Monday, September 9, 2019

This month’s blog comes from the gut; in random order, issues, topics, ideas, observations.

Contract language. We need to be paying attention to definitions and how they relate, or not, to contract language. “Design-assist” is not the same as contractual “design build.” Being mis-aligned on this between architect, CM or GC, glazing sub, and delegated designer/engineer makes for a lot of tension at a minimum, and a fail at worst. 

Shop drawings. The shop drawing submittal process is not to be an extended part of the architect of record’s architectural design process and is not meant to help them complete their drawings, unless of course this is known up front. Too often we’ve seen “design assist” be someone’s version of using the glazing sub and their engineering partner’s production shop drawings as a means to keep designing until it’s time to ship material. This has to be controlled and boundaries set, or it is costly.

Change orders. “Value engineering” typically means coming up with cost effective alternatives within an existing scope of work and design basis, not changing one or both. There’s a difference between value engineering and a scope change producing a change order. Listen for nuance in the conversations and decisions particularly in pre-construction design, and keep a clear benchmark or boundary. Someone from the glazing team has to be willing, able, or appointed to speak up during this process.

Soft skills. Communication, good or bad along the continuum, is still the number one predictor for project success or failure. Similarly, communication problems or struggles are the number one cause for risk management issues on projects where a claim is made against one or more parties. Communication is still considered a soft skill in our whacky world because we can’t put some definitive metric to it. It’s only measured by the success of the outcome. Isn’t it time we put project communication at the top of the list? Of course, the good side of this issue then, is that communication is a differentiator in organizations and in people. Communication matters.

Inexperience. I finally saw the statistic that we have all felt or experienced; one that resonated with many of you and that I wrote about in my prior blog “Inexperience.” Forty percent of people polled around AEC industry issues sight “inexperience” as the number one problem in completing projects. Thanks to PSMJ Resources—see page 9 of the June issue for more information.

Social networks. Yes, social media is a thing and while we should know the pitfalls—if it’s free we are the product—it’s also here to stay, at least in this current culture. If we aren’t visible on one or more of “the big 4” —Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter—then we aren’t perceived as completely relevant, or we are easy to forget about. At a minimum we reduce our inbound marketing opportunities. Stay engaged, be real, be organic. It’s not that difficult. Just keep posting and trying new approaches. You’ll see what sticks.

Unemployment. Attracting and keeping talent is the differentiator in our day; while we could say that it always has been, it’s truer now than ever. Unemployment allegedly is around 2 to 3 percent across all fields, but that is the rate of job transfer at any one time. I’ll bet with the number of open positions in our companies the unemployment amongst technical professionals on all sides of the AEC fence is negative. People are the difference and there are more vocational choices and contexts now than ever before. Get used to it. There’s much competition from other tech fields and it’s not going to get better. We’ve got to get better at differentiating, and creating, positive lasting experiences if we want people to choose to stay in the glass and glazing field, whether on the design side or the construction side.

Fall 2019. Guess what? It’s September. That’s right, 33 percent of the year remains. Let’s make the most of it and all the coming days before us. I hope you’ve made GlassBuild part of that equation. I’ll be there on Sept. 17 and 18 and hope to engage with you. Stay strong!

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, Instagram and Word Press @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, September 9, 2019

Quick hits this post, leading into the biggest week of the year in Atlanta next week…

