Looking Backwards and Forwards

Backwards

There’s been enough conjecture and speculation surrounding the closure of Trainor Glass to rival an evening of opinion on Fox News or MSNBC. Would you doubt that I would weigh in?

Well, I am not going to, except to say this: Contract glaziers are the tightrope walkers of the construction industry. They work without a net in a very tight environment. One misstep, even just one after dozens of years of perfect performance, can prove fatal. Walking that rope in a very shaky economic environment makes it harder to avoid a fall. The fact that any contract glazier, let alone one that had risen to the highest heights, can survive for more than 50 years is a testament to the good work of the people it employed.

And just like the fall of a Wallenda, in the end such a tragedy it is still very much a human one, affecting good people and companies in life-changing ways. And that is the shame of it. That’s the real story and it’s a sad one.

Forwards

I spent most of last week in sunny Florida attending the annual conference of the Glass Association of North America (GANA). What a  great and forward-thinking meeting it was, not only because of the hard work and dedication of the many volunteers who attended, contributed and did work in more than 60 committees, subcommittees and task groups. GANA is the substance of the glass industry and it is always motivating to see it hard at work.

I got to catch up with a bunch of people there as well. It was great to see Mandy Marxen and Jim Ventre of Gardner Glass Products there and bringing their ideas to the decorative division. Glass Coating & Concepts’ Jeff Nixon also made a number of thoughtful points throughout the week.

Chuck Wencl of Viracon kept the group amused with his joke telling (though I have to say in some cases I use the word joke loosely). It was nice to see and hear longtime industry Bob Brown, who many feel is the conscience of the glass industry. Marc Deschamps, Sylvain Denis and Danik Dancause were working hard to shape the work of this division as well.

We covered the sessions extensively. Just visit usgnn.com’s entries from last week to see the stories. But my favorite “session” was executive vice president Bill Yanek’s talk about his recent work for the Kansas National Guard. Yanek was deployed in Africa for the past 8 months and his informal presentation about his time there was riveting. It gave the audience a window into what it’s like to live in 130-degree heat and deal with an unforgiving land.

I am guessing it was great planning that had the American Architectural Materials Association (AAMA) meeting start two days later less than a two-hour drive away, as a good number of attendees, including Marg Webb of IGMA, were heading from GANA to AAMA. Tara Taffera of our Door & Window Manufacturer is covering the event for us. You can find those updates at http://www.dwmmag.com.

Let’s hope for a good-news week this week.

Deb

 

 

3 Responses to “Looking Backwards and Forwards”

  1. Bill Yanek says:

    Deb – thanks for the plug! It was nice seeing you in Florida as well!

    • Deb Levy says:

      Great to see you too Bill, welcome back and thanks for sharing how you spent your time in Africa. Made us all proud.

  2. Jerry Moser says:

    Deb,

    I had to take a moment to commend you on your words of wisdom in “Backwards”. As someone who has spent their entire adult life in the glass industry and has seen companies come and go, I find your words extremely poignant. I work for a contract glazing company that has had the good fortune of being in business for the past 55 years and I daily see the extreme effort that is put into the business to make it successful, while walking the “tightrope”. It is disconcerting to see the countless individuals and companies who seem to find some sort of perverse pleasure in the bad luck and ultimate failure of others. I hope we can all reflect, even for a moment, on the “human tragedy” when a company like Trainor Glass closes. It will affects us all on a business level and hopefully, a personal one.

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