glassblog

Monday, August 19, 2019

David VermeulenHow do you get spec’d by an architect? It’s the building industry’s million-dollar question.

There are approximately 113,500 licensed architects in the U.S., according to the National Council Architectural Registration Boards. That might not seem like a big number, but think about it this way. Between 2008 and 2012, those architects helped design and specify materials in over 300,000 commercial buildings. That’s a whole lot of purchasing power when you consider the sheer volume of materials needed to make just one building come to life.

The problem, as we all know, is that it’s hard to figure out how or why a particular architect chooses one product over another. Some architects work for small one-person firms. Others, large 100-plus person firms. Each architect—and firm, for that matter—has different preferences and project goals driving specification. So, how does your product make it into their spec? Numerous subscription services are out there offering to increase your specification rates. Are they the answer? The whole process is such a mystery that the American Institute of Architects allocated some research dollars to shed some light on the issue a few years back.

There are a lot of good takeaways from the study that are worth revisiting in the glass industry, but none more important than relationships. The survey found that almost 60 percent of the time an architect already knows the materials manufacturer he or she will use. Getting further into the weeds, seven in 10 architects said they prefer to go with a supplier they’ve already worked with before.

So, while I may not know the answer to the million-dollar question, my takeaway is this: developing a solid foundation of mutual respect with the architect is key to gaining repeated access to the project vision and goals. As we head into the second half of the year, here are a few thoughts on how to keep building relationships that last.

1.     Let needs drive the conversation

In the push to design the latest and greatest building, basic project needs can get overlooked. Is the product expected to meet certain fire-rated requirements? What about energy performance or resilient design standards? Making sure these crucial needs are met first, then addressing the bells and whistles, can help set realistic expectations about how your product fits into the project. It also leaves time for creative problem solving if codes or performance requirements impact aesthetics.

2.     Go beyond the transaction

It’s easy to fall into transactional relationships when schedules are busy. But there’s a lot of truth to the adage, “out of sight, out of mind.” To set yourself up as a reliable and trustworthy partner that stays present, consider what you can do to make the architect’s job easier. This can be a simple as providing assistance in understanding building codes or as involved as helping with the design-build phase.

3.     Show, don’t tell

It’s one thing to talk about your product. It’s another to build credibility and show what it can do. I was reminded of this basic principle during a recent interview. The firm in reference needed a fire-rated glazing solution for a historic retrofit. They wanted to preserve sightlines to a prominent dome, and traditional, opaque fire-rated materials would block the view. When we were able to show the firm how another company had solved a similar problem using our fire-rated glass floor system, it put the entire situation into context. Moving forward was quick and easy. The firm could visualize exactly how our product could meet their needs, and we were able to validate our work and build trust.

4.     Prioritize quality

Few things undermine a relationship with an architect like getting to the end of a project and finding out that a poorly constructed material is compromising the overall design. Whether it’s on the shop floor or in a sales pitch, think beyond cost. Under delivering can lead to re-ordered products, project delays and onsite custom work that cost more than the relationship in the long term.

David Vermeulen is the national sales manager for Technical Glass Products (TGP), a supplier of fire-rated glass and framing systems, and other specialty architectural glazing. TGP works closely with architects, designers and other building professionals, providing them with the state-of-the-art products, service and support to maximize design aesthetics and safety in commercial and institutional buildings around the world. Contact him at 800/426-0279.

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, August 12, 2019

Tom O'Malley

I have been traveling for 25 years and I have learned many things. First, travel is not as exciting as it may appear. Usually, I am in a hotel off the highway and no one is carrying my bags up to my room for me. My kids think I stay in the same hotels that I use all my hotel loyalty points for on family vacations, and wonder why I am so cranky after a work trip.

People often ask why I travel so much, except for my wife, who asks why I don’t travel more. The answer is simple: I feel it is the best way to get to know my customer and the marketplace. I don’t travel just to chase a specific job but also to stay in touch with my customers. I had someone say to me once, “Why are you traveling there? We have no jobs there.” Exactly—that is why I am traveling there, I am going to make sure they know who we are.

Having done this for so long I am fortunate that I have so many customers I can go see and they welcome me in. They have become friends who I look forward to seeing and grabbing a meal with. This did not happen overnight though. It took a lot of hard work, rejections and miles.

I think for anyone starting out as a traveling salesperson you need to learn some key things.

