Monday, March 21, 2011

When I posted my blog last week and mentioned the devastation in Japan, it was still very early in the aftermath. Now, with more than a week past, the one word that comes to mind is “incomprehensible.” It is seriously mindblowing what that country and its people are going through now and will go through for many years to come. And this is surely not something that we, as a continent, can watch and assume we are far enough away for it to not affect us. Japan--with its technology, goods, and services--is a bigger part of the fabric of North America than you might think. As the New York Times called it: This is a crisis the markets just can't grasp. It's like nothing we've ever seen before. From an industry standpoint, this could affect glass supply (even though some reports are saying all is fine; we’ll hope that’s right) that was due to be tight to begin with (it’s already insanely tight on the auto glass end) and will surely affect gas and cost of living indexes. There’s no doubt that this horrible and tragic event will be yet another hurdle for our world to get over. Here’s again hoping and wishing for our friends in Japan to see some light and good sooner than later.


  • There was a regional glass event last week, and the rumor mill was working overtime. All I can say is about 99 percent of the things that were spread are pretty far-fetched. But that’s what happens when you get a bunch of people in a room, with too much time and not enough business on their hands.
  • The New York Times reported on a takedown of the good 'ole Department of Energy by the Inspector General. Evidently, poor recordkeeping that leads people to wonder where their tax money is really going was the subject. Count me as absolutely unsurprised. In watching the DOE and the members I came in contact with, their desire to be led by the nose by special interests while ignoring any other viewpoint was a major turnoff and red flag. This is not the first time the DOE has been ripped by a governmental report, and I just wish for all of our sakes it would lead to some actual change there. But instead, excuses are made and the same tired bureaucrats keep pumping out the same dreck.
  • If and when we get the whole true blue Glass Hall of Fame going, I will nominate the designers of the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport Rental Car Complex for an achievement award in the usage of glass. The complex used glass absolutely everywhere possible, and it was exciting for a glass geek like me. They didn’t go crazy on colors and decorative, but the fact that glass was all over was cool enough for me.
  • The folks at Glasslam announced a new spacer manufacturing system this past week. Basically, this system would allow their users to make their own warm-edge spacer and control the game. With everyone looking for an edge, this could be a player.
  • Glass Week and BEC are kicking off later this week. Next week’s post will cover the highlights, so it won’t be up on my normal site until late Monday night and will still appear in e-glass weekly (as long as the fine people at Glass Magazine still want me) on Tuesday.

Read on for links and clip of the week...

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro Architectural Products, Memphis. Write 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. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When I hear "solar power" or "photovoltaics," I think of shiny black panels on buildings, very noticeable and rather inelegant. However, the other day, I came across this neat beauty-meets-brain solar project in The Montreal Gazette: The Holy Family Catholic Church, a CDN $28-million cathedral under construction in Saskatoon, will have 1,113 solar cells embedded in its large stained glass windows, says Sarah Hall, the artist who designed the windows. "There are three monumental, upper south-facing windows in a trapezoid configuration," she said. Installation will begin this spring.

Hall, an artist from Toronto, says the project, “Lux Gloria,” is "inspired by the transcendent glory of God and the vast Prairie skies by day and Northern Lights by night throughout all seasons." The largest window is 37 feet high by 12 feet wide and 100 feet off the ground, and each window is divided into 18 panels, with 54 panels in total, she says. Each solar panel is unique in shape and size, and was fabricated at a studio in Germany. Fabrication partners Glasmalerei Peters GmbH, Paderborn, and Wulfmeier Solar, Bielefeld, embedded hand-soldered, silver polycrystalline solar cells in the panels, she says.

The glass and solar cells — from conception to installation — will cost the Saskatoon diocese CDN $585,000, Hall says. The panels will collect enough energy annually to power five homes for a year, enough to help offset electrical costs at the new cathedral, according to the article. Construction is expected to be completed in November, Hall says.

The cathedral is a first in the world to integrate solar energy collection and stained glass in its windows, Hall says.

Have you come across any such neat solar project?

Mukerji is senior editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at

Monday, March 14, 2011

One of the most popular articles on the excellent Glass Magazine Web site has been the story on the growth of triple glazing. And while it seems to be that growth is on the horizon for that segment, I actually look at the incredible products both here and in the very near future that will knock down the need to go to triples. The growth of these alternate products will come from education and promotion, and I think you are going to see a ton of both in the coming months. Quite frankly it’s an exciting opportunity for our world.