  • Congrats to everyone who picked up the most prestigious honor in our industry with the announcements of the winners of the Glass Magazine Awards. Some incredible projects and products noted, and I am sure the judges had their hands full in the voting process. 
  • Is there a big move happening on the shower door side of our world? I keep hearing about one but not seeing anything official. I guess maybe at GlassBuild America we’ll get some clarity?
  • Next week I’ll be posting from the site of GlassBuild with a preview of the big show. I am so excited for it, as positive vibes are everywhere headed into the event and I am pumped to see old friends and network with new ones!
  • The drawings for the new Kansas City Airport are out. I have written about this project a few times because of all of the controversy around it and now it’s getting closer and closer to fruition. They have a goal of being done by 2023…we’ll see about that. Until then these drawings look good.
  • I saw that Greenbuild is having President Obama speak at their convention. Exhibiting there is absolutely awful, and while the former president may draw some additional people it won’t help the floor or exhibitors there. Greenbuild now has had Vice President Gore, President Bill Clinton, Hilary Clinton, and Colin Powell as some of its past keynote speakers, which is great for the egos of the people putting on the event but still astounds me on how it helps the environment or the event.
  • Last before my latest interview: the NFL season has started so it’s time for predictions. I think every year I pick Carolina and I am going to do so again this year, especially since I heard my brother has Cam Newton as his QB on his fantasy team. Cam and Stevie P can’t go wrong. Carolina beats the Ravens in the big game.

Big 3 Interview: John Vissari, director of sales and marketing, United Plate Glass 

This was a cool one for me. I am big fan of United Plate—Mike and Joyce Cully are simply two of the best people alive—and of John Vissari. John is one of those talented people who hustled and hustled and hustled some more to really become and major force in our world. Hard working and an absolute class act; it was fun to get background and perspective from him.

I noticed on LinkedIn you’ve been at United Plate for 21 years (Did you start there when you were 5? You don’t look old enough to be anywhere for 21 years.) How did you end up there and what’s it been like as UPG has grown so much during that time?

I originally walked into UPG just looking for a temporary summer position. I didn’t know anything about glass at all. Right from the start, I was immediately impressed with the Cully family—Bill, Mike, Bart and Joyce. And I met all of them, because they were all there working side by side with everyone else. They were some of the hardest working, nicest, down to earth people I ever met. And that made me want to be a part of their team and help them be successful. I tried to show them I was a go-getter from the start. And I sure did … in my very first week I managed to unintentionally steal a customer’s Jeep and illegally endorse a company check! But those are stories for another day.

Through it all, they stuck with me. And it’s been a whirlwind of a ride. Mike’s commitment and drive has been a wonder to see. The glass business truly is his passion, and that becomes contagious. But through all the growth and success, that family feel at UPG, which was immediately apparent from the start, has remained the same.

Any new product trend that have caught your eye out there or is it still the tried and true high-performance glazing still owning the marketplace?

You hit the nail on the head with the high-performance glazing. And I don’t see an end in sight on that front. But, speaking from a fabricator’s point view, another trend we’re seeing is bigger and bigger glass sizes. One of the most common questions I get is, “What’s the biggest _____ you can make?” Typically followed up with, “OK, how fast can you get it to me? I needed it yesterday.”

Fun one, since I know you are sports fan: what is favorite all-time sports memory and why? Could be you personally playing or a favorite team. I’m curious on what made the cut for you!

Nov. 13, 1993. South Bend, Indiana. No.1 ranked Florida State coming in undefeated to face my Fighting Irish, who were also undefeated and ranked No.2 in the country. Game of the century ensued. Final score: Notre Dame 31—National Champions 24. That’s what I thought my answer would be. But it has since been surpassed by the joy of watching my two daughters be involved in sports. Too many great memories to list, but the ones I always go back to in my mind: my oldest daughter was seven and feeling under the weather on the day of her team’s championship game. When my wife asked her if she was too sick to go, she said fighting back tears, “No, I just want to be there to contribute to my team.” And my youngest daughter, when trying out for a new 12U travel team, was asked what position she plays. She answered, “I normally play shortstop, but I’ll play whatever position you need me to play.” That’s when I knew they got it, and they’ll be fine no matter what they choose to do in life. I’m so proud of them.

Thanks Johnlove it all especially the sports thoughts!

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, September 3, 2019

Last month there was an incredible webinar that talked about design and glass and glazing. I talked about it here and now I get to attempt to recreate that magic at the Glazing Executives Forum at GlassBuild. I am moderating an all-star panel that’s going to cover the following issues and more:Green New Deal; NYC/DeBlasio issue; codes and regulatory push; trends in glass design and the challenges with those trends; daylighting/natural light needs; best projects; and a lot more.

