Max Perilstein's blog

We can debate the merits of programs like LEED until we’re all blue in the face. The bottom line, though, is the performance and sustainability of the building when all is said and done. And while the various green rating systems are pivoting and making efforts to evolve their programs into ensuring long-range success, there’s one process that guarantees it: the Net Zero building.

Slowly but surely Net Zero is taking off. It's important in the glass industry, because the process rewards the glass/glazing performance and basically will force those pesky HVAC guys to size their efforts correctly. Too many times we get blamed (unfairly I must add) for the oversizing of HVAC units because there’s no trust in fenestration. With Net Zero, we’re all working together and the playing field does level. There’s a ton to this process, and it's still pretty raw, but I do believe it will be in the mainstream sooner than many think.


  • Speaking of sustainability, one of the great champions of the effort in our industry is Mark Silverberg of Technoform. Last week he was named to the AAMA Sustainability Steering Committee. Can’t get a better man than that to be a force in the effort!
  • The energy of the trade show/industry conference is the hottest in years. So far 2014 is showing a major uptick in attendance and excitement. A couple more regional shows are coming up to be aware of. The 27th Annual Mid Atlantic Glass Expo hits April 30th in Greenbelt, Md.  Then in Canada, the Canadian Glass Association's Glass Connections conference in Nova Scotia (would love to go, birthplace of the great Sidney Crosby) comes through on June 4-5. Both events will provide excellent learning and networking potential. And don’t forget about the granddaddy of them all, the biggest show in all of North America: GlassBuild America, in September in Vegas. That floor is filling up nicely, and it will be an incredible event not to be missed.
  • After a hiatus in doing interviews on the blog, we welcome that segment back. One area of the business that I am always fascinated by is switchable glass, specifically  liquid crystal and suspended particle products. These products are growing in usage thanks to the boom on the decorative glass side. It’s surely moving up from the “niche” category. So it was great to catch up with Anthony Branscum, director of architectural sales at Innovative Glass Corp. in New York, and talk with him about the growth of the product, some of misconceptions out there and more.

MP: What do you think is driving this positive direction and usage?

Anthony Branscum: I think it’s mainly because the products have come a long way and are now beyond the “Proof of Concept” stage. Architects around the country, and the world for that matter, are realizing the practical benefits of using these products in their designs. Perhaps more importantly, they have gained confidence that the technology will last when it gets out there. They have become educated consumers. 

MP: Speaking specifically on the liquid crystal product, there’s been talk recently in different circles about uneven performance and products failing. Do you think such talk is legitimate or is it being overblown?

AB: I have heard and read some of the same things you are alluding to. There’s a lot of posturing going on within the industry right now. Some suppliers of switchable glass are spending a lot of time bashing their competitors instead of talking about their own virtues. They believe it makes their product appear as if it’s “the best”, but what they’re really doing is hurting the industry at large. They’re creating a perception out there that the product won’t last.  It is simply not true.  When fabricated properly, one can expect many years of service from liquid crystal technology. Of course, there are companies that don’t produce a great product, but they are not the majority, and time will eventually run out on them.

MP: What should buyers do or look for to make sure they are dealing with the right people?

AB: They should make sure whoever they are dealing with can provide them a functioning sample. They should ask for a copy of the warranty. They should definitely ask for references and perhaps ask to see a job local to them where the glass has successfully been installed. If the vendor can’t satisfy these requests in a timely fashion, they should think twice about going too far with them. 

MP: You and your company have been in the switchable space for more than a decade. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen with the product offerings?

AB: The biggest change has been the advancement in the clarity of the LC films when they are in their clear state. The industry has come a long way in achieving better clarity. The second notable advancement would be the film widths. The product is available in wider widths than ever before. This helps satisfy most of the common architectural sizes we come across.

Read on for links and video 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.

Before I start, I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to everyone in France, and everyone affected by this awful tragedy. It is incredibly sad and scary. Peace needs to rule in our world…somehow.

A few years ago I started the Industry MVP award here on the blog to recognize people and companies for their efforts and support of the glass and glazing industry. Obviously there are quite a few candidates that deserve credit for what they do, so trying to narrow it down has become quite the challenge. Let’s begin with a reminder of past winners and nominees before we get to the runners up for 2015.