  • Sorry, I have to bang my chest, well actually give major props to my brother. Way back, on Feb. 19, my brother Steven sent me the now cult famous “Corning Day Made of Glass” video. And I posted it on my blog. The problem was that most people now just read my blog through the e-glass weekly portal, and only a third of the traffic clicks through to the links or video. Well, way back before this video got all of the attention, we had it first- Steven had it pegged. I guess next time I gotta make a bigger deal, eh?
  • Very tough news this week when I heard that Dan Wright was out at Guardian after 16 years… That news threw me and pretty much everyone I told, as if you know Dan, you know he bled the Guardian blue; he was a lifer. Anyway, he’s now a free agent and I gotta say is a prized free agent for sure. The guy will be an awesome addition to an established or growing company, and someone will be extremely fortunate to make that pick up.
  • Great resource… Chicago Window Expert… can be found here. Big fan of the site and knowledge, and I think Mark Meshulam does a fantastic job.
  • DyeTec solar getting a cool million dollars is yet another example of the fact that solar is far from dead. Still a ways to go, but money like that- in this economy-is amazing and means there’s still great potential.
  • Last week, I was sent a report that showed commercial construction staying down the rest of the year, with the “recovery” coming next year. To me, this whole forecasting thing is starting to look dubious. Does anyone really know? The fact that the banks are easing a little (supposedly) is a positive, and so far the ABI is hanging in there, but end of the day, I think we’re all still in the dark and hoping for the best.
  • Thoughts and prayers to everyone in Japan affected by the earthquake and tsunami … the video of the destruction was jaw dropping and incredibly sad. It really is a disaster on epic levels, and hopefully they can recover as quickly as possible.
  • And finally… it is March Madness time… last year I did actually pick the winner here on the blog (I know shocking right?) when I tabbed Duke to win it. Well, this year I am going with the repeat… Duke to win again… and yes I do hate Duke and hope my “powers” work where they failed last year.

Read on for links and clip of the week...

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro Architectural Products, Memphis. Write 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. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Thank you to everyone who continues to send in their funny glass stories. It is such a great way to start the work day. A few more for your reading pleasure...

The bedsheet pattern
I walked by my cutting table this morning, and my guy is cutting a custom tabletop from a bedsheet pattern a customer gave us (see picture). We warned the customer, who said, "Do the best you can." ...

'I nailed it good!'
A lady came in a couple of months ago and needed to order a mirror. As she was waiting for the mirror to be cut, she told me why she needed it. That morning, as she was putting on makeup in the mirror, a mosquito landed on it. Being like many of us who are human targets for mosquitoes, she gave the mosquito a smackdown, breaking the mirror ! It cost her about $60.00 to replace as I remember, but her response was: "It was worth every cent. I nailed it good!" 

Two pieces of string
We had a customer come in and hand us two pieces of string. They told us to cut a piece of glass to the length of one of the strings and to the width of the other. They never came back, so I guess it fit?

And my personal favorite...
A woman came into our showroom and told my receptionist that she shops at Nordstroms and they have skinny mirrors in their dressing rooms, so she wanted to purchase one from us for her home. My receptionist wasn't quite sure what she meant so she asked me to intervene. I asked the woman if she meant the mirror was narrow in width. She said, "No, it makes me look skinny." At that point, I felt like I was in the same position as when my wife asks me if her new pants make her look fat.

Thanks for sharing, and please keep the stories coming. Have a great week!

Jenni Chase is editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at






Monday, March 7, 2011

Well, here we are in March. A majority of the horrible, awful weather should be behind us, and quite frankly, if the train is going to pick up steam, it will start this month. This past week, some news popped out about credit being easier to obtain, and that news alone is very encouraging. The tightness of the lenders has been the major stopping point that many analysts and advisors have pointed to over the past 9-12 months. If that is starting to loosen, that really is a good sign. But we will see, as this has been a time that no one has ever experienced before: no other slow period compares.