  • Always be respectful of your client’s time. They are fitting you into their day; things happen, and you could be running behind. If that happens, just let them know and give them a timeframe. They will understand and appreciate your communication, and it will show them how you would handle a job when things that come up.
  • Allow yourself time and plan your day accordingly. Believe it or not you can’t go from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore in 45 minutes even though it is just 45 miles. Just because it is convenient for you to see someone at 10 a.m. because your last appointment is just down the street doesn’t mean that is best for them. Unfortunately, they will be inconvenienced.
  • Make the effort to get the client out of the office. The obvious is lunch, but sometimes people’s schedules are more conducive to breakfast, drinks after work or dinner. Be flexible even if it means an early wake up or less free time at night. When they are not in the office their attention will be on you. Do not be discouraged as it takes a while to get someone to spend their free time with you.
  • Have a goal for the trip. This could include meeting a new customer, closing a job, taking someone out, doing a presentation or seeing an architect. You do not always close a job on a trip, so you need small wins that help you build your confidence and sense of accomplishment.
  • Foster relationships. Relationships are what makes the world go around. What you need to realize is these relationships don’t happen overnight. I have learned about relationships from many people and have emulated many things in fostering these relationships/partnerships along the way.
  • Attend industry events. I have faithfully been attending our industry trade shows from year one. This allowed me to meet key people outside of the office where they may be a little more relaxed. I would then follow up when I was traveling to their city and I had an instant connection. The key is to get out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to as many people as possible.
  • Make cold calls. An appointment is always preferred but sometimes you have some extra time in your day. It is easy to use that time to finish your day early or have a longer lunch. I try and stop in and meet with someone, or at least leave a card and get some names of key people. I have landed many a project from this initial step. Even if it was two to three years later and they remembered me.
  • Ask for a referral. Once you are in with one person at a company, do not stop there. Ask them to walk you around to other key people. It is easier to get an introduction while you are in the office then trying to call or email later. People do appreciate the time and cost associated with travel and I have had many customers say they have never met my competition other than a local rep. They recognize the effort you made to come see them and usually want it to be a success for you.
  • Network with other industry people. I have become friends with other people that handle different products. In the end we often have similar customers. I laugh when I hear people say, “Look at those two sales guys talking, what a waste of time.” I have done introductions for these other salespeople, and vice versa. This helps get you past the “gatekeeper.” Good people like to help good people.
  • Respect the privacy of a lead. My philosophy is only bid those leads that come to you. If you start calling others on a prospective bid, they may appreciate it but will most likely not trust you with a confidential bid. If people trust you it will lead people to only get a number from you. That will increase your sales more than chasing everyone and having no loyalty.

When the customer thinks of you as a partner, that is when the relationship changes. You are not looked at as a supplier but as a valued team member. You win and lose jobs together. You build your businesses together and you solidify the friendship. All of this takes time and effort but you will be amazed as you look back and see all the progress you have made.

Tom O’Malley is a founding partner at Clover Architectural Products and is vice president of sales. He has been in the aluminum and glass industry for 23 years. Currently he focuses his time on working with architects, helping to bring their ideas to fruition. He also travels and meets with the top glazing and metal subcontractors to partner with them to help make their project a success.

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, August 12, 2019

It was an uneven past week economically in our world. This certainly could possibly be the “bump” in the road that was predicted earlier this year for some time in 2019. If you remember, when I wrote about my speech in Texas earlier this year, I noted that analysis coming down the pike said we’d soften but eventually bounce back for 2020. Looks like we are there now, as seemingly every forecast or update I see is showing weakness and even more convincing is a slowing in the residential setting. That has always been the alarm bell: when residential slows up, look out. We will see how this all progresses. Obviously so much of this is fluid. The tariff issue rocked the markets this week and we still have a very fragile geopolitical landscape, so hold on tight folks.

Elsewhere…

  • Speaking of past topics, that webinar I noted from the NGA and Architectural Record which was so amazing is now available for all and worth checking out. You can find it here.
  • Thanks to everyone who wrote in last week on the GlassBuild for Glaziers angle. Most people gave me positive insights, but I did get a note that said the show felt light on items for the glazier. All I could say is, come on back this year and check it out. I think you’ll come away impressed.  
  • This month’s Glass Magazine review: wow what a freaking cover! Beautiful and eye catching. Grow Your Business at GlassBuild America is the very appropriate and accurate headline. So, of course, it is the preview edition for the show and the issue is packed with insight and info. I especially like the product previews. I can never get enough of those. In addition, a must read from Stephanie Miller on EPD and HPD. Why is it must read? Because so many people have questions on those processes and Stephanie answers them perfectly! 
  • Ad of the month: since this is one of the more popular issues of the year, more ads end up in it which makes my giving out this ultra-prestigious honor so much harder! There are actually three ads to recognize:
    1) Quanex with a cool future play.  
    2) TGP using “SPEC” smartly while promoting their products, and
    3) SoftSolution with that eye of the Tiger—I assume a Tiger?—staring you down. 

All good ads that worked nicely. Overall though this was an incredible batch of work by many companies. Some excellent marketing folks really raising the bar to bring brand awareness to the forefront!

