Monday, August 13, 2018

Things seem to speed up in the construction industry in the summer. Add in family vacations and kid activities, and many of us find ourselves with more work and less time. With all the work-life demands of the season it can be easy to miss the midway point of the year and the opportunity to look back, take stock of what we’ve learned and make any necessary course corrections. 

Before the calendar rolls too far into the third quarter, here’s my take on five things we’ve learned so far in 2018.

1. Just because we can doesn’t always mean we should

Buildings are growing more complex, and that’s led to some awesome innovation in the glazing industry, from both the installation and design side of things. But at the end of the day, we need to make sure our products are still doing what they are intended to do, be it adding fire safety or reducing electrical lighting loads. So as we push the envelope, let’s make sure we get involved early and work together on realistic, quality solutions. 

2. The shrinking labor pool will require creativity from all of us

The labor shortage is here to stay for the foreseeable future, which means it’s up to us to make the best of it. This may mean more frequent communication with the design and build team, educational events at your facility or hands-on training and practice mock-ups for those new to your products.

 3. Conversations about school safety are heating up

School tragedies continue to reinforce the need for improved school safety. I’ve always seen this as an important issue, but after listening to the DHI Conference keynote speaker, Michele Gay, who lost her daughter during the Sandy Hook school tragedy, it became very real to me. It’s encouraging to see companies respond with glazing solutions. The challenge is understanding the requirements being established by governing bodies (local municipalities, school administrations, etc.) and corresponding these requirements to available products. In some cases, these solutions may not be used much until mandated by legislation (like the gradual outlawing of “traditional” wired glass in hazardous locations). Whatever the process, expect conversations about this issue to keep heating up.

 4. Retrofits are here for the taking

By some reports, there are more than 5.6 million existing commercial buildings, and only a tenth of these have seen window replacements. New construction starts may remain king, but let’s make sure we aren’t overlooking retrofits and renovations. From enhancing security to improving energy efficiency, updating the glass in these buildings is a win-win from a performance and profitability standpoint.

 5. The time is now to reinvest in your business

There have certainly been growing pains as the industry adjusts to its ever-quickening pace, but it’s also generating some good, strategic long-term changes. According to Glass Magazine’s 2018 Top 50 Glaziers Report, numerous companies are “taking the long view by reinvesting in their businesses.” Whether companies are purchasing new equipment to streamline operations or reconfiguring programs, these investments will pay big dividends down the line, even if they are causing some temporary discomfort now. As I talked about earlier this year, there is great value in thinking beyond the immediate win.

What else would you add to this list? How do you see these lessons shaping the rest of 2018?

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 13, 2018

I thought I was dreaming when I saw a headline recently that asbestos could now legally be used again in manufacturing. Amazingly it was not a fantasy. It is true, and I am pretty thrown by it. Obviously, for years the push to remove it and deal with it has been a major task and one that has caused significant issues beyond the serious health risks that kicked the whole ban into motion. To see it back was jarring. I was, however, relieved to see at least a solid initial push back by the architectural community. It has begun on social media and I look for it to keep growing.  This is going to be one to watch on the building side, because I just can’t see it having legs no matter what the argument for bringing it back is. I guess we will see.


  • We are now one month away from GlassBuild America and the anticipation for this year’s event is growing nicely. I am expecting very strong attendance and I am loving the diverse range of exhibitors. So much to see there for sure.  In addition, action demos are all “must see” types of events along with Express Learning. I seriously recommend you look at the GlassBuild America website and familiarize yourself with everything that is happening because it’s a lot different than it was in the past. Next week, I’ll start breaking down specific items to see to help you in your planning process.
  • The latest updated website on the market features one of the best upgrades yet. Diamon–Fusion (DFI) launched a new site that is heavy on video right out of the gate (bold and daring in our usually conservative industry), and it truly blew me away. Congrats to the entire team at DFI for a job well done! 

Big 3 Interview

Alissa Schmidt, technical resources manager, Viracon

I was very excited that Alissa accepted my request for an interview in this series as I wanted to get a feel for not only her career journey but also to get her insight on the technical and project side. She certainly did not disappoint with her answers. Alissa has easily one of the most talented technical minds and approaches in our industry.  Overall, I continue to be amazed at the incredible amount of personal talent that is amassed at Viracon; obviously Alissa fits in there perfectly.

Your career started in marketing (I had a boss tell me no one needs marketing, so good for you for getting out) and then you seemed to settle into the design and technical side. What was it like to go from promotion of product to having such a crucial hand in the way the product is placed and performs?

I guess I’ve never really thought of my transition as anything more than natural growth with the company in knowledge and experience that led to the role I’m currently in. I love promoting Viracon regardless of whether I’m helping our marketing department with content development, having a conversation directly with an architect or writing a letter to a customer to explain something they need more details about. At the same time, my move to the technical side has allowed me to gain a better understanding of our product development process and how product characteristics tie to performance in the field.

Although I came to Viracon with an interior design degree and experience as a kitchen designer, I also spent four years after college as a marketing coordinator. When I read Viracon’s job posting for an architectural design specialist, I saw they were looking for someone who had design OR marketing experience. Since I had both, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about the company and position. I recall arriving for the architectural design interview only to be notified that I was going to be interviewing for the position I applied for as well as a marketing position. This was due to my prior experience in marketing and potential reorganization that was going to happen in the department. In the end, I was offered the design position and started with Viracon in that role. The architectural design department was, however, very integrated into the marketing department so my first several years at Viracon included quite a bit of marketing support.

