glassblog

Monday, July 23, 2018

Here’s something for everyone reading to take in: with everyone coming to GlassBuild America, please seriously look at attending the Fall Conference there. More info is HERE with more details to follow, but you will see the conference now integrates with the show. If you want to get involved and learn about all of the things going on with regards to technical happenings, codes, advocacy, etc., you need to sign up and attend. You’ll still have plenty of show time as well. If you have any questions, reach out to me, as I would love to see you there.

Elsewhere…

Big 3 Interview

Dan Wright, president, Paragon Tempered Glass

Dan Wright has worked with some of the most talented and, in some cases, legendary people our industry has ever had. My hope with this interview was to get him to open up about it because he’s been on a pretty epic ride. He did not let me down (never has on any level, so not surprised). Really good stuff below, and his answers to question two are amazing.

I think most people who recognize your name associate you from your past stint at Guardian. You are now president at Paragon Tempered Glass. Can you tell me more about how you got there and what you are doing now? 

Well, it’s been a long road to my current role. In 1995 I was about six months away from graduating college and my sister was in town with her family. My sister and I had grown closer while I was in college because she was very ill and needed a kidney; I happened to be the right match. Her husband, Tony Hobart (former group vice president of Guardian Industries) took a keen interest in my future and when they were at our house, Tony asked me to take a walk. He asked about what kind of career I was looking for and, honestly, I had no idea. I was getting a finance degree and thought I might go the route of a financial planner. He asked if I was up for an adventure, and I was intrigued. He said, “you would start in inside sales in Richburg, South Carolina, from there it’s what you make of it. Guardian is growing rapidly, and you don’t have to stay in sales; if you are willing to take moves, there are opportunities all over the world.”

So that was the first real turning point in my journey. I was in Richburg for a year, then took every opportunity that was offered to me. DeWitt, Iowa, to open a float plant was next. After a few years I was pretty close to bailing out of the glass business, but Tom Marsh (former Midwest regional manager at Guardian) took me under his wing and taught me forecasting and sales planning and then put me out on the road in 1998, covering Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and South Dakota, all by car. This was the second turning point in my career and I am forever grateful that he gave me the opportunity. The market was exploding, and I followed a sales representative in part of the area that was not well liked. Sales grew quickly, and we lost a regional manager, suddenly, in Detroit. I was offered that role, and from there I found my stride in finding talented sales people who were better than I was, not only as sales people, but managers. Each time we lost a regional sales manager, I had a replacement ready to fill my role, so I was asked to take on the vacated position. Guys like Dave Zawisza (Carleton plant) and Ryan Sexton (Richburg plant), were both complete professionals and superstars at Guardian. I fit the Bill Davidson/Russ Ebeid culture very well, but the times were changing. And at the same time, I went through a personal crisis, so my path at Guardian ended, abruptly.

In 2011, I received a call from a recruiter for a position in Elkhart, Indiana. It turns out one of my former sales representatives, Nick McLay, was contacted about the position and thought I was a better fit. I interviewed with StateWide Aluminum in Elkhart and was offered the sales manager job there the next day. I took the family from Charlotte to Indiana. StateWide was the main supplier of windows for the truck cap industry, brands like LEER, Jason, Unicover and Lakeland. But they were still in the throes of the recession and had not recovered. Their business was down significantly. But, slowly we started to get stronger. We rebranded our company as StateWide Windows and worked hard on developing our culture. This was really the third turning point in my career. I was working with a vice president at StateWide, Jim Johnson, that was my complete opposite. He was a taskmaster and extremely detailed. He saw potential in me and was not going to let me waste it. Some of our shouting matches were legendary, and I slammed the door on the way out a few times. To his credit, he never held a grudge and he pulled me through the eye of the needle. He challenged me at every turn and held my feet to the fire. At the time, I cursed him and looked for new career opportunities (none of which panned out, luckily). He worked with me on writing five-year business plans, researching and presenting M&A opportunities to our ownership, as well as forecasting and reporting. He was the toughest coach I ever had, but I came out all the better for it, even though I couldn’t see it while it was happening.

Jim was approached by one of our suppliers about being part of their succession plan because their president was ready to slow down a little. Jim said, “I’m not your guy, but I’ve got your guy.” That is when I was introduced to Paragon, and it truly was a match for both of our futures. I came to Paragon as the vice president of sales and marketing in January of 2017, and after a year of strong growth, I was offered the role of president at Paragon Tempered Glass.

You’ve worked for and with some unbelievable people in your past. Legends, really. Any tidbits of advice or knowledge that one (or more of them) gave you that you would like to share? 

Oh man, I came into the glass industry in a golden age. Many of the people I worked with had worked side by side with Russ Ebeid, and Mr. Davidson knew most of their names!  I learned a little (or a lot) from all of them. True legends within the glass industry and within Guardian. Let’s see if I can rattle off a few…

From Bill Davidson: It’s all about leverage, someone is always leaning on someone else, so you better know which side you are on.