Winner: Tracy Rogers, Quanex

Runners up:

  • Tom Culp
  • Mark Silverberg
  • Ed Zaucha
  • Mic Patterson
  • Oliver Stepe
  • Dr. Helen Sanders
  • Scott Thomsen

Note: All but Scott are still very active and influential in the industry. Scott retired but his legacy thanks to “Battle for the Wall” and great technology lives on.


Winner: C.R. Laurence Co. 

Runners up:

  • John Wheaton
  • Rick Wright
  • Tom O’Malley
  • Bernard Lax

Note: See what happens when you win Industry MVP from me? Your company becomes a part of the biggest deal of the century!

Onto 2015

Today, I will present the runners up for the 2015 MVP, and the winner will be presented on my last scheduled blog of 2015 in mid-December. Nominees were gathered from my knowledge of who’s who, along with several submissions from readers and followers of this blog. I then narrowed the field to five, using the criteria that included some of the following categories:

  • Overall Influence in 2015 on the industry
  • Technology/innovation
  • Industry support
  • My opinion and knowledge of them and what they do. After all it’s my blog and my award right?  

After that I studied the five candidates against each other and then determined the MVP. This is a tough decision. As it was in previous years, all of these people and companies are certainly deserving of this huge honor. And to note, this is all on me, it has nothing to do with Glass Magazine (who graciously runs my blog weekly) or GlassBuild America. They don’t even know who I am picking.

The runners up for 2015 feature two companies and two individual. They are listed in no particular order.

  • Walker Glass. This is a company that is always at every industry event and meeting. And they just don’t attend to attend; they are active, with many of their folks on or leading committees. In addition, they have made great technology advancements. This year, they made a major splash with their heavy push into bird-safe glass. The team there is led by owners Lee Harrison and Ross Christie, who may be the nicest people around. It’s a great mix, nice, hardworking people, who are doing very good things for our world.
  • Garret Henson, Viracon. I think if I mention Garret any more he may take out a PPO on me. So, this will be the last time, at least in 2015. Garret is very deserving, and he cemented his place on this list with his performance at the Glazing Executive Forum in September. He takes very smart approaches to selling, and his massive embrace of communication is something I wish more would do. He’s also built a team around him at Viracon that always impresses and makes our industry look good.
  • Dip-Tech. The other company on the MVP list is this great Israeli organization. Dip-Tech has been very impressive in basically creating a new market from scratch. They have some incredibly engaging people that are always innovating, and always looking to see what else they can do to support the cause. They could have chosen to sit back and soak in their successes, but that has not been the case. Plus they are active and supportive within in the industry in many different forums, and are open to every idea.
  • Kris Vockler, ICD High Performance Coatings. Personally, I consider Kris to be a close friend. She is a fantastic person, and is a part of one of the best families this industry has. Professionally, though, is where this nomination comes from. The time, care, and effort Kris puts in at the trade level via GANA is impressive. Her desire for an overall advancement in the way the industry works is extremely admirable and needed. On the business side, ICD (with lots of credit to Kris’ dad Larry) has been pushing the envelope for years. They could sit back, but don’t, and that’s due to the drive Kris has.

Congratulations to the Industry MVP Runners Up! Thank you for doing what you do for this industry. Next month I’ll recognize the 2015 MVP. And, as a hint, it is an individual this year, not a company. 

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.

While I am always looking ahead with a positive approach, I can tell you one thing I am dreading…the 2016 presidential election. This is going to be a wild and probably bizarre ride thanks to more media (with more social and electronic options than ever), and more candidates. And with all of this extra attention will come extra noise and hyperbole. Simply said, it’s going to be a circus. But, this election, like all major ones, has the potential to change the trajectory of the construction and glass world. So, getting to know the candidates is critical—and not only the presidential ones, but your congressional and senatorial choices as well.

On a side note, it has been good that some candidates have already been active in noting their positions with regards to the building industry, so at least that’s not getting lost in the other adventures that come up during events like these.


I have some more lists for you—and you know how much I love them.

  • First, the great folks from published a fascinating list on “Which States Care Most about the Environment.” They used Google trends to develop it, and the study was broken up into several categories. It’s a different way to see who’s interested in the environment and energy savings, and there were certainly some surprises. 
  •  The other list I have for you is something that I think everyone who reads this blog can have an opinion on: “The Worst Freeways in America.” Here are the top 12: 

12. I-95 and I-195 in Providence. I have no experience here.

11. 1-76/Schuylkill in Philly. I assume my pal Ted Bleecker may have an opinion on this.