  • Please check out my video of the week. It came via the great John Wheaton and it’s worth the watch. It’s “the man behind the worlds ugliest buildings,” and if you don’t chuckle several times I’ll be stunned!
  • By the time I write again here, college football will have started, and I will tell you I love college football. Sleeper team this year? Going to be my pal Steve Cohen’s Penn State Nittany Lions—and right now Steve is cussing me out for putting the jinx on. Sorry Steve. Winning it all though is going to be Alabama; no way Nick Saban allows his team not to win it all after losing last year.
  • Last this week: no blog from me next week. I will return to this space the week of Aug. 25. If news happens, though, I will cover on Twitter and LinkedIn. 

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 MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.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, August 5, 2019

In our business, we know the importance of details and how even the smallest of mismeasurements can cause long-term headaches for a project.

One often-overlooked detail is how nominal differences in glazing thickness can impact multiple aspects of installation, as well as the overall performance of a structure. Today’s framing systems typically have very tight tolerances that limit the pocket variance to within 0.012 of an inch. So if the glazing thickness is off, even by just a nominal amount—think of a one-inch glass requirement versus a .946-inch glass delivery—the installer may have to use bigger gaskets to retain proper compression as a work-around since the glass would be considered outside the tolerance designed into the system to perform as expected.

Utilizing a makeshift solution to account for inaccurate glazing thickness may work for a short period of time, but in the long run it can lead to serious issues. Without proper gasket compression through standard installation, gaskets could become disengaged and create the potential for failure in water and/or air performance.

Overlooking this one small detail can lead to a cascade of issues down the road. So how do we avoid this situation?

Nominal no-go’s

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association actually provides a general voluntary standard for glazing thickness that says one-inch glass can be delivered within a certain nominal size range. While there are many products ordered and installed in our industry that can utilize these guidelines around nominal sizes, when it comes to glass and fenestration—as stated in the example above—these products have much less flexibility to overcome that nominal variance.

This makes it incumbent on glazing contractors to be overly diligent when placing orders with manufacturers. While an architect may specify a nominal size, glazing contractors and manufacturers must work together to ensure whether or not nominal sizing could compromise a project.

Delivering through diligence

The bottom line is, to get the performance that you desire from the glass and window, you have to have the right glass. Long-term issues with the system, such as over-compressed and failing gaskets, deformed and improperly functioning pressure plates, or varying levels of compression throughout the glass, can be easily avoided with some simple due diligence up front.

Because of this responsibility, communication between glazing contractors, glass fabricators and manufacturers is more crucial than ever. Be sure to specify the precise glazing thickness required for each project to take the guesswork out of the equation. And during installation, check the torque or the pressure to make sure it is correct. 

These are simple ways to ensure our projects are being completed to the highest quality possible. When a building’s performance is at its best, it is a true win-win all around.

Terry Carespodi is a National Sales Manager at YKK AP America Inc. His background in the architectural aluminum fenestration industry serves as an asset to his role, in which he is responsible for implementing strategic initiatives to further the company’s long-term goals.

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, August 5, 2019

Curious on what everyone else thinks on this; obviously by now you all know I am all about GlassBuild America, the show has been a client of mine for years, so of course I am going to be in heavy promo mode. Anyway, I had someone tell me they are not coming to GlassBuild because, “GlassBuild is a machinery show and there’s nothing for the glazier.” That threw me, because I know better, but I think not enough people in our world do. GlassBuild is the ultimate annual show for everything in our industry. Yes, machinery has a big and impressive part, but there is so much more to it, and for the glazier there’s a massive amount of growth and opportunity waiting at every turn. 

As a glazier, coming to GlassBuild America allows you to own your supply chain. Everyone you need is either exhibiting or walking the floor. Every single item that a glazier uses on a daily basis will have multiple supply groups there to talk to … how can you pass that up? Then you look at the technology with lifting and labor? Folks like Smartlift, Ergo, Sydercrane, Quattrolifts, and more exhibit—my gosh its impressive who is there!

Everyone wants more efficiency in the field, and GlassBuild America has those answers on the floor thanks to many different excellent exhibitors. How about software for estimating or project managing? Check. And how about if you want to see how these technologies work? It’s all there either in an exhibit or at the Action Demos. Put the seminars and speeches on top and you have everything you need to grow and advance your business. So, I turn to you dear readers; doesn’t this seem to be enough to get a glazier to the show? Should I try a different path?

Elsewhere…

  • Big congrats to old friend Michael Schmidt on his new position at Glaston. Very excited to see what he’ll do with the vast product lines at his fingertips and I look forward to standing in line to see him at all the shows. I say this because there is always a crowd around Michael at the shows.
  • Also congrats out to the folks at AAMA and IGMA for their news on the combination of those organizations. A lot of very good people involved there, and I expect this be a positive for the industry.
  • And last this week before the Big 3 interview, one more set of congrats—this to the fine men and women who achieved AGMT Glazier Certification. Our industry now has 177 newly certified professionals and that is an excellent start in that process! Kudos to the folks behind AGMT for tireless work in getting this going.

