Volume 48, Issue 4- April 2013


Weathering the Storm
Glass Expo Northeast '13 a Strong-and Snowy-Success
by Scott Thomsen

A little snow in the Northeast couldn’t stop the success of the Glass Expo Northeast™ 2013 (GENE) show, held in Hauppauge (Long Island), N.Y., March 7-8, 2013.

The many attendees who braved the weather were rewarded with a number of business-improvement educational seminars as well as lead-generating networking opportunities. From coffee breaks provided by JLM Wholesale to a keynote address on changing demographics, to the trade show, attendees were met with a variety of opportunities to learn and network.

Snow, Seminars and Sealants
Darijo Babic, national architectural manager for PPG Industries, kicked of the seminars with his presentation, “Architectural Industry’s New Products: Sealants and High-Performance Insulating Glass.” Babic discussed three varieties of coated, energy-efficient glass: passive coatings, solar control low-E and non-low-E coatings as well as the energy-efficiency of each.

“In commercial buildings, up to 75 percent of electricity use can be affected by glass,” said Babic. “In the U.S there are more than 70 billion square feet of built space; what would be the impact if we replaced the existing glass with the latest technology in glass? It would save about $40 billion in gas and electricity per year and carbon dioxide emissions would reduce by 123 million tons per year.”

Bob Carle, regional manager for Pecora, next discussed a variety of sealants. New technology in silicones, such as non-staining and special rheology, are eliminating fluid migration, increasing adhesion, controlling flow and reducing manual manipulation. “Sealants that inherently contribute to both thermal and acoustical performance of a fenestration system,” are what he said will be the next technology members of the glass industry can expect to see.

“Fenestration and Today’s Energy Codes and Green Standards,” by David Warden, brand manager of the EnerGfacade product line for YKK, and “Understanding and Selling Photovoltaics in the Glass Industry” by Nick Bagatelos, president of BISEM-USA Inc. also offered attendees a glimpse of the eco-friendly industry future.

Operable fenestration, such as fixed windows and sliding doors, sees U-factors pushed down to about 0.45, but “some companies are pushing that envelope and getting farther down there,” Warden says.

“What they’re doing is looking at adding a true thermal break for curtainwall and storefronts,” he said, adding, “you’re going to see better U-factor performance” in double digits. Many thermal doors enter the market with a U-factor of 0.50, but some are as low as 0.40.

According to Bagatelos, photovoltaics, particularly vertical walls, will become the future of net-zero glazing. “Sixty percent has been achieved through solar heat gain coefficient, but it is the last 40 percent, or net zero, that we are still reaching for,” he said.

Bagatelos also noted that some buildings may see a 100-percent, or more, return on investment within two to three years.

Continuing the trend of innovative, energy-efficient technology, Andrew Hulse, vice president of business development for Sage Electrochromics Inc., presented “Electronically Tintable Glass as an Architectural Enabler.”

People love glass, according to Hulse, but windows can have a major impact on energy consumption. “In a typical office building, 65 percent of total energy use is for lighting, heating and cooling,” he said.

“We put all of these great windows in buildings, then we cover them back up” with products such as blinds to help lower costs, Hulse added.

For cost comparison, Hulse said installation of electrochromic technology can cost nearly the same as an extensive blind installation. Additionally, tints can be controlled by zones so the window tints vary by sections based on glare, light and heat as well as outdoor angle of the sun, still allowing for passable light in lower-sun zones.

Lyle Hill, managing director of Keytech North America, changed the topic of discussion to improving the business model in his presentation, “The Big Three: Most Important Things You Can Do to be Successful.”

What is the number one most important thing to be successful? “You’ve got to have a plan,” said Hill. A real plan, he said, includes competitive analysis, a review of strengths and weaknesses, budgets beyond sales, a marketing plan, an equipment/operational plan, a financing plan and a human resources plan.

“I don’t care how big or small you are, you need to have a plan. You need to have in the back of your mind, a back-up plan,” said Hill. “If you can’t do these things, if you can’t plan, call somebody.”

Number two: “You’ve got to manage,” he said. “In a lot of cases, our companies are being managed by bad managers … One of my biggest complaints is managers who just don’t ‘blow the whistle.’ They know the right call, but they ignore it.”

To manage, Hill noted that you must establish and enforce policy, say what you mean and mean what you say, set up accountability measures, leave your ego at home, make tough and unpopular calls, lead by example, exhibit signs of good character, be fair and consistent and have the ability to laugh at yourself.

The third key, Hill said, “You’ve got to ‘fix’ it.” He continued, “Things just don’t last. We need to constantly ask ourselves, ‘is that working?’” To fix problems within your company, Hill said you must admit you made a mistake, get input from others, avoid jumping at quick-fix solutions, consider the big picture, monitor the fix and adapt if needed, think long-term, remember your plans and goals, and don’t look back.

Debra Levy, publisher of USGlass magazine, also presented a marketing-based seminar, “Facebook + Twitter + Groupon! Oh My!” discussing the value of employing social media marketing as part of a company business model. According to Levy, 73 percent of consumers use the Internet, compared to only 19 percent who use yellow pages.

Optimizing a mobile website to reach the maximum audience as well as measuring website analytics (who is using your website and where are they coming from) are important factors for improving your social media presence. Analyzing the amount of time visitors spend on your webpage is also a useful tool.

One of Levy’s main points was the value of email addresses. She said, “The single most valuable thing you can get from a customer next to a sale is their email address,” which provides additional opportunities to reach out to consumers and network.

On the Market
In addition to the seminars, GENE ’13 also included a trade show.