10. I-376-Parkway East/West in Pittsburgh. Yep. It’s horrendous. I grew up there.

9. I-880 in San Jose.

8- I-80 in San Francisco. I guess the roads in NoCal are NoFun.

7. I-35 in Austin. I never thought it was that bad, but, then again I’m not there a lot.

6. I-635/LBJ Dallas. This is too low. Dallas roads and traffic are brutal.

5. I-70 in Denver. In the Winter it’s like a demolition derby.

4. The 405 in Los Angeles. I have very little experience here, but I am sure my friends in SoCal can vouch for it. Or, is the reputation worse than the reality?

3. 610 Loop in Houston. I think this should flip positions with Dallas.

2. I-10 in New Orleans. I have never been to New Orleans, which is nuts considering there are always shows and events there.

And the worst freeway in the US is …

1. I-66 in Washington DC. This is a very worthy champion! Not a fun road in any way, shape or form!

There is one big omission on this list, however. How are none of the freeways that run through Boston on here?

And, by the way for my Canadian friends, the traffic in Toronto and Vancouver is mind blowingly bad. So, both would be at the top of this list if it included the great country of Canada.

  • The new Apple headquarters continues to get further along in construction, and Forbes this week had an update. So far, so good. And that is one place I will make every effort to get to when done, just to see it all. Thanks to the great twitter feed of @JohnLWheaton1 for the heads up. 
  • Next week I’ll be unveiling some of the names and companies that were nominated for the 2015 Industry MVP. The winner however will not be in that list. I’ll lay that out in December. There are some excellent nominees, as there are certainly a lot of good people and companies in our world right now.

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.


The annual Dodge Construction Outlook conference was held last week, and for the most part the data is trending positive in the construction world. Overall construction starts are predicted to rise once again, but at a slower rate than the past—6 percent, after gains of 9 percent in 2014, and an estimated 14 percent for 2015. Commercial construction is also being pushed upward with a healthier jump in 2016. The one area to watch is the office category. Dodge is predicting an 11 percent jump, but there’s another analysis that I follow that is not as bullish. Obviously a majority of the audience who read this blog are heavily involved in the office category in one form or another.

The other big take away was that the cycle is looking healthy, meaning there’s still expected growth to happen. We’ve been hearing 2018 and 2019, so this seemingly is another affirmation of those previous predictions. As I think we all know, these forecasts are not guaranteed and have been known to be wildly off, especially during the recession. So everything needs to be taken with a massive grain of salt. Though in the end, I will take these positive notes for sure.


  • One of the other big themes of the Dodge event was the discussion about people and talent. Basically, the ability to hold on to your best people is a major concern and it’s something on the radar at companies all over the globe. It also points to the need to train your folks and grow your bench, because it’s surely tough out there to bring folks in. 
  • Speaking of talent leaving, we as an industry lost a major player to retirement last week. The incredible and iconic Ricky Shaw (Solar Seal, Shaw Glass, CGH) is calling an end to his glass career after more than 40 years of industry-leading moves, especially in regards to equipment and products. I am thrilled for him, even though his loss leaves a hole in the fabric of the Northeast and New England glass and fabrication scene. Enjoy the next phase of your life Rick. You have earned all of the skiing, golf, and whatever other recreational approach you want to do!
  • Now, maybe Rick will become a consultant like the technical wizard Chris Barry did when he retired from Pilkington a while back. I got to visit some with Chris this week and even though he’s not associated with a company, his care and passion for this industry has not waned one bit. He still attends trade meetings, and his activity and insight on our products is absolutely crucial for all of us to respect and understand.
  • There was a good piece from Julie Ruth in the latest Glass Magazine. Her first hand take of a tornado in her community and then the reaction to it (from a business and code approach) makes for a good read. 
  • Last this week, a quick book review. Have you ever read a book and 98 percent of it is awesome and you’re so excited to see how it ends, and then it closes with a thunderous dud? Well that’s the book “Almost- 12 Electric Months Chasing a Silicon Valley Dream.” This book about a start up in Silicon Valley was really mesmerizing, as the author wrote about what can go right and wrong (mostly wrong) with a startup. After spending a ton of time with this story and really being invested, the ending just came up very short in my opinion.  Anyway, if you want a book with 98 percent of an interesting story with dysfunction everywhere, give this one a shot. By the way after a run of business background books and history books, next one up is comedian David Spade’s biography. That surely will be different than what I have been reading!