As Viracon grew, the design team grew, and we restructured it as a separate entity from our marketing department. Changes in leadership around this same time led to a design management opportunity. I had been with Viracon seven years, had learned a lot about helping architects design with glass, and was ready to take on the challenge of managing the architectural design team. A short time after I moved into the management role, a retirement on the technical side provided an opportunity for me to manage both the design and technical teams. This is the role I’m currently enjoying today.

I also enjoy the challenge of finding ways to improve, both personally and within the departments I manage. I discovered a communications program specifically targeted at communicating technical information to a non-technical audience. This is a great fit with my current position, so I am currently working on my master’s degree through this program and anticipate graduating in 2019. 

With your position, and the company you work for, I’d say you are positioned perfectly to be on the cutting edge of the industry. What are you seeing out there that excites you and conversely keeps you up at night?

The electronic design tools architects have at their hands today are incredible. These tools have facilitated increased complexity of building shapes and forms. I wouldn’t say the complexity was previously impossible, but the speed and accuracy of today’s software have expanded its use to a much broader audience.

While this explosion of complexity is super exciting for me as a designer, it keeps our manufacturing and technical experts on their toes. Complex building forms create glass shapes and sizes that were once reserved for high-profile, high-budget projects. Today, it is common for mainstream projects to include glass that poses a variety of fabrication challenges. The twists and turns of the unique building forms also change the way a building interacts with its surroundings. There might be five or 10 wind loads on a building rather than one corner and one typical load of a basic, rectangular building. This can require extensive glass strength analysis, deflection and sightline calculations. In some cases, the complexity requests finite element analysis because the traditional strength analysis programs do not suffice.

What’s the most fun you’ve had on a project in your career? Was it something that you had a hand in from the start or maybe a massive signature project that you helped make sure everything clicked? Or maybe something else that you can point to as memorable to you?

I hate picking favorites so choosing a single project over all others is nearly impossible. I’ve definitely had many fantastic experiences while I’ve been with Viracon. When I first started, Seven World Trade Center had been recently completed. I remember receiving a lot of calls from architects who wanted to talk about the glass. Even though I hadn’t personally worked on the project, these conversations were a quick introduction into how much fun it can be to talk about glass that comes from a small town in Minnesota and makes its way to a distinctive New York City building.

I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in the design process for everything from our local arts center addition to the Dallas Cowboys Stadium to One World Trade Center. My career here at Viracon has also offered a lot of fantastic opportunities to see our glass in-person. One of the most memorable is a trip where I was able to visit One World Trade Center under construction, near the holidays. From the ground the glass looked great, from the 56th floor, the view was beautiful. But the best vantage point of the building during that trip was from across the street where the construction lights were turned into multi-colored lights for the holidays. This little touch made me think about how a building really does interact with, and influence, people. 

Read on for links and video of the week…

Max Perilstein is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications.E-mail him at

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

Monday, August 6, 2018

This year, glasstec, Europe’s prominent glass products, manufacturing and technology show, returns to the Düsseldorf Fairgrounds, Oct. 23-26. It is one of the few places that you can further your glass education in almost an accelerated fashion. Four days of glasstec is like years in the glass business as it relates to your exposure to new technologies and things you never knew existed.

Despite all this, if you're hesitant to attend glasstec because you are unsure how to navigate the logistics of a foreign trade show, here are my best tips for making the experience comfortable and convenient.

Book early. Getting rooms should be done early in the year and for me I generally fly to Frankfurt and take the train up to Düsseldorf. It's faster overall and a less stressful way to get to Düsseldorf. For an American unfamiliar with using trains, it is also different and fun. You can catch the train at the airport and end up right in the middle of Düsseldorf on your arrival close to your hotel.

Plan your days. Usually around the end of the second day you feel like you are walking in circles. Most of the architectural glass vendors are in certain halls. Study the floor plan and hit the priority halls first. Don't spend too much time trying to have important discussions the first day. Take your notes about places you want to spend more time. This gives you some time to really think about good questions you want answers to and go back to these exhibits on day two or three to spend serious time. There are a lot of halls with bottle-making companies. You should see it just to expand your experience, but don't spend a whole day in those halls.

Arrive early. Try to arrive a couple days before the show, if possible, and acclimate to the time change. You can find yourself hitting the wall on day one early in the evening, going to sleep too early and then repeating the same thing the next day. Try to stay awake with no naps until around 10 p.m. each day. You will feel more refreshed and ready to walk your 18,000 steps a day.

See the art. Spend some time in Hall 9. This is the arts hall, and some of the glass art will blow you away. I have learned techniques from some of this art that we still use in larger products that we make.

Go paperless. Download the show app. This is the same information you will find in the 3-pound catalog. Try not to take too many brochures. Use as many electronic tools as you have, otherwise you will carry back 20 pounds of paper and then leave it in a bag in the corner of your office (where it will end up living for a year before you throw it out and wonder why you even kept it).

