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The Right One

Special Report

Last week in a fit of nostalgia, I was re-watching the 40th anniversary special of Saturday Night Live (available on Amazon, Hulu and NBC  if you are interested). In one of the presentations, comic Mike Myers imitates show creator and producer Lorne Michaels as Michaels critiqued an SNL broadcast after it was over. Myers got the biggest laugh of the night imitating Michaels saying, “Sure Mike, it got a laugh, but did it get the right kind of laugh?” That line makes me think of glass fabricators. Why? You know finding the right type of glass is not always easy. The tension between performance specifications and named products is almost always… Read More »

A Final Toast from Napa

Reference to events is often by ordinal number—the first annual this or the tenth annual that. I have never heard an event billed as a “Last Annual,” but this may very well be it for the Glass Association of North America’s (now NGA-GANA) Annual Conference. While organizers announced dates for a Fall Conference later on this year and the Building Envelope Contractors Conference next year, no annual conference dates have yet been announced. The GANA Annual Conference was the successor to an event known as “Glass Week.” Glass Week was held in a different time, when strong independent fabricators were in abundance, when the primaries were mostly still domestic with… Read More »

Boiling Up in Napa

I get to spend most of my time in a verdant Dionysian garden this week. The occasion of my visit to California’s Napa Valley is the 2018 Annual Conference. For years, it was the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA)’s annual conference, but now that that group has merged with the National Glass Association (NGA), it’s currently the NGA-GANA Annual Conference. Except that it’s not. NGA’s annual meeting has always been around its GlassBuild show in the fall. I am sure they will get it all sorted out pretty soon. I would also expect at least one or two regular meetings to disappear as a usual consequence of two groups… Read More »

11 Good Things

It’s always enjoyable to get to report happy news, so this month I am having a grand time doing so. That’s because USGlass magazine won a record number of awards from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) earlier this month, honoring the staff’s outstanding work in print and video. Editor Ellen Rogers won three bronze awards, two in print. One for Best Technical Writing for Moves that Matter in the March 2017 issue, and one for Best Special Section for Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season in the October 2017 issue. Editorial director Tara Taffera, assistant editor Jordan Scott, research editor Nick St. Denis and contributing editor Trey… Read More »

Part of the Problem

It’s the one problem you hear about over and over again–no matter what size, no matter how old the company. It’s a problem almost every contract glazing company has. And unfortunately, we are part of the reason for it. By we, in the broadest sense, I mean the construction industry. By we, in the most narrow sense, I mean contract glazing companies. The problem, of course, is the lack of skilled and qualified labor available to contract glaziers. Time and time again, I hear stories of companies at capacity because they can’t find qualified help. They must turn additional work away because they can’t find qualified people to perform it…. Read More »

Just Another Day in Vegas


The protesters were already out in full force at the UNLV arena when I arrived because, in case you haven’t heard, there’s a presidential debate there tonight … oh and the Rolling Stones are scheduled to play in concert in Vegas tonight too, …. Oh and the National and American League Baseball Championships are being blazoned across just about every big screen TV as there are bets to be made. …oh, and did I mention there’s a glass show? Las Vegas is not only on fire with activity today, it’s downright combustible. And though it may seem like an afterthought to most in this town today, the annual GlassBuild show… Read More »

Day(quil) Tripper

Okay so I got hit with a very bad cold, so I am quasi-working, sometimes sleeping, from home today and it got me thinking about the glass industry’s equivalent of “How can I get the experience if no one will hire me?” The credit for the analogy actually goes to Dr. Helen Sanders of SageGlass, who spoke on a panel about innovation at the GlassCon Global Conference in Boston in July. The overriding theme of the discussion was the North American glass industry as innovators. Designers and architects had gently tried to heap a wad of guilt served on a cattle prod to our industry for not being more innovative…. Read More »

Floating the Beyond Float Idea

Thomas Henriksen speaks during the "Role of Adaptive Facades" panel at GlassCon Global 2016.

“If I had asked my customers what they wanted in the way of transportation, they would have said a faster horse.” So goes the famous quote widely attributed (though never verified as belonging) to Henry Ford. No matter who really said it first, it’s a great quote and one that made its way into “The Role of Glass in Adaptive Facades” panel discussion at GlassCon Global held in early July. I enjoyed the conference greatly, not only because we got to work on it a bit, but because it was designed to look at glass in new ways and to gather together the thought leaders in the industry to discuss… Read More »

Bye Bye Pittsburgh

And now it’s done and the word is out. The deal that sells PPG’s glass business to Vitro has been inked and the details announced. All that waits is the blessing of the regulators and the official closing in a few months. PPG gets $750 million dollars in cash and relief from a business it says is successful, but not strategically compatible with its future. Vitro gets a $1.1 billion business for a good bit less than that, a strengthened foot- and plant-print in North America and a robust and innovative research component. Just two days after the deal was announced, editors Ellen Rogers, Nick St. Denis and I conducted… Read More »

A Good Melt-Down

YKK AP 25th_Group

There are many things I get to do in the course of business that warm my heart, but there are only a few that melt it. Well, I had mine totally turned to hot water a few weeks ago. Usually it’s the people who make you melt. They may have risen to overcome challenges, come back from adversity like a bobo doll who just won’t deflate or simply make things work against the odds. But that wasn’t the case this time. This time, a whole company got to me.

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