Mt. Pleasant Township business puts fun in food donation

| Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Employees of a Mt. Pleasant Township business recently took part in a workplace competition that resulted in the collection of 1,600 pounds in canned goods for the Westmoreland County Food Bank.

The initiative was executed by staff at Glassautomatic Inc./Rolf Glass at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Center along state Route 31 East.

It centered on an inventive game by which small groups of workers competed with one another to donate food for the prize of picking a supervisor to work their shifts for a day.

“I was very surprised about the enthusiasm and commitment,” said Rolf Poeting, the business's proprietor and its chief officer, who founded the glass etching and polishing company in 1981.

“From a company point of view, we basically gave the winners a day off, but that didn't sacrifice production,” he said.

In early October, Bryan Fischer, Glassautomatic's business consultant, asked Matt McDermott, the company's technology manager, to develop a game that had clearly defined rules, and also had measurable results.

As Thanksgiving neared, McDermott said he began noticing different charitable organizations ramping up their efforts to aid the area's hungry on the holiday.

“In the past, I have volunteered with the Kiski Valley Food Bank and Vandergrift Meals on Wheels,” he said.

That experience led McDermott to develop the game with the goal of making a donation to the food bank.

McDermott pitted the company's three production shifts against one another in a race to raise the most food (by average number of workers).

The prize for the winning shift with the highest average was for each shift member to receive a paid day off and select a member of management to run their machine in their absence.

“Being that Rolf is very easy to approach, I proposed this game to him,” McDermott said.

“Not only did he approve the game, his favorite part was that any member of management could be selected to fill in for someone on the winning shift. The next day I pitched the game to the shift supervisors,” he said.

For the better part of a month, a daily wave of food was soon delivered to McDermott's office, he said.

“Each day, (Glassautomatic Inc./Rolf Glass marketing assistant) Gretchen Sandzimier and myself weighed and tallied each shift's donations,” McDermott said.

“Everybody really got together, and I was really happy with how much everybody participated. Even down to the end, when it seemed like the one shift was going to win, no matter what, other shifts continued to contribute,” he said.

Early on, the company's first shift was in the lead, however, in the end its second shift pulled ahead and was victorious, he said.

“All totaled, with additional donations from management, there was roughly 1,600 pounds of non-perishable goods donated,” McDermott said.

Food bank officials recently picked up the three pallet loads worth of donations from the local business for distribution to the needy throughout the county, McDermott said.

As for the game and the days off, McDermott was not immune to the rules — a member of the winning shift chose him to run their machine on their day off, he said.

“With the great outcome of this game I plan on developing more in the near future,” McDermott said.

Louise Wilhelm, volunteer and food drive coordinator for the food bank, appreciated the effort, she said.

“That's a nice amount of food that was brought in from a business,” Wilhelm said. “It means a lot to us, especially at this time of year.”

In 2003, Glassautomatic Inc./Rolf Glassmoved from a smaller location in Latrobe to the center.

In January of 2013, the company reached a 10-year lease extension agreement with the Westmoreland Industrial Development Corp. for 26,000 square feet of space. Effective May 1, the company signed a five-year lease agreement with the corporation for 12,000 additional square feet there for the purpose of expanding its operation.

A.J. Panian is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-547-5722 or

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