Volume 37, Issue 2, February 2002
A HOLE IN ONE
A Round of Glass Week ‘02 Means an All-Encompassing Industry Event
- by Ellen Giard
Glass Week social activities included an airboat everglades tour.
In the afternoons, and for some of the early mornings, you'll find them clad in golf shirts and shorts, toting golf clubs and rackets. If you didn't know any better, you'd think they were here for a winter vacation, when in fact they've come for the industry's event of events—Glass Week. This year the annual meeting, sponsored by the Glass Association of North America
(GANA), took place in the posh PGA National Resort and Spa located in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., February 2-7, 2002. With more than 200 in attendance, the event included committee meetings, reports and updates, as well as seminars, industry forecasts and predictions and a bit of relaxation and networking outlets in a the variety of social opportunities.
John Stillwell of AFGD, Bill Knutsen of Viracon and Claude Duquette of Solutia (left to right) enjoy one of the event’s cocktail receptions.
The Tee Off
Sunday morning at 7 a.m. found many GANA members taking part in the tempering division's meeting, which began with the construction subcommittee's report, given by Al Lutz of PPG.
One of the biggest discussions of the meeting revolved around GANA's relationship with the International Window Cleaning Association (IWCA). Previously, the IWCA had expressed interest in publishing an updated version of the Glass Information Bulletin, Procedures for Cleaning Architectural Glass Products, under the names of GANA and IWCA. The document served as the basis of a presentation given by GANA's technical director Greg Carney at the IWCA's annual meeting January 16-19. Carney explained that within the glass industry, efforts are made continuously to protect glass throughout manufacturing, fabricating, shipping, etc.
"Products can be damaged if they are not properly cleaned," said Carney. He added that GANA is taking the steps to educate the window cleaning industry on glass. "This could be a very powerful document for both GANA and IWCA," he added.
The roller-wave subcommittee also met that morning. This subcommittee is in the process of creating a roller-wave distortion specification. "We want to make aesthetically pleasing glass that meets all safety standards," said subcommittee chair Ren Bartoe of Vesuvius McDanel. Results of sample data provided by tempering division members were reviewed and appear to achieve fragmentation requirements for safety. Since some of the roller-wave values were based on theoretical peak-to-peak measurements rather than actual measurements, members will be asked to resubmit the information based on actual data for reconsideration
During the mirror division meeting GANA general counsel Kim Mann peaked everyone's interest and concern when he discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's new toxic release inventory rule (see January 2002 USGlass, page 23, for related story). Most attending the meeting were unfamiliar with the topic. The new rule requires any company using more than 100 pounds of lead a year to report its usage to the EPA. Many were very interested and showed a strong desire to focus more on the topic in the future.
Be the Best
Sunday evening the group joined together at the welcoming reception, where they mingled with old and new friends and colleagues. They could also cheer on their favorite football team; that is, they could cheer on either the Rams or the Patriots as Super Bowl XXXVI was shown on a theater-size screen. Cheers rang out when the Patriots scored, and the crowd thinned as New England held tight to its lead.
Attendees received division updates during the GANA membership meeting.
In keeping with the prior evening's Super Bowl party, former Pittsburgh Steeler Rocky Bleier led the event's keynote address on Monday morning. He encouraged all to "be the best they could be." In his motivational address,
he reminded everyone to keep striving for great accomplishments, and remarked that sooner or later "the one who wins is the one who thinks he can."
One of the most well-attended sessions was the new products and technology panel. Bob Sandness of Virtek Vision Corp. discussed his company's laser-marking technology. According to Sandness, the system can be used in aerospace, prefabricated construction and fenestration applications. Its benefits include unlimited hole configuration, a reduction in machine set-up time, repeatable accuracy and recycled coolant.
Lisec America's Hans Hoenig and Greg DeWeese discussed the company's laminated glass cutting systems and handling technology respectively. According to Hoenig, the company's laminated glass cutting systems can be used to create a variety of products for architectural applications, such as skylights, insulating glass units and floors.
DeWeese showed a video about Lisec's insulating glass production system, which he said increases throughput and productivity. With the equipment, only one person touches the glass.
Jeff Razwick of Technical Glass Products provided information on new fire-rated glass innovations. For example, he explained that in some cases glass that is both bullet-resistant and fire-rated is now available.
