Monday, May 14, 2018

Twice a year, a very interesting webinar takes place featuring the top analysts from the construction, architecture and contractor world. Usually I report on details including the pace of predictions and what the overall expectations will be from the market. But this time I wanted to focus on one area of the commercial building space that could be a hidden champion moving forward: renovation and remodel. If I understood the panelist correctly, the retail space is ripe for renovation because of the amount of store closings out there, and that’s pushing the space into mixed-use buildings. Obviously, those need renovation. Also, office growth is strongest in one area—urban renovation—as the trend of the suburban office park looks to be a thing of the past. Last, hotels are pretty saturated and now facing stiff competition from outsourcing players like Airbnb. They’ll need to update and remodel to at least stem that tide of defections. Bottom line? New construction may still be out there, but don’t sleep on the reno side.


  • Speaking of all that, airport construction is poised for serious growth. The infrastructure of so many airports has been stretched to the limit that finally money is coming through to help. Good article here breaks it all down…
  • My twitter feed reminded me that GlassBuild America opens in four months. Get yourself registered and book the hotel.  
  • It was super to see Sam Hill of Oak Cliff Mirror & Glass be honored by the Texas Glass Association last week. Sam is one of the good guys in our world (as is Felix Munson who is the current president of the TGA), so it’s awesome to see his work and efforts appreciated!
  • From time to time here I review new website launches and I love to do so. Technology allows us to do so much more these days. So that said, kudos to Intermac on its new site. Strong, smart site that checks the two major boxes: it looks fabulous and it’s easy to get around. I can’t tell you how many sites I run into where the design is breathtaking but trying to navigate it is miserable. Nice work here by the team at Intermac for making it user friendly and memorable.
  • California will now require solar panels on all new homes, which makes me wonder when there will be moves to do more with regards to renewable energy or Net Zero on commercial structures. Keeping in mind one of the main issues with energy loss in this country still remains with old inventory. Until those buildings can be addressed and then improved, all we are doing is treading water.
  • I have been in the southern part of the United States twice over the last few weeks and I keep seeing this soft drink (assuming that it is a soft drink; it’s with the Coke and Pepsi in the store fridge), called “Cheerwine.” Anyone know what it is? I am curious what the taste is. I almost grabbed one thinking it was my all-time favorite Diet Dr. Pepper.
  • Last this week, like many of you, I am a road warrior and I always like to see different hotels, their layouts and approaches, etc. Well, this list of the top 5 “green” hotels is very cool, but I doubt my travels will ever take me to any of them.

Read on for links and video of the week…

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.

Monday, May 7, 2018

It’s positive, upbeat and increasingly collaborative.

It’s apparent at events like Façades+, Façade Tectonics, the NGA BEC conference, the Mid-Atlantic Glass Expo, and other glass and metal symposiums.

It’s talkative, networked and invitational, being reshaped and refined through collaboration, communication, industry groups, peer networks, research and evaluation.

It’s a supportive set of people, groups and companies working together to shape the built world.

It’s innovative, smart and providing value and solutions to buildings that house occupants for many years.

It’s improving its supply chain, manufacturing capabilities and quality.

It’s surrounding billions—no trillions—of dollars in employee, information and equipment assets.

It encloses and protects the likes of Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Google and other tech giants lauded as being in the forefront of the changing world.

It brings architects’ visions to life with tangible solutions to sometimes complicated geometries and designs. It gives a building its form and recognition.

It’s made up of an increasing number of types, textures, surfaces, sizes, colors, patterns, attachments and integrations, all engineered to maintain the exterior of the building for a generation or more.

It’s improving in performance and the ability to withstand increasingly robust designs and requirements.

It protects people below and within and provides aesthetic beauty to urban landscapes.

It’s manifested in industry group mergers.

Can you feel it? Feel the positive vibe, the energy? Are you part of it? Can you feel the energy amongst industry peers? Do you see the conversations in social media, in the hallways, in the educational venues, publications, project meetings, design review sessions, and conferences? What is it?

It’s the continued shaping, reshaping, formation, alignment, collaboration and connection of the glass, glazing and façade industry. It’s a spectacular group of smart, caring people and companies, bringing the passion and the intellectual capital every day to create value.

It “feels” really good, and it’s great to be a part of.

After all these years, there are still no two buildings alike; no two projects the same. There’s some new application or wrinkle on every job. And it’s interesting. It’s creative. It’s meaningful work.

