glassblog

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Most small businesses hire people to execute current work; they don’t think about hiring people to help them grow their companies. But as small business owners, we need to hire leaders to help us grow our companies. I am always looking for people, even if I do not have a position available. I know that when I find someone, I will create a position for them.

There are three components to developing a growth-oriented recruiting plan: Prospecting, Interviewing and Hiring, and Orientation and Basic Training.  Here, we will talk about prospecting and interviewing.

Obviously, the best prospects are usually referrals.  Trust is the key, and referrals always come with an assumed level of trust.  The potential employee must trust you just as you must trust him or her.  This trust will lead to a more open interview.  Trust will allow you, as the interviewer, to get more honest answers.  I want to answer three questions during an interview (notice that I did not say I want the applicant to answer the questions):

1)            Can the applicant do the job? (What is their experience and/or potential?)

2)            Will the applicant do the job? (Are they motivated?)

3)            Will the applicant do the job for me? (Do they fit our corporate culture?)

To get an accurate answer to #1, we must clearly define the expectations for the job.  We have to know what our company needs.  What is the job description?  This definition must be told to the potential employee during, if not before, the interview.  The key to getting accurate answers to #1 is clearly defining the job expectations.  If the answer to #1 is not positive, then #2 and #3 become irrelevant. 

How do we determine motivation?  I ask about their proudest accomplishments and also about their greatest disappointments.  I can get a good idea from their past about what will motivate them in the future.  The two biggest motivators are the desire to get something or the fear of losing something.  When we uncover the answer to either of these, we know what tool to use to motivate the new employee.

I recently interviewed someone referred to us by a competitor.  After the initial interview, I asked him back for a second interview conducted jointly by two trusted employees.  I needed to know if he would fit in with our current staff.  By using existing employees to conduct a follow-up interview, I got another viewpoint about the potential employee.  Do they want to work with him?  Are they willing to work with him to help him succeed?

—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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You know the term “Never in my wildest dreams?” Well, I can tell you I have always wanted to use it in the right context. You know, like “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d get locked in the M&M factory!” or “Never in my wildest dreams did I think Denzel Washington would want ME in his next movie!". But amazingly, that appropriate phrase now has usage in my life: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be doing ‘all this’ again one year later.”

“All this,” in case you have been living under a rock or working for the DOE (same thing), is the news that my current company is being sold after being forced into bankruptcy. No way could I have imagined this happening again, and surely not so soon either. In any case, it has been a mind-bending experience, the same as the past event but yet different in many ways. While the process and some of the names and figures are the same, the overall action and path were markedly opposite. Still, that said, it is, what it is, and I am living in the glass industry's cruel version of Groundhog Day.

So here we are again, with so many of the same emotions percolating about, but still the most important angle is “hope.” I am truly hopeful and actually confident that this will work out for the company, our suppliers, customers, and most importantly all of the folks employed here. We have to stay positive and put our faith in the leadership in the U.S. that was incredibly deft enough to create viable contingency plans in case the legal matters we got sucked into went south.

So, never in my wildest dreams did I ever see myself writing a post like this again, and so help me, I don’t plan on doing it a third time, that’s for sure. I’m rolling forward and I hope that we can get a chance to finish what we started and continue to work hard for this industry.

Elsewhere…

  • It’s kind of hard to hit other subjects when you have such a heavy angle hanging out there, but it is “business as usual” and I’ll keep going at it.
  • Saddened by the passing of John McGrory this past week. He and his family built a great company and my condolences to the family on this very sad loss for them and our industry.
  • An awesome post HERE by incredible Glass Pundit herself, Kris Vockler. Worth a read, for sure, as some incredible food for thought on display.
  • Am I the only one who reads the story about Quanex and their changes at the Engineered Products Group and wonder what happens to some of the other key people from Edgetech?
  • I mentioned the DOE earlier, and last week they announced $113 million in funding for solar growth in the U.S. I really have concerns on that as I have not trusted their track record on who they have given money to and how they have given it in the past. $113 million could help many good growth companies- in a few different energy related industry segments. Let’s hope this doesn’t get squandered. Plus, the other thought is with the debt so high, this money better be well spent; otherwise the hole goes deeper.
  • There was a comment on my blog from the esteemed Henry Taylor of Kawneer. He is also currently the head of the GANA BEC. One thing I failed to mention in all of my pieces is that Henry didn’t exactly pick the perfect time to take the reins of that group. The economy fell apart, and spending on things like BEC shrank. Henry has done a tremendous job in driving the bus, and he is supremely talented and important to the future of our world. And there’s no doubt, he realizes what the holes are and what needs to be filled. I should’ve been clearer; absolutely no disrespect intended.
  • Last this week… I picked the Red Sox to win the American League and I think they’ve won once since… my gosh I have the touch don’t I? I guess that’s why one of my co-workers now calls me “The Flying Dutchman.”

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

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro Architectural Products, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.com.

