Volume 10, Issue 1                     January/February  2006

Dear Reader

by Brigid O'Leary


Hello and welcome to 2006. Itís been quite some time since I last penned a soliloquy for my faithful readers and while I realize it is well into February when you are reading this, I thought Iíd waste Ö I mean Ö take up some of your time to contemplate the nuances of the ďNew Yearís Resolution.Ē The quotation marks are intentional.

Seriously, how many people pledge to do something new with their lives with the honest intent of resolving (v. to reach a decision or make a determination) to make a serious change about their lives? Did you raise your hand? Sure, many gym regulars lose their parking places for the first few weeks of the new year, but after the first quarter, how many people are still living the life of these new habits?

Youíre probably wondering where Iím going with this. Well, the topic is twofold. First, Iím going to bore you with my own enumeration of resolutions and an honest assessment of the likelihood of keeping them. Then, Iím going to throw out the topics of some conversations I have had over the last few months that may sow the seeds of future resolutions for some Window Film readers.

I really only have three resolutions for 2006. Two are of a personalóand, admittedly, are rather of clichťd and uninspiredónature and the third is all business.

First and secondly (and to equal degrees), I am aiming to eat healthier and get more exercise. Granted, I was sick the first two weeks of the year and didnít eat much of anything, but even as work picked up and I found myself traversing the country, I tried to make a conscious decision to carefully weigh my food choices while on the road (and in so doing, discovered the delight of the candied walnut in a salad). Iím trying to limit the amount of soda I drink and Iím trying (emphasis on trying) to cut back considerably on the refined sugar I consume. Iím playing in an indoor soccer league, am making an effort to get in the 50-100 sit-ups and 25-50 push-ups per day, and try to get in some activity while Iím on the road. 

My third resolution is to be a better editor. OK, that doesnít mean Iím going to memorize Hodgesí Harbrace Handbook of grammar, mechanics and punctuation. (Please. Iím bad enough already. I mentally grammar check everything I hear and read. I canít turn off the red pen in my head. Just ask my husband.) What it means is that I am resolved to do a better job at the helm of this magazine and on those works I pen for Window Filmís sister publications. I pledge to you, my readers, to aim to bring you more insightful articles on topics of more interest.

One of my goals is to make Window Film realize its full potential (and yes, I am aware that as a magazine it is an inanimate object and thus cannot ďrealizeĒ anything. I want to make it bigger, thicker and better than it ever has been in the past). I want to make sure our online capabilities compliment our magazine to the ultimate degree and vice versa. I want to help bring the window film industry all the important issues, topics and respect it is due. Iíve already started challenging Window Film contributing editor and frequent writer Les Shaver with a host of article topics that have (and will continue) to put his sleuthing and writing skills to the test. 

Now what about the resolutions for the industry? Let me preface all of what Iím about to write by saying that Iím only throwing out some discussion topics that have come my way (and which you will probably see again in the form of articles or columns down the road). They are: professionalism, activism and responsibility.

Professionalism and ethics within the industry had been discussed before. Ed Golda and John Rizzo of Michigan Glass Coating gave a whole lecture on the topic last year at the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Offô. The topic also has come up in several conversations I have had with various members of the industry over the years. How professional does a window film installer and/or shop owner need to be? How does the image you present reflect in the eyes of the consumer? (Golda will reprise at least part of this topic again at this yearís event.) Look for more on this topic in future issues.

Regarding activism and responsibility, they go hand-in-hand, much like my eating and exercising resolutions. How active are you in your community? Do you participate in the local Rotary or Lions Clubs? Do you inform your neighbors, friends and other local business leaders how you and your products can help them by controlling energy costs or protect them from smash-and-grab crimes? Do you do so responsibly, without cutting down your competition and without touting your product and abilities as being capable of doing more than they actually can?

Do you spread good will to your peers by coaching little league or helping out in times of need, not just during natural disasters but also at the holidays and every day? The more good karma you spread, the more people know about who you are and what you do, the more positive light you throw not only on your own business but the industry as a whole. 

Iím certainly not suggesting that these need to be resolutions for the industry across the board, but they are important topics within the industry and, if I may be so bold, things shop owners would be well advised to consider. Iím certainly not going to pass judgment on any of my readers if you are not the local version of Superman or Jimmy Carter. Nor am I saying everyone should resolve to be, either. Iím only saying that if you feel you have room for improvement and take small steps to improve your business and how you conduct and attract business, it may be easier to stick to that resolution than it is, say, to give up chocolate.

Alrighty, I havenít forgotten about admitting whether or not Iíll be able to keep my resolutions. I just took the roundabout way to get here (and if youíve read my work long enough, this shouldnít surprise you). Will I truly be able to increase my activity level this year and get back into shape? Well, I know I will never again see the runtimes I had in high school, but, assuming my knees hold up, Iím fairly confident Iíll be able to hold my own in a soccer game and maybe be able to compete in 5K races again. Will I ever get those six-pack abs or be able to bench-press my body weight? Thatís a little less likely, but no less a goal.

Next up: will I be able to eat healthily the rest of the year? Iím not nearly so optimistic about this resolution. Iím off to a good start, but I have a sweet tooth the size of the Grand Canyon and a penchant for 3 Musketeers. Iím certainly going to try my hardest and hope my willpower is strong enough to see me through.

Finally, will I become the better editor and Key Communications employee I strive to be? Only time will tell. Well, time, my boss and you, my readers. Iím putting a note on my calendar to revisit this topic at the end of the year and see how well Iíve done. Iíll let you know if youíll let me know throughout the year how Iím doing. Until then, I ask you to share with me your thoughts and ideasófor articles you want to see written, topics youíd like to see addressed or any time you just want to vent. You can e-mail me directly at boleary@glass.com. Of course, Iíd love to see all of you on our Window Film message boards as well, where you can share your thoughts with the industry as a whole (as well as with me, as I monitor the boards daily), so please also visit us at www.windowfilmmag.com and let me know what your resolutions for this year are and how well youíre keeping up with them.

Brigid OíLeary is the editor of Window Film magazine.

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