Sunday, March 20, 2016

Time is running out to nominate your best product or project for the 2016 Glass Magazine Awards, with the deadline to submit nominations coming up on April 8. 

The categories for this year’s awards program include:

  • Most Innovative Curtain Wall/Facade Project
  • Most Innovative Storefront Project or Product
  • Most Innovative Railing Project or Product 
  • Most Innovative Decorative Glass Project: Interior
  • Most Innovative Decorative Glass Project: Exterior
  • Most Innovative Glass Product 
  • Most Innovative Handling or Transportation Equipment 
  • Most Innovative Machinery or Equipment 
  • Most Innovative Software 
  • Most Innovative Web Tool or App 

More information about the 2016 product and project categories―in addition to instructions for submitting nominations―is available here.

Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, other Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Daylight Saving Time began last weekend. The NCAA basketball tournament begins this week. March Madness is one of the most exciting, yet pressure packed times of the year. Tournament pressure is different from Regular Season pressure. During the Regular Season, teams have a planned consistent routine because their schedule is set in advance. In conference play, teams play their opponents twice a year every year. This allows teams to accumulate years of knowledge about the opposition. Teams know what to expect from their competition. Teams use the Regular Season to prepare for the Tournament. Also, at least half of the games are played at home. This allows the players and coaches to live in a known, comfortable environment. 

When March Madness Tournament play begins, teams know their schedule only days before they play. Teams have three to four days to prepare for their opponent and travel to an unfamiliar location. When the game starts, players know this may be the last game of the season or the last game of their career. Coaches are having a very public audition to a national audience. Depending upon the quality of the audition, the coaches realize it will impact the caliber of future athletes they can recruit. Imagine the pressure upon the players and coaches.

Business can be similar to March Madness. Businesses often have a steady, yet slower, pace during the holiday and winter months. Businesses have adapted to a reasonably set schedule. There is usually a reasonable amount of time and manpower to react to surprises. Then everything changes.

Daylight Saving Time and warmer weather lead to an increase in business. Businesses are unexpectedly awarded work that was quoted months ago. Sometimes, the contractor awarding the work imposes a short timeframe to complete the job. Pressure builds. Businesses are auditioning for the contractor. When they make a good impression it will lead to more work in the future. The job is running smoothly, and then an installer doesn’t show up to work or a vendor backorders one lite of glass. Quick decisions are required.

Just like March Madness in basketball, March Madness in business is pressure packed. It is also very exciting. It requires us to stretch to achieve our goals. New leaders emerge. We improve our skills at managing under pressure. Under pressure, we either crumble or become stronger. When the game is on the line, how do you think and act?

Bill Evans is president of Evans Glass Co. 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. 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A lot of things drive me crazy. Those of you who know me, know that I surely have my quirks. One thing that gets me going is when I see an empty building or strip mall, with a brand new structure being built on the site right next to it or in front of it. It’s insane when we build new commercial spots when we have empty or underused ones in virtually the same place. So I was quite pleased this week when I saw the story of shoe and clothing company Under Armour remodeling an old Sam’s Club building into a major office space for themselves. This article should be shared with city and municipal planners everywhere. Before you approve that new retail structure 500 feet away from a perfectly good unused one, think about how great this turned out. I know people prefer “new,” but we as a society really need to improve the existing for many reasons.



  • Good news on the Dodge Momentum Index with a positive gain in February. The next release of the other metric I follow regularly, the Architectural Billings Index is set for March 23.
  • The e-mail virus scams are continuing to plague consumers and businesses and the latest one is having great success with its approach, so beware. The e-mail will come in and it will say something along the lines of “Invoice attached.” Since we are all usually on our toes with regards to bills, clicking that link or attachment is almost second nature. However these e-mails have become a carrier for a nasty computer virus. So if you are not used to getting invoices via e mail or do not recognize who is sending it to you, please do not open.
  • Congrats to my friend Devorah Serkin for her new gig at GGI. Devorah is an extremely talented person and it was a pleasure getting to work with her in her past life at Dip-Tech. She will do great things at GGI for sure. 
  • Just wanted to pass on congrats on a position I care a great deal about: the chair of GANA BEC. Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning has completed his term and he did a fantastic job. I have noted Jon’s impact here previously and that surely will not be forgotten. Stepping in as the new Chair is Gus Trupiano of AGC. This is an excellent selection for the role. Gus is a tremendous man who will bring a new voice and vision to the position and keep the division & industry moving forward. This is excellent news for all who are involved in that world!
  • Last this week, I am so pumped the best show on TV returns this week: “The Americans” is back and I simply can’t wait. Awesome stuff. If you have not caught the show, start from the beginning. It truly is a treasure, and if you do watch it, buckle in; I have a feeling this is going to be a very interesting year!


