Fenton Family

FENTON FAMILY BIOS & SIGNATURES

 

FRANK M. FENTON 

Frank Muhleman Fenton, fifth child and first son of Frank L. Fenton, was born in the original family home on Williams Avenue on December 1, 1915. He attended grade school in Williamstown, but crossed over to Marietta, Ohio for his high school work. He entered Marietta College in September, 1932, in the depths of the Depression, and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in 1936. At Marietta he majored in chemistry, captained the crew, and played center on the Pioneers' 1935-1936 Ohio Conference Championship basketball team. At 6'7" Frank was probably one of the game's first long men. He pledged Delta Upsilon social fraternity and was elected to the Gold Key honorary.

Frank experienced his first real contact with the company while attending Marietta College. For several years he had urged his father to hire him in the summer months, but Frank L. always turned him down on the theory that "other people need the work a lot more than you do. You can pull weeds at home." At length he sought out his Uncle Jim who told him to come to work the next day. Frank observed that night to his parents that he had been "asking the wrong guy" for a job and announced that he was done with weed pulling. He reported to his uncle the next morning and was put to work down by the railroad siding. What did he do? He pulled weeds.

A short time later he was sent up on the roof with a bucket of tar to patch holes. Once, long after he became president, he was asked, "did you start at the bottom and work up?" Frank replied with a chuckle, "no, I started at the top...and worked down."

For nearly four decades, Frank along with his brother Bill headed Fenton Art Glass, and the organization grew from a modest business to a company known worldwide for its innovative products.

Most recently, Frank had served as the Fenton Art Glass Historian, giving talks to collector clubs and doing research on Fenton's many glass products, a role he truly loved. He passed away August 9, 2005. Frank left a wonderful legacy and is greatly missed.

 

GEORGE W. FENTON

As president of Fenton Glass and grandson of company founder Frank L. Fenton, George worked closely with other Fenton family members involved in all aspects of the company. He now heads the Fenton jewelry division.

With the organization since 1972, George served as foreman of the Decorating Department and manager of manufacturing before becoming president in 1986. He states, "I am most satisfied when I can contribute to solving a difficult production problem."

George graduated with honors from Wesleyan College in 1971 with a B.A. degree in physics and astronomy, and completed the Owner/President Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1989.

  

NANCY G. FENTON

Nancy Gollinger Fenton started at Fenton Art Glass Company in 1982 as an assistant in the sales department and as merchandising coordinator. She was the director of design, a fitting position since Nancy loves keeping up with the colors and trends in home design. She was responsible for selecting new Fenton colors and directing the process of developing new products. This role continued as the company added the jewelry making division.

Nancy earned a B.A. from Denison University in 1972 and continued her education at Ohio University where she took business and marketing courses.

Nancy and her husband, George, who is Fenton's president, have two sons, Ben and David, and three grandchildren, Audrey, Tyler and Riley. They enjoy family ski trips together and a good round of golf.

THOMAS K. FENTON

As Vice President of The Fenton Art Glass Company, Tom played a key leadership role in the Fenton factory's quest for Continuous Improvement of Quality. "Our goal was to constantly improve the product we made for Fenton's followers throughout the world."

Tom's early education included Ohio Wesleyan University, Ohio University Grad School and the US Army Reserves. In recent years, Tom has served the US hand glass industry's Society for Glass Science and Practices as its representative on the board of the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC), an organization encompassing all major sectors of the American glass industry. The GMIC activity fosters cooperation in areas of technology, productivity and the environment.

His son Scott  is Fenton's National Sales Manager and his daughter Jennifer is a Fenton Sales Representative in Kentucky.

 

Tom and his wife, Sharon, enjoy traveling, aerobics and mountain hiking plus spending time with their three fun-loving adult children and four wild grandchildren.

SCOTT K. FENTON

Scott grew up working at Fenton, spending many summers and holidays working throughout the company. At 16, Scott worked in the gift shop dusting shelves and giving tours. then, on to inventory control, shipping, packing, hot metal, and finally Scott worked for his father Tom Fenton, VP of manufacturing, completing many different projects as he learned the many facets of glassmaking.

Scott joined the Fenton company in 1997 after graduating from West Virginia Wesleyan College. Scott worked for his cousin, great friend and mentor, Don A. Fenton, until his untimely passing in 2003. Scott was Vice President of Sales. He left the company in 2011 for new opportunities.

(Photo lower right: Scott's son, Jackson is shown riding the conveyors at Fenton. This is highly dangerous and should only be attempted by trained professionals.)

