Monday, November 26, 2018

David Vermeulen

Smart phones, smart watches, smart vacuums, smart cars. It didn’t take long for The Internet of Things—which trusty Google defines as, “The interconnection via the internet of computing devices embedded in everyday objects”—to make its way into our lives. It’s not far from doing the same in the glass industry.

IoT is increasingly used in the glass world in reference to Industry 4.0 (also known as the fourth industrial revolution or the digitalization of the industrial/manufacturing world). If you follow robotics or manufacturing in the glass industry, or kept up with this year’s glasstec coverage, then you already know this buzzword has been gaining momentum, and with good reason. Automation and digital integration have a lot of potential advantages for glass fabricators and suppliers, from better processing metrics to streamlined operations and improved worker productivity. But there is understandably still some hesitancy around implementation. 

Is setting aside the necessary time, resources and task organization to develop a digital strategy, install a new network infrastructure (if necessary) and retrain employees on certain aspects of operation valuable in an industry that’s already stretched thin? Is big data bringing anything tangible to the table that we can’t live without? Will the investment for new machinery, software or systems pencil out? 

I say yes.

There will always be competing matters pressing for our attention. But doing the same thing over and over again isn’t going to free up any more time as the skilled labor gap widens. IoT has the potential to fill in the holes around efficiency and productivity while helping solve workload demands. It can also improve safety, shave time off production schedules and help us meet the needs of today’s complex glass and framing products. There’s also a lot of knowledge to be gained from these interconnected systems.

Now, I’m not saying IoT is the end-all, be-all. I’m also not saying technology is the best fit in every situation. However, for businesses, when it comes to using technology to improve processes and knowledge, I think it is one investment we should all look at. For some, it may be automating loading and unloading processes. For others, it may be using software that shares information from machine to machine to identify inefficiencies and improve operations. Both big and small changes will have an impact.

It’s really another thinking beyond the immediate win situation. It will take time to implement IoT and will cause some short-term discomfort. And we’ll need to approach the whole process with great care to make sure we don’t lose sight of craftsmanship, customer service and valuable relationships along the way. Let’s not lose the people, relationships, solution-based products and thought leadership that made our industry great in the first place. But if these changes are done right, there is a lot of upside.

When you look ahead, now is the time to start thinking about The Internet of Things.

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, November 26, 2018

In my previous post, I talked about my MVP process and I asked for any feedback. You all came through with quite a bit of insight for me to consider, easily the most I have had since starting this process back in 2013. The one thing I realized is that many of you probably hadn’t seen or remembered the runners up each year. So, I decided to list those incredible folks below. I have always kept it in my head that I won’t repeat people, so I can spread the recognition around. But I think after this year, those who were runners up in the past can be future MVPs. In any case, I think I have an incredible slate for this year (posting in a few weeks), and I am excited to determine the winner and share all!

Previous Runners Up


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


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


  • Walker Glass
  • Garret Henson
  • Dip Tech
  • Kris Vockler


  • Mike Albert
  • Thom Zaremba
  • Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell
  • SAPA


  • GCI Consultants
  • Darijo Babic
  • Cathie Saroka


  • The Architectural Billings Index was in the positive territory yet again last month, so the “plus” trend continues. But the number continues to decrease each month. I have a feeling this coming month we’ll have a below 50 score. It’s not anything to be alarmed about but does bear watching.
  • Greenbuild was earlier this month, and I have to give kudos to so many in the glass industry who stayed away. That event is not a worthy one, in my opinion, and the LEED process surely not a valuable one for glass and glazing. Again, one guy’s opinion here, but nice to see more and more companies from our world see the same thing I have seen and noted.
  • Speaking of green building but in a more real sense, some positive news via Dodge on the growth of sustainable products.
  • People want more energy efficiency, huh? What a stunner (for this I really wish I had a sarcasm font). That said, it’s a good thing, no matter how obvious.
  • Vitro Architectural Glass did a very cool survey on expectations. Smart and informative. 
  • Kudos to the super folks at Safti First for being involved in the annual “Giving Tuesday” event and donating turkeys. Great going here!
  • Last this week… two non-industry notes:
    • As a guy who loves to follow the marketing world, it’s been interesting to see how the massive success of the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody” (See it. Really tremendous.) has driven other advertisements and marketing. Over the holidays I saw several ads that featured Queen or their music. Love when marketing people can quickly recognize and jump on the right trend.
    • It’s the holiday season and with that comes the onslaught of seasonal movies on the Hallmark Channel. These movies have incredible ratings and they are huge hits with my wife and daughter and many others. But the thing that cracks me up is it is literally the same formula for every single movie. All they do is change the setting and tweak the plot a tiny bit. Heck, in many cases they use the same actors! In any case, it just makes me laugh, but it does prove that when you have something that works, you stick with it. Classic “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” theory.

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, November 12, 2018

Last week, I took part in the first of two back-to-back sessions of the interactive IG Fabricators Workshop, hosted by the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and held at Intertek in Plano, Texas. The workshop invites attendees from all over the industry to get a thorough hands-on education in the complete insulating glass fabrication, testing and forensic investigation process.

