Kudos, big time, to Angie DeRosa and Bill Bregar for their chronicling of the Owens Corning-Glen Hiner saga (Page 1, March 19). This was great journalism in the highest and classiest sense.
It was a fitting tribute to a distinguished son of the plastics industry whose achievements also include his tenure as an outstanding board and Executive Committee member of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., in its halcyon days during the ´70s and ´80s; a major protagonist of the idea of plastics-industry image advertising when the roots of the program were being developed as an SPI/Partners for Plastics Progress idea in the late ´80s; and the recipient of awards, such as the Plastic Academy´s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994 — just to mention a few accomplishments.
Mr. Hiner´s personal business philosophy — that businesses exist to make money for the stockholders, but also primarily to serve customers and treat employees with dignity and respect — may be dinosauric in this day of show-me-the-money executives, but I suspect such true values will come back into style because they are, in the end, timeless.
Indeed, my thinking is that the Business Week article that labeled him a "laggard" among General Electric Co. alumni CEOs was uninformed and did not take into account the unique challenges he took on when he moved to Owens Corning. The fact is, he did all that he promised and then some. No one could do more, with the asbestos lawyers plaguing the scene for something that occurred long before his tenure.
It is very revealing to notice that OC is going great guns in its core businesses and is not laying off thousands of its loyal people every other week.
It seems to me that this "laggard" is more of a role model than most, and that the rest of the plastics and chemical industry tycoons might well view his career as an inspiration to higher achievement and high-mindedness.
Jerome H. Heckman
Keller and Heckman LLP