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.


This week, From the Fabricator turns 10. One decade of posts and ramblings on the first ever glass and aluminum related blog. Please join me please on a run through memory lane.

It all started on Oct. 25, 2005. This blog was launched with a simple 17-word post. The goal was to provide insight to the industry with this new avenue of communication. On Oct. 27, I came back with a post with a few of my favorite subjects: the National Fenestration Rating Council, China and green building. And from there it took off.

I used this space to inform and educate. I tried to rally the industry, sometimes succeeding, sometimes not. But I tried. And, as time went on, this blog became a stop for readers to see what I’d say next. And that was good and bad.

On the negative side, back then, I was pretty rough around the edges. I thought I was bulletproof and pretty much set for life. I had people around me that loved when I threw haymakers, so I did it to please them. But, I also got into it myself, and was too stupid to realize what I was doing. There were surely posts I regret, and ones that hold me back professionally to this day. So, believe me, lessons learned.

On the plus side, I was breaking stories. I was getting leads on acquisitions from all over thanks to this forum. I broke the Oldcastle purchase of Vistawall, and was on top of Pella buying EFCO, which back then were gigantic deals. Companies changed the way they did due diligence and closed communications tighter. As a former communication and journalism person, I enjoyed the fact I was disruptive. And I also got a kick out of making life miserable for the NFRC. Though, in the end they “kinda” won when the industry slept through the process. (I say kinda because even years later their system is not what it was ever cracked up to be).

In 2006 and 2007 as this blog was really growing, we were all busy in this industry. Things were rolling. I joke about it a lot, but no one truly realized things were THAT good then. We were all in a good place P&L wise, but there were always issues and fire drills—things like codes and standards, etc. And if you didn’t work through the 70’s and the recession then, you didn’t know what bad times really were. Then 2009 and 2010 arrived, and we all found out.

Things changed, and changed quickly. I hit a crossroads, and as fate would have it, I had to face some of the same people I was rough to on this blog. My rabblerousing days had me in a bad spot. Somehow I was very fortunate and beyond blessed that Arturo Carrillo looked beyond my past and gave me shot at Vitro America when my previous world went up in sun-ignited flames. Many people inside Vitro America questioned Arturo on why he’d hire the blogger who was a massive thorn in his company’s side.  Thankfully he held to his convictions that there was more to me than my writings, and that I had grown from it, and realized what I had done and whom I had affected. But, enough of my personal adventures. (That will be a book someday…haha!) This post is meant to be about the blog.

With a new lease on my professional life, I refocused my energy and passion, changed my style and basically “grew up” thanks to the support and guidance of people like Arturo, Nicole Harris, Denise Sheehan, Greg Carney (RIP), Kris Vockler, and many others. I began a different approach and liked it. I enjoyed being positive, but without losing my eye for things that concerned me. I dropped the attack mode and tried to focus on the good people of this industry who do great things but get little to no recognition. I still call out issues and warn of consequences, but I do it without rancor. (Usually!) And while there’s a vocal minority that implores me to be like I used to be, I’m never going back to that style.

Since I started this adventure, our industry changed so much. Major players at every level are gone. If you would’ve told me when I started this blog that 10 years from now I’d be on my own and that several major players had failed, I would’ve never of believed it. Especially the being on my own fact. That still blows me away.

It’s been 10 years and 538 posts. And I could not of done it without all of you out there. The encouragement, dialogue, support and so on mean the world to me. When brilliant and class people like John Wheaton, Ted Bleecker, Jeff Kirby, Terry Newcomb, Garret Henson, Mark Silverberg, Rich Porayko, Jon Kimberlain, Tom O’Malley, Marc Deschamps, Chuck Knickerbocker, and many many others take the time to drop me notes or tweet my blog out, it blows me away. (I know I am forgetting people to name. Sorry!)

Thank you to all who read this week in, week out and never comment or communicate as well. The fact you give me 5 minutes a week is appreciated. The traffic that I get never fails to boggle my mind, and I will always be forever grateful.

Ten years down, and who knows how many more years to go. But we’re going to keep plugging along. I hope you’ll continue to join me on the ride.

Thank you.

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.

