Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2002

FromtheFabricator

Mail Bag
    Readers Take Tough Questions to the Max
by Max Perilstein

Happy New Year! 2001 is finally behind us and now we head into the fun and uncertainty of 2002. What better way to do this than by a rousing edition of the “From the Fabricator” mail bag. Thankfully, I only break this out once per year.

Question: 2001 sure was a wild year in our industry. Can 2002 top it for its soap opera value? 
                                                                                                                                         JWB, Kingsport, Tenn.

Answer: You mean our version of “How the Glass Industry Turns?” Well I hope not. The rumors and the truths would make the cast of “General Hospital” blush, and that’s only at my locale. Seriously, with the exception of one company’s major changes, the industry had a quiet year soap-opera wise. It sure would be nice to keep the sordid stuff out of the picture and concentrate on those who make and service their products best.

Question: Let’s have it: what’s the prediction for the economy in 2002?
                                                                                                        R.H., Minneapolis, Minn.

Answer: Well R.H., as many people know, I am not known for my prognostication skills. Looking at the obvious, the economy has been struggling for months, and 2002 will follow that trend. Plain and simple, the outlook for our industry is the strong will 
survive.

Question: I wish you would go write somewhere else. Whom do I have to contact to get you off these pages? 
                                                                                                                                                            M.W., Wausau, Wis.

Answer: Easy, contact the folks at Sports Illustrated. If you can get me hired there you’ll never again have to deal with my sarcasm-filled rants. Though I must warn you, if you force USGlass into a bidding war with Sports Illustrated, it may get ugly.

Question: What was the best glass product of 2001? 
                                                                            J.S., Allen Park, Mich.

Answer: Many products made strides in 2001. Guardian had some major gains with its Sunguard, AFG continued inroads with its Ti, Pilkington started to make some dents with its Solar E and Visteon saw its 2000 series (which I guess should get re-named the 2002 series soon) really hit it off with many architects. But the winner in my book was PPG’s Solarban 60. This product has revolutionized the way certain things were done and it gave architects the ability to spec a high-end product with short lead times. PPG has also done a great job in making sure the folks handling their product are certified and qualified to produce it. 

Question: If you could create one new glass in 2002, what would it be?
                                                                                                        F.I., Athens, Ga.

Answer: One new glass? How about one that doesn’t break or chip or one that tempers without having to give up your firstborn? I assume, though, you want to know what style or color of glass. From my standpoint the manufacturers are turning over every stone to take care of the fabricators. With low-E products now finding their way on to tints, and making them post-temperable, that’s a major step in the right direction. Other than that another blue would be nice—I hate having only 12 from which to choose.

Question: I saw that the 3COM company is dropping its name from the San Francisco stadium they sponsor. Does that mean your corporate sponsorship ideas (see USGlass, November 2001, page 14) are shot? 
                                                                                                                    S.M., San Jose, Ca.

Answer: I saw that, too. Also, many other companies are not finding magic in sponsorship. Another one in dire straights is the baseball stadium in Houston named after the energy company Enron. But despite that I am still hopeful that the Kraft Cheese Bits column will debut soon. Ironically, in that article I wrote that we could have Pizza Hut sponsor employee handbooks and have coupons in there. Funny enough, I did have one human resources person comment to me that they actually do give their employees food coupons inside their handbooks.

PERILSTEIN Max Perilstein is vice president/general manager of PDC Glass of Michigan. His column appears bimonthly.


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