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 5, 2011

Well, that sure was a doozy of an April Fool’s Day, eh? Now before I begin, I have to remind everyone that this is my blog, so it’s my opinion (not my company and not Glass Magazine’s) and it’s all on me. Obviously, the news that hit on April 1 was surprising, frustrating and upsetting. In my estimation, it surely didn’t paint an accurate picture of the company I work for (or the people I work with) and caused serious and unnecessary consternation for the fine folks here. Now all that said, I have to step back and say that I trust in the people I work for here in the U.S. and will await the various outcomes before I comment further. Needless to say, these are very interesting times in our world and not just for me and my coworkers either…

Elsewhere...

  • Looking back at BEC, I think of Andy Gum, the most prolific chair in the history of the BEC. Andy was leery of passing the baton to me because he was afraid that the group would lose its focus on the glazier. Now while the attendance of the glazier was weaker than in the past, the focus of the sessions was still squarely on the needs of the glazing contractor. Hopefully, like noted last week in this space, the mix in the crowd was more aberration than trend.
  • Some good news to report in our world: Two new industry babies were born recently. Cameron Scripture of Viracon (seriously one of the nicest guys in the world) welcomed a new baby as well as Angus MacMillan of Dorma. Boys, don’t let your babies grow up to be glass sales people… CONGRATS and best to you and the better half of you who did all the work!
  • This week, USA Today had a blurb from the CEO of Wal Mart predicting seriously higher inflation rates. And he sees it happening rapidly. That is surely worrisome.
  • The Department of Commerce just put another huge tariff on Chinese aluminum coming into the US. Which makes me wonder: How does Chinese glass avoid the same treatment? Seriously, what am I missing there?
  • Starting to get concerned that as we fight in Libya, the issues happening in the Ivory Coast are concerning as well. Man, do you ever think that the whole 2012 end of the world thing might actually be right?
  • Ok to finish, we’ll keep it lighter. Baseball has started, and here are my predictions on who will win it all… In the National League, I think the Phillies are just too good on the mound to beat in a short series. If the Reds can get the pitching they are the only team that can compete for the pennant there (in my mushy mind). In the AL, I like the Sox, both Red and White, to make the runs, but in the end the Yankees have too much to be stopped. In the WS, Phils over Yanks.

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

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro Architectural Products, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.com.

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 4, 2011

There is a growing appreciation in the industry about the inter-relationship of external glazing in achieving higher levels of sustainability and performance in a building’s design. As buildings account for an estimated 40 percent of total energy consumption in the U.S., the emerging concept of a building as a living system is shedding new light on the many benefits that high-performance external glazing can bring to the building envelope. For members of the commercial design community, this translates into some very meaningful design attributes.

Proper external glazing can play a key role in LEED certification, energy efficiency, comfort and productivity. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, commercial building windows alone are responsible for approximately 4 percent of the nation's total energy usage, so, proper choice of glazing can have a dramatic impact on a building’s overall sustainability.

The growing trend toward higher performance glazing is also driven by practical business interests beyond the design community. For instance, commercial building owners and facility managers are increasingly seeing a building’s occupancy rate, sq. ft. ROI, marketability and tenant appeal positively impacted by improved energy efficiency, daylighting and aesthetics. With so much at stake, external glazing can play a pivotal role in ensuring a building’s functionality and efficiency.

For architects and engineers, designing carbon-neutral, sustainable buildings is a step toward achieving a more environmentally responsible future. By providing leadership on the fundamental impact of glass as a gateway to improving total building performance versus what has historically been viewed as a commoditized product, the industry has a terrific opportunity to engage with customers on a more sophisticated level. Glass now has a new life as a key enabler of the interests of the broader community it serves.

Bruce Lang is the vice president of Marketing and Business Development at Southwall Technologies, Palo Alto, Calif. He also is the president of Southwall Insulating Glass, LLC, a joint venture company established to manufacture energy-efficient insulating glass incorporating Southwall's Heat Mirror film technology. Write him at blang@southwall.com.

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 29, 2011

The night before I left for Las Vegas to attend Glass Week and the Building Envelope Contractors conference, I listened to YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley describe how building a place where "creative types" could work together freely in an online community was his initial goal in creating the video-sharing Web site. YouTube developed far beyond that initial scope—from posting funny cat videos to propagating democracy in the Middle East—but trillions of views and a billion-dollar Google buyout later, it stays true to its community- inspired origins.

The glass fraternity that started as the Flat Glass Marketing Association and grew into the Glass Association of North America has shed the clubby atmosphere of resort meetings and formal dinners of bygone years when competitors would gather to break bread and toast one another. These industry gatherings of yore are wistful memories as, today, most everyone works longer days without the respite of tennis matches and hole-in-one prizes. What remains is a hard-working core of industry volunteers who continue their yeoman's labor to promote and protect the glass industry's vital interests.

The association staff has tried a number of tactics to revive attendance in the face of consolidating member companies and others too pressed to make the trip in tough economic times. The last few years have seen a rise in multi-meeting meetings. This year's eight-day line-up: the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance, followed by the shrinking Glass Week, overlapping with the BEC meeting, capped by a National Fenestration Rating Council meeting. And in the middle, "Logic," a new, one-day, off-site, invitation-only event.