The many industry gatherings in recent weeks lent themselves to the incubation of rumors. Being connected to the industry in the odd ways I am, I get to hear many of these. Most are of the outlandish variety, but some eventually happen. In any case, the scuttlebutt continues to grow regarding newer foreign players coming to the United States to set up fabrication plants. These rumors started a year ago during glasstec and have gained more ground throughout the year. It bears watching if the current busy market attracts new players. Plus, it poses the question about whether these newcomers will pursue greenfield opportunities or acquisitions. It’s a sellers’ market right now, so I would not be shocked if we see the former happen. My fearless prediction is you will see someone new hitting a major market in the next 6 to 9 months.


  • Thank you to everyone in the industry who signed the Section 179 petition. It was a bunch of you and good to see. The petition passed the 10K mark this week, and the effort continues to encourage Congress to look at this piece and roll it back to where it should be. 
  • I have been following the new Apple headquarters closely, and this week renderings were released for another major Apple campus building in Silicon Valley. This one is a clover leaf shaped complex that will cover 18 acres. HOK is the designer, and it will feature a lot of glass—a lot of it large and bent. Plus there’s some thought that Apple may try to push for Net Zero on this complex, which would be an amazing accomplishment. So, expectation of a heavy dose of solar is surely a possibility. 
  • Before we leave the state of California, I read a comical piece this week in the New York Times on electric cars and the battles that come with them—mainly, the areas and spaces necessary to charge them up. People are getting fired up as the cars and technology are outpacing areas to service and charge. It’s a great read and shows that sometimes disruptive technology still has a long way to go with support and consideration. Personally, I see frustration and arguments over electrical outlets all the time, particularly at the busy airports I frequent. 
  • Poll time. So, what are the most energy efficient and least energy efficient states? A new survey by WalletHub outlined the rankings by analyzing efficiency of car and home energy consumption as part of the process. (Note, the study covered the continental U.S. only).

    Most Efficient:
    1. New York (Color me stunned on this one)
    2. Vermont
    3. Minnesota (I actually figured this would be No. 1, thanks to brilliant people like Kerry Haglund being so active there)
    4. Wisconsin
    5. Utah

    Least Efficient:
    44. Arkansas
    45. Kentucky
    46. Texas
    47. Louisiana
    48. South Carolina

    So, South Carolina is the least energy efficient state according to this particular piece. I guess, aside from being a tough state to get hurricane protection codes enforced, S.C. is also tough in terms of energy.

    I am in shock after the end of the Michigan-Michigan State game. What a wild finish to a pretty intriguing football game. I love college football. Congrats to my many State fans out there, and I feel for my UofM folks.

    Last this week. For those of you with a retail arm, do yourself a favor and check out this article about Angie’s List. If you provide a service to the public, you likely have been inundated and guilted by the heavy sales pitch from these folks, and this story gives some insight on why. I have to give credit to the people behind this service. They have found a way to make some good money without the effort of producing the product. 

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.

As we approach the end of the year, I have begun my process of figuring out who the industry MVP will be. Previous winners were Tracy Rogers of Quanex and the entire C.R. Laurence organization. 2015 looks to be much harder, as again there is no shortage of great candidates. What I look for is a person or company that has made an impact on our industry, be it technical, marketing, codes, leadership and so on. I am gathering my list, and if you believe there’s someone deserving in your opinion, please shoot me an email. I get around quite a bit, but not everywhere, so I may miss a potential candidate. I will note some of the finalists in November and then unveil and honor the winner in December. Thank you.


  • Once again, I enjoyed the Twitter coverage supplied by Glass Magazine (@GlassMag), this time from the Vitrum show in Italy. Great pictures and details, including a neat shot of what it looks like inside a working tempering oven. Overall it looked like an interesting show in regards to some cutting edge equipment. 
  • Speaking of machinery, can that sector be any hotter right now? It is surely a good time to be in that world. Congrats to those folks who had to really hold their breath through the tight times a few years ago. 
  • Have you seen the wild glass bridge in China? Thanks to friends Evan Otruba of Binswanger and Rick Shaw of Solar Seal for bringing me up to speed on this. The 984-foot glass suspension bridge is something to see, and it made even bigger news this week when a tourist dropped a metal travel mug and cracked one of the superficial exterior lites of glass. As those of us in the industry know, it’s not a big deal, but for the mainstream media it’s cause for a major story. 
  • It is October, and that means the NFL breaks out its annual Pinkwashing campaign. This is the time where every player, coach and official wears a multitude of pink to make us aware that they care about breast cancer. The league also sells all of this pink gear with “proceeds” going to charity. Sadly—and it’s been like this for years—they are just donating just a tiny bit of money to actually combat this heinous disease. After it’s all broken out, around 8 percent of proceeds of the pink gear sold goes to the American Cancer Society, and none of it goes towards research. Yes, that tiny sliver of cash goes towards “awareness,” which is a joke given that the last thing society needs in this effort is awareness. What is needed is research and a cure. I just can’t stand that every October this sham of campaign goes on, and the NFL gets richer, and we remain no closer to any breakthroughs in cancer world. We treat cancer the same way in 2015 that we did in 1980. That’s insane. In addition, good charities that need the funding suffer because of the overall power of something like this. That unintended consequence makes it hurt even more.  
  • Last this week, the GANA Fall Conference takes place in San Antonio. I won’t be there but I do look forward to hearing about what goes on and the discussions that arise.

