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In the Beginning, There were Glass Doors

“So, what’s it like to be a woman in the glass industry?” My actual answer is that I don’t know. I’ve never been anything else. “What’s it like to be a woman in the glass industry now, compared to years ago?” Well, that one I can answer. You might know that I started in this industry barely out of my teens and have had the privilege of serving it for 40 years since. In the beginning, whether I was in a room of 50 or 500, I was almost always the only one lacking a Y chromosome. It felt weird for a while, and then it just felt normal. Math… Read More »

Vegas, in a Word

When you make your living reporting, as I often do, you strive to provide perfect descriptions and compelling stories. When you can do so in paragraphs, you feel good. When you do so in sentences, you feel pretty accomplished. And you hit the etymological jackpot when you find a perfect one-word description. I might have found it for the Glassbuild America (GBA) show that took place late last month in Las Vegas. It was distinct from any GBA show that had come before it. It was unique in appearance, feel, and how people interacted with each other. Las Vegas was,  in a word, different. First, the look of the event… Read More »

The Game-Changer

The news earlier this week that Guardian Glass was raising prices on many of its product categories up to 40 percent was a stunner. But should it have been? I know, I know. I know what you are going to say. The Guardian of years past would not have done things this way—they wouldn’t have issued such a breath-taking letter. Except that’s precisely how they’ve been doing it for the past few decades. Long before our first online story about such increases in 2011, customers received price increase letters. The ten-day notice seems short, but I can’t imagine what length of time is “right” for such an increase. Please don’t… Read More »

Crunch Time

Has the North American contract glazing industry recovered from COVID? A quick crunch of the numbers says it has. Overall, 2021 sales volume for top contract glaziers was up significantly over 2020. Here’s the aggregated sales volume for USGlass magazine’s top 50 contract glazing companies in 2020 vs. 2021: That’s a healthy 13.6 percent increase in sales volume. Now let’s take a look at where the pieces of that larger pie went: Source: USGlass magazine This means the top 10 contract glaziers increased their sales volume 9.6%. The top 25 increased their sales volume 12.8%. The “top ten” usually work off backlog committed years earlier. The next 15% do as… Read More »

Problem Begins with P

It was a delight to be part of the Management Conference that the Texas Glass Association (TGA) held for its members on Friday, May 13, in Round Rock, Texas. (Glass TEXpo ‘21, which the association co-sponsored with USGlass magazine, was the first industry-wide event to be held post-COVID and we were all still wearing masks then, so it was nice to see—really see—full faces anew.) I enjoyed catching up with Felix Munson of Anchor-Ventana Glass, Kyle Sharp of Sharp Glass, who is serving as TGA president this year, Sam Hill of Oak Cliff Mirror and Glass, another backbone of the industry, and Kyle Lamb of Universal Glass, as well as… Read More »

The Other Employee Problem

Finding and retaining quality employees has always been one of the glass industry’s biggest challenges. It’s consistently been the number 1, 2 or 3 largest problem cited in every glazing study we’ve done over the years. The glass industry had this problem long before every other industry did. Now that every other industry has the same problem, it’s become worse than ever for the glass companies to find new and good employees. Glass installation competes against everything from convenience store employees ($20 an hour around here) to other building trades. Glass installation is physical work, often in unpleasant conditions. Even though they should, glaziers don’t get the respect that electricians… Read More »

BEC in the Books

The 24th edition of the Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference is in the books. In addition to having a feel of normalcy about it, the event serves as a miner’s canary for the industry in forecasting coming trends. Here are my top five takeaways: The Energy Noose Tightens—well, it’s not a noose really, but it is a group of regulations designed to increase energy efficiency in buildings. New York City’s new Energy Codes are beginning to reverberate to other states. We can expect to see more, not less, regulation around energy in more states in the future. Luckily, our industry has products that offer the energy-saving performance these codes will… Read More »

Back to the Same, Except it’s Different

Technological change slammed right into the contract glazing industry at the Building Envelope Conference and its effects were evident everywhere. The conference, which is designed for glazing contractors, was last held in early March 2020 and was the final industry event until Glass TEXpo™ this past May. It is sponsored by the National Glass Association and mixes educational sessions with social and networking opportunities. While most people seemed to revel in just seeing their colleagues’ full faces, sans masks, for the first time in the last two years, there was a realization that COVID had changed a little bit of everything and technology was changing the rest. Pre-registration lists showed representatives from 95 installing companies… Read More »

Education in a New Lite

Join USGlass magazine publisher Debra Levy for this installment of “Leadership in the Glass and Metal Industry.” Today’s guests are Marcus Dreher and Alex Buechel, co-owner and creative director of LearnGlazing.com.


The news today of the sale of Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® (OBE) was expected. The buyer was a bit of a surprise, and the price was a shocker. Somehow the news that Irish company CRH was interested in divesting of OBE made its way into the business press late last year. This in itself was highly unusual, as the parties involved usually take great pains to keep such information confidential until a deal, or at least an agreement in principle, is completed. They do so for a variety of reasons including security and regulatory ones. I could not think of another case where an impending sale had been “leaked” to the public… Read More »

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