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Monday, April 14, 2008
By Matt Slovick, editor in chief, Glass Magazine

Matt Slovick
People often ask me about the glass industry, and I find myself mentioning tempered glass and low-E glass and decorative glass. A scene from the movie “Forrest Gump” always comes to mind when Forrest meets Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue for the first time on an Army bus. Bubba, in his Southern drawl, goes on about the shrimpin’ business and the many ways you can prepare it. Through ensuing scenes he tells Forrest how you can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it and make shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, etc.

Greg Carney, technical director for the Glass Association of North America, is from Mississippi and has a bit of a Southern drawl himself. He is extremely knowledgeable about glass. I can image Greg striking up a similar conversation: “Glass has been around for thousands of years. You can cut it, shape it, bend it, drill it, paint it. There’s monolithic glass, laminated glass, annealed glass, tempered glass, heat-strengthened glass. You have your decorative glass, channel glass, low-emissivity glass, sand-blasted glass, photovoltaic glass, acid-etch glass, reflective glass, fire-resistant glass, cast glass, ceramic frit glass, dichroic glass, slumped glass, spandrel glass and stained glass.”

I'm sure Greg could keep going.

Before making the jump to the glass industry, I worked at newspapers and at a newspaper Web site. At both places, I had a chance to write about film and do some interesting pieces. One such online project was about movies filmed in Washington, D.C. I also did another feature on journalists in film.

I thought about trying to do a column about glass that is significant in movies, but no specific films jumped to mind. But one scene did.

In “The Lake House” (2006), which features a glass house, Keanu Reeves plays Alex Wyler, an architect in Chicago who has a troubled relationship with his father Simon (Christopher Plummer), a renowned architect. Alex moves into the glass house that was designed by his father and finds a letter from a former tenant, Kate Forster (Sandra Bullock). It just so happens, Alex is living in 2004, but Kate is living in 2006. Yep, only in the movies.

Alex has a meeting with his father, who gives a passionate speech about the use of light in architecture: “You mentioned Meier. His Barcelona museum stands in the same area as Casa de la Caritat. It drinks the same light. Meier designed a series of louvered skylights to capture that light and cast it inward to illuminate the art within, but indirectly. And, that was important, because although light enhances art, it can also degrade it. … Now, come on. You know as well as I do that the light in Barcelona is quite different from the light in Tokyo. And, the light in Tokyo is different from that in Prague. A truly great structure, one that is meant to stand the tests of time never disregards its environment. A serious architect takes that into account. He knows that if he wants presence, he must consult with nature. He must be captivated by the light. Always the light. Always.”

Thanks to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com) for supplying the quote.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Photobucket By Lorin Hancock, assistant editor

The Internet is the place to be to attract new customers. But for the small retail glass shop that doesn’t have a Web site, creating a Web presence can be a daunting task. Here are a few easy and free ways to get your company’s name out there.

MySpace & Facebook: These aren’t just for kids anymore. Reputable businesses on the cutting edge are setting up profiles that explain what their business is and how it can help serve customers’ needs. Make your profile public and it will be indexed by major search engines. It only takes about an hour to create a decent company profile on each of these sites, but they can be as customized and detailed as you want to make them. Think about it as free advertising, and remember to update it often. These sites display the date of your last login; if people see you haven’t checked it in months, they won’t take you seriously.


