Future Forward

A couple of thoughts for a cold winter’s day here in the East (colder still in the Midwest I know):

1. The News Today, Oh Boy: The news this morning that the Erie Architectural Products Group had been acquired was stunning—not so much for that fact, as for who the buyer was. Erie has long been known as a well-run, forward thinking company and rumors of suitors have been in abundance for months. It would have been an excellent strategic fit for a number of companies focused on the future. The fact that YKK AP America made it its first acquisition here in the States is significant was well. YKK AP CEO Oliver Stepe led the acquisition.
“It’s not a norm for our global organization, but it is considered on a strategic basis,” said Stepe in an exclusive interview with today. “I had considered the idea of an acquisition since I became president in 2016 and based on Erie’s core competencies they caught my attention. As the increase in demand and trend for pre-glazing and modular construction [grew] I thought about contacting Erie to discuss the opportunity to get together.”

So grow they will. Congratulations to two well-managed companies, and the people who run them, for finding each other.

2. Breed the Birds:
Bird-friendly glass continues to gain in popularity as New York City gets ready to become the next metropolitan area to require it. Legislation that requires “bird-friendly” glass on all new construction is expected to be passed shortly. Proponents say that, when enacted, the legislation could save the lives of tens of thousands of birds who fly into buildings every year.

New York will become the largest city with such requirements. The proposed legislation would require that at least 90% of the exterior of the first 75 feet of all new or renovated buildings be constructed with materials that are visible to birds—hence bird friendly glass. Committee hearings will be taking place in the city today and tomorrow.

First a curiosity, bird-friendly glass has gained enormous respect and grown in both stature and usage during the past few years. Researchers at Oxford estimate that between 365 and 988 million birds die annually in the United States as a result of collisions with buildings. And certain cities are more dangerous for our fine feathered friends than others. Cornell University says that in the fall, for instance, those cities are:

  1. Chicago
  2. Houston
  3. Dallas
  4. Atlanta
  5. New York
  6. St. Louis
  7. Minneapolis
  8. Kansas City
  9. Washington, D.C.
  10. Philadelphia

It’s been heartening to see the industry respond with solutions to this problem.