Volume 47, Issue 8 - August 2012

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A Matter of Influence
The 2012 List of the Most Influential Individuals
Impacting the Glass and Metal Industry

The glass industry has changed dramatically during the past five years, no doubt about it. Products are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, projects are incorporating glass in new and unusual ways, and the way in which glass and metal gets to market continues to evolve. While the challenging economy and the needs of the end-user play a major role in shaping our industry, these changes are truly the result of the hard work of the individuals who are leading their peers in new directions.

The 2012 USGlass Most Influential People recognizes individuals in the glass industry who are changing the whole equation of how we look at the industry. The following individuals, selected by our editorial team after much deliberation, took the time to share what motivates and challenges them. While we know it is a far from inclusive list, we hope it will inspire all members of the industry to thank those co-workers, supervisors and colleagues who have had a profound impact on them—and to step up themselves to help guide their peers, their companies and their industry to greater heights.

All profiles included below were provided by nominees. If you don’t see someone you believe should be here, please email your nomination for the next list to Megan Headley at mheadley@glass.com.

The Most Influential
Ted Hathaway, 57, currently serves as CEO of Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope™. While Hathaway is certainly an industry visionary, he falls into a category of his own with all of the knowledge, expertise and influence he’s brought to the industry over the years. He is a graduate of Connecticut College with bachelor’s degrees in economics and political science, followed by a master’s in business administration from Columbia University. His first job in the building products industry was for Oldcastle 25 years ago, following a career in commercial banking.
USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
TH: I think that there’s a fundamental issue about “smart” building envelopes … We have [dynamic glazing], we have some innovation on solar control products, we have sputter-coated triple silver coatings—but we don’t have smarter building envelopes.

Smarter building envelopes are along the lines of what I described at the BEC Conference (see April 2012 USGlass, page 36), where you design the façade to be compatible with its environment. You take advantage of mixed mode, where you have windows that actually operate and allow the building to breathe. You’re not taking anything away from the architect, but you’re providing insight about the design and whether or not it’s a smart design.

My view is that the [glass] industry tends to put the same glass on all four sides of the building, yet there are different substrates that work better on the south or sun-exposed side versus the north side. If you put a triple-silver on a building that has just one façade exposed to the sun, then the three other sides suffer a diminutization of natural lighting—because the triple-silver masks the benefits of the natural daylighting …

USG: What are your hopes for helping to move the industry forward?
TH: I think the big issue is: Are you going to embrace technology? People embrace electronic spreadsheets. I’d say just about everybody is working on some type of bid estimating software or scheduling management software. I think the issue is inter-operability and whether or not we all have the ability to share information. If you’re not working in a 3D CAD environment or 3D BIM environment, you’ve got to get there, because the world is moving in that direction very rapidly and the days of walking into a conference room with rolls of 2D CAD drawings are drawing to a close.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
TH: I think I’d go somewhere in the nonprofit world … I would like to take my creativity, vision and business acumen and I would like to redeploy it in a nonprofit setting—but in a big enough sandbox to make a difference.

The Visionaries
Through building design and project innovation, these individuals are changing the way that glass is used and the industry in which we work. By promoting new and innovative applications, these visionaries are helping to move the glass industry forward.

Keith Boswell, 55, currently serves as technical director for SOM San Francisco. He earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 1980. His first brush with the glass industry came as job captain for LTV Center in Dallas in November 1982.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
KB: For the glass industry to provide owners/architects/builders with adequate technical guidance and information on products. This applies to design, detail, specifications, material characteristics, fabrication, shipping and handling, installation and long-term maintenance.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
KB: Drawing Marvel Comic characters.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
KB: Treat every project—no matter the size—as if it is the last you will ever do. This is the project by which you will be remembered.

Helen Sanders, 43, currently serves as vice president of technical business development for Sage Electrochromics Inc. She earned her doctorate in surface science, following master’s and bachelor’s degrees in natural sciences (chemistry), from the University of Cambridge, England. She first joined the glass industry as a research scientist with Pilkington PLC UK in March 1994.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
HS: I would say figuring out how to maintain profitability in current economic times, while also investing and innovating to assure future growth and profitability. Part of this challenge involves innovating to stay ahead of increasing energy code stringency and also developing the “people” message behind the need for glass in buildings. If we want to ensure glass areas in buildings are not significantly reduced because of concerns over energy inefficiency, we need to work on generating good data and clear messaging that supports both the energy savings from using natural daylight to offset artificial lighting and the “people” benefits of glass and their impact on building owners’ bottom lines.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
HS: Those who know me well might guess I’d choose to be dancing … although I wouldn’t make much money as I am not that good!