Blogs: They can be a great tool for any business. There are many blogging sites out there to choose from, and the majority of them are free. The easiest and most widely used tool is blogger, the site you are on now. Go to the top, right-hand corner of your screen and you see the words, “create blog.” Click on that link and it will walk you through all the necessary steps. All simple, all free.
Once you create a blog, the most important thing is to update it as regularly as you can. Once a week is good, once a day is better. However much time you decide to devote to blogging, be sure to set up a regular schedule so that users know when to visit your site for new content.
As far as what you can write on the blog, that’s up to you. If you want to take a more personal, diary-like approach about the goings-on in your company, it can help customers feel like they know you better, trust you, and give you their business. You could also use it to talk about products and services you offer, or examples of installations you may have performed. Another winning idea would be tips to consumers on what different types of glass there are and what kind should be used for which project. Even if you can take five minutes once a day to post a sentence or two, it will be helpful.
Link from your blog to your Facebook and Myspace pages, and search for similar or loosely related blogs out there (you’d be surprised by how many there are), and request that they include a link to your blog on theirs. Add comments and include the URL of your blog. This will all help make your blog and profiles more visible to search engines.
This may not be all you need to connect with customers on the Internet, but it’s a great way to start if you aren’t ready to invest too much time and money.
Monday, March 31, 2008
—By Katy Devlin, commercial glass and metals editor, Glass Magazine

I don’t make a habit of hugging trees, but I do consider myself an environmentally conscious, green person. I don’t have a car, I live in an apartment with Energy Star windows, I recycle and eat organic, I’m a vegetarian, I use those swirly energy-saving light bulbs. Yet, my estimated carbon footprint still sits about four times higher than the world average.

My greenhouse gas emissions average 20 tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to the Nature Conservancy’s carbon footprint calculator. The U.S. average per person is 27 tons, and the world average is 5.5 tons. Have you calculated your footprint yet? The results might also surprise you.

According to the calculator, about 68 percent of my emissions—or 14 tons of CO2 annually—comes from the driving and flying category, which in my case is almost entirely flying.

I found this number unbelievable, so I went to TerraPass to use their flight emissions calculator. Unfortunately, the Nature Conservancy’s estimate was right on track.

In 2007, the 4,483 mile, round trip flight from New York to Las Vegas for BEC created 1,748 pounds of CO2 emissions. The 8,205 mile, round trip flight from New York to Tampere, Finland, for Glass Performance Days, created 3,142 pounds of CO2 emissions. I added my other industry trips and my own personal travel, and my emissions from flight travel alone actually topped the Nature Conservancy’s estimate of 14 tons. Scary.

I know there are many more folks who travel much more frequently. Since I don’t think the industry is ready to host trade shows and meetings via teleconference, I checked out the Nature Conservancy’s site for some other ways to reduce carbon emissions.

Home energy is the next largest target for emissions reductions. According to the Web site, reducing the use of heat and air conditioning, unplugging appliances when they’re not in use and cutting hot water consumption can drastically reduce carbon emissions. People can also purchase carbon credits to offset their footprint even more.

And finally, check out blogger and AutoGlass Editor Jenni Chase’s green tips from the AutoGlass conference here.

Monday, March 24, 2008
By Jenni Chase, Editor, AutoGlass

In a recent interview with John Dwyer, president of New York’s Syracuse Glass Co., I asked him to identify his biggest challenge as a glass company owner. His answer was one I think many industry executives can identify with: “Maintaining a positive culture and accommodating lots of change day in and day out in an environment of rising customer expectations and costs. This is a fussy business. If we’re not attentive to the details and working as a team, we can get in trouble quickly.”

I have never owned a business, but from a consumer perspective, I agree that attention to detail is crucial to any company’s success. Americans keep their wallets closer to the vest these days, making any expenditure subject to scrutiny. When we do spend money, we want more than just a great product or service. We want an exceptional purchasing experience, and oftentimes, that’s all in the details.

A complimentary mug of good coffee, a follow-up courtesy call and a spotless post-installation vehicle or room can go a long way in the retail world. On the commercial side, a quick, efficient and convenient product delivery can make or break a sale.

At fabricator Syracuse Glass, repeat business is critical to success, says Dwyer. “We put a lot of work into making sure our employees and customers have a good, enjoyable, even fun, experience with the company.”

Fun? Now there’s a concept. If you can make a windshield or shower door installation fun, I have one word for you: SOLD.

To read John Dwyer’s interview in its entirety, check out “Looking Glass” in the May 2008 issue of Glass Magazine.
Thursday, March 13, 2008

By Sahely Mukerji, managing editor, Glass Magazine/Auto Glass

Word has it that plumb glazing jobs are up for grabs in the Midwest. California is no longer the only state passionately pushing for environmentally sustainable buildings, good old homeland Kansas has joined the movement too.

