KANE, Pennsylvania – July 9, 2021 – Jim Lenaway, Kane Innovations National Sales Manager and longtime team leader in Kane’s security screens and detention brand segments, has announced his retirement after more than two decades of non-consecutive service.
Lenaway’s career with the architectural products manufacturer began with a family connection over 40 years ago. Following graduation from the University of Central Florida in 1978, Jim Lenaway returned to his hometown of Kane, PA to work as a disc jockey at WKZA 960 AM under his father Ed Lenaway, also known as on-air personality, DJ Guy Willey. During this time, the elder Lenaway introduced his son to close friend and Kane Security Screens’ VP of Sales, Bill Carlisle.
“As a way of introduction, we played golf. At the end of the round, Bill invited me for an interview the following week,” Lenaway said. “I met with Richard Singer and Marvin Goldman, former owners of Kane Innovations – known then as Kane Manufacturing Corporation.”
The interview was a success, and Lenaway immediately began his tenure as draftsman before moving on to estimating two years later.
Lenaway continued to progress within the company. He accepted an Assistant Sales Manager position, which led to a high-level role as National Network Sales Manager in 1986. He resigned from Kane Innovations in 1990 to pursue other ventures, but rejoined the team in 2004 for five additional years, and once more for another six, beginning in 2015. He held the role of National Sales Manager for the duration of both rehiring terms.
Over the course of his career with the 131-year-old corporation, Jim Lenaway said that he has experienced many proud moments.
“Closing my first million-dollar order was a big one for me. My heart was pounding when we shook hands,” he said. “However, there were other rewarding moments along the way such as seeing my friends and neighbors continue to have good jobs in the factory as a result of my success. Oddly enough, another point of pride was the integrity of the product I was selling – Kane’s security screens.”
When asked about memorable projects, the legacy employee recalled some notable domestic – and even international – orders he helped to fulfill.
“I was the project manager for two very special projects. The first was the renovation project for the Statue of Liberty which was in completed in advance of the monument’s 100th anniversary. We provided custom security barriers for the new high-tech lights. The second was the work we did for the Prince of Morocco’s summer home; we fabricated security porch enclosures. I didn’t get to go there, but he sent us a telegram that read, ‘C’est magnifique!’” Lenaway added, “And, of course, working with Bill Kearney and Bill Carlisle on the first large Vantage Wall job at the US Disciplinary Barracks in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.”
Throughout the detention industry, Jim Lenaway is most celebrated for his involvement in pioneering the Vantage Wall product and spearheading the inception of Kane Innovations’ Kane Detention brand in the early 1980s. Lenaway said that the battle to have Vantage Wall adopted as an industry-wide standard, versus the traditional vertical steel “jail bar” systems, was not an easy one to win.
“During the 1980s, our Vantage Wall product was new. We needed to convince the states’ Department of Corrections that our woven rod product was superior to the old-style bar grille system. Making a change to the standard design was an uphill battle. I traveled to about 24 state capitols over a four-year period, participated in the annual American Correctional Association’s National Convention – as well as many state associations for eight years, met with hundreds of detention architectural firms, and eventually saw the national standard shift to Kane Vantage Wall.”
Today, Kane Innovations’ Vantage Wall product continues to perform as a best seller for the company’s Kane Detention brand, boasting thousands of prison, jail and correctional institution installations across the nation.
As for retirement plans, Jim Lenaway said his schedule will be full, but productive. In addition to taking on the role as pastor for a local church, he will be joining his wife, Beth, in promoting her new book.
“I’ve accepted a position as pastor of the B-Free Church in Bradford, PA,” Lenaway said. “It’s a small Free Methodist Church of only 25 members but it will keep me busy sharing my testimony of going from ‘addiction to alcohol’, to ‘addiction to grace’. I have a sailboat that I plan to enjoy often. My wife, Beth, just completed a new book entitled, On The Road With Mary. The manuscript is currently being edited and we’ll be busy publishing and promoting. But, my favorite role will always be Grandpa.”
After 23 years at Kane Innovations, Lenaway said that he’ll miss the people the most – from coworkers and outside sales reps, to purchasers and specifiers – and the sentiment has already been returned in kind. When news of his retirement was announced unofficially months ago, invitations to visit began pouring in from architects in New York City, contractors in Texas, and customers in Los Angeles.
Kane Innovations also expressed their gratitude for Jim Lenaway with a warm send-off. He was the guest of honor at two retirement events prior to his official departure from the company on June 30, 2021.
“At a luncheon in Kane, PA, leadership presented me with a very special framed photograph of the factory taken just prior to my initial hiring in 1978. It’s truly a unique and treasured gift.”
In an official statement, Kane Innovations’ President, Michael Show, expressed his appreciation for Jim Lenaway and his decades-long commitment to Kane’s success.
“Jim’s thorough knowledge of our products and strong customer relationships have been a big part of Kane’s growth over the years. He has always represented Kane very well and will be missed by both our employees and our customers. We wish Jim nothing but the best in his retirement.”
For those seeking roles in sales, Lenaway offered a few words of wisdom.
“Be real; be reliable; be responsive. Develop relationships and honor your word.”
As for as his thoughts on Kane, Jim Lenaway had nothing but praise for the company that had faith in an eager and spirited college graduate so many years ago.
“Kane Innovations is a tremendous company to work for,” said Lenaway. “New hires should relish the opportunity.”