The Opposite of Auld Lange Syne
I tried to find an antonym for the phrase “Auld Lange Syne” and learned a lot. First, it’s a Scottish phrase coined in poetry by arguably the greatest Scottish literary author of all times, Robert Burns. Second, it means a collection of times past—a month of Sundays, eons of ages, etc. And third, it has no known antonyms. I was looking for a word that conveyed the “here, now and optimistic future” rather than the “there, then and bittersweet past” because I believe 2019 is going to be a landmark year for the glass and metal industry.
So here are a few predictions about 2019. It will be a year of:
- Innovation, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the early 1960s as the float process began to gain popularity. Advances in glass sizes and coatings, building framing materials and delivery methods, as well as new computer and digital technology will make 2019 an innovator’s dream.
- Consolidation. Our industry was in a wave of consolidation when the recession hit in 2007-2008. We saw a bit more consolidation after that, but it was more of the type that occurs out of financial necessity rather than fit. Consolidations as a result of fit and function began to emerge again last year and I expect we will see a number of these. We will also see some divestitures that make sense, such as the recent divestment of Antamex by Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®.
- Disruption. New technology and enhancements lead to opportunity for those who figure out how to exploit it. Right now, there are forces at work to change our traditional channels of market in ways that benefit the disrupters. If you have any doubt, please be sure to attend “C-Suite Changes in the Contract Glazing Industry,” presented by Attila Arian of Schüco and Lyle Hill of Keytech North America at Glass Expo Rocky Mountain ’19 in Denver later this month for an eye-opening overview of what’s coming.
- Uncertainty. The political climate is anything but certain and the tariffs are affecting our industry more than many, especially for those who deal with aluminum, steel and certain types of glass. I talk to a lot of people about such trade issues and feel the fact that there is no consensus on the tariffs’ efficacy means that they have not uniformly been good—or bad—for the industry.
- Leadership. We will start to see great leaders in the glass industry emerge yet again. We had them for a long time—the characters, the rebels, the visionaries, the entrepreneurs with a capital “E”—and then they got quiet. Or sold. Or retired. Or passed on. But I see a new crop of such leaders unfolding within our midst and I am looking forward to working with and learning from them.
Speaking of leadership, I would like to recognize and congratulate KMR’s recipient of this year’s Holly X. Biller Award for Exceptional Service—our company’s “Employee of the Year” award. It was presented to video producer Chris Bunn last month. Chris is one of those quiet geniuses who knows or can figure out just about anything. Plus, he has an amazing sense of design and style. He began his career here as a graphic artist and did many of our magazine lay-outs for his first few years. Then I asked him if he would take on the role of video producer instead, and he became an award-winning, self-taught professional in no time. Despite the fact that Chris is on the road for us a lot, he has also won more awards for video and service than I can count. Congratulations to Chris!
Finally, I would like to wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. It has always been, and remains, an honor and a privilege to work for you and I look forward to doing so again this year.