• Rolf Hirschmann
  • Rolf Hirschmann Continued

From Skeptical to Successful

Rolf Hirschmann

Rolf Hirschmann grew up in a woodworking shop, far away from the one he owns now. Rolf’s roots are in Cologne, Germany, where his dad owned a woodshop in the heart of their village. In 1979, they visited Vermont, where family friends had moved to work in the marble industry. When the German government began pressuring Rolf's family to move their business to an industrial park, that Vermont visit made them consider a move of their own. Self-described hippies, at first Rolf and his brother were having none of it. “No way will we move to an imperialist country!” they complained. But in 1981, Rolf and his brother were convinced, and the move to Vermont was official...

The first thing the family did when they arrived in Pittsford was build a house and the furniture to fill it.
While the original dream for their business was to build European-style windows and doors for Vermonters, many things have changed for H Hirschmann Ltd over the years. The demand for European-style windows wasn’t there, so they made American ones in their Pittsford shop. In 2001, Rolf build a new shop in West Rutland with the help of the Rutland Economic Development Corporation (REDC). It was a long shot, financially, but with a huge team effort and help from many agencies and businesses, the shop became a reality — and a success.

Today, the shop has around 25 employees, and Rolf spends his time managing people and clients, conducting sales, and managing the business. Though trained as a cabinet maker, Rolf’s tasks keep him behind a computer most days, rather than in the shop. And almost none of their windows and doors are installed in Vermont, anymore — being the best at what they do in the field, most of their work is done for high profile clients in Boston, New York, Hawaii, and beyond. It’s not what he planned for, exactly, but Rolf is proud of what they’ve become and the reputation they’ve earned.

In addition to his work, Rolf has remained involved with REDC, serving on the board of directors for the last 8 years. His term on the board is coming to a close, but he says he’ll “continue to be involved as long as they value my opinion.”

Rolf still lives in Pittsfield, Vermont, on the same land his family settled on back in the ‘80s. He enjoys the outdoors by golfing, skiing, and hiking with his dog, but the thing that impresses him most is how similar Vermont feels to how his home village in Germany might have been 150 years ago. The real community involvement and political attitudes make Vermont unique, and that’s special, says Rolf. “There are very few places on the planet like it.”

  • Rolf Hirschmann
  • Rolf Hirschmann Continued