Comprehensive Training Sets up Shop Employees for Success

Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking.

Starting a new job in a hustling door and frame shop, full of veteran co-workers, can be downright intimidating.

That’s why Kyle Volk, Shop Coordinator and Trainer on LaForce’s Cincinnati team, implemented a special, hands-on training program over a year ago. Now, most new shop team members complete Kyle’s training.

To start the training process, LaForce sends the new employee to the Cincinnati office for a week. Kyle introduces him to LaForce processes and standards. Next, the trainee heads back to his home office for a week to implement what he has learned. This opportunity to apply the training right away empowers the new team member to make their own decisions, with the comfort of knowing that Kyle is only a phone call away. Finally, after this second week, Kyle travels to the worker’s office for a third and final week, to set him up for success with further applied training and mentorship.

“My training style is very hands-on when they are learning our process,” said Kyle, “But I like to give people some space to find their own rhythm once they’ve reached a certain comfort level.”

Feedback from trainees has been overwhelmingly positive. They have expressed appreciation for all the time and attention they receive during their orientation period. Team building activities throughout these first weeks also integrate the new worker into the LaForce culture and team.

Kyle uses his 11 years of shop experience to execute this program. He has a talent for reading people and making them feel part of a larger purpose.

“The success of the company is dependent upon the success of the individual employee and their ability to contribute to the team as a whole. <Tweet This> So it’s crucial to make sure we’re bringing in the best possible candidates for each position – and determining that in a reasonable amount of time. That’s only fair to both the company and the individual.”

Thanks to the excellent work by Kyle and the rest of the team, LaForce won the 2015 Manufacturing Award of Distinction through the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce. We are proud to share our practices of continuous improvement! Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for more news and updates.

Ashley McNish (sales), Dan Sproull (shop), Kyle Volk (trainer), and Abby Finger (sales) relax one evening during Kyle's visit to Austin to provide hands-on shop training.
Ashley McNish (sales), Dan Sproull (shop), Kyle Volk (trainer), and Abby Finger (sales) relax one evening in August during Kyle’s visit to Austin to provide hands-on shop training.

Why are Many Restroom Doors “Pull to Exit”, not “Push to Exit”?

We previously wrote about the importance of clean, sanitary communal restroom facilities. But our readers may have noticed that after washing and drying their hands, they are often faced with a “pull to exit” door to leave the restroom facility. Now they run the risk of contaminating their hands again!

Why are many restrooms designed this way? Is there a workaround for building owners? How can users stay hygienic? We’ll break down the answers for you!

Why Restroom Doors are Designed This Way

ADA Exit ClearanceThe Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires minimum clearances for door swings. If the restroom opens into a narrow space, such as a hallway, it can be difficult to achieve this clearance with a “push to exit” door. Therefore, building design limitations often force the existence of a “pull to exit” restroom door. In addition, many buildings are designed under space constraints. Constructing bathrooms with “pull to exit” doors requires less room than “push to exit” doors.


Avoiding the Issue with Re-Design

When laying out a new building (or an existing building remodel), the restroom doors can be designed as “push to exit” if the restroom entrances are recessed into the wall to allow for more door clearance, or offset so that the outward swinging door is not a traffic hazard.

In addition, doors can be avoided altogether if the restroom entrances are built with a labyrinth design, commonly seen in airports.  

Staying Sanitary Regardless of Exit Design

Sometimes, especially in older or smaller facilities, this issue just cannot be avoided. To keep your hands clean even with a “pull to exit” door, users can use their sleeve, a piece of paper towel, or even toilet paper to open the door. It is also useful to carry hand sanitizer to sterilize your hands after engaging in public spaces. Building owners can accommodate this concern by placing hand sanitizing stations directly outside restroom facilities, or a waste basket near the exit. This humor blogger offers some practical tips and a handy flowchart!

We want to answer your door-related and security system-related questions! To submit a question, click this link, and follow us on LinkedIn to stay informed.

Gearing Up for Another Season of Packer Tailgates!

Hanging out before home Green Bay Packers games is part of the LaForce heritage! After all, our founder Joe LaForce was an avid fan and even shared office space with Vince Lombardi and the Packers organization.

To support local custom, LaForce began hosting traditional tailgate events in the Lambeau parking lot, during home Packer games. Employees and customers mingled and built relationships and memories. Check out these photos from our archives!

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We now have property close to the iconic Lambeau Field where we can entertain valued customers and team members with pre-game festivities during football season! Click through the slideshow for recent gameday pictures at our Lombardi Ave house.

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If you are a LaForce customer and are attending a 2016 Green Package Packers game, please reach out to your LaForce sales representative for an invitation to our tailgate party. We hope to see you there!