Travel light at the show. Leave all of your things, except business cards and maybe a small bag, at the coat check. They charge a couple Euro to check your stuff, and you will be thankful you left it all behind. The only drawback is you need to arrive and leave out of the same entrance each day. There are plenty of trains to take you back into the city and because the crowds leave from different places, do not feel the need to beat the crowds.

Find the right entrance. There are many entrances to the show. Study which is the closest to you before the morning of the show and work out how to get there the night before. The trains to the show are free with your entrance ticket, but you technically must have that ticket if you use the train, at least for your first day. In 22 years of shows, nobody has ever asked to see my ticket on the metro trains, but there is always a first time. These trains are on the honor system with the idea that you purchase a ticket.

Eat well. If this is your first show, you will see small food stands around the halls that serve European-style sandwiches (not what you might call a sandwich). These are not your only eating options. There are sit down restaurants upstairs in some of these halls, as well as food stands outside in the main plaza between the halls. The halls are U-shaped and the space between them on one end has some good Bratwurst stands. If it is a nice day, this is where you will find the crowd.

See Glass Magazine's glasstec coverage here

Bernard Lax is CEO of Pulp Studio.

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 6, 2018

I love to review websites. For me, it’s enjoyable to see what people do to make their website stand out and the steps they take to own their piece of the online universe. Recently, I had a chance to get ahead of the process and complete some surveys for the National Glass Association as they work to upgrade their online presence. Answering formal surveys like this was a first for me, and it was interesting to experience the process. If you are interested in being a part of that process, the NGA would love to have your insight! There’s three surveys linked below. Weigh in on one, two or all three if you like.

Thank you! I can’t wait to see what comes next and how awesome these will be once completed and launched.


It’s now August: my goodness this year has flown right on by. That means we are coming up on just one month away from GlassBuild America. I’ll have some previews coming up and I am honored to be speaking a few times during the show, so I really hope I can see everyone there! If you have not registered or booked your hotel room, I strongly recommend you do so today! 

Got very sad news last week that Fred Millett, formerly of Pleotint and most currently from Whirlpool, passed away. Fred at first didn’t like me much and I felt the same about him. But as time went on, I got along more and more with him and I really respected his knowledge, passion and personality. He will surely be missed. My condolences to his family and friends.

Big 3 Interview

Andrew Haring, vice president of marketing, C.R. Laurence Co.

Being a marketing/PR guy at heart, I really love to see when people excel greatly at it. When it comes to Andrew Haring, he’s way beyond excelling; he’s dominating. I’ve written about my admiration and respect for folks like Heather West and Rich Porayko, and Andrew slides right into that group. What he does and how he does it is simply off-the-charts awesome. I really enjoyed getting an insight into how he performs at the level he does as well as some insight on other interesting angles.

I have to admit your work rate looks to be off the charts. You’re running marketing for one of the best-known companies in our world (with probably an insane number of products) and you seemingly are everywhere: online with social, leading tours, developing marketing and communication. What is your typical day like? How do you get it all done?

Wow. High praises from a respected source—thank you. And yes, we have (approximately) an insane number of products. The upshot of working for such a massive and prolific company is that there’s always a story to tell, and I’ll talk to anyone listening. My day starts at 3:30 a.m. and goes by in the blink of an eye. I’m a big believer in project lists and even more so in accountability. Don Friese instilled a “CRL-ism” in me years ago that is simple but resonates: “Do what you say you’ll do.” Strong coffee and a strong team behind me are also essential.

Being “everywhere” is due in part to the way I’m wired, but also by design. The wheels are always turning and I’m not one to sit still or step aside. CRL lets me wear many different hats and gives me a lot of opportunities to run with the ball, which is conducive to my personality and attention span. The other component to that is simply strategy. Someone in your position can appreciate that remaining relevant takes different forms and follows a different path than it used to. Channels and touchpoints are as numerous as they are varied. While many of the fundamentals apply, I’ve found that a conventional marketing playbook doesn’t track 100 percent in this industry. The when/where/how to approach and the frequency are moving targets. Honestly, the only way to have an impact and be effective is to immerse oneself and engage with the people. Sometimes that entails continuing education, guest editorials, panel discussions or project walks. Other times it looks like stirring the pot on social media.

What’s next? What’s that hot product or hot product segment that you see taking off?

That’ll cost you (kidding). I see broad trends gradually adjusting the sails more so than a sharp market disruptor or a specific juggernaut product. The key influencers are labor and energy codes in the form of both “wants” and “needs.” There’s an all-out arms race for installer-friendly products and methods. Products that reduce labor costs and get glaziers on to the next project faster are always in high demand. I think we’re going to see a lot more in the way of unitized/modular systems, offsite construction/assembly and project planning efficiencies.

Constricting energy codes are a given. Across the board, anyone touching the exterior envelope—and who wants to retain any sort of vitality—is being responsive with product development. Innovation in fenestration is the clearest evidence. The whole “battle for the wall” is a topic unto itself for another blog entry, but the simple fact is that the performance requirements for these systems are constantly evolving. It’s up to the manufacturers to provide solutions that’ll hit the numbers and also successfully meet the design intent for the architect. I’m anticipating a slew of high performance products to be launched in the next three years ahead of the 2022 version of the California Energy Code. 2019 just got adopted with no changes to commercial prescriptive requirements; I don’t think 2022 will be as forgiving.

In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge we have as an industry and how do we overcome it?