Glass Group Inc.'s Ed Scott led a presentation on his company's software, GlassLink. The product is a computerized order-entry system that Scott says can cut costs and increase efficiency. Scott added that Glass Group has formed a joint effort to link Albat & Wirsam's ALFEC 2000 with GlassLink.
Low-E glass and self-cleaning glass from AFG Industries was discussed by the company's Fred Wallin. "This is an exciting time to be in the glass industry," said Wallin. "There are a lot of new products and a lot of opportunities to grow our business."
One AFG product discussed was the company's Comfort Ti laminated, which Wallin says offers security and energy efficiency, is hurricane-resistant, has a neutral color appearance and durable coating.
Tony Hobart of Guardian Industries discussed the company's Diamond Guard, a scratch-resistant glass. According to Hobart, Diamond Guard features low friction, is transparent and can be beveled.
The dance troupe La Mystique entertained attendees during the dinner and awards ceremony.
Where are You Going?
Tuesday morning's general session opened with Thomas Winninger of the Winninger Institute. The presentation, "Marketquake 2010: Capturing the 10 Trend Forces that Threaten Your Future," addressed ways in which the glass industry could better sell its products and services. "You are in the business of what your customer buys, not what you sell," said Winninger. "Get out of the business you're in and into the business you're going."
Analyst Delos Smith followed with his economic outlook for 2002. Smith noted that no one really admitted the country was in a recession until after September 11, but "experts knew we [had been] in one since March." However, he expects the country to come out of the recession this year.
Charles Creech of Ianua and his wife Nancy took part in many Glass Week activities.
The Real Nitty Gritty
GANA's membership meeting also took place on Tuesday afternoon. Bill Knutsen, GANA president, started the meeting by telling everyone that GANA was in good shape. He encouraged membership growth and reminded everyone that the more membership, the stronger the growth.
Stan Smith, GANA executive director, agreed, pointing out that GANA now has the largest membership it has had since its beginning.
In Mann's general counsel report he provided the group with an update on the lawsuit brought against the five primary glass manufacturers that alleges involvement in price-fixing. Four of the manufacturers, he said, have settled. PPG is the only one to not settle the suit. PPG continues to deny any wrongdoing and has filed its motion for summary judgment to terminate the action against it, reported Mann.
Lee Harrison of Walker Glass and GANA's mirror division chair was recognized during the membership meeting as well. An award was presented to him for his efforts in developing the ASTM mirror standard.
All work and No Play …
After three days of work, Tuesday evening gave Glass Week attendees a chance to relax, enjoy a good meal and let loose, literally. La Mystique, a dance performance group, entertained the group with dance numbers reflecting a variety of themes, such as circus, disco, swing and Las Vegas. But they didn't just entertain; they also went into the audience and pulled many of those at the dinner out onto the dance floor.
That evening GANA also chose to honor two of its members with annual awards. Robert Brown of Virginia Glass Products Corp. was presented the Harry Miles award by Miles himself. "You realize he started out in the glass industry on the ark," said Miles, referring to Brown. "He's been around a long time."
Bill Knutsen of Viracon was also recognized as the outgoing president of GANA. Pat Rome of Brin/Northwestern Glass Co. will serve as GANA's new president.
Robert Brown (center) was presented the Harry Miles award by Miles (left). Bill Knutsen (right) was also honored as the outgoing GANA president.
That's What They All Say
For many Glass Week regulars, Wednesday morning's presentations were the best part about the entire program. The day began with "Breakfast with the CEOs," and on the panel included Russ Ebeid of Guardian, Rick Karcher of Pilkington, D. Roger Kennedy of AFG, Barry McGee of PPG and Al Tervalon of Visteon. It seems the word of the year is going to be value, with each talking about value-added efforts in the works within their companies.
Ebeid took the podium first and reported on what was new within Guardian, and said the company was installing a $76 million coating machine in Luxembourg. "We can now see the importance of coated products," he said. "It is fundamental to float glass." Ebeid added that today a wide selection of low-E coatings are available and many new coatings are on the way. "This is a sign of what's to com," he said.
Karcher next spoke and reported that since the launch of Pilkington's Activ™ self-cleaning glass last June response has been very positive. He added that Pilkington plans to continue adding value-added products, and says the industry can expect to see more new things coming off the "Pilkington pipeline" in the months ahead. "This will be a tough year for the industry. The bottom line is the demand for glass this year will be weaker than we'd like," said Karcher. "That means we have to control our value."
