Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Last week surely was a tough one. Quite frankly, it was hard to focus on work. The emotions from the marathon, to the catastrophic explosion in Texas, to the manhunt and capture at the end of the week really were draining. People much more brilliant than me will continue to weigh in on what that week meant, and will eventually mean, to our world and society. For me, I am just glad it’s over and I hope sincerely for better times ahead.


  • No doubt that our world is an online one. Last Friday, as the manhunt was going on, I don’t think there were many people not connected to the Internet, following Twitter or even listening online to the Boston Police scanners. In fact, I had a client who had to ask their employees to jump off the web because they were using bandwith at insane levels. We are surely a “now” society when it comes to breaking news.
  • The Mid Atlantic Glass Expo was a huge success from all indicators and reports. There is no question that the region supports that show like no other. Again, I feel we are in prime “show time.” The timing is truly ripe for events that allow people to network, learn and grow.
  • The incredible Julie Ruth wrote a must read piece in the last Glass Magazine on codes. If you are in the business, you really need to read and grasp it. I also know some folks in our industry have some thoughts on these code movements and I have reached out to them for comment on a future post. If you have some angles on it, shoot me a note.
  • The NFRC is still making their type of news on the Energy Star side. While they have softened their language regarding the need for people to sign up (and how they’ll bust them), they now are invoicing immediately. That is, before the program is really even going. Gotta love it. And the program itself is becoming pretty controversial. I’m still learning about it, but my mind is spinning on this one.
  • Last week on the blog, I noted that winter is still here, and sure enough, Mother Nature decided to confirm that by dropping a ton of snow on Colorado and Minnesota. Seriously, enough is enough….
  • Last this week, a happy birthday to one of the hardest working guys in this business, Scott Goodman of Flat Glass Distributors. Knowing Scott, he probably spent his birthday dropping off orders all over Central Florida!

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

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.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

This past week was pretty quiet in terms of major industry news, so I decided to make this post a quick-hitter piece. Without further delay, here it goes:

  • Last week, I noted the efforts of Bill Evans and his company, which recently coordinated with the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes to build handicapped accessible ramping for a disabled veteran in Tennessee. Bill dropped me a line with more details on the project and kudos for the guys that physically got it done. So, thank you to Joel Poole, Terry Gilley, Fred Rowe, Jay Devers and Versie Shannon. It truly was a great thing you did for a family in need!
  • Sad news as yet another long-time industry guy, Lester Peacock, passed away. I met Lester in Houston last year at his last professional home, Binswanger Glass, and he shared with me stories of working with many members of my family in years' past. Lester was a tremendous man, respected by all, who knew more about the ins and outs of the industry and its products than I ever will. He surely will be missed.
  • Did you get your Glass Magazine Award nominations in yet? I know many people who were working on this last week, and for good reason. It is the most prestigious awards program in our industry, especially those awards voted on by the public. So if you haven’t done it, hurry up and do it. Deadline is April 16.
  • Guardian SunGuard launched a revamped website, and I must say, it looks tremendous. I really like the cleaner look and the fact that you have access to everything on the front page. I’m also a fan of the use of “icons,” and Guardian really handled that nicely. Well done folks!
  • Also on that note, there have been some serious web improvements going on in our world. The last three I have noted―Guardian, Viracon, and GGI―have really raised the bar.
  • Last fall, the excellent Dr. Helen Sanders of Sage gave a speech on eco-labeling at the Glazing Executives Forum during GlassBuild America. I have to admit, I had no clue what it was and, unfortunately, did not get to the speech. However, since then I have learned more and more. And then this past week, I ran into this article that really explained the process nicely.
  • I know it’s a week late, but that college basketball championship game was absolutely fantastic. It was easily one of the best games I have ever seen, with both teams playing at the highest level. It was a shame anyone had to lose. Congrats Louisville fans…
  • Last this week… it was 39 degrees and raining last week in Michigan, and 92 and blistering in DC. Ummmm, can someone alert Mother Nature that it's spring, not winter or summer?

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

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.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring is starting to hit, and trade-show season is about to kick into gear. 2013 is lining up to be an extremely memorable year for shows, and it’s something that everyone in our industry should take as a very positive sign. We’ve had  a good event already with BEC. Next up is the 2013 Glass Expo, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Glass Association, which is looking to be a very strong event. Following that is AIA in Denver, and then the biggie, GlassBuild America in September. The reason all of this is positive is the more attendance and interactivity at these events, the more business gets done, the more connections are made and the more product lines are diversified. It also shows confidence in the industry and economy. Another good sign: companies that have not exhibited in awhile are coming back, along with other organizations that are stepping up and taking on major sponsorships. So here’s the bottom line: While we can look at various indexes to see how the market is doing, it’s really the busy and successful shows―with companies of all sizes, shapes, and segments―that are the real measure of the positive tidings in place and to come.