Big 3 Interview: Michael Blackmore, president, Ballistic Glass and Armor Solutions

I believe this may be the first interview I have done with someone I have not met in person yet. But after I saw the video embedded below, I just had to reach out and interview. Security and protective glazing is a growth area and I truly admire men like Michael who are determined to protect lives and property. Fascinating guy, and I look forward to meeting him person someday. Until then, you got to watch this video and then check out the interview, it is a fun one! 

Your videos, in which you literally stand behind your product, are super. How did you come up with the idea to do this and did you have any fear at all in the product not holding up?

The idea to do the “shoot me” videos was simply an “old school” approach to business that is the core of our approach to everything. We only put products on the market that we know will work, every time. I couldn’t think of a better way to communicate that, so I said, “Shoot me.” As far as fear, I was petrified, but not for the reason you may think. I knew our products would reject the rounds, I didn’t flinch when the shots were fired. I was petrified that the cameras wouldn’t capture the event on first take. It had taken 12 hours to setup the stage as a shooting booth, and we didn’t have time to re-set for a second take. Thank God, the cameras worked fine.

Your company has a very strong relationship with law enforcement organizations all over the country. How has that helped you and BGAS as you develop protective products for the glass industry?

Thank you for recognizing that. We absolutely support the “Thin Blue Line.” The vast majority of law enforcement is comprised of exceptionally good and committed individuals. Unfortunately, this sometimes gets lost when the spotlight is directed at the rare “bad apples” in this community.

Having good relationships with law enforcement has definitely helped our efforts. We were honored to be chosen for all ballistic aspects of the NYPD Times Square Station and BGAS is the specified supplier for all ballistic glazing, framing, doors, and walls for NYPD in all five boroughs.

Law enforcement relationships are particularly important in rural America. Whenever a concern develops there—for banks, utility payment centers, check cashing locations, pawn shops, schools, car dealers, and of course government buildings, and the police station—the first call made is to the police chief to take him/her for a cup of coffee to see what they think. This leads to an invitation for BGAS to consult and help develop the right solution to defeat the threat they are concerned about, such as forced entry, pistols, all rifles, and even blast and explosions.

Looking back to when you were a kid or teen, what did you initially want to be when you grew up? Did you ever think you’d be protecting people and saving lives with products you invented and/or innovated?

What did I want to be? Well, I rode my first bull in a rodeo when I was 14 and turned professional at 17. That is a young man’s sport and I retired at 21.

It is a long journey from the rodeo arena to our state-of-the-art glazing plant in Addison, Texas, and fabrication plants in Oklahoma.

I will tell you, Max, it is very rewarding pursuing our primary objective of “saving lives and protecting assets,” and providing out clients with true peace of mind. 

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 MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.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, July 29, 2019

Green. Historically recognized as a color, a synonym for money, or an adjective for a person new at something; today this 21st century buzz word is synonymous with sustainability and environmental consciousness, and it’s one of the biggest drivers behind modern corporate social responsibility.

In this sense, the concept of “green” has resulted in major changes for consumers, from higher fuel efficiency ratings of the new cars we buy, to the higher energy efficiency ratings of the homes and buildings we live and work in. The latter is due in part to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification and “green building” practices. But what exactly is LEED, how are LEED points and certification achieved, and how can your business use LEED and green building practices to provide increased value to your customers?

LEED, one of the most recognized green building certification programs in the world, was originally developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED includes a rating system which focuses on environmentally responsible aspects related to the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of buildings. LEED certified buildings are better for the environment, are energy efficient, have higher lease-up rates than conventional buildings in their markets, are healthier and safer for occupants, and can act as a physical demonstration of the values of the organizations that own and occupy them. 

No single product can achieve LEED points. Rather, LEED points are accrued through the sum whole of various products used in several categories—such as building materials, fenestration and glazing—which contribute toward LEED credits in several categories, including, but not limited to:

  • Energy and Atmosphere

Intent: Achieve increasing levels of energy performance above the prerequisite standard to reduce environmental impacts associated with excessive energy use.

Example: Types of glass used in windows, doors and skylights can be designed to meet the U-value and solar heat gain coefficient requirement standards for increased energy efficiencies.

  • Materials and Resources

Intent: Increase demand for building materials and products that are extracted and manufactured within the region, which reduces environmental impacts resulting from transportation.

Example: The distance from a glass fabrication facility to the job site can be calculated to determine whether it is within the 500-mile radius necessary to receive the Regional Materials Credit. 

  • Indoor Environmental Quality

Intent: Provide a high level of thermal, ventilation and lighting systems which can be user controlled to promote the productivity, comfort and well-being of building occupants.

Example: Dynamic switchable glasses installed in the building envelope so that a minimum Daylight Factor of 2 percent is achieved in 75 percent of all space occupied for critical visual tasks.