Also from Mr. D.: Those individuals that are accomplishing the most usually have to say the least, those that are not achieving their goals feel the need to explain in great detail. Instead of all the explanations, just improve; the results will speak for themselves.

From Russ Ebeid: If you are not developing the next leaders of your company then you are working on the wrong things.

From Jim Walsh: Never take your coat off at customer or plant; it implies you are staying.

From Don Tullman/Gerry Hool: You must win over the hearts and minds of the people to have a successful culture.

From Ron Nadolski/Jay Waite (I learned this after I fetched Dove bars from the hotel store for these two): “Kid, have some fun while you do this job; it’s only glass and we will make more of it tomorrow!”

From Ted Hathaway: It’s okay to treat your suppliers sometimes; this isn’t a one way street.

From Mike Robinson (plant manager at Guardian-Richburg): If you do the right thing every time, you will eventually be rewarded (Mike waited his turn for longer than anyone I know to be named a plant manager, and when he was, I was so thrilled).

I truly was lucky to work with people like John Thompson, Tom Ricker, Matt Hill, Vince Westerhof, Dennis Carroll, Bruce Cooke, Steve Patience, Rosie Hunter, Dean Campbell and Sarah Wansack. They all taught me something along the way and I am very appreciative of that.

You were/are a seriously talented athlete that I also just found out has a gift for writing, too. Do you look back and wonder where your life would’ve been if you chased golf, baseball or sports writing? 

You are way too kind, Max. To tell the truth, keeping my mom out of the equation, I was the worst athlete in the family. My dad was all-state in Pennsylvania in football, basketball and track back in the 1940s. My oldest brother, Lee, swam at LSU. My sister, Debbie, won the Florida High School State championship in the backstroke as a sophomore in high school and went on to swim at Alabama. My most talented sibling, Greg, may have been the best swimmer in his age group in the country at 12 years old. He went on to swim at Alabama as well. So, I had big shoes to fill in my house growing up.

I was the baby by 12 years, so my parents were done with swimming. Baseball was my first love, and I was very good from about 7 years old to 13 years old. I was a dominant pitcher at 12 and 13. There was one game where I struck out 20 out of 21 batters; the one that got away bunted it back to me. But I tore my triceps at 13 and my arm was never as strong as it once was. Everyone caught up to me physically, and though I was good enough to play some college ball, I didn’t have the talent to take it past that. My competitive outlet became golf, and though I loved it, it took me a long time to get to where I wanted to be. My dad introduced me to the game when I was seven, but I never focused on it. He and Lee had a strong bond with golf, and I knew it was something I wanted to get better at, but I truly had to “dig it out of the dirt” as Ben Hogan said.

I had two magical days in 2001. Both my dad and sister were still alive and my parents were visiting and staying at her house, and I lived nearby. My dad was past his playing days but came out to watch me play a couple of practice rounds leading up to our club championship that weekend. He said, “Dan, I’ve never seen you hit it better; go have some fun.” My family was all at my niece’s softball game on the first day of the tournament, and I went out and shot a 69; I was just unconscious. I rushed from the course to her game to share the news, and my dad said, “I didn’t know you were THAT good!” The next day I was four under par for the day (seven under for the tournament) and had a nine-shot lead standing on the 15th tee, where I proceeded to fall apart and give back five shots over those four holes, but held on to win a club championship. As much as I did in baseball (we won Florida senior major league state championship in 1989, and I was named the defensive MVP for the tournament for the three games I pitched in), that club championship was probably my proudest athletic moment. In my foursome that day were 1) A four-time Michigan Amatuer champion and five-time U.S. open qualifier; 2) a two-time club champion, and senior club champion; 3) a three-time club champion, and at the time course record holder (64). I was in rare air and met the challenge when on the inside I was a nervous wreck. Unfortunately, I think my best golf is behind me. I just don’t play enough anymore, and for me, I have to play and practice to be competitive.

Finally, with regards to sports writing, I was a finalist for the Grantland Rice scholarship at Vanderbilt, and had I won that I would have quit baseball and followed that path. The funny thing is, I hated deadlines, still do to this day. I always waited to the last minute and then banged it out under the gun. I finally learned that’s pretty much how the business is, and I probably would have excelled at it because I worked best under that pressure. One of my best friends in high school, who followed me as editor of the school newspaper after I graduated, went on to write for the sporting news, so I got to see the “inside” of sports writing, and though I may have enjoyed getting into the broadcasting side of things like Stephen A. Smith or Tony Kornheiser, writing day to day just wasn’t for me.

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.

Monday, July 16, 2018

At the moment, I can tell you almost as much as a golf professional about the best 4-hybrid clubs out there. How is that possible when I am an average Joe? Quality information is easy to find, third party sites have hundreds of reviews, and I’ve tried them all because I happened to be looking for one (my old one may or may not have been tossed in a pond).

