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The Top Five, Of Course

So the question is “How was the show?” and the answer is “Don’t know.” The show, of course, is Glassbuild America (GBA), which was held in Atlanta last week. The “Don’t know” is because tradition says you never really know the success of a trade show until weeks, maybe months, after it’s occurred. COVID, of course, blew tradition away. Nothing was usual about this year’s show, from the temperature checks before entry to the lack of usual services at the venue and hotels. It was, of course, a very memorable event. How much of a success you deemed the show depended on where your expectations were. Many exhibitors told me… Read More »

Day One: Simon(son) Says

So which do you want first, the bad news or the bad news? That seemed like the question being asked at the Glazing Executives Forum held yesterday in conjunction with the GlassBuild America show. Attendees were socially distanced, so it was harder to estimate, but it seemed the most popular sessions attracted about 120-150 people. The most popular was entitled “Supply Chain Challenges,” led by Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors (AGC). Simonson painted such a negative picture that it prompted an audience question at one point, asking, “Is there any good news?” Simonson responded that he’s an economist and it’s his job to highlight the problem… Read More »

The Shame of It All

I am sure that like me, you were hit with a wave of nausea when you first learned about it. You felt those waves because you are in the building trades and you know the shame of it all, on many different levels. The collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla., on June 24 is sickening. The loss of people is breathtaking; the numbers of those relieved to have their lives, but contemplating how to live them with all their possessions and homes gone is chilling. How many of us haven’t dueled with a building inspection we felt too strict or unreasonable? And yet here, the building was… Read More »

Bernard Always, Remembered

He was never really Bernie. I would wince the few times I heard someone say “nice to meet you, Bernie,” after being introduced to him. I knew he was Bernard and he must not have liked hearing Bernie in its place. Then that big smile would cross his face as his hand reached out in a forceful grip. “Nice to meet you,” he’d always say, without ever adding “It’s Bernard.” As you probably know already, Bernard Lax, president of Pulp Studio in Gardena, Calif., died suddenly August 3 at the age of 64. He was as silent about his accomplishments and good deeds as he was about correcting his name…. Read More »


I have always liked the word “bittersweet.” It’s both the taste and emotional equivalent of “happy and sad” at the same time. And that’s what this blog is today—bittersweet. First the happy. It was a real treat to visit the Ironworkers mid-Atlantic training center last week. The facilities are impressive and the teachers and staff enthusiastic. Under the auspices of Local 5, the training facility teaches beginning ironworkers on a variety of equipment. This was the first time I had seen mock-ups of a unitized system used for training purposes. The facility also sported a variety of other types of training equipment including a unitized curtainwall mock-up, a two-story structural… Read More »

Together Again, Alleluia

In the end, the best part was just being back together. It sounds corny, I know, but Glass TEXpo, held last week in San Antonio was a landmark event in many ways. It was the first live event in the glass industry since the pandemic hit. It offered just under 1,000 attendees a chance to visit with more than 100 vendors and choose from 10 power-packed seminars. It also showcases its sponsors, the Texas Glass Association and USGlass magazine. But mostly, it was about just being back together. “I really don’t know what to expect,” said Mark Imbrock, president of EDTM, while he was setting up for the show. “I’m… Read More »

In the Heart of Texas

If this picture of pallets packed and ready to go says anything, it says that the industry’s first event since the COVID pandemic hit is going to happen next week. Glass TEXpo ’21 will be held May 20-21 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio. The two-day event, which includes education, a 100+ booth trade show, demonstrations and networking, is co-sponsored by USGlass magazine and the Texas Glass Association (TGA). Being the first is a role we take very seriously. USGlass magazine was the first to produce a daily e-newsletter, USGNN.com; and the first to have a web presence years ago, the first to offer personalized market… Read More »

The Real Thing, Sadly

So I heard about this happening to a reader, then another, and I thought “well this might be a thing.” Then I heard about it a few more times, and then it happened to us, so I did some research. And yes, it’s a very big thing. The “thing” in question is the benefits provided by your state’s unemployment insurance program to phony claimants. Fraud is running rampant through most of these state programs. In fact, the Department of Labor estimates that at least $63 billion in improper payments, much of it fraud, have been made since COVID hit last year. What is particularly insidious is that most of this… Read More »

There’s a Kind of Hush

This headline makes no sense, of that I am aware, but in a few minutes it will. It’s here because this blog is about two different topics that deserve some coverage. By the time I finished writing it, a connection between the two even revealed itself. First the Hush People There was some sad news this past week that Moe Peterson, who spent much of his career as PPG’s director of technical services, passed away mid-February. Most people in the industry today, (save those who work at Vitro—then PPG—and still see his name on countless documents) would not have known Moe. He retired as director of technical services and product… Read More »

What to Do about 22?

It’s the most common refrain I hear from contract glazing company owners and managers when I ask how they are doing. “We are okay—for now.” “We will be fine this year.” Or “We actually had a good 2020, all things considered and are on course for the same in 2021.” Every single one of these comments, however, is followed by a big BUT. BUT 22?  What about 22? The 22 in question is, of course, 2022, the year when the backlog that was in place before the pandemic hits becomes depleted or close to depleted. As projects move from backlog to jobs in progress to jobs completed, they are usually… Read More »

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