Volume 44, Issue 6 - June 2009

From the Fabricator

An Interview With, and By, the Author

by Max Perilstein

In this great magazine there have been tremendous interviews over the years and, I must say, I am jealous. Even though I have a blog and a column, I have always wanted to be interviewed. But I know I am not in a position to ever get that honor—so I decided I would interview myself. The best part is, if I say something wrong I can blame the interviewer for misquoting me.

From the Fabricator: How do you see the health of the industry especially with the economy struggling?
Max Perilstein: I am surprised that no one has gone out of business yet, if that’s what you mean. I think many people “in the know” expected some players to fall by the wayside and that has not happened. And this is at every level. Glaziers thought their competition would start to reduce, as did fabricators, and there were even rumblings of the same at the primary level. But it has not happened anywhere … yet.

FtF: Is there anything more frustrating than the .30/.30?

Heck, there’s tons of things more frustrating, but right now nothing should infuriate you more than the government passing a provision like the .30/.30 that was slipped in at 3 a.m. and with no idea of how it would work or who it would effect. The whole thing is pretty sad and its effects will be felt for years. I crack up when people say this item “saved” the window industry. All it did was make more money for test labs and consultants. A smart reinforcement of a good program like Energy Star would’ve made much more sense. 

FtF: How do you see the “green” building world? It seems to be as strong as ever.

It is, but it has its issues too. I get just as many e-mails asking me to rant on the U.S. Green Building Council and its LEED program as I do the National Fenestration Rating Council. There are some serious holes in the LEED process and too many designers will skip good building materials or techniques because they are in search of credits—and let’s not forget the whole “greenwashing” issue too. Despite that, it seems like every decent job starts out wanting to be LEED-certified so it’s hard to bash that.

FtF: What do you see being the hottest product of the next 10 years?

Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). Hands down. BIPV today is like low-E was in 1991; people are starting to grasp it but are questioning its abilities. Eventually it will breakthrough and become a major force in our industry. With the energy push, having the glass working for you will become more and more important.

FtF: Any other product lines you see doing well?

Well, I still think low-E glasses and their advancements will be paramount. And I love the electrochromic and thermoreflective glass (and the whole range of “smart” glass to come). What the people who take pot shots at our industry don’t realize is that we are making tremendous strides every day in manufacturing and fabricating these types of materials. Unfortunately, we need to do a better job of promoting ourselves.

FtF: Do you ever fear a backlash from the Washington, D.C. folks you take on in your blog posts?

No, because, as far as I know, if they read my blog they wouldn’t be able to understand it; it’s beyond a third-grade reading level. But seriously, I don’t because unfortunately certain people in D.C. only choose to listen to a select group of people and they rarely if ever open themselves up to reality. When the Department of Energy can have a meeting and call it a “Building Envelope Executive Forum” and not have groups such as the Glass Association of North America, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Aluminum Extruders Council attend, there’s a problem—especially when they prefer to have consultants attend instead of those groups or instead of true commercial industry players such as Kawneer, Viracon, Oldcastle or Arch, just to name a few. So backlash does not worry me, their uninformed ignorant decisions do.

FtF: And you wonder why you don’t get interviewed?

Yep, I deserve that. Hey, I am what I am. This industry gets stepped on daily. I choose to have my voice heard and I hope people can respect that. Something tells me I won’t be interviewed again for a long time … 

Max Perilstein servers 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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