The point is, as buyers, we’re now willing and able to qualify ourselves with suppliers. We should be applying this new way of buying to our businesses. Add this capability with audiences larger than fathomable a decade ago and it adds up to opportunity. If prospects can qualify themselves, we should make it easy for them. It will free resources to other areas, like moving from prospect to client. But how?

Relevance is the key! Be relevant with your current selling environment and your market. For example, it is 10 p.m., and a long-standing client remembers they forgot to place an order. They can get on a competitor’s website and immediately order or wait for tomorrow to call me (if they don’t forget again). In the current arena, I expect to lose this scenario because, when it mattered, I was not as closely connected to the client. Relevance gets the top organic search on Google. How do we become more relevant? Be where the client is when it matters. Supply pertinent information quickly and generate content. A potential customer will know almost immediately if they’re going further or dismissing you never to be seen again.

A website is one of the best ways to be relevant and is often the first introduction to a company. Follow the traffic on your website. How many new vs. returning visitors does it have? What type of devices are used? What pages were visited? For how long? The time spent is a great tool for identifying areas of improvement. People won’t waste time scouring for information. Webpages must have responsive design. I still find sites that are frustrating to navigate on mobile. User-generated content, if you can get it, is an excellent means of relevance. I trust a list of user reviews more because it is not distributed by the seller.

Use consistent branding across multiple platforms to raise relevance in search engine algorithms. The more connections on the web the more search engines find your name over others. These engines are like brains where the more connections the easier to find something. Make web connections across as many channels as possible, ask suppliers and distribution channels to make a connection to your platforms, directly link all these sites. If you’re not on the five big social platforms, you’re missing an opportunity others will capture.

Max Perilstein put DeGorter Inc. on Instagram about a year ago and it has been a great tool to visually demonstrate how we help others create, plus it suggests others I’ve not heard of working in the same field. While some platforms may prove more valuable than others, the bigger picture is your footprint on the web and making it larger.   

I’ve noticed these changes over the last decade and we are integrating our marketing to become more relevant. My goal is to find ways to make it easier for others to absorb information with the intention of finding better pre-qualified leads. Time is a limited resource. Allowing prospects to qualify themselves frees resources for other avenues. If you’re wondering, I went with a Callaway Big Bertha 4-hybrid. Hopefully it stays in the bag a while longer than the last one.

Pete de Gorter is vice president of sales and marketing at DeGorter Inc. Contact him at pete@degorter.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.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Last week I wrote about the expectations for a strong second half of the year. That post brought some reaction my way from a cross section of people. Some have had solid years to date, and others are hoping that my prediction here isn’t as bad as my sports ones. The positive news for all was that this week another metric came through to continue the push. The Dodge Momentum Index was up yet again and it’s now nearing a 10-year high.  This is now five straight months on the plus side, and while the increases on each report are not huge, they are still going in the right direction. Now let’s have that translate to the day-to-day for those that need it!

Elsewhere....

  • Attention glazing contractor friends, there is an excellent “Thirsty Thursday” webinar coming up on July 19 on the top 10 things to look for when negotiating glazing contracts. This is presented by the NGA and is a member-only benefit. If you are a member sign up; if you’re not, you should be joining so you don’t miss incredible education like this. The great Courtney Little of ACE Glass will be the presenter so you know this will be good!

  • Something I never thought of but found very cool: the tallest buildings ever to be conventionally demolished. Who knew someone kept such stats on this approach. And I was surprised not seeing the one hotel in Las Vegas that was taken down a few years ago (the City Center one that never opened) on the list. Interesting stuff! 

Big 3 interview

Nathalie Thibault, architectural sales director, Prelco

One of the reasons I decided to do this series was to learn more from people smarter than me. This week, that theme absolutely applies with Nathalie. Her approach and intelligence are off the charts and, as you’ll find out below, she’s always pushing for more. 

You are very active within the industry and the trade associations including major board positions now and in the past. You are very knowledgeable with our world. What do you think are some of the key challenges we face as an industry and how do we address them?

I believe the number one challenge that we are facing is the globalization of our industry. We must adapt to various standards, higher expectations, worldwide competition and complex logistics.

The wide variety and complexity of products and their different combinations is also increasingly difficult to manage. We see more and more combinations of various high-performance low-E, several layers of glass and patterns and colors on a single unit! That complexity makes it very difficult to ensure consistency. And, to add to this, the expectations on the required timeline for production are almost the same as if it were simple products. That is why education to all stakeholders in the construction and glass industry should be our number one priority.

Another major challenge that we are facing is finding labor. Knowledgeable resources are getting very scarce and manpower is also extremely difficult to find. Our industry will need to work on attracting young and passionate professionals.

As I have told you in person, I have always been a fan of your company. Prelco is very diverse with products and segments, so I am curious, how do you stay focused when you are dealing with so many different worlds?

