Volume 46, Issue 8 - September 2011


Destruction to Redemption
Three days after the tornado hit Joplin, Mo., our editorial team gathered for our monthly meeting. Having been through a natural disaster (Hurricane Isabel) but to a much lesser extent (see October 2003 USGlass, page 4), I was profoundly sad for the people of Joplin.

I just could not get the image of St. John’s Hospital out of my mind. The news reports at the time were that at least five people had been killed by flying glass (this was later corrected as they had actually died because a generator went out). “Here we go again,” I said, “the glass always gets the blame.” That was the case with the hurricanes of the late 1970s and 1980s—until studies showed that debris from roofs and from inside the building were the major causes of damage. Since that time, there have been many studies with any number of results, all of which are a variation of this: when the glass stays in the frame there is less damage. Period.

Our editors quickly realized that Joplin had implications for the readers of all of our magazines. What followed was the development of an unprecedented company-wide special report about Joplin across each of our publications. On page 30, you’ll see Megan Headley’s detailed report about Joplin, tornadoes and glass. It’s an excellent piece from which I am sure you will benefit.

If you make or sell doors and/or windows, you will want to read the in-depth two-part investigative series in the July/August DWM/Door & Window Manufacturer Magazine by Tara Taffera. Tara also traveled to Lubbock, Texas, to the Hurricane Research Center to see how glass fares in high winds. (You can also catch her video newscast about it at www.dwmmag.com).

Editor Katie Hodge looked at film as a possible solution for keeping glass in place during tornadoes in the September/October issue of her Window Film magazine (www.windowfilmmag.com). Ellen Rogers of Architect’s Guide to Glass is developing an article that educates architects about the use of glass in tornado-prone areas. And Penny Stacey of AGRR Magazine is in the process of writing a feature about what happened to the auto glass industry in Joplin. It was a never-before seen effort across all our publications to bring the news to readers in a way that relates uniquely to the readers of each magazine.

When you read the article in USGlass, you will see there are technologies that can help glass mitigate damage in a tornado. So maybe some good will come from Joplin after all.

And if I had to give a theme to this issue, redemption is the word I’d use. In addition to learning about tornado-resistant glass, we also have an interview with Leon Silverstein concerning the events surrounding the bankruptcy of his company, Arch Aluminum & Glass, last year. This telling interview appears on page 44.

Also in this issue is our preview of the upcoming Atlanta Show. All our editors will be there in booth #2411. I will be there September 12-13 this year, so if you are there, please say hi. You just might go home with an iPad to boot.

One final note for this September issue. It makes a decade since we tore up the cover of our October issue and replaced it with the image of glass F-16s flying overhead. We keep all those who were killed or injured and all those who were affected—and really who wasn’t?—in our hearts always.


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