Keep connecting, keep shaping and keep bringing value to the table. The best is yet to come.

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, May 7, 2018

A lot of news came out of the Annual Conference, recently held in California. Glass Magazine will provide additional coverage in upcoming issues, but just a quick take from me on one of the happenings. Dr. Tom Culp (best in the business) reiterated what he covered at BEC with regards to more stringent energy codes coming down the path. If you are in the IGU business and not paying attention to these moves, you are doing yourself a massive disservice. Get up to speed. Because of this movement, I also think products like dynamics and VIG will start to really become enticing on the commercial side.

Side note, I mentioned the California GWP last week but still don’t have my information settled. I will post on that as soon as I do!


  • I have noted here a few times that there’s been some soft spots in the marketplace to start 2018, and interestingly enough, some of the latest data out backs that up. This report does also note that the other metrics we all follow are still tracking positive, but the issue is in the current time period. I think the weather had a different effect this year vs. the past (more severe and compacted time frames) and that is a big player in the process. There is nothing worrisome overall; the softness is minor even with the numbers listed and there’s still a very positive foundation and backlog out there. Still, some who thought they were losing their minds because business was a bit off now at least have something to point to.

  • I was really excited to see the Houston Area Glass Association announcements on their scholarship program for a few reasons. One I love these active local associations like HAGA, The Texas Glass Association, Colorado Contract Glaziers Association, Washington Glass Association and many others. They work hard for their local glass and glazing community and they deserve your support! I also loved seeing that my old friend David Ozment from Binswanger Glass was mentioned with his son winning one of the awards. Obviously, the good guy genes run deep in that family!

  • As I have written here before, I love the “Flip or Flop” shows, but I continue to be driven crazy on the estimates on the repairs. Just watched an episode on the Vegas edition where they re-did a bathroom completely and put in a massive, oversized heavy shower enclosure. They also put in new sinks, hardware, tiles everywhere, and the estimate was laughably low. I must be missing something. Anyone with insight please let me know and I’ll even keep it private if need be. Plus, my wife will love you because she’ll enjoy the show more without me yelling at the TV every time the ultra-low estimate comes on the screen.

  • Speaking of those shows, I am starting to see more advertisements from glass-related players, the latest being a very cool commercial from Pella. I know they don’t play in the commercial realm, but slickly produced ads are always nice to show our industry off.

  • Last this week, let’s end with absolutely wonderful news about George Sultage of Vitro. I had noted on here several months ago that George was in a heck of a battle and I am thrilled to report he is doing great AND now back to work (from home to start). This is awesome, and I look forward to seeing George at GlassBuild hopefully or somewhere else down the line!

Read on for links and video of the week…

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.

Monday, April 30, 2018

We’re just at the beginning of our journey combining two impactful trade associations—the National Glass Association and Glass Association of North America. I’ve learned a lot this past year, and even more since Feb. 1 (the official merger date), and again more last week during our Annual Conference in Napa, California.

One realization has not changed. After 28 years in the glass and glazing industry, my deep appreciation for what the legacy GANA volunteers have achieved and continue to strive for at meetings only intensifies.  

Intensifies is the operative word. Our global industry is ever more complex and demanding, and the impact is felt first on the technical stewards of glass technology, processes, codes and standards.  One way to recognize what we fight to protect is embodied in the annual awards dinner.       

Focused and aware industry volunteers drive the association’s technical activities. The following stand-out volunteers were recognized for their contributions.

The organization’s highest recognition, the C. Gregory Carney Member of the Year Award, went to Rick Wright, director of technical services, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope. Wright has decades of experience and leadership in the glass industry. He has been a longtime dedicated contributor to association technical activities. The award is named after industry leader and former GANA Technical Director Greg Carney, who passed away in 2013.

"Rick exemplifies all that Greg Carney represented in the glass and glazing industry," says Urmilla Sowell, NGA technical director. "Rick tirelessly advocates for glass in several standards and codes bodies—ANSI Z97, IGCC and SGCC, ASTM AND GICC—not just the association. He has served on the GANA board and is a great asset to the association and glass industry."

Kayla Natividad, architectural technical services engineer from ‎NSG Pilkington received the Energy Division Member of the Year Award. “This is only her second Annual Conference, but she has jumped in eagerly to the association activities since last spring,” says Mark Silverberg, president of Technoform North America, who presented the award. Natividad “has participated in the Energy Applications [Glazing Informational Bulletin] specifically, but has also contributed to multiple other task groups within the flat glass and insulating divisions.”