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

Max Perilstein 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 8, 2016

If there's one constant in the glass industry that I have realized time and again, it's that many industry members are here for life. Sometimes with the same company--with industry companies boasting 20+ years average retention--and sometimes with multiple companies, but all within the world of the building envelope. There are of course a number of family-owned glass industry businesses, but even those that aren't help make up an industry with an overwhelming family feel. It's an industry where business tactics and practical know-how are passed down for generations. 

Against this backdrop, it's no real surprise that many in the industry are concerned about passing along longstanding businesses run by knowledgeable industry veterans to the next generation of workers. Glass company heads--many of whom are Baby Boomers--are retiring rapidly, leaving companies looking for strong management and competent replacements, whether they're part of a family business or otherwise--and whether they hire in-house or outside. 

But finding leadership quality successors is difficult in the current challenging construction workforce climate. Of note, in 2015, fifty percent of responding Top Glass Fabricators reported having difficulty recruiting/retaining employees. Later in the year, sixty five percent of Top Metal Companies reported they struggled to find skilled labor. Across the construction industry, firms report difficulty in finding enough workers to fill open jobs. Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America said in August, "Construction spending data and industry reports suggest demand for projects remains very strong. The apparent softness in hiring likely reflects contractors’ difficulty in finding qualified workers.”

Are there enough quality candidates to fill top positions? How can industry leaders feel confident in the next generation of glass business management? To ensure successful glass businesses into the future, companies need to focus on a successful transfer--building a strong bench to pass the business baton to the next generation. 

This year, with the growth and profitability of glass industry businesses in mind, Glass Magazine editors will present a series of articles focused on exit planning and succession. Offering detailed, practical tips and information, exit planning expert Kevin Kennedy writes features on how to capture business wealth and pass the baton to the next generation. Alongside these business-focused features will be glass industry company profiles, spotlighting various industry businesses who have successfully gone through a CEO exit and succession, or are in the process of doing so. This topic is top of mind for many in the glass industry as Millennials--the largest portion of the workforce--are moving into the workforce and Baby Boomers are moving out. As Kennedy states: "In running your glass business there is only one guarantee: you eventually will exit—either voluntarily or involuntarily. The day will come when you will have to say goodbye. In order to succeed, the business and the owner must both be prepared to successfully transfer the business."

If you have questions or concerns about how you will train your employees to eventually transfer your business, consider following this series throughout the year as we lay out all the steps in a successful exit and succession plan. And if your company has an exit or succession plan story to tell, on or off the record, please contact me.

Bethany Stough is managing editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at

Monday, March 7, 2016

One of the subjects that came up at the GANA Annual Conference last week was bird-friendly glazing. I have mentioned that effort here a few times and recently I had the opportunity to talk with a few people very connected to that world, specifically the folks involved in getting an ASTM standard created for testing. It’s been an extremely interesting learning experience for me as I knew about the products but had little idea on how the testing worked. I was able to ask a few questions to the co-chair of this ASTM committee working on this standard, Dr. Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy, to get some insight on the process.

Max: How far along is the ASTM committee so far in this effort to develop the standard and what are some of the challenges?

Dr. Sheppard: We have a great committee, and a large one, with experts from diverse parts of the glass industry, as well as architects, ornithologists and conservation biologists. We posted a first draft of the protocol and got a lot of good comments. Stefan Knust, my co-chair, has just posted the protocol, summaries of the comments and other materials, in preparation for scheduling our first conference call.

The most obvious challenge for this process is that ASTM has never had a protocol that includes live animals before. So we have to figure out what needs to be explained and what doesn’t. For example, our test involves working with specialists who safely net, handle and monitor the songbirds we fly in the tunnel.

Max: Is there anything that stands out for you with the (current glass industry) efforts or is there a long way to go? For me it just feels like more and more people are understanding the issue and respecting it- determined to help with solutions than a few years ago for sure. So I am curious if you are seeing that from your position in this process.

Dr. Sheppard: I think I’m seeing exactly what you are (and I think ABC has had a lot to do with it). There is an increasing awareness of the issue that is leading to change. There is still a long way to go – the glass that’s already out there is killing a billion birds a year –  but you don’t have to give up glass to save birds – you simply have to think about birds early in the design phase. Enough buildings have been constructed and remediated to show that considering birds doesn’t impede creativity, impair function or bust budgets.