“We’ve been talking to a lot of architects about warm-edge spacers for glass; as a result you get improved overall U-factor,” said Michael Gainey, business manager, Azon USA Inc.

“We have some new coatings out that are designed to lower U-value,” said Leigh Anne Mays, architectural design manager, Northeast, for Guardian Industries. “They are specific fourth-surface coatings … when the heat hits our coating it reflects back in. We’re also showing suspended-particle privacy glass. We also have our electrochromic glass which is part of our dynamic glazing package.”

Sage Electrochromics displayed its electrochromic technology at the show, as well.

“It’s glass that can act like a valve to be able to control the amount of light and heat that you allow in the space. It’s thin-film technology so it’s impervious to UV,” said Hulse. “It allows us to go electronically from a clear state of about a 62 percent VLT, a .47 solar heat gain coefficient all the way down to a 2 percent VLT and 0.09 solar heat gain coefficient. It really drives significant energy savings in the building, manages glare, but still does it in such a way that we take into account the outdoor conditions and maintain maximum daylight in the space as well.”

American-based manufacturing was another selling point many exhibitors discussed.

“In addition to manufacturing doors and windows, we also manufacture the metal for the doors and windows. Crystal manufactures both vinyl windows and aluminum windows. We extrude aluminum as well as vinyl,” said Vincent Grieco, regional sales and technical manager for Flushing, N.Y.-based Crystal Windows and Doors. “We also manufacture aluminum products; in-swing casement window. The glass that we use happens to be larger than industry standards. The overall depth is 1¼ inches. Because of that it provides us with thermal efficiency and the option to also do sound control with different glazing options.”

“We’re service-driven; we do stock a lot of products,” said Leigh Ann Page, outside sales for JLM Wholesale. “Most of our products are USA-made.”

Anthony R. Goodings, director of sales for The Wagner Companies described their products as “imported from Milwaukee—tagline from the Chrysler Company, but it works [for our products] beautifully.”

New and updated products stole the show.

Mainstreet Computers announced its re-launching of the Glas-Avenue 9.0 program. New features will include a mobile Android app, time clock module, commission system, local sales tax, invoice attachments, insurance job invoice customization and multiple vendor inquiry.

Fenzi North America also discussed its two-component polysulphide sealant for insulating glass, Thiover, to help the company better serve the residential market.

J.E. Berkowitz focused on its remodeling customers.

“A product we have for the renovation market is called Renovate. We’ve developed this system which we use on existing office buildings to upgrade the thermal performance of existing single-glaze curtainwall window systems in a building,” said Michael Nicklas, business development manager. “We apply a factory-manufactured insulating unit creating a hermetically sealed triple-glazed unit increasing the energy performance on the building about 25 percent with a payback period between five and seven years typically.”

Another major consumer trend on display was versatility.

“We can build any entrance system to your specifications,” said Kathleen Long, architectural door coordinator for Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®.

“We fabricate our fire-rated framing systems, both in conventional steel products, insulated steel as well as stainless steel,” said Ron Leiseca, eastern regional sales manager, Vetrotech Saint-Gobain. “We do a lot of customized work with regards to the architect’s designs … we also do specialized work for psychiatric facilities.

“We have been lucky because of the code changes,” he continued. “We have had more enforcement on life-safety aspects, such as fire-rated glazing. We have had more requests for our products. As architects understand the flexibility of the products they are using them in different types of applications, expanding the use and using them for different sources.”

Attendees agreed this year’s show was one to be beat, with both the seminars and exhibitors delivering the educational and networking opportunities they hoped to find.

“I thought the show was great; it was a well-organized show,” said George Shaikh of Hamilton Lock, Glass and Door

“I met a lot of people and saw a lot of new things I hadn’t seen before,” agreed Alex Tamoutselis, Mr. Glass.

L’Quette Taylor of AFI Glass and Architectural Metal said, “I learned a lot [including] some things I didn’t even know they did with glass.”

Sunny Days Ahead
In addition to the positive feedback from this year’s event, exhibitors at the show agreed the overall outlook for the industry is continuing to look up.

“I think the market is definitely on an upturn; the market is booming,” said Mays.

“What I’m seeing … is commercial construction is rapidly growing again, whereas for so long it was in such a bad state of lull,” said Page. “It was a little scary for a while, but now we’re starting to see that the industry is picking up.”

The increase is translating into additional projects for some companies.

“We see a lot of great things happening for 2013; a lot of upcoming projects … a lot of condos and hotels,” said Teresa Tenis, sale representative for Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®.

“We anticipate approximately a 6-percent increase of all business related to glass and aluminum industries, and we’re already starting to see that business coming in,” said Greico.

“YKK, for the last year or so has been picking up,” said Mark Richard, northeast/mid-Atlantic sales manager for YKK AP America Inc. “We’re certainly not back to 2007-2008 levels, but we’ve seen a definite upswing.”

Among the many prizes given away at GENE ’13 was a glass rack giveaway which was a major draw for many attendees.

The glass rack from MyGlassTruck.com, which is an 8 feet long by 42 inches high interior van rack, has a 5-inch ledge, three adjustable poles and vertical and horizontal rubber.

“The glass rack can go in any type of van,” says sales director Michael Frett. “I thought the show was great. I saw a lot of people and was extremely busy with the booth” he added. “You can tell the economy is getting better … I definitely made a couple of sales. I believe I sold four racks off the show.”

MyGlassTruck.com donates a portion of the proceeds for each glass rack sold to the Central and South Jersey affiliates of the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation. To date, the company has donated more than $10,000 to the Central and South Jersey affiliates. Scott Tabankin of New York Carved Glass was the lucky attendee who walked away with the donated glass rack.

Casey Neeley is a contributing editor for USGlass.

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