I attended last week’s workshop along with about 30 other industry representatives. Many came from glass or window fabricators, some from component or equipment suppliers. Some tout decades of experience, others just a few weeks. But no matter the experience level, the multi-part three-day event provided opportunities for all attendees to come away with everything from important safety reminders to critical quality control methods.

“Looking ahead, we will recommend that we send our new people to this along with some of our seasoned guys. It’s important to understand why we’re doing what we’re doing; to correct bad habits,” said one attendee from an entry door manufacturer.

The workshop began with two classroom sessions: a glass safety presentation from Mike Burk, chair of the IGMA Glass Safety Awareness Council and North American technical representative for Sparklike, and a complete breakdown of IGU design and components parts from Jeff Haberer, technical services, Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions. The remainder of the sessions took place in the test laboratory space, where workshop leaders demonstrated IGU test methods, such as frost point testing and volatile fog testing; taught quality control checks for desiccant, gas fill and sealants; identified spacer types and spacer issues to watch out for; and presented common issues with glass cutting and glass washing.

View complete photo and video coverage from the workshop.

At top, a workshop group performs a visual inspection on an insulating glass unit. Lower left, Randi Ernst, CEO of FDR Design, helps an attendee measure gas fill of an insulating glass unit. Lower right, a group leader disassembles a failed insulating glass unit to determine the cause of seal failure. 

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

Monday, November 12, 2018

It’s that time of year that we start to look back, and for me that includes determining my annual glass industry MVP. In one month, with my last post for 2018, I will make the announcement of the runners up and the award winner. I have been recognizing people for this honor since 2013 (list of winners below), and it’s one of the most rewarding things I do. All the people that I name go above and beyond for this industry and represent our interests extremely well. 2018 has once again made it extremely challenging to choose a winner. Since I have been doing this, I have recognized 40 people, all of whom made major impacts. I am excited to point out five more next month. If you have someone (or a company) that you think deserves consideration, please drop me a line. Our past winners:

2013: Tracy Rogers

2014: C.R. Laurence

2015: Jon Kimberlain

2016: Chuck Knickerbocker

2017: Joe Erb

2018: To be announced in December


  • Reminders

  • I am behind, so my latest Glass Magazine review is for the “Robot Revolution” October issue. Obviously the recent glasstec event—and GlassBuild America before that—was a major showcase for robots and automation, so this issue from Glass Magazine was very timely and helpful. In-depth articles on maintenance, robots, and technology advancements were strong as was Marco Terry’s excellent piece on when to grow a business. Good stuff as always! My favorite ad of the month actually goes to GlassBuild America for their piece recognizing all of the sponsors at the show. All of these companies not only advanced their brand by sponsoring, but they also did right by the industry by supporting the effort. It was great to see them all listed on one page.

  • I have covered previously the race to be the host city for Amazon’s HQ2. That contest is over and apparently the winners were Long Island, New York and Arlington, Virginia. This was stunning given cost of living, traffic, etc. in those areas. Those choices have not gone over well publicly, as some of the tenets that everyone expected from Amazon when it started the search were not considered in the end. 

    Will Oremus, tech columnist at Slate, summed it up well with this tweet:

    “I know I'm late to this, but the reason Amazon's HQ2 was a farce is not just that they picked two cities. It's that they raised the hopes of cities across the country that could really use an infusion of economic vitality, then picked the two that need it least of all.”

    That really nails it. Why have 300 communities do this when this is where you end up? In any case, Amazon also now has detailed planning information on every city in the United States, deep intel really, that I am sure they will utilize to keep growing. From a business side, it was brilliant. From a human side, it left me cold. 

  • Check out the design of this building. I sure hope when it comes to the engineering someone really smart like John Wheaton is involved, because looking at this blows my mind.

  • Last this week, note there is no blog from me next week as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday. As I have noted here many times, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I can’t wait to enjoy it yet again. But even more so this year: we need to give thanks for what we have and take heed that it does not last forever. Life can be short, time absolutely flies, so next week, when you gather with your friends and family, take it all in a little deeper. Thank you.

Read on for links and video of the week…

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

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Limited labor has been a core issue for the glass industry for years. Recruitment, training and retention are at the heart of a company’s concerns, as evidenced by Glass Magazine’s Workforce Development series, which has shone a light on these issues.

While creating a great company culture is just one aspect of attracting and retaining employees, it is a critical one. Millennials are the largest generation to hit the workforce and research shows they are more engaged and inspired by a company culture centered on a purpose other than making money, and a focus on community involvement rather than compensation.

As you aim to create a great company culture within your business, a focus on community involvement should be top of mind—going beyond profits and productivity to make a positive impact on the communities in which you work, and in turn, creating a culture of service within your business. Here are some key steps to making this a reality for your company.