My panel is incredible with these folks

  • Nick Bagatelos, Bagatelos Architectural Glass Inc.
  • Roberto Bicchiarelli, Permasteelisa North America
  • Paul Bush, Vitro Architectural Glass
  • Tom Culp, Birch Point Consulting
  • Steven Rainville, Olson Kundig—incredible architecture firm

We have all bases covered—leading glazing contractors, a primary glass manufacturer, code and regulatory consultants, and design. While we are missing a traditional fabricator, I think my past can play a role. This is going to be strong, so if you are coming to GlassBuild but have not signed up for the Glazing Executives Forum, do it now. Worth it for this and the rest of the fabulous content all day long. Any questions please feel free to reach out to me.


  • Big news from Canada this week with Ross Christie retiring from his day to day position at Walker Glass and Charles Alexander moving up and taking over that role. Both guys are fabulous people. I have known Ross for years and he’s an all-time favorite of mine—great guy and I am happy for him that he can escape the daily grind. Charles has been a tremendous addition to the glass industry after joining Walker a few years ago—I love the insight and energy he brings and I expect that only to continue. Walker is a constant supporter of the glass industry and I am thankful to them for always stepping up. I wish them only the best with this transition.
  • The crazy story of the sinking San Francisco Millennium Building continues. Now it looks like there is a fix … and it’ll only cost 100 million.
  • Once again we are back at it with hurricane season. After a very quiet start we are now heavy into it. Thoughts and prayers out to everyone in the seemingly always changing paths of these storms.
  • I often get asked, “How can we get more involved in the industry?” Well, here’s a way: call for presentations are out for Annual Conference in 2020. Click here for more.
  • There was a typo in the “Project News” piece in e-Glass Weekly last week so I wanted to bring extra positive attention to it.  The piece featured an incredible job in Australia using dynamic glass from Suntuitive. The dynamic space is just bursting at the seams with breakthrough projects all over. This building is absolutely gorgeous. Will be interesting to watch this process continue.
  • Last this week—please check out my video of the week. It’s a little different than you expect from me. It is about the whale shark and how we can help to save this magnificent fish. The video is only five minutes but it’s stunning and beautiful to watch—props to Justin Dalaba for an amazing job—so please check it out.

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, September 3, 2019

Images from the IG forensic investigation session at the IGMA IG Fabricator WorkshopImages from the previous IG forensic investigation session at the 2018 IGMA IG Fabricator Workshop in Plano, Texas. Participate in the hands-on session at GlassBuild America 2019 in Atlanta. 

Katy Devlin

What do you do when an insulating glass unit fails on a building? What about when IGUs fail at the factory? In the test lab? Does your team know the steps to take to diagnose the source of failure, identify the cause and make necessary changes in production to reduce failures in future?

Insulating glass units are complex systems. IG failures happen and are a goldmine of information. The key to a fabricator’s long-term success is determining the cause of those failures to improve daily practices, increase production quality and reduce liability.

WHAT: Hands-On Workshop: Forensic Investigation of Insulating Glass Units
Presented by IGMA

WHERE: GlassBuild America
Booth: 3909

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 17, and Wednesday, Sept., 18 (continuous presentations both days)

REGISTER NOW (Space is limited)

This year at GlassBuild America, attendees can learn how to determine the causes of IG failures during the Hands-On Workshop: Forensic Investigation of Insulating Glass Units, from the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance. Workshop attendees will have the opportunity to inspect the IGUs and are provided with the tools to determine the failure mode with guidance from industry experts. Participants will learn techniques to provide a detailed IG analysis to include performing a visual inspection, dissecting the unit, writing the failure report and analyzing the failure.

The session is traditionally part of IGMA’s two-day IG Fabricator Workshop, which I had the pleasure of attending last year in Plano, Texas. During the forensic analysis section of the workshop, we worked in small groups to identify the type of unit and its various component parts. We performed detailed visual inspections, looking for everything from gaps in the sealant application to appearance of fog. We submerged the units in water to watch for air bubbles that might help diagnose the site of a failure. And eventually, we worked as a team to disassemble the entire unit. 