A company really needs a strong vision to be able to achieve that kind of diversification. We had to look at our business model on a few occasions to realign our efforts and prioritize certain segments in which we operate. Some segments are changing extremely fast as well, which requires us to adapt rapidly. There were times where we had to abandon certain efforts in order to focus on the segments where we really wish to become real leaders. However, I must say that, in the end, it is that same diversification that has benefited the company throughout the years and allowed it to get through slower economic cycles.

Did I read correctly that you are now studying for your MBA. I am curious with all you already know in the business arena, what is driving you to get more education?

I have indeed begun my master’s degree in strategy and innovation over a year ago. I decided to pursue these studies because I felt that I needed to push my managing skills a notch further. I believe that having a good theoretical understanding of today’s business environment is likely to provide me with the necessary tools to strategize and innovate appropriately in our rapidly changing world. It has been a very interesting journey so far, and it made me expand my horizons beyond the glass manufacturing sector.

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.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Glass Magazine reported in the just-released Top 50 Glaziers issue that the combined 2017 gross revenues of the Top 50 Glaziers increased nearly 15 percent over the 2016 combined gross. That industry good news is bringing emerging challenges for the glazing and curtain wall industry.

At Integro, we are looking just over the horizon at specific industry-wide issues arising in the current high-growth, high-demand marketplace. Specifically, we are focusing on demand producing upward price pressures; cost pressures being exacerbated by new tariffs on aluminum; and skilled curtain wall labor becoming increasingly less available.

The challenge to our industry is that all clients need to know that their curtain wall and glazing companies are deploying strategies now that anticipate and accommodate these developments. By way of example, our company has put into place three strategies to directly address and work around these dynamics.

First, our two-country, multi-location production strategy helps mitigate or avoid increased cost surprises for clients. We order material for our U.S. jobs from U.S. extruders, and we order materials for our Canadian jobs from Canadian extruders, so tariffs likely do not come into play. Additionally, by design, we are one of few companies able to manufacture “closer-to-the-client” at any one of our geographically-diverse production facilities regardless of project location, thus keeping down costs and avoiding transportation delays.

Second, we have made sure that our production capability is properly aligned with the marketplace, regardless of the level of demand. The company has 200,000 square feet of total production and assembly capacity, with 75,000 square feet in Florida, 75,000 square feet in Toronto and 50,000 square feet in Vancouver, Canada, with additional engineering support and sales representation from offices in Cincinnati and Dallas. This allows for fast turnaround and responsiveness, and keeps costs down. 

Lastly, we established a steadfast operating principle that avoids labor shortfalls and design, engineering or production bottlenecks, as well as additional costs that frequently exist in the industry. Specifically, as part of our “Integrity-Based Performance” corporate strategy, we do not overstretch. With busy market activity, we start hiring and putting into place any additional and necessary skilled people in advance of market-driven company growth. We carefully monitor the amount of business we take on to assure delivery on time and on budget, without compromising quality.

Our industry is built on smart planning and sound execution. The issues arising now are ones we can address through these same industry-wide skills.

Jim Mitchell is CEO and president, Integro Building Systems.

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, July 9, 2018

With the July holidays in the United States and Canada behind us, the second half of the year can begin. There have been some frustrating feelings out there as not everyone was as “swamped” as they expected to be in the first half of the year. Some areas of North America stayed softer into the second quarter vs. others; however, that all looks like old news as work is seemingly breaking free all over. The expectations are very high for a very strong last half of 2018. I think that’s what we all want, so bring it on!

Elsewhere…

Time for the monthly Glass Magazine review. It’s the June issue featuring the MGM National Harbor on the cover. Once again, jammed packed with content led by the annual Top 50 Glaziers report. I love looking at this list each year. So many good people doing great work. There’s also a fabulous GlassBuild America preview (get registered and book your hotel if you have not yet). And Bethany Stough continues to deliver extremely helpful articles on the workforce with yet another strong piece. Last, I am big fan of Matt Johnson of the Gary Law Group and he had a very smart article on “When to Call a Lawyer.” All of this and much more. Plus, if you are headed on vacation soon, you could save it for pool or beach reading. You'll look like the smartest one there! 

Last, before my interview this week, kudos to my friends at Trex Commercial Products (I still want to type SC Railing) on some of their amazing recent work. I am a big fan of creativity with glass and what these folks did with the glass railing portions on the new soccer stadium in California was sharp. Congrats on a job well done!

Big 3 Interview

Scott Rowe, principal and glass geek, Rowe Fenestration

This was a really fun interview. I only recently met Scott at the past GlassBuild America, so getting a chance to do this with him was very cool for me. With just getting to know him, the more I follow Scott and his company, the more impressed I get. Manufacturers’ representatives can get a bad rap (some deserve it, believe me), but guys like Scott and his group surely do a fantastic job of making the companies they represent and our industry look good!