Bobby Chestnut, sales project manager, Standard Bent Glass, was recognized for his work in the Decorative Division. Chestnut has chaired the task group on How to View and Assess Decorative Glass Products for the last two years. “He signed on for this task at one of his first meetings, choosing to jump right in,” according to James Wright, sales director, glass division, ICA North America, who presented the award. “He has also used in person meetings such as Annual and Fall Conferences to convene his task group to make headway together in person,” Wright says.

Jeff Haberer, director, technical services, Trulite, was recognized for his contributions to the Laminating Division. “A long-time member of the glass family, [Jeff] has contributed to various organizations continuously throughout many years. His contribution to NGA/GANA has helped us probe issues deeper and more thoroughly due to his ability to look at issues and opportunities with various perspectives,” says Julia Schimmelpenningh, industry technical leader, customer applications and service lab manager, for Eastman Chemical Co. Schimmelpenningh presented the award to Haberer. “Jeff’s contribution to the laminated glass area over the recent years has proved to be just as valuable to the industry as his previous concentration on the insulating glass side. We honored Jeff with the Laminating Division Member of the Year award because he not only drives us to be better, but he provides the background for the laminated glass industry to thrive.”

The Tempering Division Member of Year Award went to Ren Bartoe, director, glass and industrial technologies, at Vesuvius. Bartoe has been a long-time supporter of the legacy GANA organization, with active involvement in both the tempering and marketing committees. He also serves on the Integration Task Force, a group of association volunteers dedicated to successfully integrating the NGA and GANA. Bartoe was unable to attend the Annual Conference; Marcus Bancroft, sales manager, Americas, at Vesuvius, accepted the award on his behalf. 

Mitch Edwards, technical manager of Guardian Glass, was recognized for his work in the Flat Glass Manufacturing Division. “Mitch has been an excellent resource to the association with his 10 years serving as the FGMD Technical Chair,” says Sowell, who presented the award. “Mitch also collaborates on several task groups within the tempering, insulating and decorative divisions.”

Joe Erb, commercial sales specialist for Quanex Building Products, received the Member of the Year Award for the Insulating Division. Erb has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, with an in-depth knowledge and awareness of the high-performance glazing industry. Erb has been a long-time volunteer within the legacy GANA organization, and is a regular contributor to Glass Magazine. Erb was unable to attend the Annual Conference. 

The final division award went to Ted Derby for his work in the Building Envelope Contractors Division. Derby, of Intertek, previously served for a decade in business development at glazing contractor LCG Facades. “Ted has been attending the BEC Conference for over a decade. Over time, he has taken on leadership roles within the BEC membership’s task group, most notably as a member of the task group updating the Blue Print Reading and Labor Estimating Course,” says Sara Neiswanger, NGA’s senior manager, GANA member services. “He has also acted as the grader of the Blue Print Reading Course for the past four years. He has taken a true interest in the students’ progress and understanding in completing the course and has also played a key role in helping translate the manual content into a complimentary online platform.”

Nicole Harris is president and CEO of the National Glass Association.

Monday, April 30, 2018

A couple of very important stories not getting enough coverage are now hitting my radar: the shortage of aluminum and California’s CAL GWP measures. I will cover CAL GWP next week as I am still learning more about it and I want to get feedback from the presentation at the NGA Annual Conference that covered it. As for the aluminum situation, that one is real, very real. This release from the AEC explains it in more detail… Bottom line is: this thing is real, and it is scary. The shortage is already starting to affect the aluminum folks who manufacture storefront and curtain wall, and as it proceeds, it will obviously trickle down to the installer community as well. It certainly bears watching and as I get more information, I’ll surely pass it on.


  • It truly is award season in the glass industry. I mentioned a couple last week, but the big one to get your nominations in for is the annual Glass Magazine Awards. 
    These honors are the best in the industry and I love the mix of categories for this year. Innovation takes the lead role, as it should, in what the judges will be reviewing. So I advise all of you to click the link and see what you have in your world that may fit. And remember, you can’t win if you don’t apply!