A common issue, which I can’t speak to directly, is the labor pool. This is a recurring topic brought up by customers. There’s a lot of work out there without enough skilled labor to sustain it. This creates opportunities for other trades/industries to encroach on traditional glazing scopes. Attracting the next generation of glaziers is the hurdle. Unfortunately, many of the kids coming out of high school are under the impression that there’s more value and opportunity in a bachelor’s degree than in learning a trade. Countering that misconception is difficult and I’m afraid there isn’t a quick fix. Lack of exposure is likely the biggest culprit. I think early outreach, education, and overall industry advocacy are the paths to success.

Read on for links and video of the week…

Max Perilstein is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications.E-mail him at

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

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

About 100 attendees from all segments of the building industry gathered in Vancouver on July 30 for the Façade Tectonics Institute forum, The Good and the Bad: Evolving Considerations and Practices of Building Façade Glazing. The forum was hosted by the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and was approved for continuing education credits from the Architectural Institute of British Columbia and the American Institute of Architects.  

The mission of the Façade Tectonics Institute is to promote high performance building envelopes and facades through education, dialogue and research, said Technoform’s Helen Sanders, who is the current president of the Institute. The industry “currently operates in silos, with architects, glazing contractors, fabricators and GCs separate. We don’t even speak each others’ language. We have to break down those boundaries. … These forum events are a key part of our mission,” Sanders said during her opening remarks.   

Building health, energy and sustainability performance issues dominated the presentations during the one-day educational event, beginning with the morning panel, Healthy and Sustainable Glazing: Designing for people and the planet.

“The biggest factor in health and wellbeing is the physical and social environment,” said Joel Good, senior consultant/associate, RWDI. This is primarily due to the amount of time most people spend inside. “We spend about 90 percent of our time indoors in conditioned spaces,” he said.

Creating healthy spaces that support the occupant’s wellbeing is critical. But, it presents challenges in façade design. “We have contradictory requirements,” said Vladimir Mikler, principal, innovation director, Integral Group. “We want all the views, all the daylighting, but we don’t want the glare, the heat gain, and we want to maintain thermal comfort. It’s a challenging task we need to resolve.”

Gail Brager, professor of architecture and director, UC Berkeley Center for Environmental Design Research, said to achieve health and wellness goals, the industry must provide occupants with access to natural ventilation and daylighting, but also must allow occupants to control their own spaces. This will require the industry to “move away from thermostat-based systems to people-based systems, where occupants have individual controls,” she said.

Making these changes requires buy-in from the building owner. Brager recommends that the façade industry sell the benefits of health and wellness by addressing the costs of people. “Improving the quality of the indoor environment can have a profound effect on wellbeing,” she said. “On a square foot basis, the cost of people is an order of magnitude higher than the cost of building, and two times an order of magnitude higher than operating a building.”   

Future building requirements also topped discussions. New building performance code requirements will continue to force the industry to advance and innovate in the next decade, said Monte Paulsen, Passive House specialist, RDH Building Science Inc., during the session Passive Aggressive: Pushing facade system performance with Passive House. Driving this is the rapid pace of climate change, said Paulsen. “The rate at which we are seeing climate change is accelerating rapidly. … The energy models to which we’re designing new buildings are already out of date,” he said.  

British Columbia, Canada, for example, instituted requirements that will go into effect in about 15 years to cap building energy use at 15 kWh/m2/year, Paulsen said. The rest of Canada is following suit with similar requirements, he said. “It doesn’t really matter how green you think you’re building is. If it doesn’t meet the cap, your building will be illegal in a couple of years,” Paulsen said.

The façade industry must innovate and develop solutions to achieve the new performance targets. “Most of what you install today will be obsolete in 15 years,” Paulsen said. Companies that don’t innovate will be left behind. “It wouldn’t surprise me if half of the window makers in Canada are out of business in 15 years,” he said.

In the session Enough Glazing: Balancing benefits with liabilities of façade glazing, panelists looked to answer the question: How much glass is enough glass? The key is balance. “The question isn’t how much is enough, but what we do with what we have,” said Tom Paladino, principal, Paladino & Co.

Achieving those performance goals requires building teams to use collaborative design processes and invest in high-performance systems. “If you want to use a lot of glass, you have to think about performance. And that comes with cost,” said Technoform’s Sanders.

The forum concluded with the session Beyond Glazing: Trends, drivers and what lies beyond the horizon. Panelists discussed emerging product trends, such as timber curtain wall and vacuum glazing; future performance goals, including net zero building outlined in the Architecture 2030 program; and extended service life for façade products.   

Katy Devlin is editor in chief of Glass Magazine. Contact her at Follow Glass Magazine on Twitter.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A story this week gave me a flashback moment. I remembered sitting in an NFRC meeting years ago when someone stood up and stated that it was just a matter of time before commercial buildings would not use aluminum or steel for framing, it would be all wood or vinyl. I, of course, being the brash, nightmarish person I was back then, scoffed loudly. Flash forward 12 years and my scoffing was right as, to date, that effort has not taken off. And recently, a push for a major wood skyscraper was placed on hold. Maybe someday wood or vinyl will find a place on the commercial building landscape, but for now, I’m still scoffing. Though, I’m surely much more mellow than I was then.