  • Speaking of good shows, evidently Glassplex India did very well, and I have been hearing a ton about the growth and potential in that part of the world. Plus, this blog is very popular in India as well, so maybe I’ll go to that event when it comes back in 2015.
  • One of the best people in our industry is Bill Evans of Evans Glass Co. He proved it once again recently, when he and his company coordinated with the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes to build handicapped accessible ramping for a disabled veteran in Tennessee. Bill and his company could’ve passed or just done the bare minimum, but of course, they did not. Instead, they went above and beyond and got their mission accomplished in just four days compared to the several months it would’ve taken the VA. It is heartwarming to know we have people in our industry who step up for a family in need and a man who bravely fought for his country and came home severely wounded.
  • Movie to see: “Oz The Great and Powerful” was excellent.  It was a great, unique takeoff of the old Wizard of Oz story,and James Franco was fantastic in the lead role. Plus, Mila Kunis might be the best-looking wicked witch ever.
  • Crazy cool fact online this week about prices of GigaBytes (GB). Take a look at this; it's simply wild how quickly the technology changed pricewise. I just chuckle looking at my flash drives. Price of 1 GB of storage over time: 1981 $300,000; 1987 $50,000; 1990 $10,000; 1994 $1,000; 1997 $100; 2000 $10; 2004 $1; 2012 $0.10.
  • Last this week, baseball has begun, and since I am on a serious roll picking, I need to make my choices. So, here goes… Your playoff teams in the American League will be the Blue Jays, White Sox and Angels, with the Tigers as the wild card. I’ll go with the Angels to win the AL. In the NL, my choices are the Nationals, Reds, Giants and Cardinals, with the Nats winning it and the Nats winning it all in the end. Right now, between the Ravens winning, the Red Hot Caps in hockey and the Nats this fall, it must be nice to be a fan in the DC/Baltimore area.

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

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.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Time is running out to nominate your best product, project or employee for the 2013 Glass Magazine Awards, with the deadline to submit nominations coming up next Tuesday, April 16.

This year marks the return of the Best Installer, Best Sales Rep, Best Project Manager and Best Production Supervisor awards. To view candidate criteria and submit a nomination, click here. And remember, after determining the finalists in each people-centric category, the editors of Glass Magazine will open voting up to the industry on, where winners will be determined by popular vote. Thousands of glass industry members voted last year, and we're hoping for even more participation in 2013.

In the most innovative product and project categories, Glass Magazine Awards will be given for the following:

  • Most innovative curtain-wall project
  • Most innovative curtain-wall product
  • Most innovative storefront/entrance project
  • Most innovative decorative glass project: commercial interior
  • Most innovative decorative glass project: commercial exterior
  • Most innovative decorative glass project: residential
  • Most innovative decorative glass product
  • Most innovative energy efficient glass project
  • Most innovative energy efficient glass product
  • Most innovative hardware
  • Most innovative bath enclosure project
  • Most innovative machinery/equipment 
  • Most innovative commercial window
  • Most innovative website
  • Most innovative software

More information about the 2013 product and project categories―in addition to instructions for submitting nominations―is available here

Chase is editorial director of Glass Magazine,, and e-glass weekly. Write her at

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Two weeks ago, I attended the 2013 Building Envelope Contractors Conference in Las Vegas, and was struck by the renewed confidence many attendees expressed. I have covered the annual BEC Conference, hosted by the Glass Association of North America, since the pre-recession boom years when attendance neared 700. The downturn saw turnout dwindle to about a third of that during the toughest years, as industry companies struggled to keep doors open (with several notable companies succumbing to that struggle). The mood at those meetings was a mix of trepidation and tenacity. Trepidation gradually turned into anticipation and cautious optimism as some geographic regions started seeing the light at the end of tunnel. And finally, this year, almost everyone I spoke with said business was officially on an upturn (albeit a gradual upturn).

However, the glass industry that is emerging from the downturn is a new industry. While glaziers and suppliers worked to keep afloat, codes and standards became more stringent, building trends changed, the design and construction process evolved, and overseas competitors entered the market in even greater force.  

“In the past five years, our business has changed dramatically,” said John Rovi, business development manager for Sapa Extrusions. Rovi attributed the changes in the industry to the proliferation of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, and the development and adoption of Building Information Modeling. “The way buildings are designed has changed. The players who are involved in the design process, and when they get involved in the process has changed,” Rovi said. “We are moving toward value-added, rather than lowest bid.”

