From the Fabricator: MVP 2017

Before I get to my annual industry MVP, I just wanted to hit on an item that I have been pretty active on over the past several months. This past Monday, GANA sent a voting ballot to its membership asking them to vote on approving a combined entity of GANA and NGA. As I have stated here on many occasions, I believe this combined entity is a must for our industry. It is the opportunity to have one unified voice and bring the best of these two excellent groups together. 

One key benefit is an improved efficiency and approach with meetings and events. It will offer more focus, and provide an opening for more input from parties who may not have been heard or comfortable speaking up in the past. Movements like this and other possibilities will allow the strengths of these organizations to grow. Obviously, a lot of the work still needs to be done to determine how a combined group will exactly look when merged, but that’s normal in any unification. But what I do know is the personalities involved are strong and caring, and they have our best interest as an industry at the forefront. If you have a ballot, please vote. And if you want to talk more about this, I am always up for a dialogue. 

Now on to the MVP…

2017 was a tough one, but in the end, I did find my winner.

First, the runners up. All of these are well deserving because they truly came to play all year long with the best interest of the industry in mind.

Two companies and two individuals make up the group that came close. They are:

GCI Consultants. These folks made the list because they went next level with communication that made a difference. Every other week, for the most part, GCI released a podcast with an industry subject and guest. That is something I have wanted to do for the past three years and couldn’t do and these guys are doing it and doing it extremely well. To find new ways to communicate is a crucial step in reaching more of the world. Kudos and congrats to GCI for pulling it off.

Walker Glass. There are so many people at this company who could probably be on this list solo it only made sense to honor the company as a whole. The commitment that Walker makes to the technical side of the industry is huge. No matter where the meeting is, they usually have multiple people there. And those folks usually take on leadership roles that involve more work than their daily duties. Walker also has excelled at leading the way in newer areas of bird-protective glazing and sustainable glazing with the etched products (going after HPD/EPD etc.) Overall, it’s an impressive body of work. Kudos to Lee Harrison, Ross Christie and the entire Walker team for doing what you do!

Darijo Babic, Guardian Glass. There are stories about Darijo’s work ethic and hustle that are legend-like. There is no doubt he is a person who gets the job done and he brings a passion to the glass industry that is off the charts. Darijo this year and in the past has been tremendous at educating architects and designers on glass and why it needs to be used.  

Cathie Saroka, Goldray. Cathie’s company has tons of admirers with the beautiful product they produce. But it’s Cathie’s activities on the technical side of the industry and her being at the front of promoting the excellent potential uses of decorative glass (instead of non-glass products) wins the day for me. Ten years ago, decorative glass was a niche. It now is standard and the space it goes in can utilize a lot of different non-glass options, so having a champion pushing glass is huge. 

Congrats to the above folks/companies. You all represent the industry well!

Now to the winner. I have known this gentleman for a few years and was a fan of his style and skill.  But honestly it wasn’t until this year when I saw him in action in a few different venues that he hit my radar as a guy that was performing even beyond my initial knowledge. 

My industry MVP for 2017 is Joe Erb of Quanex.  

Joe is easily one of the most likable people in our world and one that I would be stunned if anyone did not hold in the highest levels of respect. He is a focused, caring guy who has thrown himself into several volunteer roles all with the industry’s best interest in mind. As I noted above, I watched him do his thing in a few meetings, and it was awesome. Joe kept discussion flowing and debate/collaboration at a fair and respected pace. All the while making sure that the work being done would provide a benefit to what we all do. Like the past winners of this award, I am just in awe of the effort Joe puts forward and appreciate all he does! Congrats, Joe. I believe this honor is well deserved!

That is it for my last “scheduled” post of 2017. If major news breaks, I’ll jump online and on twitter. Beyond that, I want to wish all of you out there a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy and rewarding 2018. I am looking forward to what’s in store and I can’t wait to continue to share my thoughts, gripes and whines with you here on this blog. Take care and enjoy!

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The author 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.


Congratulations to all ~ well deserved.