  • The Vanceva World of Color Awards were announced this week and I love the results and winners. I am sure these projects are not for everyone, but I appreciate that there were designers who went for it. Nice work! Congrats to the fabricator winners! 
  • There is more and more environmental talk in the news these days and carbon footprint is back in the spotlight. So much so that St Paul, Minnesota, announced that they want all of buildings in their city to be zero carbon by 2050. I think it’s a great goal and luckily for those who are pushing this, that region does have some of the best glass and metal minds in its backyard. Hopefully they lean on those experts, sooner than later, to start meeting the goals.

Big 3 Interview

Dan Danese, sales representative, Thompson IG and Pleotint

I met Danny (no one calls him that anymore; it's Dan now) 20+ years ago when I first moved to Michigan. He was one of many people in the new area of my life that welcomed my family and me and made the transition so much better. Workwise, he was this incredible force of energy and passion for the job and from what I can tell nothing has changed since then! Danny is a great, caring man and I am grateful our paths crossed and that he’s still out there doing great things in our markets today.

I’m honored that I have known you for many years now, but many of my readers may not be aware of you and the path you’ve taken to the point you are at today. You just didn’t end up as the excellent sales pro you are today. How did you get here?

I enlisted in the Marine Corps at the age of seventeen; served three years, traveled the world and was out by the age of twenty. I did this to make a change and boot camp did just that! I learned that we all can do much more than we think, mentally and physically. My first “glass” job was in 1980 at B & G Glass, an upstart fabricator of insulated glass. A strong work ethic helped me to advance to supervisor positions in multiple in departments, then to the front office as production control manager, then to plant manager. During this span we had been bought out four times, the first by Perilstein Distributing Corp. This (I did not know at the time) would shape, enhance, refine and elevate my knowledge in the glass industry by association with the staff they brought with them. We all need a little luck in life and I was lucky to work alongside industry leaders like Steve Perilstein, Bob Cummings and Rob Taliani. They had a lot to give and I paid attention. In the year 2000, I was asked if I ever thought of moving into sales. I answered yes before they finished asking.

Five years ago, I came to work for Thompson IG (thanks to Margaret Brune). Here I am still in sales as well as architectural presentations. A bit more luck again as the people at Thompson IG are great to work for.

You are out on the road every day seeing glass shops and glaziers. What are they telling you is their biggest concern/worry?

The biggest concern, and this has been true for a good five to six years, is a shortage of qualified help: glaziers, project managers and estimators. A recent PM changed companies after a long stay and remarked that he hoped he didn’t make a mistake. I replied, “Don’t worry, you can fix that. There are six other companies that would hire you next week!”

I know you are big fan of innovation. What are the products that really excite you to sell? I assume it has to be easier to walk into a customer when you have something that gets your blood pumping.

By far and away it is Suntuitive Dynamic Glass. This is the biggest reason I came to work for Thompson IG. We are owned by the people (a group of chemists and engineers) that developed this technology, a laminated glass with a chemically altered interlayer that self-tints (darkens) when it feels pressure from the sun. We take this laminated glass (colored substrates included) and pair it up with the other leading technologies of the day, warm edge spacer and high performance low-E, and get one of the best performing insulated windows in the world. As an example, the new Masco World HQ completed last year with 18,000 square feet of Guardian Crystal Grey Suntuitive HS laminated / warm edge spacer / Guardian SNX-62/27 tempered. This IG construct has a starting SHGC of .25. That’s a good start. Then during the hottest parts of the day, when there is peak demand and energy costs are the highest, this glass fully tinted will have an SHGC of .12, all while maximizing daylight, preserving the view, blocking UV transmittance, mitigating glare. I call this the “smart phone” of glass; it will be everywhere. Four years ago, we had installs in two countries; today we have over 450 installs in 25 countries. I really see this as the future.

Read on for links and video of the week…

Max Perilstein is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications.E-mail him at

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

It was the jeans that triggered it.

You see, they were the exact same jeans that I had on as I walked into the store. The same jeans I bought there six months ago. And I love these jeans.

But, the pair I grabbed off the shelf (the exact same color, size, make, model), when I pulled them on, they didn't fit over my thighs in the dressing room. What? I double checked the size and shape. No difference.

"Perhaps they aren't marked correctly,” I said to myself.

I asked the sales attendant if he can help. “Have I made a mistake?”

"Nope,” he says. “This happens all the time. You see, we recommend you grab three or four pairs at a time when you're trying them on. They're made in like, 50 or 60 different countries so you never know what you are going to get."

Great response. Glad you don't sell for me, I thought.

He's not meeting my needs or selling well. Plus, the brand isn’t making jeans with consistent size patterns based on the country where they are assembled. Either way, both the salesperson and the manufacturer are doing a terrible job of designing experience. No, thank you. I don't expect to have to grab three or four pairs of jeans to see if one or more of them, the exact same size, actually fit. I don't care what country they are made in or what their supply chain logistics look like. Once I find a pair of jeans that works, I expect they will all be close to the same size EVERY TIME.

This company is providing a negative and inconsistent experience when it comes to sales and product quality control. I quickly placed the jeans back on the shelf and slipped quietly out of the store. I wasn't in the mood to manage my shopping experience through trial and error.