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
HS: This is a shortened version of a quote from Scott Hunter who has given motivational presentations at both IGMA and GANA meetings in the past. I found this recently in one of his newsletters and I find it helps me keep perspective and reduce the stress of an increasing workload. His concept is related to “trust,” which he calls the forgotten emotion. He says: “Relax, take a nice deep breathe, look at what’s in front of you, and trust that what needs to get done will get done.”

The Multigenerationals
It’s a common occurrence in the glass industry to pass on a business to the next generation. These industry teams have made waves by working together to influence multigenerationals in the glass industry. Please note: Don and DJ Friese of C.R. Laurence declined to be interviewed for this feature.


Dino and Alessandro Fenzi, Fenzi Group
Dino Fenzi, 71,
currently serves as president of Fenzi Group. He earned his master’s degree from Bocconi University in Milan. He began working in 1959 in the family’s business in administration and commercial departments.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
DF: Global competition with unbalanced global costs (due to unbalanced currency parities).

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
DF: No idea—probably I would have taken the first opportunity and tried to grow inside that reality (any reality).

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
DF: Homo faber fortunae suae (every man shapes his own fate).

Alessandro Fenzi, 42, currently serves as CEO of Fenzi Group. He holds a degree in economics from Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi in Milan. His entry into the glass industry came as support to Fenzi Group’s Italian salesmen.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
AF: Each economic macro-region has its own challenges. In the Western world, the challenge is to keep innovating. This is the only way to offset the cost handicap toward less developed countries.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
AF: I have never thought too much about this. I always wanted to work with my father in our family company and this is what I did.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
AF: When there is a doubt … there is no doubt!

Jerry and Jeff Razwick, TGP
Jerry Razwick, 68, is the founder of Technical Glass Products. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communications and business from Washington State University. His first job in the glass industry was helping his father, who started a glass company with their next-door neighbor when Jerry was growing up.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
JR: The obvious challenge for our industry is that construction is slow. Less obvious is that it’s harder for people to do business without compromising standards, which will ultimately affect how our industry recovers.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
JR: If I weren’t in the glazing industry, I’d be doing something that combines traveling with fishing.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
JR: Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Jeff Razwick, 36, currently serves as vice president of Technical Glass Products (TGP). Jeff earned his bachelor’s degree from Whitman College, followed by a master’s degree in business administration from Seattle University. His first job within the glass industry was much like his father’s; he began sweeping out the TGP shop floor after school when he was 14.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
JR: Like all industries, one of the biggest hurdles we’re facing is improving our economic situation.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
JR: My second career of choice would be in the aviation field as a pilot.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
JR: “Do what’s right. Do it right. Do it right now.” –Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, publisher of Forbes magazine

Jim Dunston and Nancy Peterson, Azon
Jim Dunston,
85, is the founder of Azon. He dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Merchant Marines during World War II and his entrepreneurial experiences since then have provided a lifetime of education. His first introduction into the window business came in 1968 when the late Frank Gorrell, president of Season All Windows, hired him to be general manager of the company’s aluminum extrusion painting facility in Inkster, Mich. Jim’s daughter, Nancy Peterson, currently serves as director of market communications at Azon. Her entry into the glass industry came in 1989 when she was hired by Burton Building Products as a marketing representative. She holds a degree from Cornerstone University. Not wanting to be in the spotlight, Peterson declined to be interviewed for this article.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
JD: The greatest challenge for the industry today is to make products that meet the advancing regulations for increased energy performance. Some of those regulations are prescribed by bureaucrats who have little knowledge of the methods and materials that are required to produce windows that are practical in all applications. Discounting the current economic retraction in personal wealth, principally brought on by the overbuilding of housing, coupled with the crazy subprime debacle, this much I am sure of—the world’s population is growing. In the United States alone the population is expected to reach 350 million people in the next decade. All those people need shelter and everything that goes with it. The future is indeed promising for those who build windows for homes, offices, schools and hospitals for the burgeoning population.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
JD: “The shelter business is the place to be.”

The Technical Braintrust
There are just some people who serve as a technical resource no matter what the nature of the question. By sharing their technical know-how with the industry and its customers, they help to raise awareness of the amazing ways in which glass works and how to keep improving it. They are also an early warning system when the industry is threatened.

Chris Barry, 72, currently serves as director of technical services, building products, for Pilkington North America Inc. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from University College in Dublin, Ireland. His first foray into the glass industry was starting up the automated cutting lines on the first float line in Canada, in Scarborough, Ontario, in 1967, while shutting down the last sheet glass line.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
CB: Realizing the values of the new glasses and coatings that are becoming available, and getting them to market.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
CB: Solving more problems.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
CB: Sometimes saying “I don’t know” can be the most helpful and productive thing for everyone.” Or: “I can’t tell you how strong any one piece of glass is, until it was.”