It could be the economy or four-plus meeting fatigue, but something about that invitation-only event didn't jive with the fast and fluid Facebook YouTube community-sharing world we live in. Coincidentally, one of  Logic's keynoters was social media guru, Chris Brogan, who advised the upper management-only crowd to design mobile-friendly Web sites and ensure that their messaging is accessible to all via multiple platforms, from smartphones to tablets to laptops.

As the world around us demands democratic openness and takes to the streets to challenge closed hierarchies, accessibility seems ever-more integral to community building, relevance, strength and longevity. As so many visionaries have said before him, Hurley remarked that he never could have imagined what YouTube has become.

Here's hoping the same for a revitalized glass community of the future. 

Harris is publisher of Glass Magazine. Write her at nharris@glass.org

Monday, March 28, 2011

Well, another year and another BEC in the books. As always, the networking was the huge opportunity here, with many great chances to hook up with some of the finest minds and people in our industry. The overall attitude was hopeful: hopeful that the economy advances and hopeful that we all can be back here in a year with better things on our plates. And, as I have always done in a “Page 6” style, here’s who was seen and heard over the few days of action…

  • Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend as much as I usually do, but I did really enjoy the presentation by Dr. Don McCann of Viracon--good food for thought, and featuring the movie star good looks of Cam Scripture was slick. I did also enjoy Kawneer’s Diana Perrriah’s spot as well. And it goes without saying that I am in the tank for Dr. Tom Culp. All the speakers did well in a tough room layout. It was very dark and wide open, so intimidating to say the least. And as was noted by my pal Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP, the BEC was really missing the “C” part this year. That pained me, and I hope that this was an aberration and not a trend.

    Elsewhere from the floor and more about BEC…
  • Got to get a quick meal with Jeff Meyer of White Bear Glass. He continues to be a guy people in this industry should model their businesses after. Ran into Guardian’s Jay Phillips looking crisp as usual… I swear that guy could work on a road crew and still look calm, cool and collected… Always an honor to see the “Glass Pundit” ICD’s Kris Vockler along with her legendary Dad Larry. I came “this” close to meeting Jim Porter of Apogee… alas I missed him… dang, as I am fan. Obviously, you know I am a fan of the Viracon crew. Got to visit briefly with Garret Henson and Christine Shaffer, and my gosh, I enjoyed just getting the overflow from their crowd.
  • I got to meet Jeff Razwick of TGP for the first time, which was nice. Speaking of first time intros, I met Joe Cesarotti from Hurricane Protection Industries for the first time after communicating with him via e-mail and NGA classes. Of course, I ran into George Petzen. He is an absolute staple of this event. Also, got the bonus of meeting his coworker Kelley Lasek, who even admitted to reading this blog! Brave guy he is. Roger Watson of Saint Gobain was there and for his stalker in Canada, he’s still pretty cool.
  • I met in person for the first time Serge Martin of AGC. He gave a tremendous speech too. Very nice guy and I am thrilled he is here and active. That’s two years in a row for the AGC influence at this event; very cool. Dr. Helen Sanders, as always, is an absolute treat as is the always awesome duo of Julie Schimmelpenningh and Aimee Davis of Solutia. (And I owe both ice cream since I had to leave town early) Raj Goyal always looking good was on hand but I didn’t get much time with him or with Mark Silverberg of Technoform, who happens to be one of my all-time favorite people. I also missed Jan Rogan and Glenn Miner of PPG. Never could get near 'em. And amazingly and frustratingly, I never got to see Greg Carney. Unreal.
  • Missing this year…. Bill Sullivan is always there and he obviously had better plans as well as GGI’s own Mr. Brenner. Just not the same without him. The gang from Bratton led by my pal Todd Riggs was also noticeabley absent, as was anyone from Pilkington. If they were there, I missed them. I honestly don’t remember Pilks missing this event before.
  • Anyway, it’s another year in the can and unfortunately one that I just didn’t get to enjoy the full flavor of. Next year will be better for that I am sure.

    Elsewhere...
  • GANA did run an event called Logic that featured two very good speakers. The legendary economist Art Laffer and blogger and social media guru Chris Brogan. Both gave tremendous presentations. The big takeaway from Laffer was his optimism that a possible change in the White House in 2012 could lead to a massive economic boom in 2013. Brogan’s speaking style and info were just super, very insightful. I wish I had another hour with him.
  • The rumor mill, of course, was working overtime but that was one area I was thankful that I did have to leave early.
  • No links or video this week (and I have a TON of links ready) because I ran out of time. They will be back and in full force next week. May even run that crazy Corning video again as so many people keep telling me about it!!

Max Perilstein is chief marketing officer for Vitro Architectural Products, Memphis. Write him at mperilstein@vitro.com.

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 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.

Elsewhere…

  • 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 mperilstein@vitro.com.

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 smukerji@glass.org.

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.

Elsewhere…

  • 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 mperilstein@vitro.com.

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 jchase@glass.org.

 

 

 

 

 

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