Volume 42, Issue 11 - November 2007

From the Fabricator

A Flood of Memories 
A Disaster at Home Provides Food for Thought 
by Max Perilstein 
While I was at the glass show in Atlanta, my wife heard an odd noise coming from our basement. She went to investigate and, to her horror, our sump pump had basically gone kablooey, with water everywhere, most of it in the office I keep down there. Thankfully, but sadly, Beth has been through this before; she is now a seasoned project manager when it comes to clean up and restoration. All I had to do is identify the remains of my office when I returned home. 

When I did come back, my heart sunk—the majority of my trade magazines were of the same composition of two day old oatmeal. Those were keepsakes for me, history of the industry that I love and hold dear to my heart. They all had to go. As I looked through them and tried to salvage a page or two by making a photocopy, I came across a few issues that had stories that really caught my eye, as just so much has changed in our world.

Down Memory Lane
The first one that caught me was an issue from 1998. I was taken aback because most of it inside was in black and white. There were few color pictures and none of the headlines or pages mixed color in. Plus, one company actually took out six ads in the magazine, six! Wow, that was a marketing person with a budget, I tell ya.

There were two big stories in there. One was a story about a Glass Association of North America (GANA) meeting in Newark. The main discussion was what companies were planning to do about the year 2000 computer problem. Wow, remember Y2K? Can you believe how we all worried about it? And in this magazine there was proof that the best of the best in the industry actually had a major portion of their meeting dedicated to it. They also discussed the burgeoning problem of the automated answering machine. Seriously. This was an issue discussed. I guess I am amazed that in 1998, that was a concern, but I guess it was.

The other story was an editorial with a headline of What Happened to Globalization, and it talked about how North American companies were pulling out of Europe and China and so on. Wow, less than 10 years later, if we were only so lucky that this sentiment was still out there, especially regarding the Chinese. In addition, the article also talked about the burgeoning problem of automated answering machines. Seriously. It did. Yes, two articles in one magazine. Was that really a big problem in 1998?

I then came across a 2001 issue that had an article from the National Fenestration Rating Council’s (NFRC) Jim Benney. This was written before Jim became the boss at NFRC, at this time he was only their director of education. His article was a very basic, boilerplate explanation of ratings and performances and talked about surveys and such. And I am sure three people, including Jim and his wife, actually read it. Now, six years later, anything that Jim writes is analyzed to the word by an overzealous blogger/columnist, the articles (and rebuttals) are actually read by a lot of people and the issue of NFRC and our industry is no longer covered by a paint-by-the-numbers article, but with complex debate led by industry leaders (like GANA, AEC and IGMA) throughout North America. 

Last, I found a magazine from 2002 that truly was a day-maker. It was the USGlass list of the industry’s Most Influential People and I was honored and humbled to be included among people such as Leon Silverstein, Russ Ebeid, Ren Bartoe and Jerry Razwick. But the best part was that I called the future with my “prediction” for the industry with the following: “Watch for more consolidation among fabricators—truly only the strong will survive. More amazing product advances from some of the primary manufacturers.” 

Now if only I could pick football games as well.

At the end of the day, my flood helped produce a flood of memories and while history was lost, I guess we start today on the new collection. I’ll just keep them in waterproof bins from here on out! 

Max Perilstein serves as the vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum and Glass. Mr. Perilstein’s opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine. His column appears bi-monthly.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.