Did I read your profile right that you were a math major in college? How did you end up in the glass world from there?

I actually ended up in the glass business well before college.

It was the summer of 1969, as a sophomore in high school, I took a summer job at a tiny upstart glass company that was soon to move to my hometown in the Midwest. I started as a loader on the line and moved up to glass cutter, before automated cutting and optimization. I moved through the plant working many of the stations, until the day that changed my life.

It was a hot, humid corn belt kinda day in the factory. A group of five or six coolly sophisticated looking guys came in the side door. They wore pink and purple madras shirts, penny loafers with no socks, and were all sunburned. “Who are those guys?” I asked. They were a couple of our customers and the sales guys after a day of fishing and golf. I knew in that moment that I wanted to be like them: their freedom, style of communication, and that footwear. I continued to work in the plant all through high school and during every college break. “Scotty, bring a clean shirt, run to the airport to pick up our vendor/customer/architect.” Every opportunity presented brought me closer to connecting with people, talking to them, learning about them, and ultimately to sales. I started full time as a management trainee in 1975. But back to your original question, I did use my trigonometry knowledge to figure out the algorithm for the stretch factor on a vertical tong-held tempering furnace using a slide rule.

You started your manufacturers rep firm in 2005, which was when things were rolling, but then the recession hit pretty quick after that. What kept you going and then eventually growing?

By 2005 I had been in the business over 30 years at many different levels of the industry and had the opportunity to learn from some great mentors. People are the core of our business, and I am fortunate to have been surrounded by an innovative and hardworking team, a brilliant business partner, and have the support of my incredibly smart and patient wife. Like many of us, we have the urgent need to eat, sleep out of the rain and cold, and support our families. When you are a small business you are not necessarily tied to national trends. With insight and effort, we can influence and affect our own reality. We have built a small team of talented people from different backgrounds, and they are leading us to continued success as the world evolves.

A lot has obviously changed in the industry from when you started, is there anything specific (products, plants, people etc.) that make you laugh at the way things were vs. the way they are now?

Life is change. The technology of the products, the design, the process, the systems, the applications, and methods of communication have all changed greatly. The need for top quality, dependable, honest, and timely transactions and communication is as relevant as it has ever been. The speed with which things happen now is nearly in real-time. The days of the traditional library and catalogue are virtually gone; you need to have a digital footprint, social media and an online presence with a positive user experience. Technology facilitates these opportunities. As they say, “there’s an app for that.” Transition into this new world is vital.

Many of the “shazam” type products and organizations that we have expected to be overnight phenomena take far longer to develop than first expected. I liken it to a Bonnie Raitt interview I heard the year she won Grammys in four categories. “How does it feel to be an overnight success?” She replied, “Amazing, and it only took me 25 years.”

Our business has changed in many ways. We can now build better buildings with greater energy efficiency and more innovative design options as we continue to evolve toward net zero facilities. What has not changed is the need for humanity in the process. The need to develop understanding and a collaborative spirit between the ownership/design, the corporate manufacturing entities, the GCs and the specialty subcontractors remains a vital challenge for a successful outcome.

Madras shirts are back (for some of us never gone). I still love fancy socks and a great pair of velvet shoes, but I do stay out of the sun now on advice of my dermatologist. I was able to do it, and I still love what I do. We truly respect and enjoy the culture of this wonderful industry and are extremely fortunate to have the support of excellent vendor partners. We continue to get up every day to assist our customers as they work to complete successful projects.

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.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Labor. Education. Performance. Lead times. We hear about the challenges facing the glass industry—and the construction industry at large—all the time. Along with them, we've heard of the numerous product developments, training initiatives and workplace efficiencies many in our industry have pushed as a response to these challenges. 

During the 2018 AIA Expo last week in New York City, glass industry exhibitors looked to address those challenges through new, multi-faceted product innovations and developments. While in past AIA shows, exhibitors presented numerous solutions that met aesthetic demands and performance, this year was different. Companies raised the bar, showing solutions that met the needs of architects, while facing the challenges of the glass industry head on. 

The conversation was not only about products, nor was it only about architects—even at an architecture show. Here are just a few examples of how industry companies are considering product development and industry education from start to finish.

Product Development

YKK AP America is rethinking details of its products, down to mullion symmetry and system tooling, to "find methods and means to address labor concerns, beyond logistics," says Oliver Stepe, president. The company is working to capitalize on the middle market by helping smaller, less technologically advanced companies work through labor challenges with more easily understood products that still meet aesthetic and performance demands. "We can't look at product design in a monolithic plane anymore," says Stepe. 

Product Education

At Vitro Architectural Glass, Rob Struble, brand and communications manager, explained how the company is investing heavily in oversized glass production, with its seventh coater online in Wichita Falls, Texas, which produces 130-by-240-inch coated glass sheets. But, it goes beyond big glass. To ensure an informed customer base, Vitro says, "Bigger is Only the Beginning." Projects that spec oversized glass have many other factors to consider beyond wall-to-wall or floor-to-floor glass. "We are educating the architect that there's a lot more to it than bigger IG—it's heavier, more difficult to transport and install. Bigger is more than possible, but we want them to understand the tradeoffs up front through education." 