In today’s modern age of mass production, where a focus on reduced costs often takes precedent over quality standards, the fundamental principles behind LEED should be embraced, as the benefits and return on investment behind them are both measurable and real, as is the increased value it bestows upon our industry.

To learn more about LEED, visit new.usgbc.org/leed.

Pete deGorter is vice president of DeGorter Inc. Contact him at pete@degorter.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, July 29, 2019

Tons of educational and technical topics lead off the blog this week. First off, if you missed the webinar from the National Glass Association and Architectural Record Magazine, you missed an incredible event. “Professional Roundtable: Perspectives on Glass and Glazing in Design” featured five brilliant minds all bringing up great point after great point with regards to energy codes, standards, performances and the glass and glazing products that can be utilized to satisfy all and advance our world. It truly was something to take in and I especially enjoyed seeing the pictures of the projects that the panelists pointed to showing great glass and glazing in action.

The biggest takeaway for me was that we as an industry could do amazing things and reach incredible performances—all we have to do is actually do it. Welcome the change, welcome the new and push forward. There are many people and companies who take this tack, but there are still many that don’t and that includes architects unwilling to try the new as well. In any case, I think panels like this are only scratching the surface, which brings me to…

The final schedule for Express Learning at GlassBuild America is now published and there’s a ton of incredible content but one of the big keys is the “live podcast” that the guys from Edify Studios will be doing which will be focused on disruptive change in the glass industry. Basically, what is going to be our “Uber” or other breakthrough? It’s a huge and important subject and one that will be a “must attend” at the show. The rest of the schedule is fantastic too—lots of very interesting subjects and engaging speakers. 

Elsewhere…

  • On GlassBuild America: seriously, if you haven’t registered yet, please make a note and do it soon. And even bigger, get your hotel room taken care of: just go to glassbuild.com and it’ll take you five minutes. Thank you.
  • The latest NGA Technical and Advocacy bulletin was released this week and it’s astonishing how much work is being done by Urmilla Sowell and the folks at the National Glass Association. Here’s a quick smattering of what was covered, and you’ll see there is a ton going on:
    • Laminated Glazing Reference Manual
    • products for energy applications 
    • coastal glazing and the turtle codes
    • assessing the durability of decorative glass
    • glass properties pertaining to photovoltaic applications 
    • Glossary of Terms for Color and Appearance 
    • proper procedures for cleaning flat glass mirrors
    • proper procedures for receiving, storage and transportation of flat glass mirrors 
    • 70 Glass Information Bulletins available
    • AIA-approved presentations
    • Glass Floors and Stairs Task Group
    • measuring color of decorative material in the field
    • point-supported glazing
    • design considerations for use of sealants/adhesives with coated glass and adhesives compatibility
    • understanding reflected solar energy of glazing systems in buildings
    • Updated Coated Glass AIA presentation
    • Engineering Standards Manual, 2019 edition

This work matters as it advances our industry. If you are interested, join NGA and get involved in the process!

  • Last this week, a fun one: I was way behind the times TV-wise. I just recently finished “Breaking Bad”—awesome TV—and now I’m catching up on “Better Call Saul” which is also fabulous. This week, as I watched an episode in season three, I was excited to see a familiar glass industry product: I am pretty sure that Wood’s Powr-Grip vacuum cups were utilized. It wasn’t for glazing, unfortunately, but still, I still enjoyed seeing a product that we in our industry use quite a bit. You know me, I watch everything for a connection back to the industry. Not sure anyone from Wood’s still reads this blog—I miss Joe Landsverk of Wood’s, who used to read, before he passed on a few years ago; I’m guessing he would’ve loved this story—but if you do, let me know if that was yours.

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 MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.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, July 22, 2019

There was a pretty significant deal in our world this week from the machinery side of things. Salem Distributing acquiring HHH Tempering marries up two well-run companies with very respected leaders and strong products. Both companies also are huge industry supporters—something I always rail about and appreciate when people step up. I am happy for Mike Synon, Mike Willard, and everyone at these organizations. This will be a great combo for many years. We’ve had a ton of moves on the fabrication side in the past few years so it only makes sense that some deals on the machinery side would start growing and now we’ve had two big ones with this and the previous Glaston/Bystronic one.

Elsewhere…

  • While I am handing out congrats on good news, how about a happy anniversary to Paul Conners of Conners Sales Group—he is celebrating his 25th year in business! That is awesome. I have always been a big fan of Paul and the team he built—especially the great Lauren Anderson. The work they do is top notch and they are always stepping up to support the industry. Happy Anniversary, Paul!
  • The Glass Magazine review is easy this month because it’s the annual Source Book. Everything you need is in there—so don’t leave this one too far from your fingertips. Ad of the month goes to Pulp Studios. Love the elephant, the cute logo that went with it and especially the gorilla caught in a jar. Perfect ad. Kudos to Bernard and Lynda Lax, my buddy Kirk Johnson and everyone there involved for that one. 