Robert Brown, 74, currently serves as principal of Robert L. Brown and Associates LLC. He earned his bachelor’s degree in ceramic engineering from Clemson University in 1960. His entry into the glass industry came with his appointment as a research engineer trainee at Ford Motor Co.’s glass division in 1960.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
RB: Finding reliable suppliers that will retain their identity over the next 10 to 20 years. Also, finding employees with a positive work ethic at every level is equally important.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
RB: One of the things I used to tease about was that fisherman were less hassled than folks in glass management positions. Thus, maybe operating a worm or bait farm or business.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
RB: It is easy to complain about a situation but more pleasurable to address and fix the problem.

Kerry Haglund, 48, currently serves as senior research fellow at the Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR) at the University of Minnesota. She holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture. Her entry into the glass industry came in her current role, when in 1997 she was hired as a consultant to complete the second edition of the book, Residential Windows.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
KH: The role of windows in rating programs and code development. The importance of windows is to provide natural light, natural ventilation and a visual connection to the outside. As rating programs move toward performance-based metrics and outcomes, windows play a significant role in the performance of the entire building envelope and these three issues (light, ventilation and view) cannot be neglected. Hitting a certain pre-defined target, such as a specific U-factor or SHGC number, does not always result in the best energy-efficient or human-centered design.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
KH: Since I do have degrees in architecture, I would probably be a practicing architect working in the areas of three-dimensional (3D) visualization and animation. Before starting my work at the University of Minnesota I was part of a company that specialized in conceptual 3D modeling (similar to Google SketchUp) and I continue to occasionally work and design using visualization and animation tools.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
KH: “I’ve searched for so long, now that I’ve found that I believe, all that I do or say is all I ever will be.” -Jerry Jeff Walker

Urmilla Sowell, 36, currently serves as technical director for the Glass Association of North America (GANA). She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Texas Tech University and is a registered professional engineer in Florida. Her entry into the glass industry came with her appointment in 2000 as assistant operations manager for HTL Inc.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
US: I cannot answer this question without also offering a comment on the greatest achievements in the industry right now. One of the greatest achievements of this industry is its constant innovation and development of new value-added products, in contrast to the perception by many that it is a mature industry, mired in the past. It seems as though frequent advances in technology have enabled the glass and glazing industry to constantly evolve with the introduction of newer, more energy-efficient, high-performance products in the marketplace. Manufacturers are bringing forth products that are multipurpose and offer many glazing solutions: energy efficiency, safety and security, comfort and productivity. The challenge is to keep up with the growing demand for high-performance glazing products as the pressure to save energy continues. I think the biggest challenge currently is the economic climate the industry has faced the past few years. This slowdown has caused a lot of consolidation of companies and the loss of many great resources and talent. In this economy, some companies are not investing in technical talent as they once did. I hope this will change very soon as the industry needs the next generation of technical minds to move it forward.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
US: I would likely be a professor either in math or engineering.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
US: Every setback is a set-up for a comeback.

Stanley Yee, 41, currently serves as building enclosure consultant for The Façade Group. He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Concordia University. His entry in the glass industry was a position as project/design coordinator for Werner Cladding Systems (HK) Ltd. in Hong Kong in August 1994.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
SY: Two things: apathy and a redefined perception of value. More is always wanted for less. Real recognition of value comes when the powers that be and stakeholders are ready to pay more for value, for innovation, for a better way of doing things.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
SY: Realistically, likely a lawyer and/or serving some capacity within the public and/or policy realm.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
SY: The ends don’t justify the means.

The Association Types
By having numerous forums for discussion and action, in the guise of its associations, the glass industry is moving forward constantly. These individuals are leading countless others in devoting their time to improving technical standards and promoting best-practice discussions.

Bill Yanek, Ashley Charest and Brian Pitman are all integral parts of the Glass Association of North America (GANA) machine that keeps moving forward. Watch for an expanded interview with executive vice president Yanek in an upcoming issue on the occasion of his fifth anniversary with GANA.

Ashley Charest, 34, currently serves as account executive for the Glass Association of North America (GANA). She most recently earned her certification in nonprofit management from Washburn University, following a master’s degree in business administration and bachelor’s degree in arts mass media, with an emphasis in public relations, also from Washburn University. Her entry into the glass industry came in 1999 when she was hired as event planner for GANA.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
AC: I believe the industry went through and is still under strain from the economy, but the biggest challenge now is seeing the forest through the trees. Businesses need to be investing in people, research and development, and marketing themselves, all while still being conscious of the bottom line.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
AC: I would be a book editor/buyer. I’m an avid fan of reading, although I don’t have as much time for it now as I did before having children.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
AC: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” –Dr. Seuss

Brian Pitman, 42, currently serves as director of marketing and communication for the Glass Association of North America (GANA). He earned his degree in chemical engineering, with a minor in political science, from Kansas State University. He joined the glass industry in June 2000 originally as website developer for GANA.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
BP: The biggest challenge is simply a lack of projects. Our industry is geared toward the good times when everyone is building. We haven’t seen that in quite some time, and so we need to find a way to survive in the bad times, and be able to flip into hyper-drive once the projects do start up again.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
BP: I would be traveling the world spinning music in dance clubs, or working for a startup company in San Francisco.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
BP: “Instant Karma is gonna get you.” -John Lennon. It really fits in the glass industry, don’t you think?

