From the Fabricator: A Great Deal

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. 

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