by Debra Levy
Its always struck me how the most important things in life, like faith, love, trust and happiness, are impossible to truly define. They are not things at all really, but rather human expressions that each of us defines uniquely and subjectively. We faced a similar problem in defining "influence" for our second compilation of the most influential companies. We decided to follow one used by TIME a few years back to define influential companies and people as those "who have accomplished something subtle and difficult. They have gotten other people and businesses to follow their lead. They dont necessarily have the maximum in raw power, instead, they are those whose styles are imitated, whose ideas are adopted and whose examples are followed. The powerful twist your arm. The influential just sway your thinking."
There are a few things to keep in mind when reviewing this list, which begins on page 54. First, it was developed with input from hundreds of people in the industry in response to thousands of probing questions and industry-watching.
Secondly, it is limited, with few exceptions, to companies that are directly involved in the glass/metal industry. Thus, influential suppliers (such as machinery makers, shower door manufacturers) were excluded from the list except in the rare case where their influence extended to industry-wide issues such as safety or education. Readers will vote for top suppliers in July and the results will be published in September.
Thirdly, the list concentrates on companies based in the United States, although there are some exceptions for foreign-owned companies with influential subsidiaries here.
Subsidiaries are listed under their parent companies. Thus where ACI and Binswanger had individual listings in the past, they are currently included under VVP America.
Companies are listed in alphabetical order with the demographic information they provide. USGlass added the italicized annotation at the end of each listing.
Fourth, there were a number of companies that did not respond to our requests for information. In the interest of space we omitted those, but will add them to the article when it appears on our website at http:///www.usglassmag.com.
Finally, remember that although influence is an ethereal quality, it is value-neutral. (Hilter made TIMEs list of the most influential.) There are both good and bad influences on the glass industry, and weve made no effort to add or omit companies based on the type of influence they exert, only by the fact that they do so.
The article that appears on page 54 is an update to the one first published in May 1997. Of the companies on that list, only one no longer exists, many have grown, merged or been sold, but it appears that one of the qualities of influence is long-lasting. -Deb
© Copyright 1999 Key Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.