From the Fabricator: Remembering Active Al

Our industry lost a unique and special person this month, a gentleman who did things his own way and did them extremely well. The passing of Al Shapiro, also known to many as “Active Al,” was a surprise and bummer to me. Al was a character through and through, but one who took legitimate interest in the lives of the people he was dealing with.

While he owned a few extremely successful operations, it was Active Glass that I dealt with. And despite being a nice guy, Al was unforgiving. He paid you fast (best around), so he expected to be first in line for everything. He rode me hard but also made sure that he took care of me and my company. He also had a huge heart. When my children were born, Al sent thoughtful gifts that we still have to this day. He always asked about everyone in my life as well. And while I didn’t communicate with Al much in the last several years because my life changed, when I ran into him, he was always as warm as ever- offering to give me as much business as I could handle (even if I wasn’t a fabricator anymore) and note that no one would pay me faster. Anyway, it was a shocking piece of news, and I am so sorry to see him go. My condolences to his family. Our industry and world lost a great one.



  • Are we as an industry in line for another battle? This past week the Urban Green Council took some shots at glass and its usage. Now what they said was not all wrong, in fact they made some good points about choosing materials wisely.  However, the title alone of “Urban Green Council Warns Against Glass Envelopes” does not portray us well. Especially in this short-attention-span society where most folks only read headlines. In any case it needs to be said that we’re still vulnerable and still not a product of choice. Oh, and my metal friends, there was a blast on you guys in there, too. So just a heads up, we once again have people taking shots…
  • Each month I read Glass Magazine and pick out the best ad of the issue. This month the kudos go to the gang at Quanex. Their ad for TriSeal was clean, sharp and bold. Good work with a really smart use of callout bubbles. It caught my eye for sure. Well done!
  • Also in Glass Magazine was a very powerful letter and picture to the editor by Joe Bruce of Guardian. I have known Joe for many years and he’s a tremendous guy. His letter on returnable racks and the cost of people discarding them was excellent and spot on. We can be our own worst enemy in this industry sometimes. Hopefully people will read Joe’s letter and be smarter and more respectful with other people’s property.
  • As you surely know, GlassBuild America is coming and I am starting to see more and more press releases on products that will be on the floor. One product that will catch people’s eye will be AGC’s Dragontrail. It is an ultra-thin glass that is mostly used in mobile devices and tablets but will also have expanded use in architectural applications. AGC will be doing a ball drop test in their booth showing this off, and it will be something to see. I believe it’s just a matter of time before “thin” glass starts to hit in many different applications… Good call by AGC to show it off at a show with the power and size of GlassBuild.
  • Last this week, the Architectural Billings Index continues to soar. I think from a sales standpoint things are solid out there. Not getting any complaints on that. Cash flow is a different story. It continues to be the bugaboo for many. Hopefully things will normalize on that end soon.


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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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