Product End-use

Technoform Glass Insulation is pushing the industry to "Spec the Edge" first before considering the center of glass, which has been the norm when considering high-performance glass products. "With a high-performing window frame and edge of glass, buildings can achieve the same performance with less advanced glass," says Helen Sanders, strategic business development. Sanders says the flow of heat is like the flow of water: it will find the path of least resistance through the edge, no matter how high-performing the center of glass is. "We must chip away at the issue of only considering energy return on investment," says Sanders. "We need to change the conversation beyond energy and into building comfort, thermal comfort. Downstream, this sells more space and costs come down." 

See much more from the glass and glazing industry in our show product video, @GlassMag on Twitter and @glassmagazinenga on Instagram. Or, browse the show product gallery below. 

 

 

Bethany Stough is managing editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at bstough@glass.org. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

I had some fun and interesting few days in New York last week for the annual AIA show. I gained some excellent insight and, as always, got to visit with the best and brightest in our industry. Before I get into the show review and all that came with it, I have to say just the overall vibe of the Times Square area is craziness. So many people, so much going on. It never ceases to amaze me. Also, I did trek away from Times Square for lunch at what I was told was the best pizza in New York: John’s on Bleeker. And it lived up to the billing. Also, kudos to my Uber driver who somehow crammed his car into the tightest of spaces to maneuver through the thickest traffic ever to get me out of town and to the airport. Needless to say, I could never ever drive in that city. 

Our world and the show...

The overall atmosphere within our industry and the markets was exceedingly positive. Many that I talked with were very bullish for the next two to three years, showing excellent metrics and a strong foundation of business and growth. That was exciting to hear. It didn’t hurt that the Architectural Billings Index released during the show was excellent yet again. Things are rolling and that is something to feel good about. And yes, I should add the disclaimer here that this is all good based on nothing happening at the political level, which, quite frankly, changes minute to minute anymore.

The show itself...

It was solid and better than past events, but probably still not what it should and could be. But for those exhibitors who suffered through Orlando’s mess last year, they at least had something to hang their hat on this time. Probably the issue with the show that struck me the most was the show floor was split with exhibits on the first and third floors. The third floor was huge, well lit, and featured a lot of very big names. The first floor was darker, featured lower ceilings, smaller booths, and despite having big time companies there, just felt different. There was no signage in either hall promoting the other show floor, and I know many architects and attendees had no idea that there were two floors. I know a few folks on the first floor had good shows, but I believe those on the third did much better. I just hate when trade shows break up the floor like that; just not good or fair to anyone except the trade show organizer. 

People and companies… 

NGA had its booth set up to answer code and technical questions with the brilliant duo of Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell and Dr. Tom Culp, and they were swamped. Loved the education approach because, as we all know, the more education and technical we can teach the architects, the better.

EFCO was back in the show with a very impressive booth, and I loved visiting with Joseph Holmes for a few minutes there. Very good guy!

It’s been a while since I have seen Jerry Schwabauer and Patrick Muessig of Azon. They had an incredible product that they are working with Quaker Window on that featured extremely high performing numbers thanks to Azon’s product. It’s a new release from them and you will surely be hearing more about that in the future. I love the continuing innovation path there!

More innovation was on display at VIG Technologies. They had a very interactive display showing their vacuum insulating glass in a heat box as well as a cool acoustical box that really showed the performance of the product.  

Vistamatic also had really amazing pieces on display that impressed me on several levels. Their booth was striking and I give them credit for making it work since much of it got damaged on the way from the holding area to their booth spot. 

It was fun meeting up with Ted Bleecker at the busy SuperSky Products booth. Also seeing Brian Thomas there was a bonus. Good company and great bunch of folks.

Obviously, when it comes to people I consider great, that is usually everyone associated with Viracon. Nicer to me than I deserve. Their show performance (busy and interesting exhibit) was impressive. 

It’s absolutely awesome to have Dan Plotnick back in our industry. Dan has been a favorite of mine for many years and after spending a decade-plus overseas, and time on the residential side, he’s back at Solar Seal and the CGH companies. Great add there for them, and I will be doing a Big 3 interview with Dan later this summer because his story is fascinating. 

I always love seeing the float people and seeing how they’ll be moving the needle product wise in the next few years. The Guardian Glass booth was fabulous, and they had at least three pieces of very big news (bird deterrent glass, VIG, jumbo) that will be positive disruptions in the industry. Thanks, as always, to the great Chris Dolan and team for being so welcoming.