Scott Thomsen, president of the Global Flat Glass Group for Guardian Industries, spoke at length about the changes to the industry, and the new challenges facing businesses, during his keynote presentation, the “Battle for the Wall.”  Thomsen offered some interesting data points demonstrating the scope of the downturn. According to Thomsen, the dollar value of commercial building went from $600 million per year to $250 million per year in just 5 years. Looking at the domestic glass industry, “there were 42 float lines running in North America in 2007. Today there are 30,” he said.  

A major theme of Thomsen’s talk was the toughening code and standard arena, and the potential threat of the push for stringency on the industry. This message was echoed by Tom Culp, president of Birch Point Consulting. Energy codes have increased in stringency by 30 percent in recent years, and another 5-to-7 percent increase is coming, Culp said. While the glass industry successfully fought to avoid a 25 percent reduction in the amount of glass permissible in the envelope of commercial buildings in the 2010 ASHRAE 90.1 standard, glass is under attack again in the 2013 ASHRAE 189.1 green code, Culp said. “We need to be concerned about this. … We need your help,” Culp told attendees. “We need individual companies to get behind this." (For background on the code and standard updates, you can look to this November 2012 feature from the magazine).

One new addition to the codes will likely be envelope commissioning, and contract glaziers, in particular, need to be prepared. “This will mean closer attention to details at the glazing/air barrier; a focus on quality control,” Culp said.

"It doesn't matter if you like [the code changes]. They are coming. Take it as an opportunity,” Culp said.

The last five years have also seen an increase in overseas competition. An influx of low-cost aluminum imports from China led to a recent institution of countervailing duties on Chinese aluminum products, including curtain wall. Read Glass Magazine coverage of the overall anti-dumping duties for aluminum, and the Department of Commerce’s decision to include curtain wall products within the scope of the duties.

David Spooner, an international trade lawyer from Squire Sanders Public Advocacy LLC, discussed the new tariffs on Chinese curtain wall during the meeting. Ports are currently collecting tariffs of 171 percent on imports of curtain-wall units from China, he said; however, the scope of tariff is unclear as to whether it covers similar products such as storefront and window wall. Spooner provided a word of warning to glaziers to “be careful of transshipment, mislabeling and undervaluation of imports.”

"If you hear of fraud or circumvention, you can report it to Customs,” Spooner said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has established an on-line system for individuals to report illegal import and export activity.

Despite the new challenges and the changing marketplace, attendees at the conference expressed optimism and excitement about the industry as it emerges from the downturn.

Devlin is senior editor for Glass Magazine. Write her at

Monday, April 1, 2013

Last week, the glass industry―via a piece in a Toronto newspaper―took more heat. Once again, the construction of condominiums with a ton of glass were the focus of a very rough and pretty much one-sided piece. For me as a glass guy, it was a tough one to take.  While the article was probably geared toward developers and designers and their choices of materials, when I read it, I just saw a very broad-brush wiping of an entire glass industry with an extremely negative stroke.  I don’t know what materials are used in these condos and I am sure there are some brutally weak ones, but the way the article was written made it sound like there are no glass materials that could EVER be good enough.  Meanwhile, for as mad as I got reading the piece, when I mentioned it to a good pal of mine from Toronto, he was not fazed at all.  Evidently, bashing like this has been going on for a while.  Still, it is a shame that we as an industry are being pretty unfairly portrayed yet again.


  • Viracon premiered a new logo and website this past week, and I must say, I was impressed.  First off, making a change to the look and logo of a company as iconic as Viracon is not easy.  Also, rebuilding a website (something I do a lot) is very difficult.  Viracon aced them both. The new logo is sharp and clean. In regards to the new site, I will admit I struggled to find a few things, but it's new and I am an impatient person.  The new tagline elicits memories for me of Herb Brooks in Miracle. It's incredibly cool that a classic Minnesota-based company has a tagline that makes me think of one of the greatest people the state of Minnesota has ever given us.  Anyway, major kudos to all that worked on this effort!  Job well done.
  • Quick wrapup of BEC: this was the last conference led by Henry Taylor of Kawneer as chair.  Henry was my choice to replace me in that position five years ago, and he did a tremendous job despite some really rocky roads.  Henry’s a good man that I am sure will continue to give back to the industry.  In his place, I am thrilled that Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning is stepping in.  Jon is a true-blue talent in our world and he’ll be amazing in that spot.  Plus, I love how active Dow Corning is getting in our industry; very good to have their support!
  • Unfortunately, I have a sad note to report: Mike McAskin of Great Lakes Glass in Michigan passed away. Mike was an industry vet who had just bought Great Lakes a few years ago and was building it into a very strong player in the region.  He was a good, fair, classy man, who always took time for people to come pitch him ideas, products and services. It is a tough loss for all of us. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the staff at Great Lakes.
  • The Final Four is set.  I am happy for my Michigan friends who have made it to the biggest stage after being bounced by Ohio U last year, and I'm thrilled for Tony Kamber, the biggest Louisville fan in the industry.  Should be a fun run to the title.
  • Last this week; the ABI did go up once again.  We’re now on a roll here. The new projects inquiry was the best it has been in six years. But as always, I do worry about the reliability of this report, as we should be busier right now (based on old reports) than we seemingly actually are.

