot issues.

While LaForce can handle new construction projects with several thousand openings, we also welcome projects that only require a single door replacement, hardware change, or new restroom accessory or partition. Our SPS team defines “small projects” as those involving about 10 or fewer openings, as well as those that require a quick turnaround time. Specifically, the “Contract” sales team that Marc works within works with General Contractors. Our “Aftermarket” SPS team, in contrast, works with building owners and facility managers.

In addition, Marc and the rest of the SPS team benefit from ongoing training, mentorship, and a supportive team atmosphere. Our Small Project Specialists come from a variety of backgrounds with different skills and training, but share many of the same personal characteristics that lead them to excel as project managers, sales representatives, and subject matter experts.

When asked why Marc enjoys this role, he noted:

“The SPS role allows me to feel energized by performing a wide variety of tasks and managing several projects simultaneously. No two days are the same. I get to see projects through from start to finish, and I interact with a variety of supportive people.”

If you enjoyed reading this, you may also like another blog that features the SPS team: “Project Spotlight: St Mary’s Hospital 5th Floor West Wing Room Upgrades.” Our full blog series “What’s it Like to Work at LaForce?” can be found here.


LaForce is a hard-working, friendly company that emphasizes culture, advancement, leadership, and growth. These four areas are the top reasons why people continue to work for LaForce.


“We really care about our employees.”

LaForce accentuates work-life balance, as well as community involvement and a healthy lifestyle. LaForce has an active Volunteer Program and Wellness Program, made up of employees from multiple work areas. Many initiatives are implemented throughout the year to help employees make healthy choices and give back to their communities. Beyond these resources, LaForce maintains a positive and supportive working climate for its day-to-day business.


“Your career here at LaForce is in your hands.”

President/CEO Brian Mannering began working at LaForce 29 years ago in shipping and receiving, and Chairman/former CEO Ken Metzler started 37 years ago in the estimating division. These are just two examples of the “advancement from within” precedent at LaForce. Most managers and leaders work their way up in the organization, and many other employees switch teams and duties during their tenure at the company.


“Our leaders are forward-thinking and engaged.”

With an open door policy and a management team that makes an effort to get to know all employees, LaForce is a growing company with a small business feel. LaForce leaders are innovative and hard-working, and aren’t afraid to get involved with the day-to-day operations of the company.


“If you’re looking for a stable and growing company to call home, this is it.”

Since 2000, LaForce has added seven new locations nationwide. This spurs growth and hiring not only at the new locations, but also in the support teams at the Green Bay headquarters. Growth at LaForce is also deliberate and responsible. New markets are carefully vetted and conservatively projected prior to investment.

These are just four of the reasons why LaForce’s workforce is so committed. For more information about current open positions, visit our Careers homepage.

What’s the Difference? Welded Frames vs. Knock-Down Frames

LaForce sells two main types of hollow metal frames: “welded” and “knock-down.” These frames have similar components (such as hinge jambs, strike jambs, heads, and anchors) yet unique applications and installation methods. Definitions of industry terminology used throughout this article can be found here: Door, Frame, and Hardware Glossary – LaForce, Inc

Welded frames

Welded frames are assembled at the factory. Jambs are squared to the head, face and rabbet joints are welded, and all exposed weld marks are ground smooth. A spreader bar is tack-welded at the bottom of the frame for shipping purposes.

Applications and Installation

This type of frame is used in interior stud walls, masonry block walls, and cast-in-place or pre-cast concrete walls.

When using welded frames in interior stud walls, they are installed prior to the construction of the wall. Frames are set in the correct locations with studs and drywall built around them. Welded frames are secured to the studs with screws or ties through either snap-in or welded anchors. At the bottom of each frame is a base anchor.

When installing welded frames into new masonry block walls, the frame is once again set prior to laying the wall. “T” anchors or masonry wire anchors are laid between every few rows of block to secure the frame to the wall.

In instances where a welded frame must be installed into an existing block wall, the frame must be dimpled for an existing wall anchor (EWA). The frame is then slid into the existing opening, holes are drilled into the existing block wall through the dimples, and expansion bolts are screwed into place.

Knock-Down Frames

Knock-down frames are not assembled in the factory. They are sent as separate jamb and head pieces for assembly in the field by the installers.

Applications and Installation

Knock-down frames – also known as after-set drywall frames – are meant to be installed after the stud wall has been built and drywall applied. This type of frame comes in three pieces: the hinge jamb, the strike jamb, and the head. The frame head is installed first. Then each jamb is inserted into place and aligned to the head with tabs and slots. Once all pieces are applied onto the wall, a wood spreader is used to assist securing the base anchors.

Knock-down drywall type frames can be supplied with either a strap-style base anchor that gets notched into the drywall or a dimple on the face of the jamb bottom that allows a screw to be fastened into the stud. The jambs are then plumbed by adjusting compression anchors near the head of the frame. This will tighten the frame head against the jambs, completing the installation process.

We hope this answered your query! If you are stumped by another door, frame, or hardware question, please reference our blog archivefree glossary, or contact a LaForce representative.

This blog was originally published on 4/29/2013 and was updated on 10/10/2016. Information provided by Aaron Moede, an Engineering Trainer at LaForce.


