The List … More or Less
by Lyle R. Hill
I’m not sure why, but people love to categorize and rank things … including each other. Pick up almost any magazine, including this one, and you’ll likely find someone’s list of something … the ten richest people in the world, the five most popular restaurants, the best European vacation destinations and so on and so forth. In fact, a few nights ago I accidentally surfed into a TV program about the “Ten Nastiest Insects in the World.” Now tell me, does anybody really care about which bug is nastier than the next? How ridiculous. By the way, as I recall, the African fire ant barely nosed out the Bombardier beetle for first place. Third place went to an aluminum supplier from out east.
This practice of ranking and listing stuff has become so trendy that there is even a book out that is titled, The Book of Lists. I was once given a copy of it as a gift and I must admit that it was an interesting read in some odd kind of a way. I think it even made it to one of the bestsellers lists. See, there we go again.
So, being the trendy guy that I am, I sat down last winter and came up with my own list and sent it in to the fine people at USGlass Metal and Glazing for publishing. My list included categories like, the five worst suppliers in America today, the three people in the industry who cannot, even under the influence of truth-inducing drugs, give you an honest answer and last but not least, the list of people who I would aim my car at if by chance I ever caught them standing alone in the middle of an intersection. My list had also included what one might refer to as “non-confrontational categories,” but I must admit that I had a lot more fun putting together the bad guys lists than I did the good ones.
After I e-mailed in my lists … in the form of a monthly article … it wasn’t long before I got that all too familiar phone call from the woman who tops everyone’s list for something or another.
“Lyle,” she began, “you know that we cannot possibly print your article in its present format in our magazine.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Well for one thing, you’re actually referring to certain individuals as liars, cheats and/or thieves. You can’t do that, Lyle.”
“Even if it’s true … even if in some cases I have proof?”
“Lyle,” she replied, “if we print some of this, there will be a new list out in about 5-7 days. It will be called the list of people who are going to sue you and the magazine for liable, slander and who knows what else. Besides, my mother reads this magazine and I have always told her that only nice people are to be found in this industry. So how about we drop all the nasty stuff and print the nice, kind, non-offensive stuff. It might help your image and it will most certainly make my mother feel better.”
We argued for a while, but she is one tough publisher, so I gave in. Not because I’m worried about my image or about offending a few people. Some people might even benefit from hearing what people really think of them. However, I do regularly hear from the publisher’s mother, who I have never met in person, but whom I think must be a nice lady. So in an effort to keep her and everybody else reasonably happy … or at least calm … here is my modified, toned down listing (listed alphabetically by category) of people who have left some kind of a POSITIVE impression on me during the past 36 years in this industry. Please understand that I am in no way endorsing any of these people or their companies and in fact, there are even a few people (or companies) that will be referred to here that I don’t like. But this is the way I see it … and if you want the rest of the list, the stuff that didn’t get printed, let me know and I’ll send it to you. Just don’t tell the publisher or her mother.
Best Dressed ... always looking good no matter where they are or what they’re doing: Robert Price (J.E. Berkowitz), Scott Hoover (Pilkington) and Jerry Wright (A&A Glass).
Coolest Names In The Industry … I love these because mine is so plain and it’s hard to forget a cool name: Angus MacMillan (Crane Door), Anne M. Haller Wildfong (C.A. Haller) and Bruno B. Rocco (Big Al’s Glass).
Most Reliable/Dependable … unmatched for consistent performance year after year: Norm & Jill Foxworth (Dependable Glass), Doug Studt (Torstenson Glass) and John Weise (F. Barkow).
“Technically” Most Reliable … you can always count on a professional, accurate and prompt response: Ron Spellich (Oldcastle Glass) and Bill Zientarski
Best “Overall” Salesman in the Industry Today … energetic, resourceful and never gives up: Joe Sousa (U.S. Glass & Door).
Best Salesmen I Ever Knew ... charming, funny, sophisticated and know their products: Nel Vachon (National Glass) and Lou Stout (PPG).
Most Intuitive/A True Visionary … the sharpest mind I have encountered in the glass industry … thus far at least: Joe Kellman (Globe Glass & Mirror).
Two Guys I Could Work For … if I didn’t already have such a great job: Russ Ebeid (Guardian) and Bob Lawrence (Craftsman Fabricated Glass).
Industry Ambassadors of Good Will … classy guys who make the industry look better than it really is: Shirley Palmer Ball (Palmer Products), David Carnahan (Mainstreet Computers) and Stan Smith
Quip Masters/Sharpest Wits … always quick with a comeback … never at a loss for words: Greg Demirdjian (Glass & Mirror America), Tony Lampl (MTH) and Robert Price (J.E. Berkowitz).
Unsung Heroes … they make things better for all of us, but never seem to get the credit they deserve: Greg Carney (GANA), Donn Harter (AGA) and Deb Levy
Nicest Credit and Collection Person … if I ever lose ‘Meat Hooks’ and ‘T-Bone’ I would try to hire her: Penne Huff (Arch).
Best Art Glass Studio In America … fantastic, remarkable work: Sheri Law Art Glass LTD.
Best Publication in the Glass Industry … it gets it right, it reports it first and it has a sense of humor: USGlass Metal and Glazing … but you already knew that didn’t you?
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