  • Time for the monthly Glass Magazine review. Interior glass focus this issue. Nice cover shot with material from C.R. Laurence. Inside, the Glass and Metals 301 Guide to Interiors was excellent. Once again that approach provides such a tremendous resource. I also really liked the approach Joe Bazzano took in his column on the tax cuts and jobs bill. Again, same theme of an excellent resource. Last, and most important, the coverage of the merge of GANA and NGA is well defined in an excellent piece by Bethany Stough. This section that included some great pictures and timelines, clearly lays out what is going on in our world with such a monumental move.

  • Ad of the month. Yet another challenging one to choose. But, after going cover to cover several times to break down the candidates, I just couldn’t deliver a clear-cut winner this month. There were a lot of solid pieces but none to stand out. So, I’ll save this choice and use it for a month when I want to name two winners.

  • The AIA show is coming up in June and they are promoting it pretty extensively. Recently, they sent an email blast with the “Top 6” reasons to attend the show. Number 3 was “tour iconic architecture,” which, for sure in NYC is going to be good and AIA noted more than 200 tours would be available. So that said, I can only imagine the effect that will have on a show floor that already struggles to get architects to the exhibits.

  • Great blog post last week by Pete de Gorter. If you did not see it, please check it out.

  • Last this week, one of my favorite subjects over the years has been the volatility of gas prices. We are on the upswing again with the prices gaining nearly daily. Not good, personally or professionally with summer driving season and the busy summer deliveries for fabricators and glaziers. Maybe we were spoiled by a few solid years of lower prices, but all I know is I am feeling the pain at the pump and it’s getting worse.

Read on for links and video of the week…

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.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Time has enormous value. Today, as we receive data at increasing speeds and make connections in the blink of an eye, this has never been more true. Have a look at any ISP commercial or the constant upgrading of cellular capacity. Faster evidently means better. When I was a kid, I’d wait days to download a 12-track CD. Today, I complain if Netflix takes a couple seconds more to stream a program in HD. And I like to think I am an exceptionally patient person.

Time is finite. If we find what we’re looking for quickly we can move on to other things. Faster information leads to faster decisions and an ability to get more done.

But, with almost infinite information available instantly, as well as a focus on time-saving measures, I have noticed the buying process changing. Continuous improvement in technology has raised the acceptable standard for the businesses we will continue to work with in the future.

There has been a shift, where power has moved from the supplier to the customer. Days of door-to-door sales seem to be phasing out and marketing budgets swing to targeted online channels. I personally don’t want to take half-hour appointments to learn about the latest widgets. If it is as good as they say, it’s already been online for months with scores of reviews. We’re still required to be where our clients are, but this increasingly no longer means face-to-face, rather a form of online communication (websites, social channels and email).

All of this makes the playing field more competitive. Not only do prospects expect to discover an almost endless amount of material regarding products on their own, they can and will find an equal amount of information regarding your competitors’ products. It is almost as if prospects are qualifying themselves. They’ve researched, know more than ever, and are reaching out directly.

How do we continue to thrive in a marketplace where knocking on doors and making cold calls are dying? A possible source of visibility can be online communities where others talk about your product without interjections by you. Do not underestimate the power of user-generated content: one viral post can make or break you. For many, the most trusted source of information is other peoples’ opinions. Focus on providing pertinent information and, more importantly, make the information they’re seeking extremely easy to find. After all, time is money for your customers, too.

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, April 23, 2018

Thirteen years ago, I decided to start a blog. I wanted a place to vent and educate and be able to network with others. I launched in 2005 (when blogs were very rare) and started slowly, but then picked up and started to post every week (usually 48-50 times per year). And now with this post, I have reached number 700. Yes, 700 posts covering subjects from my overall observations of the glass industry including: NFRC, China, solar, acquisitions, bankruptcies, trade shows, products, codes and more. I am amazed that it has lasted this long! It is an absolute thrill to run into someone and they note they’ve read my blog. For those of you who read me weekly or read me once in every blue moon, thank you. I truly appreciate the support and I look forward to blogging for many years to come!


  • One of my favorite subjects in those 700 posts was GlassBuild America—either previewing it, commenting on it, or noting everyone I was lucky enough to run into. So on that note, it makes sense for me to mention that registration for the 2018 show is now open as of the end of last week! You can go ahead and get registered and get your hotel and housing taken care of. This show is going to be very strong this year. The combination of last years’ effort being hampered by Irma (people unfortunately unable to attend) and an incredible line-up of exhibitors (tremendous variety and continuing to grow each day!) means everything from top-notch networking to incredible education and growth opportunities will be there for you September 12-14 in Las Vegas.

