Viewpoint: Rodger Ruff

AGC exec talks codes, products, and why the industry’s future rests on everyone’s shoulders
July 15, 2013
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION

Max Perilstein: It’s been a long time since your days at our shared alma mater, Ohio University. Tell us about your journey from Athens, Ohio, to AGC.

Rodger Ruff: First, as you know, what happens in Athens, stays in Athens! But on a serious note…during the last quarter of my senior year at Ohio University in 1987, I learned that AFG Industries was recruiting graduates from the business college. I believe one of the company’s senior executives had a son attending Ohio U at the time. A series of on-campus interviews with a trio of AFG sales and human resource managers led to a trip to Tennessee for further interviews, and then a fortunate job offer to join AFG, which later become AGC Glass Company North America.

MP: There has been much discussion recently regarding building codes and where we as an industry fit in. What do you make of current code developments seemingly looking to minimize the use of glass?

RR: Obviously, it is very concerning to anyone in the glass manufacturing, fabrication or glazing segments of our industry. Glass is a dynamic building component that contributes significantly to the energy performance—as well as the landscape and aesthetic appeal—of our architectural environment. As an industry, we should see this as sign that we need a strong value proposition as a major building material to meet tomorrow’s environmental and energy challenges. Codes are evolving, and they continue to drive glass applications, as well as AGC’s technical glass development. One of the biggest challenges is understanding the codes and their influence on science and technology. Here at AGC, we recognize this and are strategically addressing their future impact.

MP: AGC has a vast product line that continues to grow. Can you share what products might be coming down the pike?

RR: Recently, we overhauled our low-E family of products to incorporate AGC’s evolving technology, along with new branding on a global platform. AGC will continue to grow the U4 (surface #4 low-E) technology, as well as expand its EnergySelect and ComfortSelect low-E family of products for the architectural and residential markets. We recently launched eight new decorative glass patterns within our Krystal Interiors program. These pattern glass designs have had tremendous success in the European interior design community, and we’re hoping to duplicate that success here in North America. We will also release our new triple-silver low-E product, which we believe will address many of our customers’ growing needs for that product in the marketplace.

MP: Fun one: you come across a magic genie and she grants you three wishes. What would they be and why?

RR: First, to have perpetual good health! Without it, you’re not much good to anyone. The second would be to have the patience, knowledge and insight to parent my teens to a successful adulthood. The third wish would be that our industry continues to promote the value and superior advantages of glass as a building material.

MP: Looking ahead to the future of our industry, do you have any predictions as to what the landscape will look like in 10 years?

RR: I predict that we will still be predicting! Hopefully, there will be more glass, in more diverse glazing applications than there is today. The dynamics will use several coatings in an IGU that will be expected to meet a multitude of needs: solar control, daylight control, security, etc. The industry will continue to be challenged by the vast, emerging global supply base, which will make the marketplace more competitive than in prior years. It’s incumbent on each and every one of us that makes a living in this industry to sell the value and appeal of glass in our everyday lives. Glass is an amazing building material that we should be proud of, with all of its design, color, daylighting and structural qualities. It opens us to the view of our world. And, glass is cool! On a side note, I predict Ohio U will make the Elite 8 in basketball. Go Bobcats!