RYAN Green’s smile rebounds around the factory.

“It’s like a glass man’s sweetshop,” he says, as a camera flashes to illuminate his grin.

Around him, huge pieces of glass frame his pose to provide a mirror image as light bounces off the silver stripes on his orange safety jacket.

He has reason to be cheerful.

Earlier this year, Mr Green became chief executive at Romag, which is known for its bullet-proof and blast-resistant glass and solar panel work.

Already well versed in the glass sector, Mr Green, as managing director at Clayton Glass, oversaw a deal to take on Romag from Wearside housing association, Gentoo, for an undisclosed sum.

The two firms are continuing to operate as separate entities and have retained their existing management teams.

Clayton Glass, near Stanley, County Durham, employs 170 workers and makes insulated glass units and glass for conservatories.

Titling itself as the UK’s leading conservatory roof glass and composite door glass maker, it regularly supplies more than 20,000 products every week across Britain.

Romag, however, focuses elsewhere in the market, with its toughened glass and solar panels providing a gateway into lucrative deals with companies, transport operators, architectural operators and the Ministry of Defence.

Indeed, the company, which has around 150 staff at its plant in Leadgate, near Consett, is supplying Newton Aycliffe’s Hitachi Rail Europe with windows for rolling stock after beating European and Asian rivals to the contract.

That deal, announced in 2013, is helping to fit out hundreds of carriages at Hitachi’s £82m factory, wherein workers are revamping the UK’s 40-year-old high-speed train fleet with new models for the East Coast and Western lines under the Government’s Intercity Express Programme.

But its prowess extends further.

The firm has a long-term contract to supply another trainbuilder, Bombardier, with windscreens for its Aventra stock that will be used on underground Crossrail lines in London.

Staying in the capital, the business has supplied safety glass to London Zoo’s lion enclosure and Covent Garden’s Apple store.

A recent visit to Berlin for InnoTrans, a rail industry trade show, yielded a number of enquiries, says Mr Green, and the rail theme runs strong in the business’ solar division too.

At King’s Cross, the company highlighted its skill with a solar panel contract, delivering 1,392 glass laminate units that incorporate photovoltaic cells.

Fitting into the station’s existing roofing structure and providing light as well as power, bosses say the panels have the ability to save 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions every year.

Known as building-integrated photovoltaics, Mr Green says this sub-sector has incredible potential to grow, adding the opportunities are only limited by a developer’s imagination.

But the company’s presence goes beyond British shores.

The business, which has annual sales of around £15m, sends glass, which it calls transparent armour, to the Ministry of Defence, as well as the United Nations and the Singapore and Egyptian armies.

However, the company isn’t one for shouting vociferously about its achievements.

Based in the heartland of North-East coal mining, it instead takes that rather common approach of companies in this region, which is to stay quiet and allow the satisfaction of clients to do its talking.

For Mr Green, Romag’s repute, and its future potential, was too good an opportunity not to take.

He said: “My ambition is for this to be a world leader and I see no reason why we should not achieve that in the next five years.

“Clayton is a large player in the market but Romag is a global player. Culturally the two of them are quite different. Romag has been part of Gentoo; Clayton is a privately-owned business with a very fast-paced order book.

“The businesses have different markets but we are geographically well placed to support each other.

“Both have market-leading reputations in their respective sectors, so we will continue to operate each completely independently so they can focus entirely on continuing to grow their market share.

“However, the new arrangement also means that where there are opportunities to work more closely on specific future projects, then naturally we will do so.

“Both also have a common interest in new glass technology development and innovation.

“This not only ensures they are a great fit for each other, but also that there is plenty of potential for an exchange of ideas and development, which can only be good news for everyone concerned.

“Romag’s technical ability is unrivalled globally; the research and development team is world-renowned for what they do and we have major players wanting to deal with us. The potential of this place is massive, it could be something huge.”

Such enthusiasm over the company’s outlook makes for positive reading.

BACK in 2011, Romag’s prospects were somewhat different, with the business having to be rescued from administration by Gentoo.

Its shares were briefly suspended from trading on the Stock Exchange when it emerged its ex-chairman had made a £3.97m payment to one of the firm’s divisions without informing the board.

However, under Gentoo, the firm began its resurgence, with the Hitachi contract, among others, being signed while under its stewardship.

But when the housing organisation revealed it needed to change focus, Mr Green seized his chance.

Explaining his plans, he says he will build strongly on the successes he fashioned at Clayton following his purchase of that business in 2005 from Heywood Williams Group.

Walking the factory, his optimism is played out.

Those huge sheets of glass used for his picture, sit ready for a host of projects, while a red wagon, its red side curtain peeled back, delivers another load.

Nearby, a piece is dropped from an upright position, its fall cushioned by an air bed to allow cutting to start.

In another part of the factory, glass goes through the lamination process with workers, bedecked in kit more akin to the medical sector, overseeing its change, while smaller pieces, destined for security vehicles, are stickered up awaiting delivery.

The plant, its people and its endlessly buzzing and whirring machinery, give off a feeling of energy and positivity.

It’s something Mr Green picks up on.

He said: “In 12 years, Clayton has gone through a recession and it’s a viable and profitable business.

“Romag is on a journey and it was the opportunities, rather than the existing business, that excited me.

“It was a very quick decision.

“Romag wouldn’t have been here today without Gentoo, which showed great support for the business, and our strategy is not one of cost reduction, it is one of growth.

“I bought Romag for the £50m opportunities it is capable of.”

Mr Green said that potential will come from a focus now entrenched in Clayton, which will see Romag build contacts and gain repeat business through customer respect of its speed, quality and reliability.

He added: “We need to walk before we can run and get the basics right.

“Our initial 100-day plan is in place, so now it’s about focusing on sales.

“We are not in it for a quick buck, we are here for longterm success and we are now into the next part of the strategy, which is sales growth and margin. The feedback has been hugely positive.

“The workers are the crux of the business; we have got the North-East passion, the team believe and are here for the journey.

“The shackles are off and there is great potential.”