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.


I listened in on a construction forecast webinar this week, and it was basically more of what we we’ve been hearing: positive for the non-residential market for 2016, with some improvement on the institution side of things. Hotels and recreation are primed for a big year as well. But the interesting part was when the analyst reviewed material costs; when he got to flat glass he said something along the lines of “Usually flat glass costing is like its name… flat, but lately we’re seeing a rise.” He then added basically a regurgitation of the Wall Street Journal article saying there’s a supply shortage creating job delays. So the narrative that was floated out there a few weeks ago is growing, especially when it’s hitting the indicators and analysts.


  • I’ve always been a big fan of Donald Jayson and Bendheim for how they do business. Now I can add another great item  to the list, with their 4th generation  addition of Benjamin Jayson to the business. Obviously, I have a special place in my heart for the family business, and I love seeing the latest generations joining our industry. Congrats to the Jayson family!
  • Just a heads up: the folks at SAPA are hosting an Architectural Workshop for architects, designers, and building consultant for the first time in New York City. Great opportunity for those groups to learn some of the intricacies of metal and help them with design. So if you fall into that category, you should look into it. The date is October 14; more info is here. Props to Mark Spencer and the team at SAPA; they’re always on the cutting edge.
  • Communication was a big theme during GlassBuild America, and  I recently ran into a decent read on tips for effective construction communication.
  • Off topic from the industry… if you want an amazing read and book you will not want to put down, grab “13 Hours, The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi.” This book by Mitchell Zuckoff is amazing. It is non-political, so there are no discussions of what happened or did not happen in Washington or with politicians. It is about the men who had to deal with the attack and protect the annex and compound there. It’s told minute by minute with incredible detail. Amazing read. Evidently a movie is now being made from it. I am scared Hollywood will ruin it.
  • Bad news from the latest release of jobsite safety numbers. The construction world is in the midst of its most dangerous year since 2008. I know so many companies stress safety to the furthest extent, yet the injuries and fatalities keep happening and now at a pace that is really depressing.
  • I really thought the Alcoa news from last week would make more waves than it did. The announcement that the organization would split into two companies got a little reaction, and then everyone moved on. Industry-wise, the question is on where Kawneer lands. As expected, the release and comments say all will continue to be normal and that’s to be expected in the short term. But as with every deal, it sure bears watching to see what, if any, changes come down the pike there.


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

GlassBuild America 2015 is now in the books and it surely confirmed that we are in the midst of a very positive or “up” cycle in our industry. Whether it was the busy show floor (including a 2nd day that had action rivaling some of the best shows I have attended in my 24 years in the industry); or the insight from the experts that were provided via forums and express learning; or the multitude of meetings and social gatherings throughout the center and town, I walked away from this event feeling very good about the current economic landscape as it pertains to our world. Obviously we have massive challenges, including workforce, supply and transportation, but at least we are sitting on what appears to be a very solid base.

The other main overall takeaway I have is that this is no surprise. The last few editions of GlassBuild have been momentum builders with increasing enthusiasm each year. Sharp companies and attendees have been taking advantage of this and growing their business, 2015 just added more people to the mix. With the indicators strong, I do expect 2016 in Las Vegas (October next year instead of traditional September) to be off the charts in regards to exhibits, attendees, and most importantly, business done!