Big 3 Interview: Josh Wignall, Director of Marketing, EFCO Corp.

I have a soft spot in my heart for marketing professionals and Josh is one of the best around. Josh has been a guy that I followed for a long time before ever meeting in person and I always came away impressed at his approach and his support of industry people and tactics. He gets it. Then I met him in person and he was extremely cool, so that made it better and made me want to learn more about him and what he thinks… so here goes.

 What do you see as the hottest trend in architectural aluminum these days?

In architectural aluminum, we have been seeing a lot of trends over the past few years that continue to push our industry to improve. There has been a greater demand for sustainability in all facets of our industry. With programs like Environmental Product Declarations, Health Product Declarations, LEED and countless other sustainability measures being pushed, we will continue to strive for ways to be transparent in our sustainability goals and ensure we aren’t having a negative impact on our environment in the process. We have also seen accessibility requirements stay at the forefront of architect’s minds. That all being said, with codes getting stricter, thermal efficiency will continue to dominate the spotlight for aluminum manufacturers. Some might argue that a trend must be new to be “hot”, but I’ll argue that thermal performance in our products still takes the cake. While the U.S. has been slower to adopt as stringent of codes as Europe, we continue to see a steady push towards a net-zero energy consumption. For this to be achievable, architectural aluminum technology must adapt. We have seen a push to escalate efficiency plans in cities like New York recently and I’m guessing it won’t go away any time soon. 

I know when you are in marketing you are always on the lookout for that great story or message in a project your company has done. What’s the best story or message that you’ve worked on in your career?

I do love a great story and we are in story-rich industry with all of the amazing projects we get to be part of! While there have been some incredible projects throughout the years, I think the best story I have been directly involved in is one about our local school district here in Monett, Missouri. At EFCO, we do a lot of education buildings all across the nation and, as a parent, nothing makes me prouder than seeing how our products can impact the learning environment for the better! Over the past 10 years, EFCO has worked with our local school system on replacing and adding daylighting to every building in our school district. We worked with the superintendent to tell the story about why our local schools decided to update all of their facilities with new fenestration products. The video segment was so much fun because we got to see firsthand how our products have helped the school meet their efficiency and student comfort goals. Check it out. 

Being able to see that in my hometown, where my kids are going to school, really warmed my heart! It’s easy in this industry to forget that we aren’t just building windows and doors, we are building communities. Places for our families to learn, to grow, to eat, to work and to heal. This story really brought all of that home for me and made me proud to work in an industry that shapes our nation for the better! 

What’s the job you had that was the most fun in your life and why (aside from your current one which I know is a blast)?

I have to admit, I’ve been pretty fortunate throughout my life to have some really fun jobs! I worked at an old Tastee Freez—I’m not sure these are around anymore—in high school where I served ice cream and pizza burgers. I landscaped, worked in fast food—okay, so this one wasn’t as much fun— gave campus tours in college and even worked at a local vineyard in Iowa where I labeled, sealed and served wine!

That all being said, I would have to say the job I had the most fun in my life at was when I was a bartender in a Cuban dance club in Bristol England. I’ll let that one sink in a bit. When I was in college, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Wales for a semester and just absolutely loved the culture! I loved it so much that I decided to go back the next summer and get a work visa. One of my best friends talked me in to coming and working in his hometown for the summer which just happened to be Bristol. When I first moved over there, I didn’t know what I was going to do or where I was going to live! I went door to door to every restaurant, office and bar that was hiring. After many interviews and rejections, I ended up getting a job at this Cuban dance club called Fiesta Havana.

I had never bartended before, so the learning curve was large, not to mention, I never thought about how difficult it would be to understand drunk English people with loud Salsa music in the background. I was able to find a bed available at the youth hostel down the road from the club, so I rented a bed to share a room with 10 strangers for the next three months. We shared a room, bunk beds and all, bathrooms, living room and kitchen.

While my job and living arrangements were a bit stressful, there were things about this experience that I have tried to bring with me in whatever I do. Here are the three things I loved most about this job:

1. The job was high energy. I found that I loved being surrounded by chaos and that I loved being able to bring organization to that chaos. As a bartender, I quickly found that I needed to prioritize and efficiently use my time because there were always three to four other people waiting. I also found that staying calm with a smile on your faces goes a long way when things get tough! These skills have helped me grow throughout my career and keep me composed when things get crazy.

2. Helping people have fun. This job was so much fun because it was my job to make sure others were having fun. I loved going to work each day and I found that a smile goes a long way. To this day, making work fun is a huge priority to me! What’s the point in working if I can’t have fun in the process? 