This type of hands-on, collaborative learning is critical to effective training of new employees and to furthering the industry knowledge of veteran workers. It offers a rare opportunity to learn from the foremost experts in the field of insulating glass—those with decades of experience identifying failures or potential fabrication issues. It provides every employee who attends—whether they work on the factory floor, in the office or the field—with the understanding and tools to understand the potential causes IG failures. This in turn can improve quality control from a single factory all the way to the company and industry.

I can’t recommend the session highly enough. 

Because of the hands-on nature of the GlassBuild America workshop, space is limited. Get registered today.

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

Monday, August 26, 2019

Understanding what it means to grow your business is essential. As the next phase of modern manufacturing, Industry 4.0 involves digital connectivity transforming traditional systems through robotic automation, optimization, 3D printing, big data networking and other forward-thinking models.

While these developments have existed within their own silos, it is only now that they are finding their way into industrial applications. Moving forward, traditional factories and shop floors will be just as “smart” as the phone in your pocket.

Industry 4.0 for the glass industry

What does this mean for the glass industry? Quite a lot. Manufacturers are discovering how adapting their systems to the Industry 4.0 model helps them grow faster and drive up innovation, while improving product quality and customer satisfaction. It also demonstrates how communication between yourself and your customers as well as your suppliers is changing.

For example, when was the last time you ordered something over the phone? The way you communicate with your customers, the way they communicate with you, and the way you communicate with your suppliers has evolved due to Industry 4.0, automation, and connectivity. This evolution affects how you run your business because effectively configured order-processing solutions benefit both your customers and suppliers.

Moving towards a customer-centric system

With customers, online purchasing, the ordering process, and warehousing have changed significantly within the last 20 years. Amazon and the effect it has had on customer expectations has trickled down to you, the glass manufacturer. Customers expect a customer-centric system. This influences the ways you interact with customers, when you engage with customers, how you compete for customers, how customers gather and disseminate information, and much more.

In this post-Amazon world, not only does the way customers purchase items change, but so does how you warehouse and ship finished products to your customers. The customer data you receive and analyze can help you determine which finished products you warehouse, your production/lead times, how and when you deliver products, etc. A customer-centric warehousing system allows you to store fewer finished products as well as the needed materials.

Communicating with suppliers

Speaking of needed materials, not only is the relationship between you and the customer affected by Industry 4.0, so is your relationship with your suppliers. How you procure and manage your materials has become more agile and efficient.

Whether it is the online purchasing, the ordering process, warehousing of materials and finished inventory, or the procurement and management of materials, Industry 4.0 is empowering glass factories. This empowerment allows you to be more efficient, track and trace orders, and provide visibility into the production process as well as save money and time.

Benefits of Industry 4.0

Here are some of the advantages that Industry 4.0 can offer to the glass industry:

  • Reduces errors by customers and employees.
  • Allows you to do more with less staff.
  • Improves response times for customers.
  • Improves safety for factory workers.
  • Offers just-in-time warehousing of materials.
  • Offers transparency for the manufacturer, customer and supplier.
  • Makes customized orders easy.
  • Provides mobile access for real-time monitoring and communication.
  • Allows the ability to make changes or avert breakdowns during the manufacturing process.

So, when implementing Industry 4.0 in your facility, turn to a trusted software company with years of experience implementing Industry 4.0 in glass facilities.

Chris Kammer is the marketing lead for A+W Software North America. A+W Software provides software solutions for flat glass business of any size with any production environment. Its glass software is the intelligent backbone of your business. The company also supplies a full-integrated software solution for window, door, and roller shutter manufacturing, where all commercial and technical processes are under your control. Kammer can be reached at and 1.847.220.5237.

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 26, 2019

In my last post the initial theme was the rough waters of the economy starting to stir. Since then the drumbeat from overall forecasts have been on that same path but, of course, much louder and in some cases more negative.