What about your company? What about my company? I know different clients can have different experiences even though they all are "shopping" at our place, in different offices, and different ends of the building. How consistent of an experience am I creating? How am I making it easy on the client? How are my colleagues and people representing our services to buyers, prospective clients and observers? Do our people know what to say and how to say it? Have they been trained in the "why” of our business? Is our product the same EVERY SINGLE TIME?

Even in professional services, it's not uncommon for clients who've had a negative experience to quietly slip away, to place the jeans on the shelf and never return. Do everything possible to prevent this from happening.

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

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

Here’s something for everyone reading to take in: with everyone coming to GlassBuild America, please seriously look at attending the Fall Conference there. More info is HERE with more details to follow, but you will see the conference now integrates with the show. If you want to get involved and learn about all of the things going on with regards to technical happenings, codes, advocacy, etc., you need to sign up and attend. You’ll still have plenty of show time as well. If you have any questions, reach out to me, as I would love to see you there.


Big 3 Interview

Dan Wright, president, Paragon Tempered Glass

Dan Wright has worked with some of the most talented and, in some cases, legendary people our industry has ever had. My hope with this interview was to get him to open up about it because he’s been on a pretty epic ride. He did not let me down (never has on any level, so not surprised). Really good stuff below, and his answers to question two are amazing.

I think most people who recognize your name associate you from your past stint at Guardian. You are now president at Paragon Tempered Glass. Can you tell me more about how you got there and what you are doing now? 

Well, it’s been a long road to my current role. In 1995 I was about six months away from graduating college and my sister was in town with her family. My sister and I had grown closer while I was in college because she was very ill and needed a kidney; I happened to be the right match. Her husband, Tony Hobart (former group vice president of Guardian Industries) took a keen interest in my future and when they were at our house, Tony asked me to take a walk. He asked about what kind of career I was looking for and, honestly, I had no idea. I was getting a finance degree and thought I might go the route of a financial planner. He asked if I was up for an adventure, and I was intrigued. He said, “you would start in inside sales in Richburg, South Carolina, from there it’s what you make of it. Guardian is growing rapidly, and you don’t have to stay in sales; if you are willing to take moves, there are opportunities all over the world.”

So that was the first real turning point in my journey. I was in Richburg for a year, then took every opportunity that was offered to me. DeWitt, Iowa, to open a float plant was next. After a few years I was pretty close to bailing out of the glass business, but Tom Marsh (former Midwest regional manager at Guardian) took me under his wing and taught me forecasting and sales planning and then put me out on the road in 1998, covering Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota, all by car. This was the second turning point in my career and I am forever grateful that he gave me the opportunity. The market was exploding, and I followed a sales representative in part of the area that was not well liked. Sales grew quickly, and we lost a regional manager, suddenly, in Detroit. I was offered that role, and from there I found my stride in finding talented sales people who were better than I was, not only as sales people, but managers. Each time we lost a regional sales manager, I had a replacement ready to fill my role, so I was asked to take on the vacated position. Guys like Dave Zawisza (Carleton plant) and Ryan Sexton (Richburg plant), were both complete professionals and superstars at Guardian. I fit the Bill Davidson/Russ Ebeid culture very well, but the times were changing. And at the same time, I went through a personal crisis, so my path at Guardian ended, abruptly.

In 2011, I received a call from a recruiter for a position in Elkhart, Indiana. It turns out one of my former sales representatives, Nick McLay, was contacted about the position and thought I was a better fit. I interviewed with StateWide Aluminum in Elkhart and was offered the sales manager job there the next day. I took the family from Charlotte to Indiana. StateWide was the main supplier of windows for the truck cap industry, brands like LEER, Jason, Unicover and Lakeland. But they were still in the throes of the recession and had not recovered. Their business was down significantly. But, slowly we started to get stronger. We rebranded our company as StateWide Windows and worked hard on developing our culture. This was really the third turning point in my career. I was working with a vice president at StateWide, Jim Johnson, that was my complete opposite. He was a taskmaster and extremely detailed. He saw potential in me and was not going to let me waste it. Some of our shouting matches were legendary, and I slammed the door on the way out a few times. To his credit, he never held a grudge and he pulled me through the eye of the needle. He challenged me at every turn and held my feet to the fire. At the time, I cursed him and looked for new career opportunities (none of which panned out, luckily). He worked with me on writing five-year business plans, researching and presenting M&A opportunities to our ownership, as well as forecasting and reporting. He was the toughest coach I ever had, but I came out all the better for it, even though I couldn’t see it while it was happening.

Jim was approached by one of our suppliers about being part of their succession plan because their president was ready to slow down a little. Jim said, “I’m not your guy, but I’ve got your guy.” That is when I was introduced to Paragon, and it truly was a match for both of our futures. I came to Paragon as the vice president of sales and marketing in January of 2017, and after a year of strong growth, I was offered the role of president at Paragon Tempered Glass.

You’ve worked for and with some unbelievable people in your past. Legends, really. Any tidbits of advice or knowledge that one (or more of them) gave you that you would like to share? 

Oh man, I came into the glass industry in a golden age. Many of the people I worked with had worked side by side with Russ Ebeid, and Mr. Davidson knew most of their names!  I learned a little (or a lot) from all of them. True legends within the glass industry and within Guardian. Let’s see if I can rattle off a few…

From Bill Davidson: It’s all about leverage, someone is always leaning on someone else, so you better know which side you are on.

