Britain's leading steel window manufacturer has received the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade.
Crittall Windows has received the award in recognition of its export achievements in the notoriously difficult American market where the Essex-based company has seen the value of its sales increase significantly over recent years. Crittall is now the second largest supplier of steel windows in the United States having re-built its entire distribution network there in just six years.
"We feel proud and honoured to be recognised by the queen's Award for our work and success in the US market, " said John Pyatt. "America can be seen as one of the hardest markets to compete in, and this accolade is the culmination of Crittall's long history, showing how a professionally-managed private company with an excellent product, a strong brand, and an enthusiastic workforce can take on the Americans at their own game."
The company dates back to 1849, and in 2004 Crittall Windows underwent a management buyout led by Mr Pyatt. At this point, its distribution market in the States disappeared, and the company had to begin again from scratch with its US operation.
Then, three years later, Crittall Windows moved to new state-of-the-art premises in Witham Essex from its factory in Braintree. Despite the upheaval, and now, the recession, the company has gone from strength to strength.
On both sides of the Atlantic, its products are being specified in high quality public and private sector buildings. These include the US 'Ivy League' universities of Princeton and Yale, the prestigious 300 Central Park West apartment block in New York, the University of Sussex, Grade II Listed Lichfield Court flats in Richmond-Upon-Thames, and the restored Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The firm is especially strong in the heritage market in both countries.
In order to win a Queen's Award, companies also have to demonstrate high quality business practices in employe relations, environmental policy, health and safety matters, and its relationship with the local community. In all these matters, Crittall Windows has scored very highly. Its worforce of around 200 is drawn from the local area, and one in ten employees has been with the firm more than 40 years.
"This is, in effect, an award for excellence in how we have gone about our business," says Managing Director John Pyatt.