Decorative Glass, USGlass

Super-Sized Heroes and Super-Sized Mistakes


I just had to say it because it is the word of the week. But I forgot why.

All kidding aside, the most memorable part of Rick Perry’s “senior moment” was not that it happened. Heck, it can happen to anyone at any age—especially under bright lights with a minor thing like the presidency at stake—but the surprising thing is how institutionalized the recovery from such a moment has become.

Make a potentially campaign-ending gaffe? Get on all those early morning talk shows, be humble and contrite and let people know you are well aware you “stepped in it.” Be sure to deflect attention away from the actual comment with a dose of humor too, say either by appearing on Saturday Night Live or doing the Top Ten list on Letterman. Then the slate is wiped clean and you live to die another day.

That’s the part that interests me. I haven’t studied the candidates enough yet to know who I’m going to vote for or from which party he or she will come. But I do find it fascinating that our candidates are now so awash in advice and advisors that there is a handbook for dealing with potential career-enders such as this. This is why, for me, presidential elections are the ultimate spectator sport. Now what was I saying? Oh yeah…


ENR published its list of the top 600 specialty, including its top 20 contract glaziers, last week. If you read USGlass, you know we also publish such a list. Ours comes out in May. (Here’s the last one.) Whenever I read either list, it reminds me how often I think of contract glaziers as the superheros of the glass industry.

Yes, they have to scale tall buildings in a single bound. And they have to labor under often treacherous conditions. But these are the companies that really build buildings—and they do so with more business risk that any other segment of our industry. It’s a very volatile business.

I was reminded of that when I looked at the list and compared it to last year. It’s a striking comparison. Consider this:

  • The top two companies in 2010 as compared to 2009 showed a total sales of $323.30 million last year, compared to $502.60 million the year before.
  • Some very familiar names do not appear on the list this year. Harmon, Trainer, and Haley-Greer are among those not appearing on the current list.
  • Companies such as Giroux Glass of Las Vegas illustrate the volatility of the industry they serve. In 2009 Giroux Glass had sales of $75.5 million, up 28 percent from the year before. Last year, its sales plunged 56% to $33 million. It is truly an accordion business.
  • One of the first-timers on the list, A.C. Dellovade Inc, had sales last year of $11.7 million. That’s a pretty big debut on this list.
  • The total sales by these “Top 20” companies decreased from $1,467.0 million in 2009 to $838.2 million in 2010—that is a 43% decrease in sales. Any company surviving these hits is surely made up of superheros.

“The Audience was Heavenly”

“But the traveling was hell.”

This line from an old Jackson Browne song called “The Load” came to mind last week because of all the emails I received about my comments the“fun” of traveling nowadays. The one thing about traveling is, just when you think you have lived through the worst experience ever, someone comes along who has had a worse one. I guess that’s supposed to make you feel better, but, oops, it doesn’t.

I especially enjoyed one email from patricia@lookingglass, who shares a great love of glass with me and who writes a monthly blog for our Decorative Glass magazine. (You can see it at Designers on Design).

Dear Deb:
Congratulations on another entertaining blog post!

I saved this picture and sent it to Mandy Marxen at Gardner Glass as a follow-up after NeoCon this past year. The picture sums up my recent air travel experiences. I thought you might be able to relate.

Thanks Patricia, I certainly do.

This cartoon sums up how I feel after the annual phenomena known as “trade show season”. Sent in from Mandy Marxen via Patricia Linthicum. Thanks again Patricia!