AFG's Kennedy also discussed the importance of bringing value to products. "This is the end of a commodity business and the beginning of a value-added strategy," he said. Comparing where we are today with where the industry was in the 1990s, Kennedy described a number of ways in which the industry has grown. One example he pointed out was the growth of laminated glass for the hurricane-resistant market. In 1990, he said, it made up less than 1 percent of the industry; today it is 12 percent.
"The most important mission is keeping glass the most valuable material in the building industry," added PPG's McGee. "We have to keep that focus as a group." One of the key drivers of the glass industry, according to McGee, is security glazing. "We need to step up and meet those needs," he said.
Finally, Tervalon took the podium and discussed changes within Visteon. For example, he said they now have people assigned to talk with designers and architects directly to assist them with any questions they may have.
Q and A
In Wednesday's final session, attendees were given the opportunity to ask the experts their thoughts and opinions in the "Ask Your Fabricator" panel. Moderated by Pat Rome, panelists were Brad Austin of Viracon, Arthur Berkowitz of J.E. Berkowitz L.P., Jack Deyo of United Glass Corp., East Coast operations, Leon Silverstein of Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. Inc. and John Stillwell of AFGD Inc.
The session started off quietly from the audience's perspective, with no one asking questions, so Rome spoke up with the first question, asking the panel its thoughts on the impact of September 11.
Austin spoke first and told of a project in New York on which Viracon was working that was put on hold due to September 11. However, when work resumed one of the products had been changed to that of a more resistant glass.
"September 11 created a security awareness that's been quite noticeable," said Deyo. "That will translate into increased architectural awareness."
Another question that was asked was "Will we continue to see more consolidation?" Silverstein answered, "yes," and added that as the market gets tougher the stronger will survive.
Not surprisingly, a question also arose as to what the panel thought of the self-cleaning glasses on the market. Austin said he had seen the beginnings of interest in the products, and commented it was good that the manufacturers are starting off slow in residential before moving on to commercial.
Stillwell said he was seeing some self-cleaning glass used in replacement/remodeling projects, and Berkowitz added that the usage was limited right now, because it is only available on clear glass.
Everyone's favorite question to ask, "What are your biggest challenges?" was the last one to roll out, and the answering began with Silverstein. "As an industry [our biggest challenge is], people, people, people. The right people in the right place and you make money. Have the wrong people and you don't."
Deyo said that one of the biggest challenges he sees is educating the world [on glass]. "It is no longer the responsibility of the primaries to educate [the world], but rather our responsibility to pass on our knowledge."
Fabricators, primary manufacturers, along with GANA members and many more will continue the quest to educate at Glass Week 2003, scheduled to take place January 18-23 at the Marriott Laguna Cliffs Resort in Dana Point, Calif.
The Future’s So Bright ...
Apogee CEO Russ Huffer Talks about his Companies and the Direction in which they are Headed
During Glass Week, many presenters spoke of value and what value-added products bring to the industry and consumers. Another person talking about value is Russ Huffer, president and chief executive officer of Minneapolis-based Apogee Enterprises Inc.
Russ Huffer has high hopes and positive expectations for Apogee’s future.
In just a few years, Huffer has helped pull what at one point was a struggling company back into the competitive market. To what does he attribute this success? "We built our net-worth and recovered our value," he said. Like many of the CEOs taking part in Glass Week, Huffer says that it is a product's value that can make or break a building.
"We help make buildings look better and make them more efficient," said Huffer. "Our businesses provide real value in a complicated marketplace; we have to meet our customers' expectations. And the first thing a product has to deliver is looks."
Apogee companies such as Viracon are able to meet value-driven needs thanks to high-performance glass. And not only do such products make for an attractive building, but also offer safety and energy efficiency. Safety and security glazing products designed for hurricane-resistant or blast applications, for example, can also add value to a building.
Apogee is also exploring the area of photovoltaics. Huffer explained when they first looked into this realm they encountered a problem: "It was a product that worked, but it wasn't attractive," he said. Apogee plans to continue further with photovoltaics. Huffer says they will most likely work with a university to continue developing the technology. "It still needs work," he added.
Apogee as a whole, however, is doing well. The company has reduced its debt and has good satisfaction rates with its customers. Possibly a reason for the company's success is its Six Sigma efforts. "Simplify and perfect" are two words to describe the process, said Huffer. Through the program, Apogee has trained 80 "black belts," those who can work with others in problem solving. Huffer adds that the program involves being focused on what you are delivering, and "converting middle management into believers."
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