  • Major props to Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP and Mike Burriss of Cytec on their new positions within GANA. Both are tremendous men that bring significant value to the group and our industry as a whole. They follow in the footsteps of good people too in Doug Penn of Vitro America and Cliff Monroe of AAG. I do believe they will do awesome jobs… pressures now on you boys… gotta deliver!
  • Greg Silvestri leaving Viracon was big news last week. I met him and interacted with him on a few occasions, and he always treated me well. Heck, that was probably his downfall. Seriously though, it is another shift for our industry and there are lots of rumblings out there that more are to come at companies throughout the industry.
  • What am I missing? The auction at Barber Glass (as advertised over at is slated for March 16th, yet, I keep hearing about who already owns certain pieces that will be auctioned off. So is the fix in? Is it just rumor mongering? I don’t get it. And to think my wife said she wanted an autoclave for her birthday! Dang it, that was the one I was going after!
  • And on that note... a Happy Birthday to my bride… March 7th… and she told me she is 33… and I am not going to fight her on it. Plus I like it; most people say 29…
  • And while on the family track, I get asked a lot about how my sister Marcie is doing. Marcie was in the industry for basically a lifetime and she got out last year… she has now found an amazing home in the retail world and was just honored by top management for her efforts… I just think if she woulda got into that business when she was younger, the store “Nordstrom’s” would be called “Marcie’s”…
  • The Washington Examiner ran another piece on the whole “Green Bandit” issue. The story is HERE but for me I chuckle because the main character is Cathy Zoi and she is married to a guy named Robin Roy… and as the late great Myron Cope would say… “YOI! And DOUBLE YOI!” (Gotta be from Pittsburgh to get that one) But goofy Pittsburghism’s aside- it’s an intriguing story that has been debated by both sides for a while- so the truth probably lays somewhere in the middle.
  • Last this week… the post from last week had two comments from two of the coolest West Coast people around. I am big fan of both Kris Vockler and Alan Gottesman and was thrilled they both took time to write. And the points they added were great- Kris on the weaknesses in LEED and Alan adding yet another deterrent to the clean energy movement. Thanks guys!

Read on for links and clip of the week...

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro Architectural Products, Memphis. Write 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. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Daylight Savings Time begins March 13.  Hallelujah! Attitudes change with the clock change, and everyone becomes calmer and friendlier. Most people can be led easily during this period. So, how can leaders take advantage of this? 

During the winter, our habits change. Some people leave work earlier; some choose not to make a call until tomorrow; some sleep more. As we emerge from our winter hibernation, our habits need stretching.

My trainer constantly reminds me to stretch after running. He says it’s the best time to stretch because your body is poised to benefit. Stretching helps prevent injuries but also strengthens. I understand, but the fact is that I hate to stretch. I have little free time, and after a run, I am hurrying to accomplish the next item on my to-do list. The fact that I have many things to do does not lessen the importance of stretching.

Be aware that employees will not want to change, or stretch, because most do not like change. Their resistance is similar to my dislike of stretching after a run. As leaders, however, we must teach others how to change—or stretch—their habits.

Also, most of your competition is resistant to change, so you will create a competitive advantage when you use this time to stretch. In a race, there are only a few strategic places where you can pass your competition. You may not know beforehand where these places might be. What is most important is to be alert to recognize the opportunities as they occur. Now is the time!

The best leadership is by example. My father taught me not to ask your employees to do something you are not willing to do. At Evans Glass Co., I make it a point of calling on new potential customers weekly, calling to collect a past due account from a “problem” customer, developing relationships with new suppliers, and generally doing things that might be uncomfortable initially. Leaders are willing to do the uncomfortable things until they become comfortable. As others see what we do, they will quickly lose their resistance to change. When you stretch, you grow (and your company grows).

—Bill Evans, president, Evans Glass Co., Nashville   

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.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

As many people know, I really have a strong interest in solar. I believe in its potential to help the world. However, I am amazed daily over the obstacles this technology faces, and this week yet another amazing story came out. A solar install in California that could power more than 2 million homes was called off because of concerns about the impact on the Mohave ground squirrel. Now, I don’t know about you, but I never ever heard of this specific style of squirrel, and quite frankly, I am pretty bummed that said squirrel is standing in the way of tremendous progress. The whole solar movement is caught in a major contradiction. The people who want to live green and reduce our reliance on oil and coal, love solar… but if it hurts a squirrel or a turtle, well then no way. So getting it straight, let’s settle for things that may be harmful for humans but protect the wildlife.

And trust me, I have come to love animals. My wife brings another one home each week I am gone. But you can’t tell me in our incredible world of minds that we can’t figure out a way to use land in the Mohave Desert and find homes for these various species. No way. We sent men to the moon and we now talk on iPhones that can start your car from thousands of miles away. We can do this. Why we don’t is befuddling and will hurt all of us in the long run.


