Coming Full Circle
by Tara Taffera
I have been covering the door and window industry for almost 15 years, from the day we launched DWM magazine. I was here through the boom, and then through the bust, the recession and the “long road back to normal.” And this month, while covering a story, I was so happy to see a particular issue come full circle.
One of the great things about devoting myself to the door and window industry is I get to know the people and their stories and their passions. I remember interviewing Earl Rahn, CEO of NewSouth Window Solutions, for an article a few years ago, when he told me, “They call it the Sunshine State, but a large majority of our windows are single-pane.” Earl’s passion was to change that, even if he had to do it one window at a time. In fact, he and his partner left Champion Windows to start NewSouth and set up shop in Florida to fulfill that mission.
Fast-forward to May 2015. I’m in my office working on an article regarding a Florida code change that ratchets up energy requirements in the state starting June 30 (see page 36). I immediately thought of Earl and his Sunshine State quote. “Wow, he must be happy about this,” I thought. So I called him—and he was. It was so nice to see the perseverance and drive of people like him and companies like NewSouth to strive for change—and to wait for it, but most importantly work for it.
Not all entities are excited about this change.
One source in the codes arena told me that Miami, an energy dinosaur, won’t want to enforce this code change as their focus is windborne debris. The source also said the energy companies won’t want it, because when people add more energy-efficient windows, that’s less money for them. So it’s nice to see the code change go through despite less money in energy companies’ pockets.
There are other good-news items in this issue as well. If you’re in the impact market, the outlook is a positive one.
Steve Dawson, vice president and general manager, CGI Windows and Doors, tells me, “We are seeing a strong market right now in impact. Surprisingly, it’s still very big in repair and remodel …. But new construction is coming back. In Florida, you see production builders, and you see their new housing starts coming out and evidence of robust economy, etc.”
This is also our fastest-growing-dealers issue, so I asked Dawson: what are those dealers who are seeing significant growth doing that others aren’t? It depends on their focus, he said.
“If you have more of a broad approach and serve all markets, you will see quicker growth. If you are narrow, it depends on how hard you work, etc. The successful people staffed with quality people who have a go-to-market strategy that looks at these areas will do well,” he said.
Well, I’m out of space and I didn’t get to mention Trey Barrineau’s extensive look at our industry’s hiring crisis—and how to solve it — on page 20 … Or our look at New Orleans ten years after Katrina on page 14. And be sure to find out what seven dealers (from large to small) are doing to grow in their markets (page 30).
Take some time with this issue—it’s been 15 years in the making.
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