David Cooper, 52, currently serves as advanced insulating glass (IG) program leader for Guardian Industries Corp. and is the current president of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA). Cooper earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Michigan State University. He first entered the glass industry with his position at Wacker Silicones as planner for sealants in 1989, followed by a post as business manager, fenestration products, for ADCO-Koemmerling North America in 2002

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
DC: Succeeding in an economic downturn while still being able to devote budget to research and development and asset capital in order to improve product performance for the next growth spurt.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
DC: Well, I was once offered a job as executive director of the Porsche Club of North America; sometimes when things aren’t going right, I kick myself.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
DC: “Once you fall into the glass hole, you can never crawl out.”

Steve Fronek, 55, currently serves as vice president of technical services for Wausau Window and Wall Systems and chair of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University and is a registered professional engineer in Wisconsin. He first entered the glass industry with a position as regional sales engineer for Marmet Corp.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
SF: The performance of curtainwall and windows will be key to meeting the AIA 2030 Challenge, for 100 percent carbon-neutral new buildings and major renovations. I know our industry is up to meeting that challenge.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
SF: I keep one quote posted next to my desk. When Jack Nicklaus received the 2008 PGA Lifetime Achievement Award, he read this during his acceptance speech: “Watch your thoughts; they become your words. Watch your words; they become your habits. Watch your habits; they become your character. Watch your character; it becomes your legacy.”

Jay Phillips, 40, currently serves as national architectural sales director for Guardian Industries Corp. and president of the Glass Association of North America. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Robert Morris University, then completed graduate studies in business at Duquesne University. His career in the glass industry began in 2003 when he served as PPG Industries’ architectural manager in the Southeast United States.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
JP: Lack of recognition by the construction community of the value the industry brings along with the threats from code authorities to reduce the use of glass.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
JP: Had I never joined the glass industry I would probably still be in one of PPG’s coatings businesses.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
JP: “Sixty percent of the time it works every time.” -Brian Fantana. Or, on a more serious note, “A salesperson’s quality of life is directly related to the quality of the goods and services he/she sells.” –Doug Zacharias

Darrell Smith, 65, currently serves as executive director of the International Window Film Association (IWFA). The work of the window film industry continues to affect and influence the glass industry, hence its inclusion here. Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Wake Forest University, followed by graduate studies in business administration at the University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia. His first job in the window film industry came in 1971 when he went to work for Martin Processing Co. as a management trainee; he worked for that company in various positions in operations, distribution, product development and sales and marketing as it became HCA-Martin Inc. and then Courtaulds Performance Films. In 1996 he was asked to head the IWFA.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
DS: To understand that it is not just the window film industry, or just part of the glazing solutions industry, but is part of an entire building envelope system.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
DS: Teaching at the college level.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
DS: “The person who knows ‘how’ will always have a job. The person who knows ‘why’ will always be his boss.” –Diane Ravitch

Rich Walker, 62, currently serves as president and CEO of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and master’s of business administration in finance. He first entered the glass industry as a staff engineer for Dow Corning in June 1973.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
RW: Regulation overreach, in particular within the Environmental Protection Agency.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
RW: Flying a commercial airliner.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
RW: “That’s my gift. I let that negativity roll off me like water off a duck’s back. If it’s not positive, I didn’t hear it. If you can overcome that, fights are easy.” –George Foreman, boxer

Margaret Webb, 56, currently serves as executive director of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA). She earned her biochemical technology and financial management certificate from Algonquin College and is a Certified Human Resources Professional through Carleton University. Her entry into the glass industry came with her job at Phillip Sharp Architect in 1986, followed by her position with the Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute in 1991.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
MW: Rapid code changes in an economic downturn.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
MW: Math teacher.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
MW: It can be quite frustrating these days if you’re involved in codes. It can be difficult to maintain perspective so I often say, “In a hundred years, we’ll all be dead.” It’s a steal from The January Man.

The Primaries at the Primaries
Where the primaries move, so follow the fabricators and glaziers, and so on down the line. These individuals have the challenge of making the decisions that affect the entire glass chain. Please note: Serge Martin of AGC Flat Glass and J. Richard Alexander of PPG Industries declined to be interviewed for this article.