  • Gas will go to $5 per gallon. I know I say this every year, but it’s happening here and now. Believe me, if we can’t figure out how to save a turtle, we surely can’t help but watch gas prices go through the roof.
  • We are now a month from Glass Week and BEC. Are you going? If you are on the fence, let me give you yet another reason to get there. Courtney Little of Ace Glass in Arkansas is doing a presentation called “Good Business Practices: Knowing the Cost of Doing Business,” and it should be a dandy. Ace has done some amazing projects in the past, and this presentation should include some must-see stuff.
  • The ABI slipped some in January but was still in positive territory. The folks at AIA are still “cautiously optimistic” going forward, but the cold hard truth will start to rear its head next month. If it stays above water, the index could be right on track for what many of us expect: an improvement in the economy at the end of the year. If it slips, the signals for a more protracted downturn will be very clear.
  • If you somehow missed the blog by Nicole Harris last week, you really need to take a minute to read it. It was an awesome take on an important subject and done without bias. Really well done.
  • It was reported last week that PPG showed requests for LEED documentation were up 300 percent from 2007. No doubt LEED is a monster, but I am betting PPG picked up at least 100-percent-plus based on my interview with their green guru James Bogdan! Ha Ha. Seriously though, it is amazing how LEED has become a part of our lives and all the more reason to see how the current legal activities against the USGBC (the group behind LEED) play out.
  • Was thrilled I wasn’t the only one last week who was bummed Eminem didn’t win the Grammy he should’ve. But on a related Grammy note: I just hope when Glass Magazine’s own incredibly talented Katy Devlin wins hers, she remembers us little folks in the glass industry.

Read on for links and clip of the week...

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write 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. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

That’s the number pegged to inefficiencies in the building industry supply chain, cited by Ted Hathaway, CEO of Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope, in his opening remarks at the Columbia Building Intelligence Project (C-BIP) International Think Tank in New York City on Feb. 18. 

The fourth in a series of Think Tanks sponsored by the Santa Monica-headquartered company focused on technology’s role in how architects design and collaborate with others in an era of complex global imperatives such as sustainability.  The New York City venue provided panelists with many urban reference points.  The city’s buildings account for 75 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions; and 85 percent of the buildings that will exist in 2030 are already built. These numbers are significant when you consider the PlaNYC mandate to reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 30 percent.   

It’s hard to wrap the mind around how this reduction will be achieved, let alone numbers like $20 billion worth of inefficiencies and global carbon footprinting.   So I could relate when Think Tank panelist Robert Fox, partner, Cook + Fox, described some of the features that earned the Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park the first commercial high-rise LEED Platinum designation.  

As every office manager knows, the #1 complaint of workers across the land is “my office is too hot,” preceded or followed by, “my office is too cold.”   Thanks to individual thermostat controls, fresh air filters and daylighting/biophilia floor plans, Manhattan’s BOA Tower staff can focus on other things, like managing billions of dollars as the world’s oxygen runs out.    

I could also relate to Sean C. Ahearn’s “solar map” of a million New York City building rooftops,  recalling my own apartment coop board’s resistance to building an eco-friendly rooftop garden.    Why not install solar panels to cut our energy bills?  Ahearn, professor and director at the Center for Analysis and Research of Spatial Information, Hunter College – CUNY N.Y., and his team used digital image analysis technology to generate the amount of solar insolation for every square meter of New York City.  The DOE-funded goal: to determine the size and type of solar unit that could be placed on the roofs of 1 million buildings across the city, and how much a building owner could save in electricity costs from the energy generated by such a solar unit.  “We are also thinking of expanding this to the sides of buildings,” noted Ahearn, after I told him glassblog and Glass Magazine subscribers focus on glass and metal for the sides and insides of buildings.

Once expanded to the sides of buildings, could a glass fabricator or glazing contractor put the results of solar mapping to profitable use?   That’s assuming he or she has access to the architect and building owner.  “A lot of contractors don’t want us talking to architects,” said panelist William Zahner, president and CEO, Zahner Inc.,  a Kansas City metal engineering and fabrication company, in response to a question about the potential for decreasing fabrication costs by sharing more “building intelligence” up front. 

“The traditional construction process of design, bid, build precludes supplier collaboration at the concept/design stage, adds Hathaway.  “When projects facilitate earlier collaboration (and trust) the design process is more efficient, which very often leads to enhanced intelligence about the design and construction of buildings.  Also, conflict can be mitigated because potential problems are resolved before construction has commenced.” (See "Power of Perception.")

Sounds like a prescription for whittling down that $20 billion inefficiency price tag. 