Latest in the list of small towns to acquire green as its favorite color is Greensburg, Kan., 109 miles west of Wichita, and the county seat of Kiowa County. Main attractions of the town include the world's "largest hand-dug well," 109 feet deep and 32 feet wide, and a 1,000-pound meteorite, according to a USA Today article. Per U.S. Census Bureau figures, 26.4 percent of Greensburg's population was 65 or older in 2000, more than double the national average of 12.4 percent.

The town, heavily hit by a tornado May 4, has decided to build back and live up to its name, according to an article in Time magazine’s March 10 issue. To get the ball rolling, an entrepreneur from a nearby town, Daniel Wallach, formed a nonprofit, Greensburg GreenTown, soon after the storm blustered through.

When everything falls into place, Greensburg will have energy-efficient homes and offices powered by wind and biofuel resources. Residents of the town are busy working with the Department of Energy and the National renewable Energy Laboratory officials to build houses that are 50 percent more energy efficient than the old ones; and in January, the city council approved a resolution that would make all city building projects meet the platinum rating of the USGBC’s LEED standards. That’s a first among American towns.

Read the Time article here. Read about other U.S. cities doing their bits to turn green and fight global warming here.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
By Sahely Mukerji, managing editor, Glass Magazine/AutoGlass

Look to the Midwest, good glaziers, plumb jobs are reportedly up for grabs out there. California is no longer the only state passionately pushing for environmentally sustainable buildings, good old homeland Kansas has joined the movement too.

Latest in the list of small towns to acquire green as its favorite color is Greensburg, Kan., 109 miles west of Wichita, and the county seat of Kiowa County. Main attractions of the town include the world's "largest hand-dug well," 109 feet deep and 32 feet wide, and a 1,000-pound meteorite, according to a USA Today article. Per U.S. Census Bureau figures, 26.4 percent of Greensburg's population was 65 or older in 2000, more than double the national average of 12.4 percent.

The town, heavily hit by a tornado May 4, has decided to build back and live up to its name, according to an article in Time magazine’s March 10 issue. To get the ball rolling, an entrepreneur from a nearby town, Daniel Wallach, formed a nonprofit, Greensburg GreenTown, soon after the storm blustered through.

When everything falls into place, Greensburg will have energy-efficient homes and offices powered by wind and biofuel resources. Residents of the town are busy working with the Department of Energy and the National renewable Energy Laboratory officials to build houses that are 50 percent more energy efficient than the old ones; and in January, the city council approved a resolution that would make all city building projects meet the platinum rating of the USGBC’s LEED standards. That’s a first among American towns.

Read the full article at <"http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1720085,00.html"> Read about other U.S. cities doing their bits to fight global warming and turn green <"http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1081389,00.html?iid=sphere-inline-bottom">
Monday, March 10, 2008
What the candidates have to say about health care, immigration and the economy

—By Katy Devlin, commercial glass and metals editor, Glass Magazine

During the past several months, we issued two e-glass polls about the upcoming presidential elections—one about the issues and another about the candidates. Both received high response rates from readers, indicating that we need to do more to address the election and how it relates the industry.

The Dec. 11 poll that received 375 responses asked about the most searing issue in the election. No issue received more than 20 percent of responses. Education came in on top with 19 percent, followed by health care, the war in Iraq, immigration, the economy, taxes and energy.

The March 4 poll asked respondents which candidate would help the industry most as president. About 54 percent said John McCain; 17 percent, Barack Obama; 16 percent, Mike Huckabee; and 13 percent Hillary Clinton.

I wanted to use my blog today to briefly spotlight the remaining candidates’ positions on several issues that directly affect most, if not all, glass companies.

This information was pulled from each candidate’s Web site, as well as from a New York Times election guide detailing how all the candidates stand on the top issues. Please leave comments below and contact me if you have suggestions on other ways we can cover the election with an industry eye.