MICHAEL D. FENTON

The son of Frank Muhleman Fenton and Elizabeth Ripley Fenton, Mike was born July 8, 1945. Between 1963 and 1973, Mike attended the College of Wooster and Marietta College. He also served in the Navy from 1967 to 1971. He was stationed aboard an ocean-going tug home-ported in San Diego, and had two, ten-month Western Pacific tours.

Interspersed through that ten-year period, Mike worked various jobs at Fenton, the earliest being shipping department stock boy at age 19. He finally came to Fenton to stay in 1973 as purchasing manager. In 1985, he also assumed responsibility for safety at Fenton. As recognition for his work, in 1996 Mike was a nominee for West Virginia's "Safety Professional of the Year" award. Mike also designed several of the metal assemblies used in Fenton lamps. He has since retired from Fenton.

LYNN E. FENTON ERB

In 1994, Lynn Elizabeth Fenton Erb became the first of the family's fourth generation to join the company's management team. She began in sales & marketing and was responsible for developing Fenton's collector newsletter, Glass Messenger. After working in this department for several years, she moved into the manufacturing area of the factory, which she enjoyed.

Lynn helped coordinate the plant's Continuous Improvement of Quality Program, supervised the Decorating Services Department, provided support to the Engineering Department, and developed new management support processes in the Decorating Department. She helped with strategic planning, budgeting and improving processes with the help of information technology.

Later, she assisted George Fenton with accounting and records setup for the jewelry division.

She received her Masters in International Management from Thunderbird in Arizona and her BA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

RANDALL R. FENTON

"Friendly," and "genuinely concerned" are a few words used to describe Randy Fenton, son of the late Bill Fenton.

Randy was employed in the gift shop during high school and college. He worked with his brother, Don, in sales after graduating from Marietta College in 1975 with a degree in business management. In 1984 Randy went back to the gift shop and is now president of Fenton Gift Shop. Fenton Gift Shop purchased the glass company's assets in 2011.

Randy and his wife Debbie, have three children — Danielle, Cassy and Justin. He enjoys golfing, keeping up with world events, and going to movies with Debbie in his free time.

CHRISTINE L. FENTON

"Witty" and "softhearted" are two words used to describe Christine. You can always count on Christine to make a situation funny.

Christine has worked at Fenton since 1975, working part-time in the gift shop and as a tour guide during high school and college. After attending West Virginia Wesleyan College, Chris worked at Union Carbide in marketing services for seven years before going full-time at Fenton Gift Shop. In 1980 Christine moved to customer service for the glass company. She retired in 2014.

Christine has her own favorite pieces of Fenton glass — tobacco jars and the Rosalene color. She has several pieces made by Fenton for Levay, but her top choice is the Chessie Cat covered jar in Rosalene.

Christine is the daughter of the late Wilmer C. "Bill" Fenton.

SHELLEY A. FENTON ASH

Shelley was a member of Fenton's third generation management team and the youngest daughter of the late Bill Fenton. She joined Fenton's Sales Department in January of 1982 after graduating from West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. Much of Shelley's time was spent developing the Fenton marketing materials, which included graphic design and photography. She also served on a committee that oversaw the development of new products.

Shelley was involved with product development for Fenton Art Glass since 1982. In 1988 she and her father, Bill Fenton, began working together to develop art glass items for QVC. While Bill was a guest on many QVC shows from 1988 until his retirement in 2002, Shelley remained behind the scenes focusing on new products. "I will always have wonderful memories of sitting in Dad's office dreaming up different items for QVC. Dad was so creative, but often had to interrupt and tell me a joke or story during our work sessions. He was so fun to work with!"

Upon her father's retirement, Shelley worked closely with Nancy Fenton, director of design, to create the beautiful products for QVC. "Nancy and I also have a great time working together. We have similar tastes and normally see eye to eye on most things. This is probably one of the most enjoyable parts of my job...bouncing ideas off each other for new products." George Fenton was also very involved in the approval process of new designs.

Shelley worked on the development of items for QVC.com and also appeared on QVC as a representative for Fenton products. Shelley's Keepsakes are a special collection of limited edition hand painted items chosen by Shelley Fenton Ash, granddaughter of company founder, Frank L. Fenton, for QVC.com.

Shelley and her husband, Danny,  have three children – Amanda, Alex, and Ellie. Time with her family is most precious to Shelley, but she also enjoyed being involved with the work she loves. Shelley retired from the company in 2011.