Just Another E-Mail???  
b y L y l e R . H i l l  
probably get three to five a month things are different than they  
because the manufac-  
turers don’t offer it, the  
vocational schools don’t  
e-mails that is … commenting used to be. Over the past few years I  
about something I have written or have witnessed the closing of several  
suggesting something that I should family-owned glass shops of one type teach it and the typical employer  
write about. Most are from glass shops or another in my general area of the doesn’t have the time or money to in-  
of one size or another, although every country. Between the Internet, big box vest in it. The norm of the day is “on-  
now and then I get one from some- stores, networks and a lack of young the-job training” which means that  
one who has absolutely nothing to do people wanting to work with their bad practices as well as good ones get  
with the glass industry. Some of these hands to make a living, we’re in trou- passed along. The smaller shops are  
e-mails are informative; some are ble. All you need to do today is have a lucky if they have more than a couple  
funny. Most are insightful in some way. van, a garage and a website and you are of really productive field people and if  
I both appreciate and enjoy the inter- in business. It used to be that the sup- even one leaves,the business is in trou-  
action and every now and then one of pliers sold only to legitimate, brick and ble. The younger generation doesn’t  
these unsolicited contacts forces me mortar businesses, but now they will want to work as hard as the last and,  
to think … which I try not to do too sell to anyone who waves some money as I heard one son ask his father a few  
much of because it can lead directly to at them whether they are qualified to months back, “do you think I want to  
a headache.  
install their products or not. You just do this kind of work for the rest of my  
The following e-mail came in this cannot find good help or people will- life?” But at the end of the day, it’s what  
past April and after reading it, I printed ing to learn and that is what will prob- you do and you’re not sure what else you  
it and pinned it to the marker board ably cause me to close down, too. It’s a would do if you didn’t do it.And some-  
with a couple of magnets behind my problem that is not getting better. And times you even like it because you’re  
computer.Wonderful things these mag- I thank you for listening.  
pretty good at it and not everyone else  
netic marker boards. I re-read it at least Dear Shop Owner … I have toiled is. Once in a while you even make a lit-  
six times over these past several weeks in this industry for more than 46 years tle bit of money. So you’ll work a little  
because it deals with a situation that, and I don’t believe anyone admires too hard,often earn too little,complain  
as a consultant to glass shops, I have glass shop owners more than I do. My too much and hope to one day get out  
observed several times. I am on the re- son is one of you and his struggles are with some money in your pocket. In  
ceiving end of letters,conversations and quite similar to yours. I have worked the meantime, you’ll have paid your  
other e-mails on a regular basis that are with him, as well as a number of shops bills, made some great memories, met  
very similar to this one. So with a small over the past few years. I think I get some real characters and have the sat-  
amount of editing and names removed, it. It is not easy and may not get bet- isfaction of knowing that you did what  
I have now decided to share it and an- ter anytime soon. The work is difficult a whole lot of other people could not  
swer it publicly, because I know this and the “feast or famine” cycles that have done. Yes, I think I get it … and I  
writer is not alone in his situation.  
never seem to end are maddening. At- thank you for listening! n  
Dear Lyle … I have been working in tracting and retaining qualified  
the glass industry since I was a teen- help, whether union or not, is  
ager. I have owned my own shop since more challenging than ever and  
965. I am now in my 60s and cannot employee loyalty seems to have  
L y l e R . H i l l is the managing  
director of Keytech North America,  
a company providing research and  
technical services for the glass and  
metal industry. Hill has more than  
believe how the industry has changed. disappeared. The traditional  
I purchased my shop from a relative. supply chain that used to be  
We have an excellent reputation and followed by the manufacturers  
worked hard to get it. My uncle started is long gone and,as you suggest,  
his glass business in the late 1930s so, they will sell to anyone who  
as you can see,our family has long sup- can hand them a credit card or  
ported itself by working with glass.But check. No one gets trained well  
40 years experience in the glass  
and metal industry and can be reached at You can read his blog every  
other Monday at  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | July 2017  

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