Health care

Hillary Clinton: Health insurance for everyone, subsidized by the government and employers. Large companies will be required to provide insurance or help pay the cost; small companies will receive tax credits to fund health care. Rollback in tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 to help pay for the plan. More information.

John McCain: Health care in a free-market system driven by consumers, available to everyone, without a mandate. Focus on controlling health care costs by promoting drug competition and improving early diagnosis and education. Remove bias toward employer-sponsored programs; provide tax credits for individuals and families. More information.

Barack Obama: Universal coverage by the end of the first term. Require employers to provide insurance or contribute to its cost; exempt small business that meet certain revenue thresholds; reimburse companies for large health costs. Roll back tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000. More information.

Immigration

Clinton: Secure borders—voted for border fence along Mexican border. Develop a universal, accurate and timely employer verification system. Path to legalization for illegal immigrants. Opposes guest worker program. More information.

McCain: First priority to secure borders—voted for border fence along Mexican border. Provide opportunities for immigrant workers. Path to legalization for illegal immigrants. More information.

Obama: Secure borders—voted for border fence along Mexican border. Path to legalization for illegal immigrants. Supports guest worker program and a crack down on employers that hire illegally. More information.

Economy

Clinton: $70 billion jump-start plan to go toward mitigating housing foreclosures, energy conservation grants to create jobs, and unemployment insurance, among others. Tax rebates to working and middle-class families. More information.

McCain: Stimulate economic growth by permanently repealing the alternative minimum tax and reducing the estate tax. Eliminate deficit spending. Make tax increases more difficult. More information.

Obama: Stimulate the economy through tax cuts for the middle class. Keep estate tax. Protect workers’ rights and raise the minimum wage. Support research, renewable energy and technology sectors to boost job growth in those areas. More information.
Monday, March 3, 2008
—By Katy Devlin, commercial glass and metals editor, Glass Magazine

Feb. 24, the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a story about the future of the automobile—specifically, how car designs of tomorrow will adapt to meet the world’s energy efficiency needs. The cars will likely run on alternative fuels, be connected to other cars on the road through Wi-Fi, and possibly feature transparent aluminum as an alternative to glass.

In the article, Frank Markus, technical editor for Motor Trend, Detroit, said the idea of aluminum windows is science fiction at this point. However, researchers at St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M have developed an alumina glass that could evolve into an everyday product in the next 25 years, according to the article.

Transparent aluminum windows would be lighter and stronger than glass, making it an attractive alternative for cars, according to the article.

According to a September 2004 article from Technology Research News, 3M’s non-silica glass product, alumina glass, is also scratch resistant and transmits a broader range of light. Manufacturing methods at the time of the article only allowed for thin film applications of the product.

So, are transparent aluminum windows really the future? Will we start seeing aluminum windows on buildings and in homes? Should the industry prepare? Or, is it just science fiction?

Tell us what you think.

For the Star Tribune article, click here (registration required).
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
By Matt Slovick, editor in chief, Glass Magazine

Matt Slovick
Mike Eruzione scored the game-winning goal against the Soviet Union in the Olympics 28 years ago. He still makes a living talking about it.

And for the demographic at BEC--white, middle-aged men--you can see why he’s still popular. Actually, I talked to a woman from Minnesota the night before who still plays hockey in a co-ed league. She couldn’t wait to see the former Olympic team captain.

Eruzione opened up BEC’s Tuesday program to a packed house. I think more people waited in line for autographs after his speech than stayed for the final session on law.

The title of his speech, “Teamwork: The Winner’s Goal,” had many tips for anyone in any business, including those in the glass industry.

Before Eruzione took the stage, a highlight film recapped the amazing run of those young Americans at Lake Placid, his goal against the Soviets, the gold medal win against Finland and the lighting of the Olympic flame in Salt Lake City in 2002.

“That tape is the story of my life,” Eruzione said. “It’s four minutes long.” Laughs ensued.

