Donn with Two Ns

Amid all the news of the past two weeks a little retirement notice slipped by quietly on our daily e-news service,™. Though the news was quiet, the person it was about is anything but.

You can read the announcement of Donn Harter’s retirement here. It talks about his many accomplishments with the California Glass Association (which later morphed into Americas’ Glass Association)—so many, in fact, that the association will pass into history upon his retirement. In addition to all the work the announcement mentions, there are a few other things you should know about the Donn with two Ns:

  • He was one of the most effective influencers of codes concerning glass in existence. Donn’s word and opinions were gold before the old ICBO and its successors. Though his opinions occasionally got him into trouble, but he always erred on the side of life safety;
  • He was a lone voice in and advocate for the elimination of wired glass long before it was fashionable. It was a different era and he took a ton of heat for this. He didn’t care. Again, life safety won out;
  • He was a diplomat and the first one to recognize the negative effects disagreements among different segments of the glass industry have before the code groups. He saw how these internecine wars hurt our industry in the resulting codes and proposed and started the Glazing Industry Code Committee nearly three years ago. It still exists today as a place where laminators, temperers, fire-rated glass manufacturers, etc. can duke out their differences privately and then present a united coalition before the code groups;
  • He was an expert recruiter. I worked a lot with Donn when he was president of the trade association for which I worked at the time. I don’t think ever before, or ever since, there had been such a great influx of new members as there was during Donn’s tenure. I don’t know exactly how he accomplished this, but I do know he traversed the country to speak at the association’s benefits. I would always hear that Donn began the evening fully clothed in a suit with jacket and tie and that he slowly, slowly would remove articles of clothing throughout his discussion. This proved an effective way of keeping his audience there and listening. While they were waiting to see what he’d take off next, they were evaluating and signing up as members.

Donn has always been true to his convictions and always put in twice the effort he needed to for the glass industry. Maybe that’s why his name has twice the Ns.