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Parting Ways

For many years, it was hailed as the best new way to do business, a method that benefitted owner, contractor and contract glazing. Yet, as the practice continues to grow, a number of contractors, glazing and otherwise, are saying “no more.” Once hailed as the ultimate quid pro quo, fixed price contracts have come into sharper focus in the last few months with many of those engaged in them opting out of the practice. Fixed-price contracting is a practice through which the general contractor and the contract glazier (the GC—the buyer—and the CG—the seller) agree to a certain price (or a not-to-exceed price) for a job. General contractors also engage… Read More »

Hitting the Spot

Trade shows, and the industries they encompass, have a cyclic rhythm. Companies engage in a fair amount of research and development, then cycle over to applying new technology to product which they then introduce at trade shows. This, in turn, starts a whole new round of R&D and well, here we go again. The 2019 GlasBbuild America, held in Atlanta, September 12-14, hit the industry’s sweet spot as we cycled from the heavy R&D the last few years to the introduction of game-changing new products and processes. Here’s my take on the top trends this year: 1. Automation Innovation: If you can move glass a certain way, then you can… Read More »

Brought to You by the Letter E

Anyone who has been a kid, or raised kids or grandkids, in the past 50 years knows how the show Sesame Street usually starts. It opens with a Muppet popping up to tell us which letter of the alphabet is sponsoring the program on that particular day. Well, if GlassBuild America 2019 (GBA) had a Grover, Elmo or Big Bird pop up, they would surely say “this show is brought to you by the letter E.” E? Yes, here’s why. The e-vent which ended today at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, is both exhaustive and exhausting, but it’s also an exhilarating ode to the glass industry played out… Read More »

Better Late …

No blog today, but there’s a good reason for that. I bet you have already guessed it. It’s because I’ll be reporting in from Atlanta all this week and look forward to doing so. I hope to see you there. If you get a chance, stop by booth 2810 to say hello.

Something Else to Worry About

Glazing contractors best beware of the newest scam going around. It’s surprisingly simple, yet has duped owners and general contractors out of millions of dollars in payments that should have been going to you. Here’s how it works: thieves either provide, or get payers to change, the account into which they transfer payments via wire transfers from a legitimate one to a fraudulent one. Once they receive the payment, they empty the account and run. Thieves generally accomplish this by hacking into email and using the basic knowledge they find there to run their scam. The Marous Brothers, a general contracting firm in Ohio, learned this the hard way earlier… Read More »

A Fast Forward and a Slow Rewind

Here’s a riddle for you: What do autonomous vehicles and Woodstock have in common? Stumped? Okay read on and it will all make sense. Let me preface revealing the answer by saying that, when I can, I like to get up really early on Sunday mornings and write my blog for Monday. It’s quiet … it’s just me and the cardinals feasting at the bird feeder … and I don’t feel rushed in writing it. For me, choosing the topic and writing the first sentence are always the hardest part, and the rest just flows. Except this Sunday morning, I am extremely agitated with myself because I have not yet… Read More »

A Week of Firsts

National Intern Day was last Thursday, July 25 and it got me thinking a lot about the value of internships and education and training in our industry. Of course, for the glass and metal industry some internships are called apprenticeships, but the concept is the same: learn by doing. And sometimes what you learn from an internship is not what you expected at all. I am a case in point. At the tender age of 17, I decided I wanted to do “good” for the world. My Dad, who was in insurance, wanted me to be an actuary. In his mind, actuaries were at the top of the insurance food… Read More »

Heat and Hot Topics

I live in an outer suburb of both Washington, D.C., and Richmond—right in the middle of both—where the temperature reached 100 degree Fahrenheit and it felt like 108 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend. So heat’s been as much on my mind as sweat has been on my body. It has reminded me how nothing turns up the heat like government regulation and legislation. So here are three items the glass and metal industry need to watch that may not have been on your heat index yet: Apprenticeships: A proposal from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would change what are considered “Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs” to allow groups such as educational… Read More »

From Smiles to Stares

It was all smiles and handshakes when Apogee Enterprises purchased the stock of EFCO Corp. from Pella Corp. in June, 2017. But the smiles around the $195 million deal have long since faded and handshakes turned to clenched fists as Pella filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the glass industry giant on Friday. In a two-count breach of contract complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa (Central Division), Pella contends that Apogee has refused to make annual purchase price payments due under the parties’ agreements. The complaint further alleges that Apogee has failed to honor those agreements by not fully removing Pella as an indemnitor for construction… Read More »

Worn on the Fourth of July

Well the Fourth of July celebration has begun to fade into a semi-distant memory. The hamburgers will have been devoured, flags waived and fireworks exploded. But the cause for celebration will remain. I will explain. The glass industry has provided us all with tangible examples of the American Dream fulfilled. It has taught me a lot about what makes the U.S. work and what we can take pride in. Over the years, I have gotten to write about and follow numerous small business owners and entrepreneurs as they grew those businesses in gigantic corporations. I’ve seen the American dream in action. It lives in people like Russ Baumgardner, who loaned… Read More »

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