Some Thoughts on AIA

As is the case most years, I attended the American Institute of Architects’ Annual Convention, in New Orleans two weeks ago, and saw a number of trends, some good and some worrisome. Specifically: 1.  The number of practicing architects seemed significantly lower than in previous years. Our stand, which is listed under our sister publication the Architect’s Guide to Glass magazine, was visited by many in the “architecture” field—students, professors, academicians, suppliers and consultants, but not very many pen-to-paper architects.  The economy has something to do with this, for sure, (because if you have no projects to design you have no money to spend on travel), but I think there… Read More »

Too Bad

Let’s clarify a couple things about the glass that was to go in the podium wall at One World Trade Center. First, there isn’t anything wrong with it. Despite all the protestations by various architects, the building’s owner and other nebulous pundits out there, the glass that was manufactured did not have any problems. And though PPG is too professional to say otherwise itself, the implication that the glass was some how defective is a disservice to its primary manufacturer. Second, I have been told that the problems lie in the complex way in which the glass was to be fabricated – complex not only technically but logistically as well…. Read More »

Make Someone Happy

My good friend and ace promulgator of business wisdom, Jerry Wright of AAA Glass in Fort Worth, Texas (jingle: Triple-A-Glass Gets-There-Fast), is a very wise businessperson. He combines commonsense with an incredibly high dose of business acumen to produce mantras such as “Hire Slow, Fire Fast.” Think about it for a minute and you’ll see he’s right. A lot of problems would be avoided if we took more time to make the right hire and got rid of the wrong ones faster than most of us do. Jerry’s “Ten Commandments of Keeping Your Job” is a classic. Jerry also says that he makes sure his employees understand that they want… Read More »

Grandma’s Feather Bed er … Chair

When I was a young girl, I used to love riding my bicycle the 2½ miles over to my paternal grandmother’s house. Nana, as we called her, lived in the oldest house in town, which she and my grandfather had bought and painstakingly restored and resurrected into a beautiful farmhouse. Its expansive acreage had been subdivided long before and it was a bit out of place in a suburban Long Island town, but it was beautiful. Nana loved all things 100-or-more years old and spent her weekends at garage and estate sales so she could furnish the house in exquisite antiques of many eras. I can still remember spending hours… Read More »

The Power of O

Anyone who knows our ace customer service manager and bookkeeper extraordinaire Janeen Mulligan knows she is the world’s biggest Oprah fan. Janeen tapes every show, knows all things Oprah and has been trying for more than ten years to get tickets to the see the show. Now most people would have given up hope by now but Janeen, in a nod to the premise of Oprah’s beloved book “The Secret,” believed that her dream would come true. And two months ago it did. Janeen got four tickets to the 21st-to-last taping of the Oprah show in Chicago. “I want you to come with me,” she said to me, along with… Read More »

The Enemy: Still Us

You’ve probably heard it said before, but no one has ever shown it more graphically than Serge Martin of AGC did during his presentation at the Building Envelope Conference (BEC) two weeks ago in Las Vegas. There before us was an updated and horrifying look at what everyone says anecdotally, that is, that glass has shown no real increase in price in nearly the past 20 years. Using the producer price index for a number of construction materials, including brick, asphalt, wood and cement, Martin showed that our industry is the only one pricing itself lower as time goes on. Take a look: Now maybe if there were some great… Read More »

Our Quickly Changing Industry

This week, just some random quick thoughts: 1.  In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the glass industry seems to be imploding before our eyes. The bankruptcy (however complex the reasons for it) of Vitro, the large losses announced by Apogee last week, the radical changes in the contract glazing industry and the retirements of many smart industry veterans who decided now is a good time for change including Apogee’s Huffer, California Glass Association’s Donn Harter and the soul of MTH Industries, Lyle Hill*, have led many to wonder if there will be any glass industry left. The answer is yes, there will be. This is just what happens when you reduce… Read More »

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, USGNN.com™. 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… Read More »

Contract Glaziers Viva in Las Vegas

MARCH 30–When you walk down the hall at the Paris Hotel and see three guys practically dismantling a huge Vegas mirror from the wall, or sit down at a breakfast table where the hot topic is embeds, you know you are at the Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference. With all due respect to the companies that start with sand and end with glass, or those who take it and fabricate it in a myriad of ways, the guys at the BEC Conference make the glass and metal world go round. They scale tall buildings and crawl into tiny spaces. They are the work engines of this industry and are engaged… Read More »

Singing the LOGICal Song

MONDAY, MARCH 28 — There is so much going on in Vegas that it’s hard to keep track of it all. Here’s a very rough breakdown: Wednesday-Thursday IGMA Friday-Sunday Glass Week Sunday-LOGIC Sunday-Tuesday BEC Tuesday-Thursday NFRC If the acronyms don’t drive you crazy, the schedule will but, as always, it’s full of substance. A few thoughts thus far: –It’s always impressive to see how hard the GANA committees work. The committee members toil over everything from informational bulletins to surveys. The hard work shows in what they produce. –There’s a lot of buzz about the new LOGIC event for leaders in the glass industry held yesterday (more below). There’s an… Read More »

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