Thank you Dr. Sheppard for your time as well as the all of the people on the committee including folks like Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell of GANA, Sylvain Denis of Walker Glass, and Dr. Neil McSporran of Pilkington for doing what you are doing here.


  • Some additional notes on Glass Magazine's excitement I mentioned last week. I forgot to note with the physical edition of the magazine includes an actual full-sized map, showing the world of glass. That was awesome. I always loved when Glass Magazine did the maps in the past, so to see this feature return, I was pretty pumped. 
  • Also the ad of the month from that issue: The winner is the folks at Intermac. Loved the ad for their water jet style cutter (they had a great focused shot of the machine in action with the water splashing out). Very, very eye catching and sharp. Well done, folks. And overall, a lot of excellent ads this month. The creativity is flowing for many right now!
  • Last this week, a congrats to Alissa Schmidt of Viracon. She picked up an award from the Owatonna Business Women Group as the winner of the 2016 Young Careerist. Very cool recognition for Alissa, Viracon, and our industry, as so many times younger people don’t believe there’s a great career in the glass industry. But the opportunities are out there and I am thrilled that it’s being noticed!

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

Max Perilstein 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, February 29, 2016

Currently, I have been on my “soap box” relating to the topic of “Engineering Judgement” letters in the façade and curtain wall industry. Unfortunately, I see too many written statements that often lack both engineering and judgement. (On a related topic, “Value Engineering”, often a synonym to some for “cheap” and without engineering, tends to drive some of these statements, but I digress, as that topic is for another blog.) “Engineering Judgement” is the term typically used when someone wants or needs a letter, or a written statement, to show the comparison or similarity of an existing product, system, or assembly, to a tested standard. This can be a direct comparison of the particular system application itself versus the industry standards; or comparison to a different but similar project or system.

One such example concerns comparisons to the NFPA 285 “Standard Fire Test Method for Evaluation of Fire Propagation Characteristics of Exterior Non-Load-Bearing Wall Assemblies Containing Combustible Components.” Another example would be comparing fire-safing assemblies to test specimens; using a firestop to inhibit flame spread between floors between the back of the curtain wall and the slab edge.

So what is my issue? There is nothing wrong with a legitimate engineering judgement approach. In fact it is not always necessary to test every component or system on every job. But too often I see engineering judgement letters that stretch reality in an effort to satisfy a requirement in a spec, to make a sale, or to be the low-cost line item in a bid, but without credibility. (It’s akin to using a photocopier to make a copy of another copy, which has been made from an earlier copy of the correct, clear, original version.)

In one instance, I recently read a judgement letter comparing a particular exterior cladding system and its test specimen to the NFPA 285 test. The product information indicated that the system comprised of their material was “NFPA 285” approved. Upon further review it was found to be benchmarked against an old UBC standard that wasn’t anything like the NFPA specimen. In fact, there was never a single NFPA test performed to which one could compare. Sadly, an engineer had written a statement saying that it was the same or equivalent; that the data could be extracted to validate the same results. This was not close to reality.

Often, we also find engineering judgement letters on the topic of fire-safing that leave much to be desired as compared to tested assemblies. In fact it may be the most common type of judgement letter I see. A letter from a sales staffer or manufacturer’s representative on company letterhead alone doesn’t mean something qualifies as acceptable. 

As a further comparison, in the surveying world it is important to benchmark from a given reference point. You don’t benchmark from a different point or construction stake from one marker to the next. This same principal applies to engineering judgement. The judgement should be referenced to a tested standard, not a reference of a reference to a standard that loosely applies.

We need to think more critically about engineering judgements. Remember, we are installing REAL products and assemblies on REAL buildings with REAL people inside and outside the structure. Safety and comfort to occupants and pedestrians is a key issue, along with durability. It would be beneficial if more realized that a building code is the MINIMUM acceptable standard required for the built environment, not the maximum. Compare what you receive with what the standard defines. Hold everyone accountable to the same standards. Keep the playing field level. If we want to advance the glass, glazing, façade and construction industry at large, we have to show it with our actions and integrity; holding ourselves and our industry to higher standards and accurate reporting.

John Wheaton is the founder & co-owner of Wheaton & Sprague Engineering, Inc., also known as Wheaton Sprague Building Envelope. The firm provides full service design, engineering and consulting services for the curtain wall/building envelope/building enclosure industry, and works at “Creating Structure” for clients. He can be reached at and on Twitter, @JohnLWheaton1. 

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.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Over the last two weeks, the National Glass Association and Glass Magazine launched an amazing resource, one that I think is a must to have bookmarked for future use, especially considering the adventures of supply. The very slick website can continue to help with the information and communication flow in our industry. I advise you if you have not checked it out to do so and consider a subscription to stay fully up to date. Congrats to the folks at NGA and Glass Magazine on this excellent proactive piece. 


