From the fabricator: The end of an era

Several weeks ago, I mentioned that the IGMA Annual Conference in New Orleans was going to be a strong one, and judging by the reports that filtered back to me, it was. Quite a bit of news came out of the event, including an update from the IGCC's John Kent about the never-ending adventure of certification and the presentation from Quanex's Mike Burk (one of my all-time favorite conference speakers) on safety that included a discussion about how incentives might not work, and dangers to the neck area. Certification and safety are major concerns in our world, for sure.

That said, when I had heard that Ray Wakefield of Trulite was attending his last IGMA meeting, I was really thrown. To me, that’s the biggest news of the event. Personally, I can’t believe it. Ray is an industry institution, and the thought of him not being involved in things like IGMA blows my  mind. I wish you well Ray. These deals won’t be the same without you!


  • And let’s give props to outgoing IGMA President Dave Cooper of Guardian. During his tenure, the meeting agendas were strong and interesting. The next president (I have not heard yet who that might be) will have really big shoes to fill.
  • Good news: the Dodge Momentum Index went up in January. Again, trying to stay positive with my thoughts on our economy.
  • On the negative side, gas prices, even before winter storm Nemo, were inching towards $4 per gallon again. In Michigan, we saw almost a 50-cent increase in two weeks time. Ummmm, can anyone explain why?
  • A very strong effort by the team at Glass Magazine on their latest Top Glass Fabricators report. They have made this yearly edition something that can’t be missed. I really enjoyed the poll questions, some of which had to be tough to answer.  For example, the one on “greatest challenges” had to be a brutal one to answer since so many of the choices were kinda like a "1 and 1A" sort of thing. I’m stunned that so few companies said “finding financing” would be a challenge.
  • One question that wasn’t hard to answer, however, was  “What are fabricators' future capital acquisition plans?” The dominating answer was adding new products and product lines. I think that is so dead on, and we see it daily. Companies are hungry to diversify and jump into new business segments, and I believe we are only seeing the start of it. If you have not seen the latest issue of Glass Magazine yet, check it out here.
  • The Big 10 in basketball is like the SEC in football: just stacked. What a wild March this is going to be. Just thinking about the brackets is exciting.
  • Last, I have to admit I might be the only mid-40-year-old guy around who would do this, but I really dig Taylor Swift’s new song “I Knew You Were Trouble.”  It's just a great tune, in my opinion, and man it does stick in your head.

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The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.


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