Alfred “Fred” Jayson joined Bendheim 65 years ago, and, at 97 years of age, he is still committed to the company today.
“Bendheim is tradition, reputation, and longevity,” says Fred. “I come to work every day and enjoy the growth, spirit, enthusiasm, and dedication of our people.”
Our company has always been a family business. Fred’s late father-and-mother-in-law, Sem and Margaret Bendheim, founded Bendheim in 1927 as an importer and distributor of colored art glass.
Fred warmly remembers the days when he worked alongside Sem and Margaret. “Sem lived glass 24 hours a day. This was his life, and his enthusiasm carried the business,” he says of the Bendheim co-founder. “I remember when he was recovering from a very serious operation, and his first question was ‘What’s new in the office?’… Mrs. Bendheim was equally dedicated, very worldly and sophisticated.”
While Sem focused on sales and customer relationships, Margaret managed the office. She was fluent in Spanish, German, and English, facilitating connections with overseas suppliers. They were the perfect team.
Fred took over management of the company from Sem and Margaret in 1965. His sons, Robert, Donald, and Steven, have been running the business since the mid-1970s.
“It was natural… I realized that, although I still felt fully capable to run the organization, it was time to pass the reins to younger people who had new ideas and youthful strength,” Fred said about transferring management responsibilities to his sons. “Each one of my sons has distinct qualities. They each bring something into the business, a unique thought process, which is a great part of our strength.”
Bendheim welcomed Ben Jayson, our fourth-generation principal and Fred’s grandson, in 2015. Ben’s glass education began at an early age. During his teen years, he spent his summers at Bendheim, learning the glass business from the ground up. His arrival brought the company into a small league of businesses – less than 3% of all family companies – that continue into their fourth generation.
When asked about his opinions on contemporary glass and Bendheim’s new architectural products, Fred says glass and the business have changed dramatically, and defers the questions to his sons’ expertise: “I’m humbly proud of my sons’ accomplishments. They took the business far beyond what it had been and made it international.”
Today, Bendheim offers a virtually unlimited range of in-stock and custom architectural glass varieties for interior and exterior building applications. The company has several divisions, including Interior Architectural Glass, Exterior Glass Systems, Restoration Glass® and Art Glass, as well as an e-commerce consumer division: Bendheim Glass for the Home (Cabinet Glass). Our glass is featured in countless high-profile buildings throughout the world, from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai to The White House in Washington DC.
Fred Jayson credits the business success to the strength of close family relationships, and recommends young professionals choose a family business to start and develop their own careers.
Over the last six decades, Fred has seen the company grow from 15 employees to over 100 today, in addition to more than 60 independent sales representatives across North America. He also witnessed the establishment of vertically integrated glass fabrication facilities in New Jersey and a soon-to-launch glass Design Lab in New York City.
When asked about his leadership style, Fred says, “I’d like to think I was democratic, paternal almost, but straightforward. I was honest in business. I committed myself to the company, and I have stayed committed.”
Employees look up to Fred’s dedication and drive. In his 65 years, he continues to work tirelessly alongside his sons and grandson to champion Bendheim’s growth, from an art glass distributor in New York City to an international supplier of specialty architectural glass.