From rolling newspapers in 1975 to now running his own business, John Glaze ’94 is no stranger to hard work.

At 6 years old, he began working for the Houston Chronicle delivering newspapers after school and on weekends. Later, as a full-time SFA student, he balanced school and several jobs.

On campus, Glaze managed the front desk of Garner Apartments and served as the production director for the Campus Entertainment Organization, now named the Student Activities Association. In this role, he organized events and met celebrities, including Garth Brooks, Mark Chesnutt, Clint Black and the group Pearl Jam. Off campus, he worked for a Lufkin radio station and for bedding retailer Sweet Dreams Sleep Shop.

Enrolled as a criminal justice major, Glaze’s initial plan was to become a police officer. However, after graduation he began working for his family’s specialty construction product business. He continued to work there until 1997.

“When my dad retired, I started my own business,” Glaze said. “I enjoyed working in construction, understood it and felt at home in the industry, so it made sense to branch out on my own.”

Glaze’s company, Fast Track Specialties, is a Division 10 specialties company, which refers to the specialty items used in the construction of commercial buildings. In general, these items include restroom accessories, wall and corner protection, signage, display boards, and life safety and fire protection supplies. Additionally, the company provides project management, budgeting and cost analysis, product installation, and project estimating.

“Our services are offered through the life cycle of each project,” Glaze said. “We’re proficient in simultaneously handling multiple developments from initial planning through the final installments. Our goal is to outperform our customers’ expectations through value-driven and customer-focused service.”

Employing 35 professionals, the company’s portfolio includes corporate offices, industrial spaces, places of worship, residential and retail locations, and laboratory, research, health care, hospitality and educational facilities.

Glaze said the company’s name originates from common terminology in the construction industry. Fast track simply means to get a job done quickly. Glaze said he did not want to name the company after himself.

“My vision was for our customers to have such a great relationship with our employees they wouldn’t know I existed,” Glaze said. “That has happened. I had a customer tell me an employee took such ownership of the projects she managed he thought it was her company. That was a great day for me.”

Inside the lobby at the company’s Houston headquarters, a shelf stocked with awards, plaques and mementos is a testament to the company’s safety, integrity and philanthropic values. “My philosophy is to honor God, give back and do the right thing,” Glaze said.

Fast Track Specialties supports organizations dedicated to improving the lives of children, helping those with cancer and other diseases, and focusing on conservation, as well as faith-based organizations and universities.

In 2013, Glaze co-founded the nonprofit organization Building New Foundations, which focuses on disadvantaged youth and those in foster care. The idea to start the foundation began when friends and colleagues offered to perform project improvements for a residential treatment center serving boys who had been abused or neglected.

“Giving back is part of our company’s DNA,” Glaze said. “Serving the community gives us purpose and brings us together. Working with foster kids taught us every move they go through is another traumatic event. If we can reduce their moves by one, it’s a big deal.”

When Hurricane Harvey hit the Gulf Coast region in 2017, Glaze and Building New Foundations quickly reacted to help ensure foster children would not be uprooted. “We shifted gears and became a response team,” he said. “We sent teams to foster homes to make them livable. This was an uncertain time, and we wanted to provide a sense of security.”

Community members also play a contributing role in Building New Foundations. They help organize and complete improvement projects. Glaze said the organization also has established a mentorship program for the children.

“Once you serve as a mentor for the kids and hear their stories, it can break your heart,” Glaze said. “Many of them have been failed so much. But when you see that glow and spark in their eyes, there is nothing like it. It’s amazing to try to breathe life into them and see change. Being in a position to serve others is one of my greatest privileges.”

Glaze and several Fast Track Specialties employees volunteer on their own time and for company-sponsored events like the Bike for Little Heroes ride, which honors children and/or younger siblings of Purple Heart recipients.

“You’ve never met anyone who is more giving than John,” said Jennifer Whiting, Fast Track Specialties vice president. “He is the epitome of giving. If you were to look up ‘giving’ in the dictionary, John Glaze would be there.”

Whether volunteering or helping a new client, Glaze is always looking for ways to challenge himself and grow his business. He serves on industry-related boards and routinely attends conferences to stay on top of trends. He also helps lead the next generation of entrepreneurs by speaking at colleges and universities.

Glaze is passionate about education, and his company often offers internships to students looking to gain experience in the construction industry.

“I was happy to learn SFA will begin offering a new degree in construction management in fall 2019,” Glaze said. “This is exciting on many levels, as it will help the construction industry continue to diversify with more women and minorities entering the field, and it also provides opportunities to help fellow Lumberjacks.”

While every day is different for Glaze, one thing that remains constant is his emphasis on hard work, integrity and faith. A newspaper printer’s plate attached to the wall in the Fast Track Specialties’ conference room highlights the July 20, 1969, moon landing and has special significance to Glaze. It reminds him of his days rolling newspapers and acts as a silent motivator to always shoot for the moon.