3. I loved the challenge! The final thing I loved most about this job was that it provided me a daily challenge. Not only the job of pouring drinks, taking orders and understanding drunken English accents, but the challenge of taking on a new adventure without knowing the results. This job allowed me to test my abilities, stretch my comfort levels and grow as a result. I may not be able to make a killer mojito anymore, but the lessons I learned about hard work and fun still carry on with me today!

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 MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.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, July 15, 2019

I enjoy a whole range of podcasts, and our industry has a brand new one from the guys from Edify Studios. Brad Walker and Brad Glauser of Edify do a great job with it and to date have had some very interesting guests and topics. This week’s edition is close to my heart as it’s a special edition about Mercedes Benz Stadium and features Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural and Court Reece of Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope. They give a great inside story to the glass and glazing products on this amazing structure. Well worth the watch/listen. You can download in podcast form via Apple or Android or for an easy watch and listen: here it is on YouTube. 

Elsewhere…

  • Remember only a few more days to go to get entered in the VIP Tour of Mercedes Benz Stadium. If you have not registered for GlassBuild yet, do it now to be eligible. Aside from the awesome glass and glazing you’ll also see all the great pieces of the stadium including locker rooms and field! This is a tremendous opportunity and experience!
  • The Dodge Momentum Index was up nicely for June and that surely calmed some nerves with the way things had been trending both with this index and the ABI. We are still slower pace and performance wise than last year and there are still signs of soft times coming in the second half of the year but we’ll take a positive report like this any time. 

10. Honolulu: Higher on list if you see my main man Lyle Shimazu or the great Earnest Thompson.

9. Austin, TX: For the weird in you.

8. Asheville, NC: I have never been. Guess I need to!

7. Nashville, TN: Incredibly hot now—BEC there in 2020 proves it right?

6. Chicago: To me this is overrated. Sorry my pals from the Windy City.

5. New York City: I can see it, so much to do, etc. So much energy.

4. Savannah, GA: I like it but is it really fourth best??

3. New Orleans: Nope. Not for me.

2. Santa Fe, NM: Wow. help me out anyone who’s gone—is this really that good?

1. Charleston, SC: Love it, great place… is it No.1 though?

But for me, how is San Diego not in the top 10?? I’d make it No.1 probably.  

Big 3 Interview

Eric Fortin, general manager, Northwestern Glass Fab

I only recently got to meet Eric Fortin and immediately I said to myself “this would be a great interview,” and sure enough it was. As you can see below Eric has got it together! I love that this is someone that was from outside the industry and has now come in and made a serious difference. Talent like what Eric possesses is crucial for our wellbeing and growth as an industry and I look forward to getting to know him better and also seeing him at the various industry events!

I have to start with your time in the United States Army. You were a troop commander with some serious responsibilities. What was that time like for you and how often do you use the lessons and experiences gained there in your daily work at Northwestern Glass Fab?

I have to first give kudos to mentors. I met a very influential gentlemen during college who helped me understand what leadership is all about. He was the first real leader I had ever met. This gentlemen’s name is Mr. Wilbur Wolf III. Mr. Wolf helped me to determine that joining the Army as an active duty officer was the right thing for me to learn about myself, leadership and how to lead people. Once I was in the Army, it was a dream of mine to one day lead a cavalry troop. Over the years I worked my tail off and positioned myself to make that dream come true. I was fortunate to be a troop commander for a unit that was resetting from a previous deployment to again deploy. I say fortunate because the timing was such that I took command of the unit in Colorado and immediately prepared to deploy. As the commander the other leaders and I trained, deployed and then returned the unit to Colorado. In my opinion, if you are going to lead soldiers, this is the perfect scenario and challenge. The responsibilities as a commander are significant. As a commander of a deployed unit, you are truly responsible for people’s lives.

My apologies, but before I respond to your question, I have to again be appreciative to mentors who helped me take what I learned from the Army as a leader and to apply it to the business and manufacturing environment. I was extremely fortunate to be invited to be a part of an absolute world class company in the glass business. This company has a history of taking ex-military leaders and helping them make the transition to manufacturing. The experiences they provided helped me to establish a foundation of what “right looks like” in successful business organizations. Without two mentors who offered me this opportunity, I more than likely would not be in the glass industry. That company is Cardinal Glass and those two gentlemen are Dave Pinder and Mike Arntson. Like the military, I tap into my experiences with Dave and Mike at Cardinal every single day.

The largest lesson that I learned from my time in the military and that I apply daily is perspective. As stressful as some days can be, a tough day at work today isn’t really that bad. It could be always be worse. In general, everyone will go home to their friends and families at the end of each day. I also apply the lessons of patience, but decisiveness, to maintain flexibility because most things change and do not go the way you want or planned. Also, to let leaders lead. As often as I can I try to give my leaders my intent and then let them lead their teams. This allows them to be creative in accomplishing the goal. Everyone learns a ton when leaders are given the freedom to own and accomplish an objective with their teams. Lastly, I learned about taking care of people. We are all in the people business. If you take care of people, they will take care of you.