Vitro also was making news with their Acuity product (love the name, logo and look; don’t doubt the talented Rob Struble as he nailed it again) as well as their push into bigger sizes. Plus, seeing my old pal Steve Cohen there was very cool.

Over at AGC there was a bunch of activity happening, but all I cared about was saying hi to my old pal Matt Ferguson. Just hearing that voice again, that very distinctive sound and drawl, made the show for me. Good to see him and everyone else there.

Wrapping up, I saw James Wright, and his energy and positive approach is infectious. Same with my old pal Danik Dancause of Walker. They debuted a new booth that was so beautiful and impressive that no one noticed that incredible suit Danik rocked on day one. Folks, that’s a good booth when that happens.  

I am sure I am missing a few that I should be noting, but I think my head is still trying to acclimate to being back in my sleepy Michigan town vs. the bright lights of New York City. Overall, very good stuff. Now all eyes turn to GlassBuild America. That’s next, and it’s going to be incredible. I am completely confident about it, and you’ll be hearing more from me in the coming weeks for sure. 

Elsewhere....

  • Because this review is so long, there won’t be a Big 3 interview this week. But stay tuned. The ones I have coming up I believe are outstanding and I am so thankful for all of the positive reaction so far. I really appreciate those who read and especially those who are being interviewed for sharing their insights.

  • Quick major congrats to Dan McCrickard. Dan is a classy man and friend and he just landed an excellent gig at Assa Abloy. Strong company adds talent, love it! Happy for you, Dan!

  • Last this week, just a programming note. No blog next week as Canada Day and the Fourth of July will be upon us. I will be back in this space the week of July 8th with the latest Glass Magazine review, Big 3 interview, and more. I sincerely hope you and yours enjoy whichever holiday you are celebrating, and please stay safe! (I hate fireworks. Please be careful if you are messing with them!)

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.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Supply chain management is a massive part of doing business. Yet, for many managers, it does not get the focus or appreciation it truly deserves. In addition, with supply oversight comes one of the scariest words: inventory!

That word and needed process can bring an absolute panic to those who don’t have systems or regular checks of goods and materials in place.

I have found success in my career by making organization and communication a priority when it comes to supply and inventory. Too many times I have seen siloed business approaches where each group fails to ensure everyone needed in the process is involved from the start. Why is it so important to communicate heavily, even to the most basic of details? 

Take Bohle for example. The amount of inventory under our roof right now is monumental, but because of the business we are in, we really don’t have a choice. We have over 3,600 SKUs listed in our Charlotte facility and a little over 4,800 in our Portals warehouse in Kansas City. We serve an extremely diverse customer base: a one-person art glass boutique, a shower door dealer, contract glaziers of all sizes, primary float glass manufacturers located all over North America. In some cases, there are materials that all of the various segments can use, and in other cases it’s more focused.

Because of this vast approach, it’s crucial at all times to understand our supply chain, our inventory, our usage and our approach. 

Thankfully, technology can make this approach so much easier. We are able to utilize systems that track everything coming in and going out, and the visibility it allows opens the line of communication with all of the stakeholders in the process. I want to make sure that our sales team is in the loop on supplies, and they all have the freedom to note inventory levels and changes to our buyers. This communication also lets us know if we need to work closer with our supply base to make necessary changes. On the opposite side, I can watch and see if items are not moving at the pace they need to and press on our team to communicate with our customer base, so the products can be sold versus sitting on the shelf.

Inventory is always going to be a grind, even more when you have many items, especially smaller ones. It is, however, crucial to do it right and consistently stay on top of it. Once you start to cut corners on this process, it will only get harder and more problematic. And the one area that your finance people will surely get frustrated with you is if your inventories are a mess. That’s the last thing I want to deal with!

Obviously, this is not an exact science; we all get stuck with materials we struggle to move and sometimes we’re short when orders exceed expectations. But, if we stay on top of the process and constantly communicate and update, we minimize those situations.

Gareth Francey is the president of Bohle America, a supplier of glazing & handling tools, hardware, consumables, and machinery, for all levels of the glass industry. Francey has been with the Bohle organization since 2001 and led the American division since 2010. Contact him at gareth.francey@bohle-america.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.

Monday, June 18, 2018

New York City is this week’s destination for many in our industry headed to the annual AIA show. As I have mentioned many times before, it is always intriguing to see how this show is because, as an industry, we long to get in front of architects. But more often than not, this show leaves the exhibitors wanting. And this year, with education happening outside of the building and 200 walking tours going on at the same time as the expo, it will be interesting to see and experience the floor action. I had noted previously that I was not attending, but moons aligned, and I now will be there. I look forward to seeing everyone there and reporting back here next week.

Elsewhere….

Those of you coming to New York may see this sign. Not one that any of us should be a fan of!! Thanks to my friend Ian Patlin of Paragon Architectural Products for the picture. Stil, from the website it promotes, I am seeing a lot of glass. So interesting yet confusing hook for me with being "anti-glass," as it should be more focused on not being cookie cutter since that is the end message vs. glass usage.

