Lincoln Windows & Patio Doors

2011 Tornado


On April 10th, our corporate offices and final assembly plant were severely damaged by a category EF3 tornado that hit Merrill, Wisconsin.  This was one of eleven confirmed tornadoes that hit our state that day.

Locally, over 60 homes and 12 businesses were either damaged or destroyed.  Even though the area was heavily hit, only minor injuries were suffered in the community.  The only injury at Lincoln was sustained by a security guard.  Luckily, the tornado impacted on a Sunday evening when personnel were not working.

Lincoln maintains multiple production locations in Merrill and fortunately only the final assembly plant and offices were damaged.  We are repositioning the departments that were affected to our other facilities and plan to resume production within the next 3 weeks.  Communications are still limited, but should be reestablished soon.

Our Timeline facility was not damaged by the tornado and is fully operational now that shared computer operations have been restored. Production has already resumed on existing and incoming orders.

The community has really come together in the support of the businesses and homeowners affected by the tornado and we are once again reminded how blessed we are to live in this area.  We also wish to thank our dealers, vendors and even some of our competitors who have so generously offered to assist us during this time.   Their thoughtfulness will be remembered.


West Wall Receiving Dock - Collapsed North End of the West Wall - Missing Wall
Casement Dept. - Missing Roof Casement Dept. - Missing Roof
Casement Dept. Mezzanine - Missing Roof Basement - Literature and Carry Samples
Clad Fabrication Dept. - Collapsed Roof    


Great news!  Things are moving along rather quickly.

Replacement materials for the salvageable portion of the facility have been ordered and repair work has already begun. Production lines are being relocated from the parts of the factory that must be rebuilt. At this point, it looks like we received minimal damage to our production equipment. Contractors are replacing the roof on the building and production in the factory should begin within two to three weeks.

We were able to move our computer operations and office functions to one of our other facilities. Our customer service staff is now available to handle customer questions and process orders. Most factory workers that work in our other locations, including our sister company, Timeline Windows, have also returned to work.

We feel that our total loss of production time will be no more than three to four weeks. We are doing our very best to get our employees back to work filling the window and door needs of our loyal customers.


North Wall - Removing Damaged Roofing Material North Wall - Removing Damaged Roofing Material
North Wall - Removing Damaged Portions North End of the West Wall - Removal has Begun
North End of the West Wall - Removal has Begun North End of the West Wall - Removal has Begun
Basement - Marketing Materials Removed  


Rebuilding Begins

Despite the rainy weather conditions the past few days, construction has been moving at a good pace.  Crews of contractors have almost completed removal of the damaged structure while separate crews work on reconstruction in their wake.

The north wall of the building needed to be replaced and crews completed the removal and re-installation of this within a short 24 hour time frame.  Header and cross beams have been taken down and new beams have been fitted in preparation for the roof to be laid out.  Electrical is being repaired and rerouted in the facility and they expect to return power to the manufacturing facility soon.  This will allow us to begin testing equipment and begin repairs if necessary.

Affected departments that haven't been moved will renew production once the structure above and around them have been secured.  Temporary walls are being strung within the plant to allow these departments to begin before the entire building has renovated.   The clad fabrication department's roof and walls suffered the most pronounced damage.  This department was moved to a new facility and should be operational soon.  Total repair of this section will take longer, but is a lower priority since the department has been relocated to another plant.

The office staff have been relocated to separate facilities and computer systems are now fully operational.  The phone system is still limited until fiber optics are installed for our switchboard, but customer service have been able to communicate with our dealers and homeowners using temporary direct phone lines.

While overwhelming at times, the progress has been substantial and we hope to resume production as soon as possible.


Clad Fabrication Dept. - Being Torn Down Clad Fabrication Dept. - Being Torn Down
West End of North Wall - All Damaged Walls Removed West End of North Wall - New Walls Being Installed
North Wall - Damaged Roof Removed Casement Dept. Mezzanine - Damaged Roof Removed
North End of the West Wall - Damage Removed North End of the West Wall - Damage Removed
Temporary Curtain Walls Being Installed  


The cold and wet Wisconsin weather continues to be a challenge, but with crews working double-shifts the rebuilding process continues to make great strides.  With the bulk of clean-up complete, crews have been focused on getting the departments that haven't been moved to other facilities up and running.