Dick Altman, 55,currently serves as regional director, architectural glass SBU – North America NSG Group/Pilkington North America Inc. He earned his master’s of business administration in 1983 from the University of Toledo, following a bachelor’s degree in business economics from the College of Wooster. His career in the glass industry began as a financial analyst for Libbey Owens Ford Co. in June 1979.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
DA: There are several challenges facing the industry at the moment and identifying the “biggest” is a challenge in and of itself. The underlying markets supporting the glass industry have gone through a major downsizing and it is hard to see when, or if, we will return to the levels that the current capacity in the industry is able to support. This puts a lot of stress on the industry at all levels. A key will be identifying new applications for glass in the future.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
DA: Teaching and/or coaching is something that has always interested me, probably due to the fact that I like working with people.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
DA: “It is amazing what can happen when no one cares who gets the credit.”

Richard (Dick) A. Beuke, 59, currently serves as vice president of flat glass for PPG Industries. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business from Georgia Southern University and degree in executive management from Columbia University. His career in the glass industry began in the summer of 1974 when he hung curtainwall as an ironworker between college semesters.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
RB: Dealing with the reinvestment economics of an underutilized industry. Explaining to customers the fundamental lack of capacity that will exist when the construction markets turn around.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
RB: Building, improving or fixing something. I am personally motivated by studying a situation and making it better. The construction industry has always kept my attention because I get so much satisfaction from light and color and finish and design.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
RB: From the ESPN sports bloopers: “c’mon man.” Nothing frustrates me more than when my people do something that does not engage with a customer. Customers want us to be successful so we can help them be successful.

Scott Thomsen, 48, currently serves as president of Guardian Glass. He holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering. His entry into the glass industry came in April 1999 when he was hired as Guardian Industries’ director of science and technology.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
ST: The biggest challenge facing the glass industry is how companies can be successful under difficult market conditions with flat to limited growth. Every company must have sustainable, competitive advantages; otherwise, they will be relegated to sub-par financial performance.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
ST: Professional photographer or travel guide.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
ST: You need to have a high sense of urgency when things are going well and when things are going poorly. Roger O’Shaughnessy, president of Cardinal Corp., began as a factory worker with Cardinal Insulated Glass Co. in 1967 and worked his way through the ranks, and has reigned as president of the glass manufacturer for 45 years.

While O’Shaughnessy declined to be interviewed for this article, he offered the following insight into his company’s reputation as being very low-key during a 2007 interview with USGlass publisher Debra Levy. “Part of it comes from the personalities involved,” said O’Shaughnessy. “Part of it is because of the market we are in. We are an OEM supplier to numerous major branded window companies. Branded window companies want their own brand out front. They don’t want their supplier in the spotlight or becoming a brand of their own. We take care of our customers. We keep our names off the trucks. Other glass companies have different markets.”

 

The Product Prophets
Without product promotion, architects would be putting monolithic glass in tiny openings on every building. These product people stay busy constantly promoting glass in all of its varied forms.

Christopher Dolan, 52, currently serves as director of commercial glass marketing for Guardian Industries Corp. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Western Michigan University and his master’s in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He first entered the glass industry as Guardian Industries’ manager of planning and development in April 1991.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
CD: The level of global competition will only increase so innovation and differentiation will continue to grow in importance.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
CD: I would be working in some aspect of business. I have had jobs in one area or another in business since my first paper route job a long time ago.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
CD: There is no substitute for paying attention.

Jason Funk, 35, currently serves as president of Western Window Systems. He earned his bachelor’s degree in global business management from Arizona State University, then pursued his master’s in business administration there as well. His first job in the glass industry came in March 1999, when he was hired as human resources manager for Western.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
JF: Finding creative ways to adjust outdated business models to meet our new economic reality … To succeed in this new reality, businesses in our industry have to find creative ways to differentiate themselves between competition, and work hard to communicate how their companies’ products and business philosophies mesh with the consumer’s own value system. To put it very simply, we all have to be better. Because the glazing industry is so tied to the construction economy, every company within it must work harder than ever to keep up with new consumer buying trends.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
JF: I strongly believe I would be somewhere that satisfied my sense of adventure and love of the outdoors … If I wasn’t leading Western, I am confident I would be leading an organization that either was helping to preserve and protect [the national] parks, or was a business that was providing products or services that helped individuals foster a deep love for exploring and experiencing the parks’ wonders themselves.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
JF: “There is a way to do it better. Find it.” -Thomas Edison

Robert (Bob) Price, 54, currently serves as director of sales for J.E. Berkowitz. He earned his degree in hospitality management and first entered the glass industry working for Hordis Brothers Glass in 1978.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
BP: The industry is challenged with “under-funding your 401(k).”

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
BP: Be a part of the culinary industry as a chef … or inventor … or president.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
BP: Good things happen to good people.

