Volume 43, Issue 3 - March 2008

From the Fabricator

A Need for New Leaders
But Letís Not Forget Those Who Are Gone
by Max Perilstein  

The one thing we have in our industry that I have always preached upon is the quality of our people. There are so many good folks in all walks of this world in which we work. Whether itís previously noted class acts like Lowell Rager of ACH, or good guys that won fierce battles with sickness like Brian Craft, or even folks like Greg Carney and Ron Spellich who I have never written about inside the pages of USGlass, weíre lucky to have them everywhere. But in the last few months we have lost a few, a couple to retirement and a couple to the great beyond and that talent drain is a concern.

When folks like Randy Johnson and Don Vild pass away it leaves a huge hole. These were gentlemen who made their marks on our industry and, quite frankly, changed the face of it with their efforts. In Donís case, I did not work with him in the so-called prime of his career, but, during the short time that I did work with him, he left an indelible impression on me and my respect for him and his efforts will always remain. 

Randy Johnson was truly a one-of-a-kind guy. He was probably the premier sales guy when it came to the region he called home. He knew everyone and made sure that every year he would celebrate those friendships and, of course, build on the business side as well. His history in town afforded him the knowledge of how every process worked and he always used that to both his advantage and the customersí. Where, in some cases, he couldíve held things over peopleís heads he did not and he always looked out for ďhis peopleĒ even until the end. There is no question when guys like Randy and Don pass on we are so much weaker as an industry and as a world, really.

Class Acts
Meanwhile, we also saw the retirements of many high-profile folks, but the biggest two were of Stan Smith of the Glass Association of North America and Jack Deyo of Mid Ohio Tempering. Under Stanís leadership, the Glass Association of North America had incredible growth and success. And yes, the key to GANA is the people (like Greg mentioned above, as well as the staff in Topeka, Kan., and the volunteer leaders from our industry who give their time to GANA like no one could ever imagine). Stan recognized that and really enabled those folks to do what they had to do in order to educate and protect the industry. Some will always point to another glass-related trade organization because they have a trade show and window stickers, but it was under Stanís watch that GANA took off, grabbed the lead on the technical side and became the undeniable resource for our industry. While I am supremely confident that Stanís successor, Bill Yanek will be able to build on Stanís start and the volunteer effort will still continue to be strong, I wanted to make sure to honor Stanís efforts as he so deserves.

As for Jack Deyo, there are probably more than a few people reading this who know me that are scratching their heads that I am even mentioning him. Thereís this perception that because I worked with Jack in a past life, and that relationship ended worse than a love triangle on ďOne Life to Live,Ē that I harbor ill will towards Jack. Quite honestly, it could not be further from the truth. My respect for Jack as a businessman and a person has been and will always be top-notch. The guy did it the right way, and his exit from the industry makes us all weaker. He was one of the few that understood that the goal is to make money, not market share Ö among many other important business lessons. 

Stepping Up
Bottom line is, we are weaker today on a people front than we were a year ago and itís incumbent on all of us to step up and fill the voids. Itís up to us to find and promote the new leaders and to build up our industry the way it should be built up. Guys like the four mentioned worked too hard and too long to let us squander it away. 

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

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