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Company in the Spotlight: Pittsburgh Window Film

Sunday, November 07, 1999

By Joyce Gannon, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

For its typical job, Pittsburgh Window Film installs tinted film on office windows and assumes the average person won't even notice the change. But the bright red, blue and green transparent film the company recently attached to 16-foot high windows at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland is meant to turn heads.

The colorful film on the huge windows along the Forbes Avenue side of the Museum Cafe is part of an exhibit at the prestigious 1999 Carnegie International that opened yesterday.

    Pittsburgh Window Film

BUSINESS: Sells and installs window film used in commercial and residential structures.

HEADQUARTERS: Lawrenceville




"Normally, we don't want our film to be apparent," explained Pittsburgh Window Film founder and general manager Jeff Dugan, while he watched his crew hang the colored film two weeks ago.

California-based artist Diana Thater requested it to complement her video exhibit, which will be on display through April. As part of the project, Pittsburgh Window Film also installed opaque white and black film on windows on another side of the cafe to create a projection screen for Thater's video.

Dugan doesn't mind the exposure his company's work gets courtesy of a big event such as the Carnegie International. But he notes that window film is typically added to glass to enhance its performance, not its look.

Window film, which has a polyester base, is coated with adhesives that when applied to windows, helps reduce heat, glare or fading from outside light.

Pittsburgh Window Film concentrates for the most part on commercial buildings and has supplied window film for major office centers such as Allegheny Center, Foster Plaza, Gateway Center, Oxford Centre, One Oliver Plaza and the Westinghouse Building.

About one-third of its annual business is residential work where homeowners want to help reduce fading of fine carpets or art work.

The largest residential project it's undertaken is Clayton, the Frick mansion in Point Breeze. It installed film on 2,100 square feet of windows in the structure's first two floors during an extensive renovation project in 1990, before the home was open for public tours. The window film at Clayton is designed to reduce light damage to antiques, art, hand-painted wallpaper and furniture -- some of which is over a century old.

Dugan, 43, founded Pittsburgh Window Film in 1985 when he bought 3M's Pittsburgh energy control products division. Dugan reorganized the business, moved it from Shaler to Lawrenceville and dropped other products such as weather strip and car window tints.

A Churchill native, Dugan studied business at Penn State but left school in his junior year to work in construction in several states.

He landed back in his hometown in the early 1980s with the idea of perhaps finishing his education at the University of Pittsburgh. But he became immersed in work and never obtained a degree.

Dugan claims he doesn't regret dropping out of school. Most of the courses he took at Penn State were aimed at grooming students to join Fortune 500 companies, he said. "I had no desire to do that ... besides, my hair was too long."

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