  • The Vanceva World of Colors contest: if you have a job that meets the parameters, hurry and get that submission in by April 30!

  • Speaking of job submissions for great awards, the Glass Magazine Reader Photo Contest is now open for submissions. Every year the pictures get more interesting and intense and they are great to show how our industry operates. Check out the link, and if you have a great shot, get it in!

  • I noted last week I would be watching the latest release of the Architectural Billings Index closely. And, unfortunately, the ratings while still on the positive side were shaky compared to previous months and the political adventures with the tariffs were starting to have an effect. “Anxious” is the word the experts are using, and it will now bear watching if that anxiety finally pushes the index down to a negative level across the board next month. 

  • Last this week, the China Glass expo was last week and there were many from North America in attendance. I was not since I am not sure if I would be allowed, but that’s another story for another time. (Those of you who saw me at GlassBuild America 2007 would probably know why.) In any case, I am curious to get feedback from those who were there to get a feel for the marketplace with regards to importing, the tariffs and the overall economic atmosphere.

Read on for links and video of the week…

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.

Monday, April 16, 2018

At the recent Window and Door Manufacturers Association’s Spring Meeting and Legislative Conference, held March 19-21 in Washington, D.C., Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, spoke on the continuing challenge of finding and retaining a skilled labor force, and outlined initiatives companies and associations are implementing to address the situation.

In his presentation, “Workforce Development: Helping Employers Close the Skills Gap,” Moutray characterized NAM members as very pleased with the current economic outlook. He attributed at least part of this positive feeling to the recently passed tax reform, as well as the improving global economy. “These are the best numbers out of Europe we’ve seen in seven years, in some cases 20 years,” he said.

The U.S. manufacturing sector mirrors this growth. While manufacturing businesses continue to run more leanly than they did pre-recession, Moutray said that the sector is much more competitive than it has been in the last two decades. 

While he assessed that 2017 manufacturing production has been “choppy,” at least partly due to the volatility of last year’s hurricane season, Moutray characterized manufacturing’s year-over-year growth as strong overall. He reported that 12.61 million workers are currently employed, and an average of 18,000 jobs were added in 2017. “It’s almost like someone flipped a switch,” he said.

While the growth is encouraging, it also exacerbates the sector’s need for a skilled workforce. According to an often cited study conducted by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, 2 million manufacturing jobs are expected to go unfilled between now and 2025. While the study attributes the shortage to the skills gap, Moutray also described the problem of attracting a skilled workforce in terms of a perception gap: “We need to get people to see manufacturing not just as blue-collar work, but as a very good, high-paying pathway to the middle class.”

As part of this campaign, Moutray outlined some of the initiatives that NAM and its member companies have organized or sponsored, including the following programs.

  • Manufacturing Day: Observed in October, this annual celebration of modern manufacturing saw 3,000 facilities hosting events for high-schoolers and parents in 2017, according to Moutray.

  • Heroes Make America: Started by the Manufacturing Institute, the program is a 10-week career skills program for military veterans that are ready to discharge, built on the idea that the military educates its personnel with many skills that can be applied to manufacturing. The first class recently graduated at the facility’s in Fort Hood.

  • STEP Ahead: Also launched by the Manufacturing Institute, the STEP (science, technology, engineering and production) Ahead program celebrates the achievements of women in manufacturing by honoring them at a formal gala.

  • Dream It. Do it: NAM partnered with the Manufacturing Institute to engage students, parents and educators to promote manufacturing careers to the next generation.

While these programs are designed to help address the skills gap, this challenge is certainly not the only one facing the manufacturing labor force. Added to these issues, Moutray highlighted the recent increase in the practice of poaching, as companies struggling to fill necessary positions head hunt skilled labor from other industry companies. He said that the result has been wage pressure increases, as well as price pressure increases.

As Glass Magazine continues to explore those mentioned here and all concepts regarding labor, staffing and training in its Workforce Development series, we encourage our readers to share their thoughts and experiences that we can share with the industry. Leave a comment below or email our editor with your insights.

Norah Dick is the assistant editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at

Monday, April 16, 2018

The latest Dodge Momentum Index was recently released, and March posted a strong result, especially on the commercial side. That is welcome news since commercial had been lagging some. I had previously mentioned some softness in the markets and hopefully between the optimistic metrics and maybe the weather breaking in the Midwest and Northeast we’ll be rolling strong for the rest of the year. (As I write this, we are under a winter storm warning and my friends in Minnesota have a FOOT of snow on the ground. In mid-April. Ugh.) Anyway, the next Architectural Billings Index is out on April 18, so we’ll see what sort of detail we can glean from that one and continue to always monitor everything.


