2015 Top 50 Glaziers

U.S. contract glaziers see higher sales in face of a growing labor shortage, constraints on supply, and increasing project complexity
Katy Devlin
April 29, 2015
COMMERCIAL, RETAIL, FABRICATION : TOP 50 GLAZIERS 2015

Seventy-one percent of Glass Magazine’s Top 50 Glaziers reported an increase in year-over-year sales in 2014. This marks the third consecutive year in which at least two-thirds of Top 50 companies saw growth.

2014 was also a year of more meaningful growth for many Top 50 companies. Ten companies saw sales increase 50 percent or more compared to 2013, with four companies reporting a doubling in year-over-year sales.

However, even as market conditions improved, contract glaziers reported three primary challenges: labor shortages, constraints on material supply, and projects of increasing complexity.

A number of Top 50 companies reported that demand outpaced supply for some materials in 2014. “The biggest challenge our company faced in 2014 was a lack of supplier capacity,” said officials from No. 2 Enclos Corp.

Strains on material supply have contributed to longer lead times, some material price increases, and the necessity for increased planning, among other challenges, companies report. Officials from No. 12, Massey's Plate Glass & Aluminum Inc., said their biggest challenge was “getting materials from vendors as lead times went [farther] out than expected.”

“Our customers expect schedules to always be met. Lead times from our vendor partners have lengthened within the past year and we see this as a challenge going into 2015,” adds David Martin of No. 36 H.J. Martin & Son Inc.

The improving market has also shed even more light on the lack of qualified labor. The biggest challenge in 2014 for No. 10 Kovach, was “finding qualified candidates to fill project management, detailing and estimating positions,” according to company officials.

“During growth periods, we have been challenged with finding quality new hires both in the office and field. The shortage of individuals entering the glazing industry has presented a challenge in 2014,” says Barbara Kotsos, director of marketing and public relations for No. 21 Giroux Glass.

Glazing companies are faced with these labor and material challenges while being tasked with ever-more-complex projects. The biggest challenge for No. 5 W&W Glass was “working on a continuous supply of design-assist projects with either [Schematic Design] or early [Design Development],” according to Jeff Haber, managing partner.

“We are worried that there is continued downward pressure on pricing even though we are seeing more complicated facades as well as shortages of materials in certain areas. We also see firms stretching out of their comfort zone and taking on projects they are not qualified for. This is resulting in the number of failures in which bonding companies are brought in to finish. The industry as a whole must act smarter, and develop a more disciplined approach to the market, and demand more appropriate margins for the risks that we are asked to undertake,” says Paul Becks, executive vice president for No. 26 National Enclosure Company Inc.

These challenges are “almost the polar opposite of the challenges that we were faced with just a few short years ago during the prolonged economic downturn,” says Lou Sigman, president of No. 32 Horizon Glass. “Now, in a much improved nonresidential construction market, we are finding ourselves challenged to not over-sell our available project management and manpower resources. … We would much rather have this challenge than that of scrounging for good projects to bid.”

The following feature presents the list of Top 50 Glaziers, based on 2014 sales volume; market statistics related to bid levels, profit margins, competition, employment, and building segment activity; and notable projects from a selection of companies. The report also looks at the U.S. glazing market over the past decade, from the years leading up to the 2007 peak, through the downturn, and the gradual rebound of the last several years.

About the list

The annual Top 50 rankings present what Glass Magazine editors believe to be the United States’ 50 largest contract glazing firms, based on sales volumes. The glazing firms are ranked within eight sales categories.

Information from 49 of the Top 50 comes directly from contract glazing firms or from financial reports from publicly traded parent companies.

We understand the sensitivity of releasing sales figures; however, we do not omit any firms simply because they ask. In cases where a company declines to provide information, we use independent sources to determine its ranking.

If your company belongs on the list, or you would like to update its information, please contact us. It is only with the cooperation of individual companies that Glass Magazine’s Top 50 Glaziers rankings can be as accurate as possible. Questions or comments about this year’s rankings, and requests to be included next year, can be sent to Katy Devlin at kdevlin@glass.org.

See also the 2015 Top 50 Glaziers...
Intro
The List
The Projects
The Market
The Trends

Katy Devlin is editor for Glass Magazine. E-mail Katy at kdevlin@glass.org.