  1. Focus your efforts. A philanthropic mission brings clarity to what your business hopes to achieve within the community. It can be as simple as creating an area of philanthropic focus like the environment, for example, and then identifying and becoming involved in relevant events and activities within your community.

    At YKK AP, our “I Am an Architect” platform helps us to remain focused on our industry while better educating young children and students about the importance of science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM). We sponsor the AIA Atlanta High School Design Competition, as well as local robotics competitions in the Macon and Dublin, Georgia, areas, where our manufacturing facilities are located. 
  2. Empower your leaders. According to Deloitte, “71 percent of Millennials are likely to leave the workplace within two years if they are dissatisfied with their leadership development.” Empower your employees to become leaders in creating a culture of service. By having autonomy to lead outreach efforts, they gain leadership skills while becoming “champions” for the cause, breeding a culture of service within the organization.

    YKK AP recently created “Foundation Crewe,” a group of employees that regularly initiates and plans community events. Recently, the Crewe participated in the Keep Cobb Beautiful Adopt-A-Mile Program, in which employees and their family members gathered to help improve their stretch of adopted highway in Cobb County, Georgia.
  3. Engage your employees. Engaging employees of all skill levels is critical to creating a company-wide culture of service. At YKK AP, a “Voice of the Employee” survey takes the pulse of our workforce, so that we are better informed in how to best engage them. Employees can become involved when you welcome their ideas for involvement and recognize them for their efforts. They may also be more engaged in the company by joining a committee to help plan events or participating in events.
  4. Recognize your team members. By showing that you value individual and team efforts, you are showing appreciation while enforcing your company’s dedication to serving the community. A little goes a long way, whether it is a company-wide email or a social media post to show your company’s strong sense of teamwork and community; your employees will be encouraged knowing their efforts are appreciated.

Creating a culture of service takes time to develop, and it’s important to regularly share with and engage employees in finding their higher purpose. By focusing your efforts, empowering and engaging your team members, and recognizing the small wins throughout you will have a positive impact on the communities in which you work.

Patrys Wiid is vice president of organizational excellence at YKK AP America Inc.

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, November 5, 2018

Recently, it’s not been the best of times. First, the tragedy in Pittsburgh, my hometown, at a place of worship that I know so very well, shook me to my core. I still can’t even process what went on and I can only hope we can all stay strong and push forward. Then, early last week, I got the word that Nick Barone of GGI passed away. That was another massive blow to the gut for me. Nick was a very good man. He treated me and so many others incredibly well, always with a smile and a story. I knew Nick as a customer of his and for a short time a coworker. He was always a guy you could count on to improve your mood. He took the time to get to know everyone he met and could hold a fun conversation with anyone. He was incredibly good at what he did and it’s devastating to lose him so young. Our industry, GGI, and especially Nick’s family lost a great person way too early. My thoughts and prayers to all of Nick’s family and friends. I know I won’t easily forget what he did and how he did it. Rest in peace, my friend.


  • We have to all keep moving no matter what, and to that end, a few notes on must-attend industry events that just opened registration. 

    • Coming up on November 15 is the next Thirsty Thursday webinar and this one is open to all! More info can be found here, but this is a rundown of everything the National Glass Association has going on right now. If you want the insight of what is happening at the trade level (you should), don’t miss it. Membership is not required to attend, so click the link and join in.

    • Annual Conference is January 22-24 in Naples, Florida. It’s the premiere technical event in our industry. If you want to stay on top of the guidelines and approaches that are going on in the glass world, this is one to attend. To register and learn more, click here.

    • The annual BEC Conference is set for March 3-5 in Las Vegas. I have been honored to be a small part of an amazing team that put together the program for this year and it’s fabulous. If you are a glazing contractor, this event is for you. The agenda is what your peers have determined include the issues that affect you and your business daily. Meanwhile, for all others, it is a networking bonanza. I visit with more people in two days at BEC than I can anywhere else (outside of GlassBuild America, of course). That value is off the charts! Register now here.

  • The latest Architectural Billings Index stayed above 50, but the analysts are starting to hedge their bets, some seeing a potential slowdown in the near future. Positive metrics are still out there, and the Midwest region posted its best monthly score in a very long time. I think the stock market’s volatility may be playing into these numbers as well. It would be nice to see some sort of calming of the markets overall as the herky jerk of the index really does cause some angst.

  • This Deer doesn’t like glass. Wild story.

  • My pal Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP had this first on his great blog, but I wanted to also share here. The ENR Top 600. It’s a good and interesting poll.

  • Last this week, in my glasstec coverage I left out some very important people: the folks from NGA that I had the honor to work with while there! This group really is amazing, and I am thankful to even be in the same room with them. So many good things are happening at NGA with Glass Magazine, GlassBuild America, education, advocacy and more. The NGA contingent led by Nicole Harris and including Andrew Haring, Katy Devlin, Urmilla Sowell, Sara Neiswanger and Jonathan Watson brought an intense work ethic to the floor each day and it blew me away. What NGA is doing right now is a massive benefit to our industry and I am excited for the future and next steps!

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.