A Fast Forward and a Slow Rewind

Here’s a riddle for you: What do autonomous vehicles and Woodstock have in common? Stumped? Okay read on and it will all make sense. Let me preface revealing the answer by saying that, when I can, I like to get up really early on Sunday mornings and write my blog for Monday. It’s quiet … it’s just me and the cardinals feasting at the bird feeder … and I don’t feel rushed in writing it. For me, choosing the topic and writing the first sentence are always the hardest part, and the rest just flows. Except this Sunday morning, I am extremely agitated with myself because I have not yet… Read More »

A Week of Firsts

National Intern Day was last Thursday, July 25 and it got me thinking a lot about the value of internships and education and training in our industry. Of course, for the glass and metal industry some internships are called apprenticeships, but the concept is the same: learn by doing. And sometimes what you learn from an internship is not what you expected at all. I am a case in point. At the tender age of 17, I decided I wanted to do “good” for the world. My Dad, who was in insurance, wanted me to be an actuary. In his mind, actuaries were at the top of the insurance food… Read More »

Heat and Hot Topics

I live in an outer suburb of both Washington, D.C., and Richmond—right in the middle of both—where the temperature reached 100 degree Fahrenheit and it felt like 108 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend. So heat’s been as much on my mind as sweat has been on my body. It has reminded me how nothing turns up the heat like government regulation and legislation. So here are three items the glass and metal industry need to watch that may not have been on your heat index yet: Apprenticeships: A proposal from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) would change what are considered “Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs” to allow groups such as educational… Read More »

From Smiles to Stares

It was all smiles and handshakes when Apogee Enterprises purchased the stock of EFCO Corp. from Pella Corp. in June, 2017. But the smiles around the $195 million deal have long since faded and handshakes turned to clenched fists as Pella filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the glass industry giant on Friday. In a two-count breach of contract complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa (Central Division), Pella contends that Apogee has refused to make annual purchase price payments due under the parties’ agreements. The complaint further alleges that Apogee has failed to honor those agreements by not fully removing Pella as an indemnitor for construction… Read More »

Worn on the Fourth of July

Well the Fourth of July celebration has begun to fade into a semi-distant memory. The hamburgers will have been devoured, flags waived and fireworks exploded. But the cause for celebration will remain. I will explain. The glass industry has provided us all with tangible examples of the American Dream fulfilled. It has taught me a lot about what makes the U.S. work and what we can take pride in. Over the years, I have gotten to write about and follow numerous small business owners and entrepreneurs as they grew those businesses in gigantic corporations. I’ve seen the American dream in action. It lives in people like Russ Baumgardner, who loaned… Read More »

Food for Action, Not Thought

It’s been encouraging to see the level of care and concern our industry has put toward the recent proposals in New York City and heartening to have heard from so many readers about my recent blogs on the same subjects. Others in the industry have also taken up the cause with their thoughts on the subject and today I want to share Ric Jackson’s very astute blog for our sister publication, Door & Window Market (DWM) magazine. In it, he explains the interconnectivity of all pieces of the “green” puzzle and the localities and agencies that endeavor to regulate them: “Another Report Calls for Rapid Growth in Green Construction.”

Bird-Friendly, BIM-Friendly

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) 2019 Conference on Architecture, held earlier this month in Las Vegas, brought together thousands of architects and exhibitors. Visitors came for education and to bridge the gap between products and specifications. Here’s my take on the top trends: 1.  Glass for the Birds—Literally Bird-friendly glass has moved from novelty to de rigueur as a number of primary manufacturers and fabricators have advanced offerings. What began as a lark, so to speak, to protect our feathered friends has soared in popularity as the architectural glass community took action to reduce the number of avian deaths. You can see some of the latest here: AIA 2019… Read More »

The Future Construction Workforce: The Sounds of Silence

It happened pretty quietly and without fanfare, but it’s one of those “silent statistics” that has the potential to bring real change to our industry and to construction in general. Let me explain. Last year, for the first time, the average annual salary of construction workers passed those of college graduates. It wasn’t by a lot—$59,124 for the college grads vs. $59,267 for the construction workers—but it was significant and seen as the continuation of a trend that hasn’t peaked yet. What’s up? Well, demand for one. The U.S. has a high demand for workers in construction jobs (especially the very skilled ones like plumbers, electricians, ironworkers and glaziers) but… Read More »

New York Odds

So if you have been reading DEBlog over the past month, you know I have been taking the mayor of the Empire States’ largest city to task for indiscriminate attacks on glass. You can read about them here and here. My concern only grows stronger, however, after having read the whole proposed Amendment to the City Charter and Administrative Code. Please note first and on an important symbolic level, nowhere in the amendment is the word “glass” actually mentioned. That’s right. For all the verbal daggers sent its way, glass as a material is no different than any other material in the amendment. But a review of the entire document… Read More »

Loud BEEPing in NYC

A BITE OF THE APPLE: In the past week, New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio has placed his name in the running to become the Democratic nominee for president of the United States. Democratic, republican, independent, left, right, up or down, he wouldn’t get my vote. Here’s why. It’s not because of his attack on glass two weeks ago (See “A Bronx Cheer,” posted May 13, 2019) but rather because of two things related to that attack. The first is the lack of understanding the mayor’s office has about glass and energy efficiency. The rhetoric the mayor put forth really displayed a knowledge vacuum. The second was the fact that… Read More »

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