Eruzione talked about the work ethic his father instilled as well as the lessons he learned from his gruff Olympic coach, Herb Brooks.

“I have a story to tell about a group of athletes that accomplished something that no one in the world thought we could accomplish,” he said.

Eruzione said Brooks told the team: “If you don’t want to be here then leave, because there are thousands of people who want to be in your shoes.”

Eruzione said you have to be part of it; you have to buy into it. “Surround yourself with people whose goals and objectives are the same as yours,” he said.

He also talked about the intangibles that he thinks successful people have whether it’s in athletics or at a job.

“You can’t measure heart, pride or commitment,” Eruzione said. “Intangibles separate good business from great business. If you believe in something, and you’re willing to work hard for it, you can accomplish it.”

He also said you have to respect your competition and even when things are going well, keep things in perspective.

“Twenty-eight years and one week ago, the president of the United States, Jimmy Carter, wanted to talk to me on the phone in the locker room,” Eruzione said. “I haven’t heard from him since.”

Eruzione still lives near his father and other family members in the Boston area. He said if they didn’t win that game, he’d probably be living in an apartment instead of a house, and he’d probably have eight kids instead of three. “I wouldn’t be traveling as much,” he said.

Eruzione said a few years ago, one of the Soviet players called him and proposed a series that would pit the two teams together again. They would play in different cities, and “make money.” Eruzione called one of his former teammates, Jack O’Callahan, to bounce the idea off him.

O’Callahan’s response: “Tell him that we played once, we won, so just get over it.”

Twenty-eight years later, it’s still enjoyable to hear stories from a man who at the age of 25 helped engineer what’s considered the biggest upset in the history of any sport.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
By Matt Slovick, editor in chief, Glass Magazine

Matt Slovick
BEC started with opening remarks from Max Perilstein of Arch Aluminum & Glass. Max said the 650 attendees arrived from 42 states and all Canadian provinces as well as a few foreign countries.

He began the event with a Top 10 List of jobs people might have if they weren’t in the glass industry.

Each listing included a short clip from movies and TV shows such as dance instructor, “Hitch”; air traffic controller, “Airport”; military, “Stripes.” The No. 1 job was a spot on the Chippendales, which perform here at the Rio (tickets are $40 or $50). The clip came from “Saturday Night Live” featuring a buff Patrick Swayze and a portly Chris Farley auditioning for the male revue.

The opening presentation by Shep Hyken kept the entertainment going.

He talked about Creating Moments of Magic for Your Customers (his book is titled “Moments of Magic”). He had plenty of advice for business owners. “People do business with who they know, like and trust,” Hyken said. He said you need to make sure customers have more than a satisfactory experience. “There’s a big difference between a satisfied customer and a loyal customer,” he said.

Shep shared anecdotes about communication with his wife, going to McDonalds with his children, the lines at Disney, the turnaround of Scandinavian Airlines as well as a taxi driver who sent him a thank you card and at one point made $100,000 a year compared to the national average of $19,400.

“Every moment of truth needs to be a moment of magic even if it begins as a moment of misery,” he said in a moment. His 10 strategies to creating a moment of magic are:

1. Manage the first impression
2. Your expertise
3. Building rapport
4. Enthusiasm
5. Communication
6. No mistakes
7. UPOD: Under Promise, Over Delivery
8. Quality
9. Confidence
10. Appreciation.

He also performed a rope trick and card trick and ended with a “mind” trick. He asked a woman in the audience to write down on a post-it a number from 25 to 50. He asked a man in the audience to look at his watch and shout out the time every five seconds. He then began writing what appeared to be random numbers on a white pad. Between 30 and 35 seconds, he finished four rows of four numbers.

He said it took him 33 seconds to finish. Her number: 33 (OMG!). But what were those numbers all about? It just so happens that every row across, down and diagonal added up to 33. So did four-number groupings in each corner along with the four numbers grouped in the center.

It was truly a magical moment.

I wonder if he’ll send everyone in the audience a thank you card for the applause?
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