Now on to my annual show review of the people, products, and adventures on the floor…


  • Clearly one major stop was the C.R. Laurence booth because of their news making in the last few weeks. It was enjoyable to get a few minutes with Mr. Friese and Lloyd Talbert to personally congratulate them on the deal. Spending a few minutes learning from Jeff Phillips and Joe Schiavone was also incredible for me. I love gaining knowledge however possible! I visited for basically a split second with old friend Matt Hale of YKK AP as he had people lined up waiting to catch up with him. Never bad to see Dan Poling of Schott; though once again, I failed to get a picture of him with me to show my wife I was hanging with a James Franco lookalike. Ran into Jim Gildea late in the show, which was a great blast from the past. Speaking of the past, I had not seen Dave Alexander of Guardian in quite a while, so that was surely an unexpected plus. Two of the coolest guys in our world? Devin Bowman and Dave Vermeulen of Technical Glass Products were there and I am always blown away at everything that company does.
  • There was lots of discussion about the now debunked article in the Wall Street Journal throughout the floor. Was great to catch up on that with the always-on-point Pat Kenny of PPG. And, the legend Rob Struble was at the show so that could be why things went so well…. Speaking of “doing well,” that would pertain to Ralph Aknin, as it was great to see him and see him looking healthy and well. Plus, getting to meet Sandi Jensen and Leslie Idems at the same time was a show-maker for me. Good people. 
  • GlassBuild allows me to meet people who may read my blog, or industry people I have admired but spent very little time with. In that category, getting to talk with Greg Abrams and Chris Murphy of 310 Tempering was great. Smart and focused guys who will do well. I was humbled that Dip Tech VP of Sales Erik de Jongh noted that he read my blog--that was unanticipated but appreciated! And getting a chance to meet the new CEO at Dip Tech, Alon Lumbroso, was an honor for sure. Wanted more time with Gus Trupiano of AGC but failed there. Next event for sure. Thank you to Dave Hull of Glass Guru for stopping me to say hi and introducing me to a few of his new franchisees he was shepherding through the show. 
  • The show always has a reunion feel for me as I run into so many former coworkers I respect tremendously. People like Cliff Monroe of Oldcastle Glass; Tony Kamber, Joel Smith, and Scott Sallee of AMG; Mike Dishmon of Virginia Glass; Henry Taylor of Kawneer; Erik Stumpf of CGH; Scott Cook of GGI; and Manny Valladares of Aldora.
  • I missed tons and heard from them after: hated not seeing Rodger Ruff and Scott Goodman of AGC and Tom O’Malley of Clover. Though Tom’s doing so well right now I don’t think his handlers would allow me near him. I can always say I knew him before he got big.
  • One note on the Glazing Executives Forum: the panel that I had promoted here on the blog was very good. The key takeaway this excellent group presented was communication at every level. So needed, so crucial, yet so under rated and under utilized. The companies and people that are aggressive communicators will be better off in challenging supply times than those who are not. As for the members of the panel: I did not know John McGill of YKK and he was impressive. I do know Chris Cotton of Dlubak/CGH as we share a distinction of being the “other brother” to more powerful and popular industry siblings. Chris was great, too. But the star was Garret Henson of Viracon. I joke a lot with Garret, but in all seriousness, he was incredible in his presentation and his insight. Strong, clear speaking style that resonates with our audience. Only Joe Puishys at BEC this year was a better speaker, in my opinion. Sorry in advance Garret for the abuse that you will get within the walls of Viracon, but you deserve the props.
  • From a product standpoint, software was really notable, including some excellent solutions for the glazing contractor I had never seen before. Labor-saving equipment continues to be robust, specifically the glass installation/handling machinery.  My old favorite Dynamic Glass had a good show as well; Pleotint smartly landed in the bustling “Dream Showroom” and was busy from start to finish, while Sage had several well-attended demonstrations on how to install their product. It was a very intelligent move to educate the installers and get them familiar and comfortable with the product.
  • Best clothes: past winners PPG and Salem were decent, but not enough to beat Quanex. Great colors for women and men, really clean and classy. On that note, I only get to see fine people like Brian and Kim Kress, and Ryan Kerch once a year at the show, so was nice to visit them and not only chat but admire/envy the look!
  • The show was also strong social media-wise. I enjoyed running the GlassBuild feeds for a few days and interacting with some great companies. The periscope piece is a work in progress, but was fun to do. Just wish I had an extra hand or two so I could do all I wanted to do with this stuff!


So that’s the wrap up. Bottom line is we are in a good place; let’s keep moving on it. Communicate strong and make it happen while the climate is ripe!

Links and video of the week will return next week. Read more on Max's blog

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.