--By Nicole Harris, publisher

Monday, February 21, 2011

No doubt a very sad week when the news broke that Frank Archinaco had passed away. Frank was the first “big time” executive I had ever met in the industry, and my few instances with him have stuck with me my entire life. So, please indulge me as I share the best and craziest memory I have of Frank. It was when he had my brother Steven and I out to golf at the legendary Laurel Highlands Golf Club. This was a club that Arnold Palmer built, and there was a major tourney there just the week before. I had only been in the industry a short time -- I really shouldn’t have been there but my brother was nice enough to take me instead of more deserving folks. Frank met us, along with another PPG executive (the also unfortunately no longer with us Richard Leggett -- also a sad passing for me), and before we started, broke out shirts for us to wear. Custom shirts with a monogram making light of a supplier/competitor we both had major issues with at the time. As we put on our shirts, Frank realized his was midsized, but being a good sport he squeezed into it. I was amazed. This is a guy who was a major bigwig in the PPG hierarchy and he’s playing along like any other regular Joe.

So, we hit the course and set teams. It would be Richard and Steve against me and Frank. Now, anyone who knows me knows I get a little shook when I am with people I respect or am in awe of. Frank was both. So I was a nervous wreck. Add to it I was not a good golfer and there weren’t enough M&M’s in the world to calm me down. So, we went at it and basically Frank carried me for 16 holes. He played amazing. We got to 17 with a chance to actually win. And I have to tell you Frank WANTED to win. It was a par 3 and after Frank’s shot went awry, it was on me. I was DYING inside, and I think for sure he figured we were sunk. But somehow I hit the best shot of my life: a 180-yard par 3 that nuzzled within 3 feet of the hole. Frank had me sink the putt (which I did while about to pass out) and we won. For me it was unreal, but I got a kick out of Frank: He looked like he won the Masters. It was just such a cool scene. The PPG star and the industry newbie; you just couldn’t get an odder couple.

Anyway, as the years went on, I would see Frank at Glass Week, where he would abuse me about my golf game but always was genuine to me and my family. The guy was a prince to us without a doubt. My deepest condolences go to his family and all who had the honor of working with him and knowing him. Rest in peace, Frank, you and your presence will truly be missed.


  • A few years ago, Bruce Mikels of BDM left the UGC to go to Arch, and when I wrote about it, well it touched off a kerfuffle of sorts. Now Bruce is reversing course and going back to UGC, and it is a coup of epic proportions for the guys at UGC. Bruce is one of the best (if not the best) manufacturer reps in our industry. UGC just got a ton better, that’s for sure.
  • Congrats also out to David Ozment of Binswanger Glass for winning the Houston Area Glass Association’s Glass Professional of the Year award for 2010. That is an awesome honor.
  • The dynamic glass world continues to make waves. Soladigm just picked up another 10 million in financing. I’m telling you, the dynamic products will take off and there’s some seriously wonderful players all pushing that process in the right direction.
  • I was bummed to see Eminem not win the Grammy for Best Record. No matter what you think of his lyrics (and yes they are vulgar in some cases), the guy is insanely talented music-wise. And the song he did with Dr. Dre and the smoking hot Skylar Grey on the show was simply fantastic.

Read on for links and video of the week ...

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro America, Memphis. Write 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.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I came across an article on transparent cement the other day, on Discovery News. The picture of the building was funky enough to pique my interest, and I continued reading. I wanted to know if this could be a future competitor to architectural glass. The article didn't provide the answer, so I figured I'd ask around.

“It really isn’t transparent, but more translucent,” said Rob Struble, business communications manager, growth initiatives and performance glazing, PPG Industries Inc., Pittsburgh. “It does not afford clear vistas of the outdoors or much light transmittance.” For now, he sees it is a novelty product, he said.

Photo by Italcementi Group

According to the Discovery article, transparent cement made its debut at the Italian Pavilion during the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. The technology is based on a matrix of cement embedded with resins designed to allow a certain amount of light through without compromising the material's integrity.

The product introduction follows similar advancements such as BrightBuild light-transmittance concrete from Schott North America, Elmsford, N.Y., that won Glass Magazine's Most Innovative Curtain Wall Components, large company, Crystal Achievement Award in 2008.

Earnest Thompson, director of corporate marketing and brand management, Guardian Industries, Auburn Hills, Mich., recently attended an architectural seminar on transparent cement in India where architects talked about why they use glass in designing for the IT industry in places like Bangalore and Hyderabad.  The Indian IT industry values glass to the outside to increase employee satisfaction, productivity and retention, he said.  "While there is always room for another ‘eco-friendly’ building product, we do not feel that this product provides significant competition to glass,” he said. “In addition to pure aesthetics, architects and designers use glass to bring the outside in and inside out. Studies have shown that both daylighting and visual exposure to the outside increase workplace comfort, performance and motivation.  You can't get that with cement, no matter how 'transparent.' "

What’s your take on transparent cement? Will it ever become a competitor to architectural glass?

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