Volume 46, Issue 8 - September 2011


new hires
Apogee Enterprises Inc. in Minneapolis has hired Joseph F. Puishys as chief executive officer (CEO) and president. Puishys, 53, also becomes a member of the board of directors. Apogee embarked on a national search for its next CEO following Russ Huffer’s announcement of his retirement after a 25-year career with Apogee (see January/February 2011 USGlass, page 52). With Puishys’ appointment, Huffer is stepping down as CEO and board director, and as interim president of Apogee’s Viracon subsidiary. Huffer has served in that last role since February.

Gardner Glass Products in North Wilkesboro, N.C., has hired Jim Ventre as national accounts manager. Ventre entered the glass industry in 1983 with Floral Glass Industries. He has worked for several industry companies over the years, including Gardner in the late ’90s.

Sahely Mukerji Joins USGlass Staff
Sahely Mukerji has joined the staff of USGlass magazine. Mukerji will serve as the editor of USGNN.com™, USGlass’ daily electronic news service, and Solar Glazing magazine, Key’s fastest growing publication. She also will be an assistant editor for USGlass.

Mukerji worked at a competing magazine from July 2004 to April 2011. Prior to that, she worked as the associate editor for ASCE News in Reston, Va., a publication of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She has extensive background in newspapers in her native India and the United States, and has been working in the print industry since 1991. She has done stints at The Gazette in Gaithersburg, Md., a publication of The Washington Post Co.;
and Valley News Dispatch in Pittsburgh, a Gannett publication, among others.

The Guardian Industries board of directors has named Steven D. Ziessler president of Guardian Building Products. Ziessler will succeed Duane Faulkner, who is retiring after more than 30 years as division president. Ziessler brings experience from companies including Clear-water Paper, Cellu Tissue and Kimberly-Clark.

The Guardian board also has named general counsel David Jaffe a vice president of the corporation. He also holds the position of secretary of the company. Jaffe has been with the company since 1990.

Industry Mourns Death of Stan Dudeck

Stan Dudeck, president and founder of Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Paramount Windows and Doors Inc., passed away on July 9. He was 84.

“For 60-plus years, Stan prided himself on the quality products and services that Paramount provided. Stan was the originator of triple-glazed insulating glass units and received multiple awards for his dedication to the industry and the community,” according to a release by the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance. “Stan will be remembered as an honest businessman, an innovator and leader within the glass industry, and a devoted husband, father, brother, uncle, grandfather and great-grandfather. He will be deeply missed by the employees at Paramount and the many friends and associates he made in the business community.”

Former Sommer & Maca President Passes Away
Paul Donald Maca died on July 29 in LaGrange Park, Ill., at the age of 79, due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. He retired as president of Sommer & Maca in 1986 and proceeded to volunteer extensively in his community and his church. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Gail; daughters Katherine, Marjorie and Sarah; six grandchildren; brother Allan; sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Joan and Doug, and nieces and nephews.

Industry Remembers John Neunlist
John Neunlist, president of Admiral Glass & Mirror in Houston, passed away on August 15 after a battle with cancer.

“He was a true icon of the glass industry,” says Bob Lawrence, president Craftsman/Cristacurva in Houston. “I always thought John was one of the truly great gentlemen in our industry; as well, he relished adventure.”

“Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with John knows his ability to immediately make you feel like a friend,” says Ashley M. Charest, account executive for the Glass Association of North America. Neunlist had worked with the association’s Building Envelope Contractors division. “His attitude and support of the industry was a huge help to me personally, as well as an enormous asset to GANA. I wish his family the best with the comfort of knowing what he meant to everyone.”

Ted Krantz, director of PPG Industries of Dallas, recalls meeting Neunlist in the early ’80s. “He was one of the high-rise/curtainwall pioneers. I enjoyed his quirky sense of humor, and always knew where he was coming form. John was a guy whose integrity was never questioned. He was a business associate and a close personal friend.”

Kelly Schuller, Viracon
Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Kelly Schuller says his focus is on the basics. Viracon’s senior vice president of sales and marketing joined the company in November 2010 (see January-February 2011 USGlass, page 52) after serving for four years as vice president of strategy and business development for Viracon parent company Apogee.

Schuller recently talked to USGlass about his time in the industry, future goals and plans and where we might see this industry five years from now.

USG: What duties does your job at Viracon include?

KS: I have specific responsibilities in overseeing Viracon’s global sales and marketing activities and people. This includes everything from field sales representatives in the United States and 20-plus countries, to our inside sales team, estimators, project management team, our marketing group, architectural promotion group and tech services team.

USG: What are your goals for moving the company moving forward?
KS: Our immediate focus is back to basics and a focus on the fundamentals. The top management group has revisited our priorities. We’re focused squarely on the things that historically have made Viracon a good choice, such as industry-leading quality. So, our number-one priority is ensuring we remain the leader in quality. We’re spending time and effort to upgrade our quality systems and keeping them up to speed with the growing complexity of the glass we’re manufacturing. We’re also spending a lot of time on new product development, architectural promotion and complete and on-time delivery … We also continue to develop our international presence and, at the current time, we are strengthening our Brazilian operation, GlassecViracon, to realize the full potential of that acquisition (see January/February USGlass, page 16). As we come out of the recovery, and the economy picks up speed, we’ll look at other growth opportunities …

USG: What things are driving new product development?
KS: A lot is around the higher performance of the glass; so much is aimed at additional features and functions that will either drive greater performance or greater aesthetic choice. We’re always looking to include new coatings, and we’re now looking to pick up the pace of coating development [with] coatings that will raise performance or offer new and unique aesthetic options.

USG: You’ve worked in industries other than glass; what are some of the biggest differences between the others and this industry?
KS: The primary industry I worked in previously was custom electronics manufacturing. There were similarities in that every circuit was different for each project and high quality, on-time delivery was critically important. One of the key differences is the degree of fragmentation in our industry. There are a lot of glazing subcontractors in the United States—thousands. And certainly electronics and other industries are more consolidated. So the sheer number of customers to reach, talk to, support and develop is a big difference. I think one of the unique things in this industry is the number of players and influencers involved in the buying decision … among architects, consultants, owners, general contractors and glazing subcontractors … there are a lot of parties to address as the glass choice is made.

USG: Who has been your biggest professional inspiration?
KS: Within the glass industry, unquestionably, Russ Huffer. He hired me into Apogee and helped me learn a lot about this business. The integrity he demonstrates and his focus on values and taking a long-term view on things, I think they are all particularly good qualities for our industry.

USG: Where do you see the industry in the next five years?

KS: We’re going to recover, there is no question about it. One of the things I did at Apogee was help characterize
the cyclical nature of our business and you can go back over a long period of time and it’s a reasonably predictable cycle, between seven and 11 years, and it always recovers and we will recover here, too. The exact timing and strength of it is the question mark, but five years out I see us clearly in the up part of
the cycle …

I see buildings getting smarter and more complicated and more value-added. I also see increasing international competition in the United States.

I don’t know how strong that will be, but I do think that it is a trend we will see more of in five years than we see today …

USG: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in glass?

KS: Develop your technical understanding of the product, as it will be valuable no matter what you do. And then understand that it’s largely a service business. We make a product, but it’s bundled with a whole set of services … I think those are two things that will carry anyone in the glass fabrication business a long way.

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