Bill Wilson, 58, currently serves as president of Specified Systems Inc., the company he founded in 1992. He began his education in liberal arts with a concentration in criminal justice, before opting instead to work full-time in the building products industry. His first job in the industry was in 1975 with Three Rivers Aluminum Co., which later became Traco and now is Kawneer.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
BW: To sustain itself in what has become a bad economic outlook. Costs are rising, but selling prices are static or dropping. Supply chains are changing through mergers and consolidations, which also is disruptive to the business model. Electronic media has placed demands that reduce timeframes for quoting and project development. Emphasis is on speed rather than quality assessments that impact a project.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
BW: If I weren’t doing what I am doing now, I would be lost, but I think I would go for something that wasn’t as asset-based or at least wasn’t as long-term performance-based. Wholesaling cars kind of appeals to me even though I know nothing about it.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
BW: Since I am a former high school softball coach I have always said that the fundamentals are what counts. Make the other team beat you. Don’t beat yourself. Do what you do better than the other guy and you will have success.

The Contract Glaziers
It’s all about the installation—and the engineering that makes a unique installation successful. These individuals know how to work closely with architects to create increasingly unique structures that still keep buildings efficient and secure. Please note: Alberto de Gobbi of Permasteelisa North America Corp. declined to be interviewed for this feature.

Attila Arian, 48, serves as president of Seele Inc. and head of the North American business of the Seele Group. He earned his master’s degree in industrial engineering from the Technical University in Darmstadt, Germany. His first position in the glass industry was with Seele, two and a half years ago, after 18 years of management experience in the construction industry.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
AA: During the recession, a lot of contractors took jobs below their own costs and agreed to terms and conditions that will have a lasting impact on the industry for the years to come.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
AA: For me the why is more important than the what. I am doing what I do because I am passionate about architecture and I am committed and disciplined to deliver greatness and quality.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
AA: “If you are going through hell, keep going.” -Winston Churchill

Nick Bagatelos, 48, currently serves as president of Bisem USA. He received his bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College. His entry into the glass industry was as co-owner of Commercial Window Systems in 1987.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
NB: The economy is the biggest challenge. Once we are over this mess, the next challenge will be to rethink what the exterior envelope is. There are products available now that will allow the wall to dictate the lighting and mechanical systems of the building. Those options will change the way buildings are built in a significant way.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
NB: I would own a record label.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
NB: Well, I don’t have a quote, but my daily practice is to increase my awareness … awareness of myself, the people around me and my business.

Victor Cornellier, 69, currently serves as president and CEO of TSI/Exterior Wall Systems Inc. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University. His first job within the glass industry was as a management trainee with PPG Industries.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
VC: Avoiding failure and restoring confidence in the banking and surety industry that we are a trustworthy and profitable industry. The failures of 2012 have done very little to assure the financial partners that we, as an industry, really know what we are doing. The second challenge is understanding how to deal with Chinese competition and vendors, which is slowly creating a paradigm in our industry.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
VC: After 48 years in this business, and 35 of those years at TSI, that’s tough to answer. I would probably be in the development business harassing glass companies.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
VC: Telling the truth never hurts, and be thankful that you have the opportunity to do so.

Ali Ghahremani, 52, currently serves as president and CEO of Champion Metal & Glass. He earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture from the National University of Iran. His entry into the glass industry came in 1988, when he served as an estimator for Cantor Brothers Glass.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
AG: In today’s turbulent economy, maintaining a safe profit margin on a job is critical. I’ve seen far too many contractors and subcontractors go under after dropping their numbers below the safe line.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
AG: I would be a commercial airline pilot. I possess a private pilot’s license and love the challenges and exhilaration of flying.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share
AG: “Take care of those who work for you and you’ll float to greatness on their achievements.” -H. S. M. Burns

Ed Zaucha, 62, currently serves as CEO of APG International Inc. He graduated from Villanova University in 1972, after which he spent eight years in public accounting and consulting with Deloitte & Touche. While with Deloitte, he was involved in many of the firm’s largest accounts, including some construction companies. In 1980, he was recruited by one of the firm’s construction clients and accepted a position an officer and shareholder. His first job in the glazing industry came in 1990, when he negotiated a “workout” with the major creditors of National Glass & Metal Co. thereby negating an impending bankruptcy filing.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
EZ: We have had a long recession in which many contract glaziers have tried to survive by bidding work at or below cost in the hopes of “dollar averaging” this out with more profitable work as the economy turns around. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened and now we’re seeing some major contractors fail. We hear there are a number of others that are teetering on the edge as well. The challenge it presents for all of us now is that owners and construction managers seem to be stringing out payments because of the fear and uncertainty in the industry, which makes cash flow a big challenge.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
EZ: A company controller/CFO … or simply playing golf everyday in Georgia.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
EZ: As you get older (and more experienced in the industry) you develop many favorite sayings. I have actually given serious consideration to writing a book with each chapter surrounding a “favorite saying” and its meaning. A couple are:
• “It’s very easy to say NO—it’s harder to say YES.” We have a reputation for taking on and achieving some very complicated projects. We also spend many hours each year assisting architects with designs; our motto is “Turning Inspiration into Reality.” As part of the process of helping architects achieve their inspirational designs you need to push the extremes of what has been done and, accordingly, major vendors will frequently say “No, no, no—this isn’t possible!” When you challenge them, prod and push—they eventually come around to “well, let’s see what we can do.” Working on a truly collaborative basis you frequently can achieve what wasn’t previously done or thought to even be possible.
• “In our industry, any one project can kill you.” Being a large contract glazier, it is critical to properly estimate, manage and execute each and every contract. The profit margins in our industry frequently do not effectively compensate us for the level of risks that we accept and, therefore, one misstep can be a disaster.
• “Find suppliers and vendors that make us look great—not bad.” As a company we “partner or collaborate” with our team on all projects. We expect a great deal of support from our team but we’re extremely loyal to them all. This includes our union labor partners. They are what makes us look great!