  • I hinted to it last week that a deal was in the works in our industry and it happened with Coral Industries being sold to Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope. I have always been a fan of Lewis McAllister and I am happy for him and his family. It’s great that the management team there will continue forward. Heck of a year in Alabama: the Tide wins the title and now this. 

  • I was thrilled to see my friend Danik Dancause get a promotion at Walker Glass. Danik is one of the best guys around and extremely talented. I have noted many times that his clothing tastes are easily one of the best in the industry. Now with this promotion, does Danik raise the bar style wise? Can’t wait to see what he breaks out at GlassBuild.

  • This was an interesting article on construction corruption in New York City. Those who have done work in the city know it offers a ton of challenges on a lot of levels, but how deep the rest of those issues go is well spelled out in this piece. I have to think that the overbilling happens everywhere, but New York just has so much more noise surrounding every major project that it surely attracts more of the negative element.

  • Sat in on an interesting webinar on building projects and the stress that comes from them. The intriguing part for me was learning the pain points and then seeing what some of the ideas were to address them. One of the main issues is late or incomplete design. I know many glaziers deal with problems along these lines all the time and they are counted on to come through for all involved. The tips for dealing with the problems hit a key theme that I have harped on: communication. Basically, when it comes to messaging, the more focused and clear you can be with expectations, schedules and approaches the better. Obvious, but probably not done like needed.

  • Last this week, I was researching an upcoming trade show and I was blown away at how many companies did not have a website. It just amazed me that someone could be in business in 2018 (and be doing a decent-sized trade show) and not have at least something up online. I haven’t touched mine in years, but I still have something up there. Maybe I am just hypersensitive because I am a communication strategy guy... 

Read on for links and video of the week…

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.

Monday, April 9, 2018

If the June 2014 issue of Sports Illustrated ever landed on your desk, chances are good you either laughed or said “yea, right” when you read the cover story about the Houston Astros: “An Unprecedented Look at How a Franchise is Going Beyond Moneyball to Build the Game’s Next Big Thing…Your 2017 World Series Champs.” The Astros’ performance drought had been well advertised.  I’m not a baseball guy, and even I knew they were bad.

How could this team make the World Series, let alone win it?

The answer lay with the approach. When Jeff Luhnow came on board as the Houston Astros’ general manager in 2011, he knew fans expected a quick turning of the ship. A record close to .500 seemed attainable, and would allow them to watch a fair amount of wins. But, Luhnow and analyst Sig Mejdal decided to focus on the long-term win instead of a more immediate and respectable record. They avoided expensive free agents, put more resources into their farm system, traded away some of their most mature assets, and developed a controversial analytics-based approach to drafting players.

The initial cost for the duo’s approach was high. The Astros lost game after game, some of which received local TV ratings of 0.0. By 2013, their record of 51-111 was the worst in franchise history and tied for the majors’ worst in a decade. But in 2017, their strategy paid off. The Houston Astros won the World Series.

Thinking beyond the immediate win isn’t easy, not in baseball or in the glass industry. To get the job done, we are often focused on landing the next project or getting the next shipment out on time. There are always pressing matters competing for our attention. Looking beyond these urgent needs to reevaluate internal processes, reconfigure programs, shift employee roles and make other beneficial changes takes time and resources. Since the initial investment is high and we are already busy, we don’t take action. But, like the Astros, the pay-off for strategic, long-term adjustments can far outweigh the initial cost.

A recent example at TGP took place during the build out of some of our machining programs. To effectively build out the new program, we had to shift engineering resources normally used for shop drawings and reallocate them to machining for a one-month period.

It was a major effort to manage these resources. Did we experience short-term discomfort during this period? Yes. But, the net-gain is expected to be huge. To put it into perspective, it would have taken two engineers and one programmer over a year and a half at one day per week to complete the same amount of work that our team was able to test, verify and program during that one-month timeframe. It also left our team in a great situation for those specific machining programs going forward. Perhaps more importantly, it reminded me of the value of thinking beyond the here and now, of experiencing a little discomfort for a bigger gain.

So, my question for you is this: are you thinking beyond the immediate win?  

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.

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