From GlassBuild America: Glaziers discuss economy, trends, challenges at GEF

Glass Magazine
September 30, 2009
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION : MEETINGS AND EVENTS

About 120 attendees gathered in Atlanta Sept. 30 for the fourth annual Glazing Executive Forum, where the economy and energy efficiency were top of mind.

The group heard a panel discussion on the state of the industry and an economic forecast from Jeff Dietrich, senior analyst, Institute for Trend Research, Concord, N.H., that offered good and bad news.

“Looking back at the last four recessions, you never know what’s going to kick things forward,” said Paul Main, vice president, regional manager, Southwest region, Trainor Glass Co., Alsip, Ill., during the panel. “But if you think of September of last year compared to now, we are better off.”

The group discussed green building during a breakout session LEED Projects and the Role of the Contract Glazier. Demand for energy-efficient building products, driven in part by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, offers great opportunities for glass companies, even in the slower economy, said many meeting attendees.

“With the huge demand for energy efficiency, glass companies are going to be able to sell our products,” said Newton Little, vice president, Ace Glass, Little Rock, Ark.

“We’re seeing an aggressive move by all manufacturers to become more efficient,” said Rod Van Buskirk, president, Bacon and Van Buskirk, Champaign, Ill. “Companies are really pushing their energy packages—thermal breaks, multiple layer low-efficiency warm edge.”

Other breakout sessions included: Estimating in a Tough Market that addressed the challenges of estimating in market of increased competition and low bidders, and the struggle to not bid too high or too low; at Recruiting, Training and Retaining in the Contract Glazing Industry, company owners shared ideas on how to find and keep the best employees; and during Contracts & Legal Issues, glaziers and products suppliers discussed common legal hurdles, such as warranties and conflict resolution.

The event, hosted by the National Glass Association, McLean, Va., was held in conjunction with GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo, running Sept. 30-Oct. 2.