Also related to New York, the first request for modular construction is out. This is a trend to watch. I am seeing it a lot on the residential side, and just a bit with commercial, but I think it may gain momentum quicker than you think.

Last this week, congrats to my friend Deron Patterson of Vitro on his new position as architectural market manager for Mexico. Deron is such a fascinating and bright person and has been a major success in his career, something I foresee continuing with this new role!

The Big 3 Interview

Maure Creager, building science manager, SageGlass

Maure is a brilliant and talented person and the industry can surely use many more like her. I wanted to find out how someone with her background made it into the glass world and get her perspectives on the always-evolving dynamic glass market, of which I am a huge fan.

When you were growing up, what did you want to do for a living and then once you got the mechanical engineering degree? Did you ever in your wildest dreams think you’d end up with a long career in the glass business?

An Astronaut! Didn’t everyone after watching the movie Space Camp? Side note: I had a friend who was able to attend the camp. Those dreams were dashed when I got glasses, so I decided to plan for the next best thing and go for mechanical engineering with a master’s in aeronautical. But the job market was amazing when I finished my BS, so I decided to work for a while first. I had amazing mentors and learned a lot about commercial and industrial design and construction during my work experience in college and in my first post-grad job. A few years later led to my husband being transferred to the frozen tundra (I mean Minnesota), which meant finding a new job, which was with SageGlass. The product was so cool, and the people I was going to work with were brilliant, mind-blowing smart. At the time, I had no idea I would end up with a career in the glass business. SageGlass was still a startup when I joined, which meant I had the opportunity to learn a lot and work in many different areas of the business and with the product.

You were one of the first people I met that was involved with dynamic glass. How much has that world changed since you started at Sage Glass in 2004?

Oh, my goodness. Well, for starters, we can make units larger than 18x35 inches! Back then, we were excited to ship five units per week that we hand packed in custom-built and padded crates, and we could ship them via UPS. Needless to say, our volume has increased exponentially. In 2004, the iPhone was still three years away from being debuted, so I never would have imagined we would be controlling the glass from an app or Amazon Echo. But I think the most interesting aspect has been the building science and occupant health research. For example, we all knew we loved sunlight, but the biology of it hadn’t yet been proven. Now we know we humans absolutely need daylight to regulate our circadian rhythms. We are still striving for changes for healthier people and planet, but we are getting there. I hope a right to light mandate will be incorporated into our building and employee health and safety standards sooner rather than later. 

What ideas would you have to encourage college graduates—whether engineers or sales or marketing—to get them to come to the industry?

There are so many different types of work you can do within the glass industry: façade engineer, process engineer, design engineer, test engineer, R&D, product development, the list goes on and on. Glass may seem simple, but it can also be incredibly complex and interesting. But what I have learned over time, is that what you do is only part of it; who you work with is also important. What I love about the glass industry are the people, both within SageGlass and Saint-Gobain, and within the industry as a whole. Within the industry organizations I am part of, I can clearly see the sharing of knowledge across the industry, and [a focus on] mentoring new professionals. It truly is a small world and we are all working together to move the glass industry forward. 

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.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018
 

It’s a familiar scenario: your sales and marketing team got together and strategized all the best traits of the ideal customer. They updated all the messaging and marketing support materials to attract this perfect prospect. Upper management agreed that, yes, this is the customer we want and need.

Next, you gathered your sales team and got them on board with the ideal customer profile, and then sent them out into the world to find this elusive prospect. After a few weeks, some sales opportunities came back with a potential ideal customer who was mildly interested in your offerings.  However, there was also a prospect who was a less-than-perfect fit but expressed a lot of interest.

Your team is very busy and only has time to focus on developing one of these prospects. Did they choose the right one?

Your direction to the team was to bring in the ideal customer, because if the ideal customer fits exactly with your capabilities, then surely, he or she would buy from you, and all would be right with the world.

However, it’s been my experience that enthusiasm and eagerness to do business should trump actual fit. Both factors matter, but customers that show initial eagerness, even if they don’t appear to be a perfect fit, are more likely to become buyers and long-term customers, compared to a perfect match with only a slight interest.

Other sales tactics to consider:

  • The speed of your response will be a critical factor in your ability to achieve success with any prospect. Don’t wait for days to prepare the most beautifully crafted response. A quick response is best—even if it’s to let your prospect know you’re researching the question and will follow up soon. 
  • Do not worry about who you speak with at the prospect business. Many salespeople look down on leads when the contact is a junior or mid-level person and not the ultimate decision maker. I have found that often the junior person has been tasked by the executive to get the ball rolling. If you can win them over, they can become your champion. 

Ultimately, your ideal customer is the one that fits your operational capability and is willing to work with you.

Chad Simkins is director of sales and marketing, Guardian Glass Fabrication. He can be reached at csimkins@guardian.com

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