Jeff Leone, 51, currently serves as CEO of Trulite Glass and Aluminum Solutions. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University. His entry into the glass industry came with his current post, which he undertook in July 2010.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
JL: The extended period of low construction growth.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
JL: “On time and on spec every time.”

Beth Lesniak, 31, currently serves as vice president of Grey Mountain Partners and affiliated manager of Consolidated Glass Holdings Inc. She graduated from Duke University. Her first job in the glass industry came when Grey Mountain Partners worked with Arch Aluminum & Glass to try and avoid bankruptcy and restructure the business in 2009. She also was more passively involved in the arena in 2007 as an investor in the residential door and window manufacturer Polar Window of Canada, based in Winnipeg.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
BL: I don’t think anyone would argue that the industry has gone through unprecedented turmoil and economic duress over the past few years. With such upheaval often comes a natural shift away from managing the business in order to maximize service and quality to making decisions focused on maintaining liquidity and staying alive for another day. I think we are beginning to see signs of life in the market, but it will be a slow progression back to health in the industry. Given that, I believe many businesses find they have scaled back, but now need capital and other resources to invest back in the business in order to handle growth and get back to prioritizing service, quality, employee morale and vendor relationships. Many business owners still have healing wounds and would like to risk share going forward, but to do so, they need to align with strong partners who share their visions. That is where a group like Grey Mountain, with a focus on operational improvement and conservative capitalization, can enter the picture and provide the requisite support.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
BL: Professional ballerina; I have danced most of my life and still indulge today in my spare time on a non-professional level.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
BL: “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” -Sam Ewing

Diana Perreiah, 47, currently serves as vice president of Alcoa Building and Construction Systems and general manager of Kawneer North America. She earned her bachelor’s degree in computational science from Hollins University. She began her 26-year career in the aluminum industry with Alcoa in the aluminum can sheet division. Her first position in the glass industry was as vice president of business operations when she joined Kawneer North America in 2009.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
DP: The biggest challenge I see facing the industry is the uncertainty of the U.S. building and construction market recovery, which most likely is headed for a fourth year at the bottom of the lowest downturn on record. Also, uncertainty in the global financial markets is a challenge for us in the United States.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
DP: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” -Margaret Mead

David Petratis, 54, currently serves as chairman and CEO of Quanex, his first post within the glass industry. Petratis earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial management from the University of Northern Iowa and his master’s of business administration from Pepperdine University, and holds numerous professional development certificates.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
DP: There remains significant overcapacity across the board. It doesn’t matter whether it’s on the fabrication side or components side, there’s just significant overcapacity on a worldwide basis.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
DP: If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now I’d be in a role where I was helping people to grow, to fulfill themselves … I’d be in a role where I’m helping people to do their best.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
DP: “All progress depends on the unreasonable man.” -George Bernard Shaw

Joseph Puishys, 54, currently serves as president and CEO of Apogee Enterprises. He earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance from Bryant University, followed by a master’s in business administration from Providence College. His first job in the glass industry is his current role, which he has held since August 2011; prior to that, he spent 10 years in commercial construction industry products and services with Honeywell.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
JP: Changing the paradigm of cyclical performance. The longest period of stagnation in end markets means all of us need to act differently and get out of our comfort zones—starting with employees and by focusing on geography, technology and partnerships.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
JP: Restoring and selling American muscle cars.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
JP: Family first, but bleed company blood. The Metal Meisters Where there goes glass, there goes metal. These individuals are constantly working to make those transitions and connections work better and stronger than ever before.

Please note: Mike Farquhar of EFCO Corp., a Pella Co., Tom Harris of U.S. Aluminum, and Max Mizota of YKK Corp. declined to be interviewed for this feature.