Dedicated to Philanthropy: LaForce’s Annual Community Campaign

This week at LaForce, we gather for a common cause: Our annual Community Campaign!

Part of our company mission is to give back to the communities in which we live and work. In addition to year-round volunteer events, we host an annual, week-long Community Campaign to raise money for locally chosen non-profits. October 4-7 is our 2016 campaign week.

So far, we are well on our way to reaching our fundraising goals! Scroll down to view pictures and updates.

Our 2016 charities (chosen by employees):

Our 2016 Sponsors:

“Big or small, your contribution is recognized, and I am very grateful for your dedication to our community.”

Brian Mannering, President/CEO of LaForce, in an email kicking off the 2016 Community Campaign

If your non-profit would like to be considered for the 2017 campaign, please fill out this form. Organizations seeking funds must meet established criteria. LaForce’s leadership team makes all final decisions regarding charitable donations.



Help! I Need a Giant Door

Sometimes our customers present us with difficult door opening problems, but we are always up for a challenge! Recently, we worked with Bachmann Construction and Colony Brands in Monroe, WI to complete these customized doors. Ron Blank, a Contract Sales representative for LaForce in Madison, provided this solution.

Colony required multiple openings in the company’s new studio addition. These openings needed to accommodate both people and large materials. LaForce supplied hollow metal doors and frames that feature standard height doors plus additional inactive leafs above it, to allow for the passage of large items. Check it out!

A LaForce Solution

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Origins of Our Name: “LaForce” = “Strength”

 “LaForce” is a French word that means “Strength.” This definition is a fitting testimonial to our 62-year history of excellence and prosperity. Let’s hear from a number of LaForce leaders as they reflect on what “LaForce = Strength” means to them!

Legacy of Joe LaForce

As LaForce, Inc has expanded beyond its humble 1954 beginnings, many leaders credit the values of the late Joe LaForce as the bedrock of continued success.

“When I think of LaForce and strength I immediately think of our company’s founder, Joe LaForce. Joe was strong, rugged, compact, to the point, and very bright.” – Ken Metzler, Chairman

Glenn Obry, LaForce’s longest-tenured employee (45 years) reflects on Joe’s legacy:  He says that Joe always kept the big picture in mind but also paid attention to the small details. Glenn also sees how LaForce takes employees and their families into consideration when making decisions, which is another sign of strength and integrity. He also cited “stability” as a hallmark of LaForce’s strength.

LaForce Means StrengthBusiness Stability

LaForce has grown steadily in the course of the past 60 years, even through economic downturns. This can be attributed to smart business decisions and talented employees.

“To me, “strength” means an experienced, financially strong and trustworthy organization providing expertise and commercial door opening and security solutions that help make the buildings in our communities more safe and secure.” – John Knier, Vice President

Talent and Experience

“LaForce’s biggest strength is their people. We have extremely bright and talented people. Together we have the strength to grow, be innovative, and be leaders within the door and hardware industry, as well as in the communities which we serve.” – Jill Pruski, Controller and Treasurer

Without dedicated team members, LaForce would not be in the position it is today. Our President and CEO, Brian Mannering, identifies human capital as LaForce’s most valuable asset:

“LaForce possesses strength in people and the vast knowledge we have amongst them. That is a significant resource which we can draw on to provide solutions for our various customers. This “strength” is what matters most to them.” – Brian Mannering, President/CEO

Why does this particular strength matter? Committed workers and customer satisfaction go hand-in-hand.

“LaForce is built on the strength of character held by the hard-working people who call it home. This strength is on display every day as people communicate frankly with customers about problems. LaForce is successful due to the strength of commitment its people have to doing the best job they can to solve customer’s needs.  When solving a customer’s problem, they don’t just take the easy road; they research multiple possibilities to come up with the best solution for the situation.” – Jeff McGlachlin, Vice President

Industry Leadership

“It’s nice to be part of a company that is a leader in the industry. LaForce is a force to be reckoned with. As part of one of the largest distributors in the country who is progressive with industry changes (most recently fire door inspections, pre-installation, and security integration), employees are constantly offered new opportunities for growth on both personal and professional levels. There seems to be an immediate respect from competitors and other industry professionals when they learn that you are part of the LaForce team.” – Kristi Dietz, Engineering Training Manager

Expansions into new products, services, and markets is a constant theme around the company. In the past 15 years, LaForce has added eight of its 12 office locations, and successfully forayed into many complementary lines of business.

“To me, LaForce means quality and integrity in its employees, and in the solutions we provide to our customers.” –John Gillis, Director of Aftermarket Sales & Security Integration

But a company is made up of more than just goods and services. At LaForce’s core is a set of ethics, beliefs, and business standards.

Consistency in Values

“”LaForce Strength” equals commitment to our employees, customers and this industry. Our company is strong because of our belief in this commitment.” – Patrick Connelly, Director of Contract Sales

“Strength in our industry, our culture and our employees and customer relationships.” – Tom Gaible, Cincinnati Office Manager

Last year, we explored the origin and meaning behind LaForce’s Mission Statement and Core Values. These simple principles are more than just words – they serve as our compass, and keep us aligned on a reliable path as we grow our business.

Our leaders define strength in different ways – now, what does strength mean to you? Comment below or find us on social media! Next week, we will explore company strengths as they relate to specific services.

LaForce Means Strength