  • Monitoring the Architectural Billings Index as always: the latest scores for January were slightly off coming in at 49.6. (50 is the break even). New product inquiries also were down from December. The good news was a nice bounce out of the northeast, and the fact that January historically has had softer numbers. I am not worried on 2016 at all at this point and will be watching the February totals on both the ABI and the Dodge Momentum Index for any signs of true weakness.
  • Speaking of 2016, Glass Magazine had a great article in the most recent edition on the potential growth in our industry. 
  • Actually that entire issue of Glass Magazine is loaded. Great articles on:

The energy code adventures in Florida

Structural Glass (which is a VERY hot product area right now)

Tips to avoid labor shortage issues- which obviously is a major deal in our world these day.

Next week I’ll hit you with my favorite ad from that issue as well…

  • I have written a few times about the difficulty our industry has finding project managers. I do think I have another position that can rival that: CAD Technician. Looking on various job boards and the need for CAD people both in our industry and out is really mind blowing. On that note, it is good to see many high schools (including where my kids attend) offering 4 years of CAD classes as this surely looks like an area the world needs. Maybe we can get schools to offer glass and glazing project management to help on that problem, too!
  • More industry meetings this week with IGMA and GANA having technical conferences in California. I am unable to attend, but will follow along online as much as possible. It’s at these conferences where much of the heavy lifting happens with regards to standards and guidelines in the glass and glazing industry. So keeping tabs on it is very important.
  • Last this week; I was reviewing a residential interior design site and looking at some of the projects that they felt were best in the past year. The one thing that stood out to me was the amount of glass that was used, specifically decorative glass used as countertops, wall cladding, and backsplashes. Decorative glass has been growing on the exterior quite a bit and being used in more and more commercial interior applications, but the residential application is looking like a very hot area and one where more and more glass can be used in place of other building products. 

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

Max Perilstein 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, February 23, 2016

We’re about halfway into first quarter 2016 and many companies still don’t have a sales strategy. Others have made goals, but no plan. In 2015, the fenestration industry was filled with business changes. But one question remains constant: does your company sales plan match your goals?

As an example, a start-up out of California desperately needs and wants sales. They have changed sales managers and staffing time and again, never staying long enough with any one particular strategy to make it successful. This company now has the strategy to win a project, no matter the price. They see it as market domination. They will take all available and attractive projects at any price so that those they consider competition will not be able to compete, perhaps in hopes that the competition will wither and die. What they fail to realize is the absolute abundance within this business. Opportunities abound.

This company goes to great lengths to get attention and will spend exorbitant amounts of money to have the largest tradeshow booth or make the most noise with the latest building they practically gave their products away for. They are so self-absorbed they fail to notice that they actually turn people off. They create a cult of personality at the top of the company and a culture that is wrought with disdain and frustration at all levels. Mistrust and disillusion fester under the surface because the employees know the messaging doesn’t fit the product or the culture.  

Another example is a company acquired by a large multinational corporation that employs the tactics of trying to compete with the California start-up. It is an all-out race to the bottomless pit, where they are willing to drop the price at the first hint of competition. They will do ridiculous promotional pieces that advertise to the wrong audience, so the messaging, although neat, gets lost. They will have two booths at tradeshows in hopes that they will not be outdone by the flashy start-up. 

Because of the big pockets of the parent corporation, this company has the false sense of security that the pressure is off and it can outlast the new start-up. What they fail to realize is that if the parent has a division--even in a distant country or in an entirely different industry--that is not performing and causes enough pain, they will start to contemplate the purge of all divisions and holdings that do not bring positive results.

That brings us back to the beginning. Do you have a sound sales and marketing strategy? If you do not have one, why not? A plan makes it easy to measure where you’re at against your goal. So what is the goal of every company? Create one thing and one thing only. Profits. The number of projects you win does not matter if you make no money. It is a giant waste of time to do all of the things we do every day if we cannot make money doing it.

If your sales and marketing plans do not support the bottom line of making profits, then they are all misguided. Analyze your business and determine what you do best. Then prompt your sales team to seek more sales that support that part of your business in 2016. As you watch the growth in the desirable parts of your business, you will also notice how your profits increase. This will pay big dividends to you and your investors. Which, by the way, is the real reason to be in business.

