Volume 42, Issue 3 - March 2007

From the Fabricator
Unplugged: Thoughts about the Industry, ’07 and Beyond 
by Max Perilstein

It has been seven years since I wrote my first column for USGlass and it has been a tremendous experience. Writing this column has allowed me to discuss what I believe to be serious topics and question other issues that may affect all of us for years to come. I have also been able to profile and pay honor to some great people. This column led to the creation of my blog (available via USGNN.com) that now reaches thousands of people each week. (Which, by the way, is simply mind-blowing. Thank you to all who visit and read it.)

So when I sat down to write this edition of “From the Fabricator,” I wanted to cover several subjects. Of course, I can’t do it in a straightforward style, as I need to put my own bend on it. So here goes. Consider this “From the Fabricator—Unplugged.”

Top Product Segments for 2007
1. Decorative glass
2. Fire-rated glass
3. Shower doors

All you have to do is look at the Glass Association of North America’s new decorative division for proof of how this segment of the industry is about to take off. Decorative glass is diverse, intense and now it’s legitimate. People once feared that decorative glass manufacturers were only seconds away from going belly up or that they were producing glass in their garages—or both. Now, that mode has changed; standards and practices are in the offing and the glazing community can have confidence in its supply base, as well as the incredible amount of variety and styles that are available, too. 

Fire-rated glazing will also continue to be a hit, especially because of the recent code changes. The 2006 International Building Code is currently being adopted by several states and that code bans traditional wired glass from being used in hazardous areas, among other locations. That means new, approved fire-rated options will take center stage.

Shower doors are getting a boost from products such as Guardian’s groundbreaking ShowerGuard, as well as tons of new styles that are coming into play throughout North America.

People to Catch up with in 2007
1. Lowell Rager
2. Brian Craft
3. Al Shapiro

1. Lowell Rager. I wrote about Lowell in October of 2004. He is simply a great man. I think I may have seen him once since I wrote about him being a “living legend.” Lowell is still plugging along with ACH. In 2007, I must find the time to meet up with him, one of the truly great people in our industry.

2. Brian Craft. I wrote about Brian, who is now with Guardian Industries, in late 2005 after he was diagnosed with Leukemia. Now coming up on two years later, Brian is healthy and back on track. Simply miraculous. It’s a classic example of a good man going through a bad thing and getting a much-deserved break. We can only wish that others who are diagnosed with such diseases could always end up on the winning side like Brian. His recovery should give everyone hope that even though it may look very bad, sometimes you can beat it. 

3. Al Shapiro. In 2001, I wrote a piece about some of the great dads in the industry. It was about men who had built businesses up and then brought their children into it. I mentioned Al, who is the owner of Active Glass and the president/CEO of Pittco Architectural Metals, in that article. Now, six years later, he continues to amaze me. His work ethic is legendary and his passion for this business has not been dulled at all. I hope that I have that much passion next week, not to mention when or if I get the chance to work with my kids.

Issues to Look at 2007
1. China
2. China
3. China

Hands down, the growth of Chinese material coming into North America is the number-one issue. When I first wrote about this, I was mocked at GlassBuild America in 2004 by people who said things like, “There’s no way the Chinese companies will sell direct to the general contractors” and “You’re just worried about the competition.” Well, guess what? Chinese companies have sold glass and aluminum direct to general contractors and I am worried about our industry. If the fabricator and the glazier get cut out of the loop, there’s no competition to worry about—it’ll be over. 

the author Max Perilstein serves as director of marketing for Arch Aluminum and Glass. His column appears bimonthly. Mr. Perilstein’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of USGlass magazine.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.