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

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.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It’s not often—if ever—people assume I watch “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” but I plan to, now.  Last Friday, I met Tom Hahn at the Home Design Show in New York City, where he stopped at the Mr. ShowerDoor booth. Owner Tom Whitaker and I learned that Hahn’s daughter, Yolanda Foster, is one of the newest housewives on Bravo’s hit show, and also that she asked her project manager Dad to make her an all-glass refrigerator for which he used shower door panels. The entire unit was insulated and is a big hit on and off the show.

View a photo gallery from the show.

As I simultaneously visualized the contents of my fridge and wondered how to respond to Hahn’s, “I’m sure you’ve seen the fridge” statement, I was also thinking, “only in New York.” That’s because seconds before this encounter, Whitaker and I were discussing suitable captions for the photo he had just snapped of Roman Abramovich’s $1.5 billion yacht parked just outside the show that is held every year at Pier 94 on Manhattan’s West Side. After reeling off a few options, we decided on: “Show attendee scores prime Manhattan parking space.”

Without a doubt, the handful of glass, window and door exhibitors mixed in among 10-burner ranges, premium wine refrigerators, rare carpets and “accessory works of art” are targeting New York’s elite and their designers. So in addition to hearing unusual stories, it’s always interesting to see what suppliers bring to this home show.

Whitaker’s private label stainless steel Volante, for sliding frameless shower enclosures, appeals to the red-bottom shoe crowd.  Down the aisle, Lillian Gorbachincky, president of Cosmopolitan Glass, showcased her company’s sparkling decorative glass options. She sketched for me the almost finished artistic installation she designed of carved Lalique-like glass for three Tiffany windows at the Fifth Avenue flagship store. Rumor has it, Leonardo DiCaprio will be sharing the spotlight with her windows for a Great Gatsby inspired jewelry line.

Growing up in the 1970s, I remember thinking antique mirror looked a little cheesy on my best friend’s dining room wall.  But after visiting the Artique Glass Studio booth, I was ready for my own home makeover.  Maybe it’s age (the antiquing process?) or just how it’s been re-done, but I wasn't surprised to see Jay DeMauro talking to a different young hip designer each time I strolled by.

Bieber Architectural Windows & Doors showed a beautiful bronze-clad window and its minimalist Slim-Profile Window with concealed hinges, perfect for the skinny pant set walking the show.

At Chautauqua Woods Fine Doors & Entryways, you could see a custom entry door ‘in progress’ for a residential castle in Alpine, N.J. The artist homeowner supplied her own CAD drawings for the elaborate and massive solid mahogany door which was displayed “two stages away from its final version.”

Riviera Doors & Windows displayed several residential and commercial doors, including a line of folding doors for either application. David Lenkowsky showed me photos he’d just taken of an office installation where the client requested acoustical panels imprinted with the Manhattan skyline. Open the doors and—presto—the real skyline appears.

NanaWall was perched on an elevated platform so attendees could more easily view the company’s smoothly operating slider. Eastern Regional Sales Manager Chuck Braun noted that the New York Metro area is one of the company’s strongest. Happily, the residential market is gaining again. In fact, everyone I spoke to reported an improvement in show traffic and interest compared to the last couple of years.

I’m glad to hear it; maybe now I’ll get some time to kick back and watch Bravo’s Housewives.

Harris is publisher of Glass Magazine and vice president of the National Glass Association. Write her at

Sunday, March 24, 2013

One of the things I value most about working in the glass industry is its sense of community. Even though we are an industry of thousands, we are a tight knit group. When a glass company fails, we all feel it. When a groundbreaking product is introduced, we all get excited about its potential. And when a member of our industry is injured or killed on the job, we all mourn. My prayers and condolences go out to the family, friends and coworkers of the employee at Insulpane of Connecticut and Orchard Glass Distributors in Hamden, Conn., who was killed last week on the job.