Note: This post is a little longer this week because of the big news from last week and GlassBuild America kicking off this week.

One story that I have been talking about for a while, and that Glass Magazine has been all over for months, hit the mainstream media in a big way this week. A story that led with the premise of glass being short in supply first appeared in the Wall Street Journal on September 8th. (Thank you old pal Scott Surma for the initial lead on it.) After the first posting of the article, many other sites followed with their takes as well, making the news somewhat “viral,” at least as our world is concerned.

First and foremost, the original article from the Journal had some serious flaws in it. The biggest one was noting that a product shortage forced real estate companies into the “glass” business. However, the Journal's example firm actually makes unitized curtain wall, so that move in no way alleviates any pressure a glass shortage would have. That’s just a hole in the story logic, making their “problem” more of a fabricator/glazier issue, which in fact is a serious problem, possibly as much as a tightening of glass capacity. 

When it comes to glazing, especially major, high-end contracted projects, the field of qualified players is very limited. Because of many factors, only so many companies per market really want to get into these projects, or have the ability to do so. These are sophisticated projects that if you do not have a good team, including top-notch project managers, your entire business could fail with one bad turn. So blaming a glass shortage the way the article initially intended and then going into the installation issues in the way the article ended, was off base. 

This WSJ article really is more about a glazing issue, featuring costs developers never expected to pay, and lead-times they never expected to wait. Why? Because they’ve always enjoyed the benefits of the opposite. Most feel our industry has always been too “competitive” when it comes to the first issue and way too expedient on the second. Lead-times especially have thrown many in the chain because it’s always been a “just in time” world. We surely spoiled the masses there.

In the end, there are two takeaways.

First, there’s no doubt, despite the confusing nature of some of the articles out this week, we do have a glass shortage. It’s been building for a while. It’s something I have been banging on and telling anyone who listens to prepare for. I know some are questioning if it’s real, and while they may make calls to find out, anyone who works in this business on a day-to-day basis knows it’s a very difficult climate, worse in areas that are further from the primary plants and especially bad on certain styles and sizes of glass. What used to always be there is simply not available right now.

Second, we do have an issue with installation, especially a shortage of quality project managers. That is something that is not new to readers of this blog either. When you add these up with the other factors in our world (transportation, recovering economy, stressed equipment, etc.), this is what happens.

As noted above, many sites picked up on this original story. But one article really caught my eye. It was by huge tech blog Gizmodo. This one took the lead from the Journal, stayed in its lane focus wise, and then also pointed out the excellent work that Katy Devlin and Glass Magazine did to show what is happening here. Plus the story featured the line of the year for me:

"Maybe most interestingly, this isn’t the first time a glass shortage has hit the world. Katy Devlin, editor of Glass Magazine (yes, there is a glass magazine!)"

That last sentence: so true. And if you’ve been reading Glass Magazine, you knew about all of this long before the mainstream stumbled upon it.


  • Last note on the above for now: Props to Matt Tangeman of Custom Glass Machinery. He attacked the comment section of the WSJ story like a champ. Great insights provided. Nice work, Matt! 
  • GlassBuild America kicks off this week, and I am looking forward to seeing as many people as I can. Once again I’ll be the goofy looking guy wearing the yellow vest that looks like I stole from the ground crew at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Airport. So please stop me and say hi. As for the show, the exhibits I have been researching have me excited to see the innovation and advancements. And I have to say the amount of education this year is like nothing that has ever been at a conference or show before. It’s amazing. Also, a side note: during the Glazing Executives Forum, a great panel will be held on the lead-time subject featuring Garret Henson of Viracon, Chris Cotton of Dlubak/Consolidated Glass Holdings, and John McGill of YKK AP America. Three companies and three excellent people to provide some views on a very challenging world right now.
  • If you are unable to attend (I am sorry; tough one to miss), I will be tweeting from the GlassBuild America twitter account @GlassBuild and also doing Periscope sessions from there to show you some education and forum happenings. So follow @GlassBuild on both Twitter and Periscope. And my guess is they’ll probably never let me near either account again after this, so don’t miss it!
  • Of course on my blog next week, the recap of the show: people seen and products checked out and more.
  • Last this week, a shout out to my good friend Kris Vockler and the folks at ICD High Performance Coatings. ICD was given an award by the state of Washington for their efforts on hiring America’s veterans. The Vockler family are simply awesome people, and they back it up with the way they do business and the people they hire. Congrats!

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.

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