2016 LaForce Packer Tailgate Schedule

Learn About LaForce: Customized Pre-Finishing

Customized Door and Frame Pre-Finishing

This is an 8-week series that profiles each of LaForce’s eight areas of products and services.

Over the past two months, we’ve summarized the breadth and depth of LaForce’s products and services. This week, we wrap up with one of our newest and most innovative offerings: Customized Hollow Metal Door and Frame Pre-Finishing.

In most construction projects, doors and frames are painted on-site, and a painting contractor is often hired to do the work. But more and more general contractors and building owners are taking advantage of LaForce’s pre-finishing expertise, to save time and money.

What is Pre-Finishing? Pre-finishing is when doors and frames are painted in a controlled environment prior to shipping to the jobsite, which is advantageous from both quality and efficiency standpoints. The paint is high-quality and industrial-grade, preventing rust and corrosion over time, and the controlled environment results in fewer flaws. The ability to customize also allows customers to match their new doors and frames to the colors of other openings in their building. We can even provide two-tone hollow metal doors and frames, meaning differing interior and exterior colors.

Recently, we expanded our shop area to accommodate the increasing demand for pre-finishing services. We expect that this area of our business will continue to grow as construction professionals seek ways to increase quality and save time. Let us be your “one-stop shop”!

If you enjoyed this educational series, please take a moment and subscribe to our blog!

Building Bathrooms with Greater Privacy

Buliding Bathrooms with Greater Privacy LaForce IncForeigners traveling to the United States often ask: Why is there a little (or, large!) gap between public bathroom stalls and the wall? We’ve even seen news segments and satire on this topic.

Buildings with communal restrooms (such as hospitals, schools, office buildings, and retail stores) are responsible for providing clean, private, and well-maintained facilities for users. Here are some simple product suggestions for building and remodeling commercial bathroom stalls to fix the “gap” and provide more privacy. Click each title for a visual example.

Continuous Hinges

This product minimizes the strip of space on the hinge side between the door panel and the stall pilaster (column). The advantage to updating a restroom with continuous hinges is that the product usually covers up the holes from the previous hardware and is a fairly simple and cost-effective fix.

Continuous Brackets

Similar to the continuous hinge, this product partially blocks the line of sight between the stall pilaster / panel and the wall, and can usually cover existing hardware holes. It is also a cost-effective aid for improving privacy.

Sight Strips for Doors

These are placed on the strike side of the restroom stall door and are made of aluminum. These can be another quick upgrade that enhances stall privacy and minimizes the door gap.

Overlapping Door Panels

Door panels and partitions can be built to overlap, which completely eliminates the line of sight. This upgrade is a little more expensive as the entire toilet compartment layout needs to be replaced, but it can provide a sleek, unobtrusive look.

Extra Tall Door Panels and/or Divider Panels

For added seclusion, restroom stalls can be built with extra tall door panels and divider panels that reach higher and/or lower to the ground. This upgrade is only feasible on ADA stalls if the ADA regulations for length and width are maintained (see below notations on ADA).

Specialty Product Lines

Some manufacturers provide “Ultimate Privacy” product lines that combine all of these features. These products come at the greatest cost but can provide the design and privacy reassurance desired by the owner.

European Style Stalls

These products require a long lead time and are expensive to import and install, but provide maximum privacy for users.


Keep in mind that ADA regulations restrict restroom stall dimensions. These diagrams – ADA Toe Clearance Under Partitions and ADA Wheelchair Accessible Toilet Compartment –  illustrate the minimum stall measurements to meet accessibility requirements. A wheelchair user must still have “toe clearance,” which is why many bathroom stalls have a standard amount of space between the bottom of the door and the floor. Stalls that feature floor-length doors must be larger to accommodate this need.

LaForce can provide many of these products for building updates or new construction projects. Special thanks to Ron Osero of Laforce’s Specialty Division for providing product knowledge! Ron can be reached for building specialty questions and recommendations through this link.

Learn About LaForce: Installation & Pre-Installation

LaForce Pre-Installation and Installation

This is an 8-week series that profiles each of LaForce’s eight areas of products and services.

LaForce has fully trained Pre-Installation and Installation teams, which make life easier for customers. These services save money, time, and headaches both on and off-site. Our highly trained professionals specialize in door, frame, hardware, and security components.

Pre-installation is the process in which hardware such as hinges, door closers, exit devices, locks, electrified hardware, and flat goods are installed onto the doors prior to shipping to the jobsite. Watch our video to see how the entire process can save time, help meet deadlines, and provide a hassle-free jobsite installation. Another benefit is that any product or manufacturing defects are caught and fixed prior to shipping. In addition, we can recycle packaging at our shop, which saves jobsite waste.

