For Warren Loranger (AE '51), creativity was a hallmark of his management of Window and Door Co., which began as an $18,000 acquisition and thrived under his leadership. It was a multi-million dollar company when he sold it more than a decade ago.
To call Warren Loranger adventurous is a bit of an understatement. Although he claims not ot know where he got the "guts" to undertake many of his exploits, the foundation for a lifetime of adventure was established when he served in the Air Force during World War II. Loranger would often use unconventional approaches to seize opportunities to travel (he survived a plane crash while hitching a ride on a courier route delivering paint in France) and to exercise his creativity (he once accepted three jobs simultaneously, serving as interpreter, administrator, and engineering draftsman while stationed in Italy). His facility for languages led to his mastery of three Italian dialects; his industriousness an collegial ethic led to his nickname, "Sergeant Luigi."
Loranger has been around the world many times since those days (including numerous trips to Italy, his favorite locale). All along, he's been intent on fully experiencing the places he visits, often staying for weeks to explore new areas and meet people.
Although life is not all adventure, Loranger says he's never had a boring day. After the war and his subsequent graduation from the University of Detroit, Loranger made one of the "small" decisions that profoundly affected his life. He evaluated two initial job offers: one with GM and one with Milbrand Roofing Co. He saw more opportunity with the smaller company, and so chose Milbrand. Within a year, he was running three companies: Fire Doors Inc., Pella Window and Door Co, and Detroit Door and Hardware. In his story lies one of Loranger's secrets: vision. He didn't define it that way, but he had a gift for creating opportunity, and knew that the ethic of treating customers and employers in a principled way would lead to a sustainable and solid business.
An open and accessible man who peppers his conversation with humorous anecdotes, Loranger has always valued a full life--full of experience, full of activity, full of people. His life certainly meets the definition of "well-rounded." He is an art connoisseur, but also an accomplished artist in his own right. His first artistic preference is for the abstract. "Abstract art requires--and allows--a different level of expression," he says.
Last Winter, Loranger won Best-in-Show for his abstract contest entry at the Venice Art Center in Florida. His piece, "Primary, by a Nose," used multiple media to depict a stallion's narrow margin of victory in a horse race.