Also from Mr. D.: Those individuals that are accomplishing the most usually have to say the least, those that are not achieving their goals feel the need to explain in great detail. Instead of all the explanations, just improve; the results will speak for themselves.

From Russ Ebeid: If you are not developing the next leaders of your company then you are working on the wrong things.

From Jim Walsh: Never take your coat off at customer or plant; it implies you are staying.

From Don Tullman/Gerry Hool: You must win over the hearts and minds of the people to have a successful culture.

From Ron Nadolski/Jay Waite (I learned this after I fetched Dove bars from the hotel store for these two): “Kid, have some fun while you do this job; it’s only glass and we will make more of it tomorrow!”

From Ted Hathaway: It’s okay to treat your suppliers sometimes; this isn’t a one way street.

From Mike Robinson (plant manager at Guardian-Richburg): If you do the right thing every time, you will eventually be rewarded (Mike waited his turn for longer than anyone I know to be named a plant manager, and when he was, I was so thrilled).

I truly was lucky to work with people like John Thompson, Tom Ricker, Matt Hill, Vince Westerhof, Dennis Carroll, Bruce Cooke, Steve Patience, Rosie Hunter, Dean Campbell and Sarah Wansack. They all taught me something along the way and I am very appreciative of that.

You were/are a seriously talented athlete that I also just found out has a gift for writing, too. Do you look back and wonder where your life would’ve been if you chased golf, baseball or sports writing? 

You are way too kind, Max. To tell the truth, keeping my mom out of the equation, I was the worst athlete in the family. My dad was all-state in Pennsylvania in football, basketball and track back in the 1940s. My oldest brother, Lee, swam at LSU. My sister, Debbie, won the Florida High School State championship in the backstroke as a sophomore in high school and went on to swim at Alabama. My most talented sibling, Greg, may have been the best swimmer in his age group in the country at 12 years old. He went on to swim at Alabama as well. So, I had big shoes to fill in my house growing up.

I was the baby by 12 years, so my parents were done with swimming. Baseball was my first love, and I was very good from about 7 years old to 13 years old. I was a dominant pitcher at 12 and 13. There was one game where I struck out 20 out of 21 batters; the one that got away bunted it back to me. But I tore my triceps at 13 and my arm was never as strong as it once was. Everyone caught up to me physically, and though I was good enough to play some college ball, I didn’t have the talent to take it past that. My competitive outlet became golf, and though I loved it, it took me a long time to get to where I wanted to be. My dad introduced me to the game when I was seven, but I never focused on it. He and Lee had a strong bond with golf, and I knew it was something I wanted to get better at, but I truly had to “dig it out of the dirt” as Ben Hogan said.

I had two magical days in 2001. Both my dad and sister were still alive and my parents were visiting and staying at her house, and I lived nearby. My dad was past his playing days but came out to watch me play a couple of practice rounds leading up to our club championship that weekend. He said, “Dan, I’ve never seen you hit it better; go have some fun.” My family was all at my niece’s softball game on the first day of the tournament, and I went out and shot a 69; I was just unconscious. I rushed from the course to her game to share the news, and my dad said, “I didn’t know you were THAT good!” The next day I was four under par for the day (seven under for the tournament) and had a nine-shot lead standing on the 15th tee, where I proceeded to fall apart and give back five shots over those four holes, but held on to win a club championship. As much as I did in baseball (we won Florida senior major league state championship in 1989, and I was named the defensive MVP for the tournament for the three games I pitched in), that club championship was probably my proudest athletic moment. In my foursome that day were 1) A four-time Michigan Amatuer champion and five-time U.S. open qualifier; 2) a two-time club champion, and senior club champion; 3) a three-time club champion, and at the time course record holder (64). I was in rare air and met the challenge when on the inside I was a nervous wreck. Unfortunately, I think my best golf is behind me. I just don’t play enough anymore, and for me, I have to play and practice to be competitive.

Finally, with regards to sports writing, I was a finalist for the Grantland Rice scholarship at Vanderbilt, and had I won that I would have quit baseball and followed that path. The funny thing is, I hated deadlines, still do to this day. I always waited to the last minute and then banged it out under the gun. I finally learned that’s pretty much how the business is, and I probably would have excelled at it because I worked best under that pressure. One of my best friends in high school, who followed me as editor of the school newspaper after I graduated, went on to write for the sporting news, so I got to see the “inside” of sports writing, and though I may have enjoyed getting into the broadcasting side of things like Stephen A. Smith or Tony Kornheiser, writing day to day just wasn’t for me.

Max Perilstein is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications.E-mail him at

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

At the moment, I can tell you almost as much as a golf professional about the best 4-hybrid clubs out there. How is that possible when I am an average Joe? Quality information is easy to find, third party sites have hundreds of reviews, and I’ve tried them all because I happened to be looking for one (my old one may or may not have been tossed in a pond).

The point is, as buyers, we’re now willing and able to qualify ourselves with suppliers. We should be applying this new way of buying to our businesses. Add this capability with audiences larger than fathomable a decade ago and it adds up to opportunity. If prospects can qualify themselves, we should make it easy for them. It will free resources to other areas, like moving from prospect to client. But how?

