Volume 43, Issue 2 - February 2008

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Longtime Film Manufacturer’s Closure 
No Sudden Downturn, Explains CEO 

The closing of Film Technologies International Inc. (FTI) in St. Petersburg, Fla., has left a number of questions in its wake. SUN-GARD had been a prominent brand in the window film industry for literally decades. Company officials had confirmed that Wednesday, January 26, was the manufacturer’s last day of operations after more than 30 years.

In an exclusive interview with USGlass sister publication Window Film magazine, FTI’s chief executive officer, Don Wheeler, said that the company’s closure was, in fact, due to a long decline. Wheeler assures that he and his employees did everything possible to prevent a closure, including a potential buyout.

The following is an excerpt from Wheeler’s interview:

WF: What would you say, if you’re able to say, made the closure happen so abruptly? Was it just a matter of trying every avenue and, when the final avenue didn’t happen, it was just time and you had to pull the plug?
Wheeler: “That’s a fair characterization.”

WF: We appreciate your openness. I’m sure there is a lot for others to learn from this unfortunate situation and set of circumstances.
Wheeler: “I like to think that we did all that we could do.
“This has not been a fun year. I was retired and came back to attempt to salvage the company, and so forth, and everybody here put forth a tremendous amount of effort in the year that I’ve been back and made a lot of sacrifices, and actually accomplished a lot, but the company, in the end—now looking in hindsight—was too steep in a decline …”

WF: An unfortunate situation such as this will often offer up a sort of “moral” or anecdote. This is certainly no time for ‘What I would have done differently?’ but would you be willing to share some of the factors leading to FTI’s closure for the benefit of the industry?
Wheeler: “There were several factors, in combination, that impacted the company … but one is, not necessarily in order of importance—I do believe the industry is under increasing global pressure; pressure that is squeezing the profit margins of all manufacturers. Others may disagree with that, but I think that is a trend that has been going on for a number of years …”
Wheeler was able to provide many insights into what caused FTI’s decline and eventual closure. In his explanations, Wheeler has offered a number of key points and advice for industry members.

To view the entire interview immediately, please visit www.windowfilmmag.com. A complete version will also be printed in Window Film’s March-April issue. Also, look for additional comments and interviews in Window Film’s free monthly e-newsletter. If you do not currently receive our e-newsletter and would like to, visit www.windowfilmmag.com

Industry Parties Prepare Code Change Proposals for ICC
The International Code Council (ICC) is entertaining proposed changes to a variety of codes as part of the 2007-2008 code development cycle. Public hearings for the proposed changes will be held February 17-March 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center in Palm Springs, Calif.

Among the changes is a proposal in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) that would add AAMA 507 Standard Practice for Determining the Thermal Performance Characteristics of Fenestration Systems Installed in Commercial Buildings to the section on fenestration product rating where currently only National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) standards are referenced. AAMA 507 is suggested as an alternative specifically for commercial fenestration rating. EC4-07/08 would also add curtainwall and storefront glazing to a definition of fenestration. 

“The reason for this change is simple,” writes proponent Craig Connor with Building Quality. “Commercial windows should be rated for energy efficiency. The industry needs a rating method that works with their bid and construction process. The time between bid and construction can be days or weeks. The NFRC website states, ‘It will take on average approximately 100 days to obtain a Label Certificate.’ The AAMA 507 procedure can be used to rate a window within a few days or less and produces the same rating.”

To help prepare for the proposed changes, USGlass magazine has prepared a compendium of all glass- and glazing-related change proposals, available for free to the industry. To request the full document, e-mail codes@glass.com. www.iccsafe.org

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