Chase is editorial director of Glass Magazine, e-glass weekly and Write her at

Monday, March 18, 2013

It’s that time again; the extremely popular Glass Magazine Awards are back. Like last year, I am very excited for the people portion of the awards since this is a great way to recognize the talent in our world. Plus, the ballot is open to the industry, and it’s great to have a say in such a prestigious award. So if you have not seen the info yet on the Glass Magazine Awards, here’s the link. Check it out and start nominating!


  • One guy who should get a nomination in the Glass Magazine Awards Best Sales Rep category is Dave Michaeli of AGC. I thought of him this week when I saw his alma mater having its pro tryout day. All those guys striving to be an Idaho State Hall of Famer just like him.
  • It’s March Madness! Sadly, my alma mater just missed getting back to the dance, but no matter, it will be a blast to follow as always. My picks for the final four are Louisville, Ohio State, Florida and Miami, with Louisville winning it all. Remember, I did pick the Super Bowl right this year, so I am on a roll…LOL.
  • The consumer confidence index saw a major decline in March due to several factors, including the sequester and gas prices. In my opinion, it was a matter of time before the unconscionable gas gouging finally bit into the economy. Why no one of importance seems to pay attention to the games the oil companies are playing is beyond me. Unfortunately, the trickle down will continue to be a drag on the economy. And we are seeing it in our industry, with another set of price increases on the way.
  • Great piece here from Susan MacKay and Paul Gary on the Affordable Care Act. The more you know, the better you will be.  Susan, along with the excellent Matt Johnson, will present at the upcoming Glass Management Institute. If you are in business, you will not want to miss their presentations, as well as the others that are lined up.  When it comes to understanding new laws like this, you just can’t afford to miss it.
  • For the first time in who knows how many years, I missed the annual GANA BEC conference this week. Schedule conflicts did me in.  I hate missing all of the folks I usually see there. Hopefully, I’ll catch up with everyone at AIA and GlassBuild America.
  • Last this week, I struggle to remember birthdays as I get older, but I always remember that St. Patrick’s Day is also the birthday of a good guy and former co-worker of mine, Dave Gillikin of Hartung Glass Industries. Hope you had a great one Dave!

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

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.

Monday, March 11, 2013

While the Capitol escaped unscathed from last week’s highly anticipated ‘Snowquester’, the federal government could not manage to avoid the budget sequester—the implementation of governmental budget cuts that went into effect March 1. Of the sequester’s $85 billion in automatic spending cuts, an estimated $4 billion come from reductions in construction spending, according to a March 3 Engineering News-Record report.  

Some in the construction industry fear the sequester’s sharp and widespread cuts could injure the building sector’s still-slow recovery. “Industry firms will feel the pain, but not all at once,” ENR reported. 

The Associated General Contractors of America released a 24-page sequestration report in February, providing a closer look at the construction segments that would feel the budget reductions the most. While several government construction arenas are exempt— the Highway Trust Fund, the Airport Improvement Program, Department of Veterans Affairs accounts, and General Services Administration accounts—the impact of the cuts on other parts of governmental construction spending could be severe, and could cause a ripple effect of slowed spending throughout the economy, according to the report. The sequestration cuts to construction for this fiscal year “could put some 114,000 jobs, $13.6 billion in GDP and $4.4 billion in personal income at risk,” according to the report.

Rich Walker, president and CEO of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, adds, "Sequestration will only serve to weaken the economy further, and have negative repercussions for our industry, which has been slowly gaining ground since the recession. Government overspending is more than a scraped knee or elbow. It’s a serious injury that we all suffer from, and we cannot continue to cover it with a flimsy Band-Aid that falls off after a few weeks." Read a blog from Walker about the sequester and government spending.

Government construction types likely to be hit with cuts include military facilities, U.S. embassies and infrastructure at the local level, according to the AGC report.

“If you work closely with government projects, you may see some effect on your business,” says Howard Holesapple, VP of Sales for Consolidated Glass Corp. However, “we have to remember that [the cuts] are a fraction of the overall amount of government spending. … The budget this year is actually more than last year,” he says.

Despite the narrow scope of cuts to construction by project type, Holesapple adds that the overall sequester could cause uneasiness among consumers and building owners. “When people start talking about governmental cuts, people get scared and stop buying and building,” he says.

How do you expect the sequester to affect your company, the industry at large and the overall economy? Are you changing any 2013 business plans because of the sequester? Leave a comment below, or email me at

Devlin is senior editor for Glass Magazine. Write her at

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