Tempered-glass plant coming to Monessen

After years of selling the equipment used to make glass, he is quitting his job, selling himself an oven and opening a plant in Monessen to turn regular glass into safety glass for residential use.Mr.

Santelli, 50, of O'Hara, said his plant would be the only one east of the Mississippi River which will temper glass for residential purposes.

The new company, Santelli Tempered Glass, will occupy 25,000 square feet in Monessen Riverfront Industrial Park.

The plant requires a $3.1 million investment. He said the process called for heating sheets of glass, then quickly cooling them to an even pressure, which tempers the glass.

The plate glass then will become safety glass. He said it is six times stronger than regular glass and breaks into small pills when it is smashed.

The new plant is being financed with the help of a $500,000 loan from the state's Department of Community and Economic Development through the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund. The loan, and an $18,000 grant for job training assistance, were announced last week by Dennis Yablonsky, the secretary of the department.

Mr. Santelli said he expected to hire 15 people to open the business and to have the first glass out of the oven by March 15. In the next 18 months, he wants to increase employment to 40 workers.

Wages will start at $8.50 an hour and go up to $25 an hour.

"These are real jobs," he said. "These are not minimum-wage jobs."

Mr. Santelli said the local market is wide open for his product because there are 50 window manufacturers within 150 miles of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Santelli has 26 years in the glass business, most recently selling the sort of equipment he will use in his new business.

"I'm copying a niche of several companies on the West Coast," he said.

He said the owners of those companies encouraged him to follow their lead.

600450 Tempered-glass plant coming to Monessen glassonweb.com

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