Your company (Northwestern Glass Fab) could be considered a “startup” still with only being three years old. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being so “new” to the marketplace? I also ask this, as I know you have “startup” experience in your past, so this was not your first adventure.

I want to start with how lucky I am to be a part of the Brin Glass companies. This is such a fantastic bunch of people. I truly have the very best boss in Bill Sullivan. Anyone who knows Bill understands what I mean when I say this. Northwestern Glass Fab as a part of Brin Glass has been around since 1912. Three years ago, NWGF separated from the Brin Glass Company to once again be known simply as Northwestern Glass Fab, instead of Brin Northwestern. This meant moving to a new standalone location and to establish itself as a standalone profit and loss division. A lot of the changes made since I’ve joined the company were very much in order to start over. What used to work very well no longer works. We hit reset and I believe we are now postured for growth and another 100 years of success. I’m so very proud of my team during the past 16 months. Change and culture change is not easy. Our success is truly due to the team for having an open mind, patience and the will to fight through adversity.

Fun one… what is your all-time favorite movie, or movies if you can’t just choose one and why? 

I was a business and history major in college and I am kind of a space geek. With that, my favorite movies are Apollo 13 and the recent Apollo 11. I am always impressed with what it took to put humans in space and on the moon. It took fantastic teamwork, dedication and a constant fight against adversity. The people who accomplished these wonderful feats were so smart and committed. It always impresses me when I watch those movies. Before I die, I hope to one day truly understand what a black hole truly is.

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 MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.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, July 9, 2019

The NBA is in the middle of free agency, when players’ contracts expire, and they can move to a new team. It also seems to be the same way in our industry, with a ton of folks moving from one company to another in the last several weeks.

Change can be good and refreshing but I have to say this is the most movement I have seen in a short time in my years in this industry. It will be interesting to see if our movement continues or if this was just a blip on the radar. And meanwhile, yes, I am thrilled that Kawhi Leonard went to the Clippers versus the Lakers.

Elsewhere…

  • The Architectural Billings Index barely stayed in positive zone last month, but it did. The Northeast is the drag right now, which will be something to watch next year to see if they get softer in those areas. The big news? Firms that specialize in commercial and architectural were up nicely, so that bodes well for the majority of our industry.
  • If you are coming to GlassBuild America, now is the perfect time to register, because of the awesome contest currently running. Register before July 18, and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a custom VIP Tour of the fascinating Mercedes Benz Stadium right next to where GlassBuild is held. This stadium is incredible and well worth seeing. Major props to the great folks from Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope and Clover Architectural Products. They supplied their products on and inside the building, and are sponsoring the contest and helping with the tours. This is a great way to round out your Atlanta trip, so register, and get in the contest!
  • Also on GlassBuild, the initial schedule for Express Learning is out. There’s a ton there, but the one right now that I think will draw a massive crowd is Chris Phillips laying out “Best and Most Interesting Shower Enclosures” of 2019. I have been seeing some of the candidates he may show, and if you’re in the shower game, it’s worth seeing what made the list. Plus, Chris is all over the trends. Don’t miss it.

Big 3 Interview

Wardi Bisharat, architectural glass sales at PRL Glass Systems and Aluminum

I was really lucky to get to work with Wardi when I was at Vitro America years ago. Wardi is not only one of the most talented people in our business, but she’s also a really cool person. To me she was always upbeat and positive, and she has an energy about her that just exudes greatness. When I asked her to do this interview, she noted she’s different in person than on paper, but I disagree. She’s right on track with the insights. (The rise of laminated—so on target). And she’s solves the debate that some people may have on who’s got the best French fries out there.

What are some of the biggest differences in architectural glass space now versus when you started?

  • The quantity of furnaces and glass fabricators.
  • The vast variety of low-emissivity coatings and the availability of coating on various substrates; exotics (I love that word).
  • The rise in demand for laminated options.

I have had the privilege of exceptional training over the years to keep up with the changing products.

You’ve been at PRL for almost two years now, after several years at companies owned by large ownership groups. What’s it like to be back in family business style of ownership? Was there any adjusting needed to settle in at PRL?

We have four owners and over 500 employees at one location. It is a very impressive operation with an amazing amount of talent. The owners are hands-on and work as hard, if not harder than the rest of us here.

I did not bring a backlog with me and started from zero. As you know in our commercial world, it can take two plus years from time of bid to start of a project. That was really hard for me.

Fun one to end: Top three “must have” food choices and why?

#1 Salads—they are not always healthy or low calorie.

#2 Avocados—love them on everything

#3 McDonald’s French fries. What can I say, I have a weakness for them.

Thank you Wardi. You continue to be one of the best around!

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 MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.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. 

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