Volume 40,   Issue 1                             January 2005

News Now

Strong Economic Forecast:  Good News for Commercial Construction

The commercial construction market, much of which has been struggling for work in recent years, is starting to see that scenario change. According to Edward Sullivan, a chief economist, who provided an economic and construction outlook for Reed Construction Data’s North American Construction Forecast conference, the economy’s recent downturn could be classified as a “pause,” as an upturn will be likely this year. Sullivan said the slow economy could be attributed to the reduction in consumer spending that was fueled by the slowdown in debt financing as a source of income, increased oil prices and reduced consumer willingness to buy. He expects the economic re-acceleration early this year, along with a consumer spending rebound, investment spending upturn and stabilizing monetary policy. Sullivan says 2005 economic growth will likely fall between 3.5 and 4 percent.

Construction activity is expected to remain strong, forecasted Sullivan, with the non-residential segment showing stronger growth compared to residential. Sullivan explained that from 2001 to 2003 residential was the segment leader as a result of low interest rates; public works was the second strongest segment. Non-residential was the “growth laggard” due to the weak economy. However, he is forecasting a reversal of this through 2007. Non-residential is taking the lead thanks to the strong economy; rising interest rates will cause residential construction to decline. 

Also good news is his prediction that despite the office vacancy rates throughout the country, this construction segment will remain strong through 2007. Public construction will also begin to increase thanks to state tax revenues.
www.reedconstructiondata.com or call 800/432-8132.

Arch Expands Capacity of Orlando Location
Arch Aluminum & Glass has announced a capacity expansion for its plant in Orlando, Fla. According to the company’s announcement, a two-phase plan, slated to begin this spring, will expand the plant’s tempering capabilities with the addition of a second bay to one of the two tempering furnaces there. Completion of phase one is expected this summer, and will increase tempering capacity by 50 percent.

Phase two will begin in the fall. This portion of the expansion will revamp the second furnace into a continuous operator.

“The Orlando branch has worked hard to develop its customer base and we want to make sure we’ll always have the ability to service that base, as [customers] have come to expect us to, and with the highest quality,” said Leon Silverstein, president and chief executive officer.
In addition to the tempering updates, the plant will also be receiving new equipment and operating software. According to the company’s announcement, these expansions will double the capacity of the Orlando plant by 2006. 
www.archaluminum.net or call 800/432-8132.

Noted Editor Charles Cumpston 
Joins Staff of USGlass and AGRR Magazines

Charles Cumpston, the dean of all glass industry magazine editors, joined the staff of USGlass and AGRR magazines on January 3. In his new role, Cumpston will serve as a contributing editor to USGlass, the country’s largest and most popular glass magazine, and will edit the award-winning Auto Glass Repair & Replacement (AGRR) magazine, as well as write for the popular websites glassbytes.com™ and usgnn.com™. 

We are beyond delighted to welcome Charles to our staff as full-time employee,” said USGlass magazine editor Ellen Giard Chilcoat. “His depth of experience will bring a unique perspective to our readers, and our customers.” 
Cumpston will celebrate his 25th anniversary as an industry editor this month, having begun his career in the glass industry in 1980 at Glass Digest, where he served until a few years before that magazine folded. He had been working at Glass Magazine since 1999 until he made the decision to come to USGlass.

“Charles and I have been trying to work together for a long time,” said publisher Deb Levy, “so I’m thrilled to have him join our team. We strive to provide accurate, unbiased information of importance to our readers in all our publications and look forward to having Charles join us in doing so.”

“I’ve saved the best for last,” joked Cumpston. “Deb and I started out around the same time and I’ve watched her grow her company into a glass industry powerhouse. I respect her commitment to the industry and we share the same goal of helping to make a better-informed, stronger glass industry. I admire what Key Communications has become and want to be part of it. I’m pleased to be working with a group of people that tells readers how it is, without regard for political pressure or favoritism,” he added.

“With the addition of Cumpston, our editorial team now has more than 60 years of experience,” said Chilcoat. “I believe the team of our next closest competitors has about 16 years experience, so there’s a much greater depth of knowledge and perspective you’ll see in our pages than anywhere else,” she said.

Cumpston can be reached at 540/720-5584 ext. 153 or at ccumpston@glass.com 

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