Relevance is the key! Be relevant with your current selling environment and your market. For example, it is 10 p.m., and a long-standing client remembers they forgot to place an order. They can get on a competitor’s website and immediately order or wait for tomorrow to call me (if they don’t forget again). In the current arena, I expect to lose this scenario because, when it mattered, I was not as closely connected to the client. Relevance gets the top organic search on Google. How do we become more relevant? Be where the client is when it matters. Supply pertinent information quickly and generate content. A potential customer will know almost immediately if they’re going further or dismissing you never to be seen again.

A website is one of the best ways to be relevant and is often the first introduction to a company. Follow the traffic on your website. How many new vs. returning visitors does it have? What type of devices are used? What pages were visited? For how long? The time spent is a great tool for identifying areas of improvement. People won’t waste time scouring for information. Webpages must have responsive design. I still find sites that are frustrating to navigate on mobile. User-generated content, if you can get it, is an excellent means of relevance. I trust a list of user reviews more because it is not distributed by the seller.

Use consistent branding across multiple platforms to raise relevance in search engine algorithms. The more connections on the web the more search engines find your name over others. These engines are like brains where the more connections the easier to find something. Make web connections across as many channels as possible, ask suppliers and distribution channels to make a connection to your platforms, directly link all these sites. If you’re not on the five big social platforms, you’re missing an opportunity others will capture.

Max Perilstein put DeGorter Inc. on Instagram about a year ago and it has been a great tool to visually demonstrate how we help others create, plus it suggests others I’ve not heard of working in the same field. While some platforms may prove more valuable than others, the bigger picture is your footprint on the web and making it larger.   

I’ve noticed these changes over the last decade and we are integrating our marketing to become more relevant. My goal is to find ways to make it easier for others to absorb information with the intention of finding better pre-qualified leads. Time is a limited resource. Allowing prospects to qualify themselves frees resources for other avenues. If you’re wondering, I went with a Callaway Big Bertha 4-hybrid. Hopefully it stays in the bag a while longer than the last one.

Pete de Gorter is vice president of sales and marketing at DeGorter Inc. Contact him at

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

Monday, July 16, 2018

Last week I wrote about the expectations for a strong second half of the year. That post brought some reaction my way from a cross section of people. Some have had solid years to date, and others are hoping that my prediction here isn’t as bad as my sports ones. The positive news for all was that this week another metric came through to continue the push. The Dodge Momentum Index was up yet again and it’s now nearing a 10-year high.  This is now five straight months on the plus side, and while the increases on each report are not huge, they are still going in the right direction. Now let’s have that translate to the day-to-day for those that need it!


  • Attention glazing contractor friends, there is an excellent “Thirsty Thursday” webinar coming up on July 19 on the top 10 things to look for when negotiating glazing contracts. This is presented by the NGA and is a member-only benefit. If you are a member sign up; if you’re not, you should be joining so you don’t miss incredible education like this. The great Courtney Little of ACE Glass will be the presenter so you know this will be good!

  • Something I never thought of but found very cool: the tallest buildings ever to be conventionally demolished. Who knew someone kept such stats on this approach. And I was surprised not seeing the one hotel in Las Vegas that was taken down a few years ago (the City Center one that never opened) on the list. Interesting stuff! 

Big 3 interview

Nathalie Thibault, architectural sales director, Prelco

One of the reasons I decided to do this series was to learn more from people smarter than me. This week, that theme absolutely applies with Nathalie. Her approach and intelligence are off the charts and, as you’ll find out below, she’s always pushing for more. 

You are very active within the industry and the trade associations including major board positions now and in the past. You are very knowledgeable with our world. What do you think are some of the key challenges we face as an industry and how do we address them?

I believe the number one challenge that we are facing is the globalization of our industry. We must adapt to various standards, higher expectations, worldwide competition and complex logistics.

The wide variety and complexity of products and their different combinations is also increasingly difficult to manage. We see more and more combinations of various high-performance low-E, several layers of glass and patterns and colors on a single unit! That complexity makes it very difficult to ensure consistency. And, to add to this, the expectations on the required timeline for production are almost the same as if it were simple products. That is why education to all stakeholders in the construction and glass industry should be our number one priority.

Another major challenge that we are facing is finding labor. Knowledgeable resources are getting very scarce and manpower is also extremely difficult to find. Our industry will need to work on attracting young and passionate professionals.

As I have told you in person, I have always been a fan of your company. Prelco is very diverse with products and segments, so I am curious, how do you stay focused when you are dealing with so many different worlds?

A company really needs a strong vision to be able to achieve that kind of diversification. We had to look at our business model on a few occasions to realign our efforts and prioritize certain segments in which we operate. Some segments are changing extremely fast as well, which requires us to adapt rapidly. There were times where we had to abandon certain efforts in order to focus on the segments where we really wish to become real leaders. However, I must say that, in the end, it is that same diversification that has benefited the company throughout the years and allowed it to get through slower economic cycles.

Did I read correctly that you are now studying for your MBA. I am curious with all you already know in the business arena, what is driving you to get more education?

I have indeed begun my master’s degree in strategy and innovation over a year ago. I decided to pursue these studies because I felt that I needed to push my managing skills a notch further. I believe that having a good theoretical understanding of today’s business environment is likely to provide me with the necessary tools to strategize and innovate appropriately in our rapidly changing world. It has been a very interesting journey so far, and it made me expand my horizons beyond the glass manufacturing sector.

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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