Right now, we have two angles in play. One is that this softening we are having is temporary and was expected and predicted earlier this year. It will clear up and 2020 will be a solid year. The other is that so much has changed with regards to imports and other economic factors that we are headed for a longer drop.

Here’s where I am right now: first and foremost, I try and stay away from the overall noise politically and try and focus on the data. And I focus on the analysts that I trust. What I am seeing is the softness creeping in now and will be with us for a few months, but the metrics I follow are all showing growth moving into 2020. Starts are solid and look to stay that way for a bit. Residential is scuffling though and that is a real concern but there’s been some positive data about the future there so we may not see that slow down last and then affect the commercial business a year after. As we know, when residential drops, commercial follows a year later, so while we are in a danger zone right now, residentially I am not ready to call it yet. And as I have noted many times before, this is the time where you have to ramp up the communication, where you have to prepare for the worst, and where you have to start enacting those plans to diversify your business. 

So those of you who know me now know what I am going to say; it is more important than ever to get to GlassBuild America this year. With all of this hanging out there, missing this show and all that comes with it would be a brutal move. I know most who read my blog are coming to the show, but if you are on the fence or know someone who is, push ‘em off on to the side of attending! More people there means more educated folks in the market and hopefully a smarter approach to whatever economic adventure we are about to face.


This blog starts heavy and, as you’ll see below, ends heavy, so in the middle I wanted something light. The annual ranking of the 50 best and worst airports is out and I am pretty fired up. As a road warrior I feel like I have this racket down, but I guess I am not yet on same page as the experts. How about all of you?

Best Airports

1) San Diego: Ok it’s a good airport, and a great city, but the best? No way. There are no available places to plug in your phone and limited places to eat. It may be my favorite vacation spot but not my favorite airport.

2) Phoenix: Are you kidding me? No way.

3) Portland: I’m floored. Nice airport but not third overall.

4) Atlanta: Hey it’s the busiest airport in the world now. I have no issues with it ranked here, as they actually do amazing given the size and traffic.

5) Sacramento: I have never flown in or out of there, so no idea.

Worst airports

46) Southwest Florida International: It’s small, but is it the fifth worst in U.S.? No way.

47) Detroit: OK, I am ready to fight these people. Old Detroit was the worst by far—new Detroit? No way. Clean. Bright. Tons of food and power options. Easy to get around. Sorry, this is so wrong. This is a Top 5 airport and better than Phoenix and Portland by miles.

48) Fort Lauderdale: I actually agree with this one. Especially with construction everywhere it is a bear.

49) Orlando: Pretty darn bad, but there are worse than this being next to last

50) Chicago Midway: Yes this ranking has them dead last. It’s not a good airport but the true worst airport in the U.S. is easily Newark. How that that is not in the bottom five or last is unreal. Also, LaGuardia is misery right now; that could also be last. Philly is a brutal airport, that is undoubtedly bottom five.

On the ones that should be tops? Dulles is awesome. Minnesota is very good. Cincinnati is a super smaller airport; quiet and comfortable. Dallas Love impressed me last time in. It may be time we have our own “Best and Worst” poll.

Remembering Bill Keen
Last this week: I was incredibly saddened by the news that Bill Keen of Tepco Glazing passed away. Bill was one of those guys who always was positive and friendly, tremendous resource of info and insight. Bill was also one of the folks at the GANA BEC level that showed massive support my way when I first got involved. I will always be grateful that he showed me such kindness and direction. My condolences to his family and friends. We’ve lost yet another tremendous talent and great human.

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 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

1.     Let needs drive the conversation

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

2.     Go beyond the transaction

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

3.     Show, don’t tell

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

4.     Prioritize quality

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

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

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

Monday, August 12, 2019

Tom O'Malley

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, August 12, 2019

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


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

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

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

Read on for links and video of the week...

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

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

Monday, August 5, 2019

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

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

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

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

Nominal no-go’s

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

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

Delivering through diligence

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

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

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

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

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

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