Chad Simkins is vice president of Pleotint and vice president of sales for Thompson IG. He can be reached 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 22, 2016

Before I get into the BEC recap and rundown, I have one big follow-up from last week. I wrote on the wire glass situation in Canada and had a feeling that there had to be more to it. Thanks to Thom Zaremba, I was updated that the Canadian General Standards Board has already published for public comment a new, draft safety-glazing standard. Here is the website with the review. The public comment period ends next month, so if you have an interest in this issue, taking some time to review and comment is a must. 

BEC 2016 kicked off this week. Here are my highlights…

  • The opening reception from Viracon was jam-packed. The room was a bit tough to work being a long rectangle, but still, a nice event.
  • The State of the Industry speech via Serge Martin of AGC had plenty of interesting takes, but a big part of his piece was collaboration with suppliers to make sure everyone can get supply. That’s something I have hit on many times.
  • The panel on oversize glass was very strong, as was the presentation by architect Kai-uwe Bergmann. I was also pleased with Dr. Tom Culp and Urmilla Sowell as they covered the crucial code and tech subjects. Overall lots of insight. If you want to really get a fast flavor of it, go check out the Twitter feed of @GlassMag. Editor Katy Devlin provides great social coverage. 
  • Of course no industry event would be complete without my usual “seen and met” part of the blog. I usually only get to see people like this twice a year--BEC and GlassBuild America--and I love it. (Though the people who see me, not so much! Ha Ha.) So here goes…

Ended up on the same plane out to Vegas with Chris “Megatron” Dolan of Guardian. He’s still earning that nickname by doing it all. And I’m glad I saw him on the plane; once the show started, I didn’t get to see him the rest of the way. I was very excited to see my old friend Shelly Farmer; she just landed a great gig with SC Railing. That’s a good match of person and company for sure. I was happy to meet Brian Filipiak of Alliance Glazing; nice guy, and his company has a great Twitter feed. While with Brian, I ran into the Hollywood poster boy, Viracon’s Cameron Scripture. Such a good man, and still looks exactly the same as he did from when I met him probably 10 years ago. 

Catching up with Kelly Schuller of Viracon was awesome as well. My trip was improved because I spent time with three different Steves… Martin (OCBE) LeBlanc (Contract Glaziers) and Cohen (PPG). Excellent gentlemen all. 

I really love the younger folks that are becoming a presence at these events. That is important for the industry. Spending a few minutes with the sharp couple Lindsay and Dustin Price was super, as well as meeting Mike Macurak of DM Products. In addition, Tim Mackin from DM was there and he wins the award for best dressed on night one. 

The classy industry folks were out in force as well, with folks like Max Hals and Ian Patlin of Paragon, as well as Tom O’Malley from Clover Architectural, and James Wright from Glass Coatings & Concepts. Talking with them is always uplifting.
Old friends are always great to see. I have not seen Bob Cummings of Hartung in years. He’s another guy who refuses to age. Same with Joe Carlos of Triview, Gus Trupiano, and my old Ohio U buddy Rodger Ruff of AGC.

Missed: I heard, unfortunately, that Ruby Singh of GlassFab had to cancel. That was a bummer for me. I also was bummed I never ran into Felix Munson of Anchor Ventana. Great person who I’ll have to catch up with soon.

  • Last: A congrats to Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning. He did a great job with yet another conference and his care for the industry is true.

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

Max Perilstein 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, February 15, 2016

A major, though often ignored, threat to all glass and glazing companies lies with their computer technology. Every day, companies rely on computers to process orders, create designs, fabricate product and handle shipments, putting them at great risk when viruses, data loss or Internet scams strike.

Data loss caused by technology failure or by computer viruses can debilitate a company, potentially leading to business closures. Consider, 60 percent of companies that lose their data will shut down within a year, according to Boston Computing Network. Even more alarming, 93 percent of companies that lost their data for 10 days or more filed for bankruptcy within one year—50 percent of those companies filed for bankruptcy immediately, according to Boston Computing Network.  

Internet scams, on the other hand, are increasingly sophisticated and can cost a business thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention lost time. Such scams can also put a company’s survival at risk, depending on the extent of the theft. According to the FBI, businesses lost $1.2 billion in recent years in one of the other most common scams, business email compromise, or CEO fraud (in this troubling scam, thieves phish a company executive’s email address and submit fraudulent orders or wire transfer requests that appear to originate from the executive). Scams involving a fake shipping scam are also pervasive among small and mid-size businesses.

Glass Magazine will be presenting an article series addressing mass data loss and scam threats to help glass companies protect their businesses. If you have suffered data loss or been the target of scams and want to share your experience, let us know. Or, if you have set up protections against such threats, we'd like to hear your stories. You can complete the survey below, or you can email me directly at

Katy Devlin is editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at 

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