60% of the wall on the west wall has now been replaced and temporary walls have been added within the rest of the building to keep out the elements.  The crews working on the roof have now replaced the majority of material in areas which sustained the most severe damage.  They continue to remove and replace roofing, but it is now in relatively small sections at a time.

Another large step towards production is that the electricians have now returned power to the facility.  That means that the lights are on and we can now begin testing machinery as crews get the roof finished over those departments.  More employees are returning to work each day to help begin preparation of materials and equipment at their affected work stations.

With everything appearing positive, we are finally to the point where we are tentatively scheduling orders for production the week of May 16th, with trucks scheduled to deliver the following week.  While the rebuild process will continue after production is renewed, it's a relief to have some of the major work completed at this point.


North End of the West Wall - New Wall Back Wall of Offices - Under Construction
Clad Fabrication Dept. - Ready For Rebuild Power Being Restored to the Facility
Double Hung Sash Parts In Staging Casement Dept. Mezzanine - New Roof
Casement Dept. - Roof Sections Being Removed and Replaced    


We took a huge step forward this week toward the return to full production.  Even though construction continues on the facility, the departments within have all been cleaned up and equipment is now operational.  Affected departments have been shifted to finished areas within the plant and are now up and running.

Most of the production employees returned this week and they have immediately begun the task of focusing on the order backlog.  While the departments are not running anywhere close to full capacity, everyone is excited to be back to work and are anxious to get beyond the chaos that the tornado damage had caused.

The transformation has been very dramatic this past week and the return to production has rejuvenated everyone's spirits.  We're not fully back to normal, by any definition, but we are definitely back and it feels terrific.


Casement Department Casement Sash Production
Casement Packaging Shipping Department
Staging Area Patio Door Assembly
Patio Door CNC SDL Application


After almost 3 months, the Lincoln team is pleased to report that that the end of the recovery process is near.  The reconstruction hasn’t been without its challenges, but we are grateful for the efforts of the contractors, vendors and especially our resilient employees in helping the process go as smoothly as possible.   

Repairs to the plant structure itself are complete; no more natural light filtering in due to lack of a ceiling some areas.  Fortunately the weather, during late May and early June, was very accommodating which allowed construction to move along speedily.  All essential utilities (electricity, water and gas), critical computer systems, manufacturing departments and shipping logistics are fully restored. The glass department received substantial damage and is still NOT operational. We are delighted to have outstanding glass suppliers which allow us to continue production while this department continues necessary repairs.

Early July will see the relocated clad fabrication department returned to the brand new section of the plant and other departments’ layouts reconfigured back to their original floor plan.  Also, the corporate office renovation should be finished and staff, currently spread throughout multiple facilities, will be back under one roof.  At that point, full production and communications should be fully functional. 

With the final construction days quickly approaching, we recognize the extreme loyalty and patience of our dealers and extend a sincere ‘Thank You’.  This experience has shown how strong our business relationships are and how exceptional our independent dealer base truly is.  


West Wall Receiving Dock Product Loaded for Delivery
Frame Assembly Casement Final Assembly
New Clad Fabrication Dept. Double Hung Final Inspection
Incoming Materials Patio Door Dept.
Casement Sash Assembly Plant Overview
Casement Line  


New Chapter Begins

On April 10th, the Lincoln Windows final assembly plant and corporate offices were severely damaged by a category EF3 tornado that went through Merrill, Wisconsin.  Less than 4 months after the tornado struck, on August 9th 2011, Lincoln employees and contractors celebrated the completion of the rebuilding with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Initial estimates indicated that the plant would be facing a 6 month shutdown for major repairs.  Fortunately, the Lincoln management team chose a very aggressive reconstruction plan resulting in an earlier completion date while simultaneously allowing some production to remain in the plant.

The process wasn’t without challenges.  Construction crews and Lincoln employees had to deal with limited communication capability, cold weather, rain and even snow.  As if the physical challenges weren’t enough, the company was struck an emotional blow when Jane Bierman, Lincoln’s owner and co-founder, passed away at the age of 91.

The hardships shared by the employees have brought everyone together and strengthened the family atmosphere that Carl & Jane Bierman always sought.  This ribbon cutting became more than just celebrating the completion of a large project, it marked a symbolic starting point for a new beginning, a fresh optimistic outlook for the future and the opportunity to continue the Bierman legacy.