Installation specialists provide on-site service for contractors and building owners. They travel to jobsites and expertly handle materials in an efficient, cost-effective manner. Our team also undergoes consistent training to stay up-to-date on new techniques.

Contact LaForce with any questions related to Pre-Installation or Installation services. Next Monday, the “Learn About LaForce” series will educate readers about our eighth area of expertise: Custom Pre-Finishing. Subscribe and follow us on social media so you don’t miss out!

Your Top Ten Best Interview Tips and Tricks

Whether you’re looking to advance your career or find a new one, these are perfect for job candidates in any field. <Tweet This>

Two of LaForce’s HR professionals – Amanda Cornelissen and Danielle Dale – took the time to compile these helpful Q&A’s!

How to handle tough interview questionsQ1: What interview question most often trips up a candidate and how would you like to see them handle this question?

A1: One question that often seems to trip up candidates is “What are you looking for in a company that would ultimately make you want to stay long term?” Many times it is evident that this is something candidates have not thought about. We recommend that candidates know what they are looking for in a company before the interview (e.g. culture, management style, size of company, etc.). We want the company to be a good fit for the candidate so they are set up in an environment where they can be successful.

How to nail your phone interviewQ2: How can a candidate nail the phone interview?

A2: It’s important that applicants can clearly describe their past work experiences and their motivation behind their career/job changes. It’s also nice if applicants have researched the company or have at least looked at the website and have read through the job description.

How to prepare for your interviewQ3: What are three tips for an applicant who wants to prepare for a job interview?

A3: 1) Prepare answers to basic interview questions regarding what you are looking for in your next position/company, goals, strengths/areas of improvement, etc. 2) Research the company ahead of time. Check out the website to have a better understanding of what they do, including products and services. 3) Look at the job description and prepare questions to ask.

How to justify having very little work experienceQ4: How do you evaluate a candidate who has very little work experience?

A4: There are several areas we look at when a candidate doesn’t have a lot of work experience including extracurriculars, college/schooling and other achievements. Candidates can make themselves stand out by writing a thoughtful cover letter detailing their motivation behind wanting a career with the company, and how past experience with extracurricular activities, or other achievements will help make them successful. <Tweet This Tip>

Develping your soft skills for a jobQ5: What “soft skills” are you looking for in an applicant, and why?

A5: The ability to communicate well is something we look for throughout the hiring process. This doesn’t mean that the candidate has to be a brilliant writer, but rather someone who can answer questions clearly and get their point across. Next, we look for applicants with time management skills. Many positions require employees to meet deadlines and prioritize work. Lastly, we are looking for candidates who show commitment and want to work hard, which can be proven if they are enthusiastic about the position.

What are the qualities of a successful salespersonQ6: What qualities do you look for in a successful sales employee?

A6: To be successful as a sales employee, we look for those individuals who can communicate professionally with others. Sales employees are often working outside the company with customers and we want the employee to be able to clearly communicate what our products and services are. Next, we look for individuals with drive or motivation to be successful. A third quality we look for is the ability to work as part of a team. We look for employees who can work with others to achieve a common goal for the business.

What are the most and least important resume itemsQ7: What is most important – and least important – for you to see on a resume?

A7: It is really important that resumes are easy to read. We want to be able to clearly understand work history and responsibilities. Resumes with condensed wording, clear job titles, and clear dates of employment are best. It’s also nice to see achievements that would make a candidate stand out (e.g. leadership experience, certifications, and education). It’s least important for us to see references.

How to prepare questions for a job interviewQ8: What questions can a candidate ask that impresses a hiring manager during a job interview?

A8: Hiring managers are usually impressed when a candidate has done research on the company or has additional questions about the position. Candidates can also ask about their ability to grow within the position, and the future growth of the company. It is not necessary to ask a lot of questions or make them up just to have them, but having a few questions prepared shows the interviewer that you are truly interested in the position.

Job and interview tips for college seniorsQ9: What tips do you have for a college senior who is about to apply for jobs?

A9: Our advice to college seniors is to start looking for positions early. Network with people you know in the community or who have graduated before you because these connections may know of open positions within companies that are not yet posted. We also recommend being open-minded when looking for businesses with open positions. Smaller businesses that are expanding often have many opportunities for career growth. Lastly, many times you won’t get your dream job right out of college. Many entry level positions can lead to a wealth of opportunities in the future.

How to dress to impress for a job interviewQ10: How does a job applicants’ attire play into their success in a job interview?

A10: It is important that applicants are dressed professionally for interviews. It shows us that you care and are really interested in the position. The rule of thumb we use is to be dressed one step above the attire that is normal at the place of employment.


We work hard to find qualified, personable individuals to build our growing team. If you’d like more information about LaForce’s open positions, visit our Careers homepage.

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