Steve Green, 59, currently serves as director of sales for Tubelite Inc. He earned his education from Southern Illinois University, Penn State University and the U.S. Air Force. His first job in the glass industry was as contract manager for Erie Window Glass Co. in September 1976.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
SG: Maneuvering through an economic environment of fear. Establishing a mindset that everyone should be challenged to run a profitable business and not sacrifice the bottom line for the sake of the sale.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
SG: That is a good question. I initially got into the industry working for a glazing contractor and eventually bought the business with a partner. My best guess is that I would still be in that business had I not been presented with other opportunities.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
SG: “Over-promise and over-deliver.” This forces you to challenge yourself as well as hold yourself accountable.

Tony Leto, 58, currently serves as executive vice president, sales and marketing, for the Wagner Cos. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Queens College - City University of New York (CUNY), followed by a master’s of fine arts from Brooklyn College - CUNY. He began his career in the glass industry doing inside sales in 1984 for Julius Blum and Co. Inc.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
TL: The obvious answer remains the economy—most notably, the lack of new construction.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
TL: Oddly enough, my graduate degree is in theater administration. I worked at various university theaters before becoming involved with the glass and metal industries. So most likely, my career track would have remained in higher education and I would most likely be teaching.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
TL: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” -John Lennon

Glen Morrison, 50, currently serves as president of Alcoa Building and Construction Systems. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business studies from Coventry University. His first position in the glass industry was as sales and marketing director for Kawneer United Kingdom in 1991.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
GM: The biggest challenge facing the industry in the United States is the uncertainty created by the volatility in the global economy and the potential ramifications that this volatility may have on the funding of commercial construction.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
GM: “I keep six honest serving-men: (They taught me all I knew.) Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.” -Rudyard Kipling

Mark Silverberg, 61, currently serves as president of Technoform North America Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology. His entry in the glass industry began at age six, when he helped his dad glaze a new motel in Fostoria, Ohio. “I probably was more in the way than helped,” he recalls. He adds, “My first ‘real’ job was for Stern and Co. Inc. as a sales representative, January 1, 1984.”

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
MS: Revenue generation for innovative technologies, which command appropriate value to their benefits, and fuel new innovations.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
MS: My favorite hobby, which is documentary photography for nonprofit organizations working to make a positive difference in the world. I don’t think I could make a living at it, though.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
MS: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thought that created them.” –Albert Einstein

The Fabricators
No matter how great the glass produced by primaries, it still has to come together just right on the fabrication level. These individuals are making sure the product that hits the market is efficient and shows the high level of quality of which our industry is capable. Please note: Arthur Berkowitz of J.E. Berkowitz, Chris McGrory of McGrory Glass, and Ed Rosengrant, Randy Steinberg, Ruben Huerta and Dennis Jasmer of Glasswerks declined to be interviewed for this feature.

John Dwyer, 53, currently serves as president of Syracuse Glass Co. and treasurer of Centric, the association management company that is owned by and provides management services to the Glass Association of North America (GANA). He earned his master’s in business administration in finance from Boston College, after his bachelor’s degree in political science from Lemoyne College. His first job in the glass industry was helping run his uncle’s glass shop, Road Runner Glass, during his summer break in 1976. “Hacking out putty from steel sash windows using a torch and chisel, in high heat and humidity, motivated me to study for years,” he recalls.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
JD: Global competition is a huge challenge. We don’t sell glass to the few furniture manufacturers that are still open near us. A shopping mall near us is expanding, and the developer is purchasing imported product directly and hiring local glaziers to do the installation only. We’re supplying non-typical sized material only. Supplying small orders of increasingly complex non-typically sized material day-in, day-out, profitably, is another challenge.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
JD: I’ve started the college tour thing with my 17-year-old son. I’d love to get a little more education in the sciences or maybe engineering, and get into research or work on big infrastructure projects.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
JD: “Let’s not get too busy cutting down trees that we don’t forget to sharpen our saws.”

Eugene Negrin, 60, currently serves as president of Galaxy Glass and Stone in Fairfield, N.J. He earned his bachelor’s degree in science management and industrial labor relations from New York University’s College of Business and Public Administration. His entry into the glass industry was working for a glass replacement shop specializing in oversized and technically difficult glass replacement.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
EN: We presently have an extraordinary opportunity to create and offer a variety of custom decorative architectural glass as the markets continue to demand it. Failure of these products due to lack of testing and poor manufacturing techniques by unqualified or unscrupulous manufacturers has the potential to diminish this appetite due to fear of product failure and culpability.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
EN: I cannot imagine. This has been the road taken for the past 36 years.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
EN: One of my dearest friends and mentor in the glass business was Bernie Myers of Boss Glass Distributors (no longer in business). Bernie was a bon vivant and pilot with a zest for life and he came from nothing and built a substantial and highly successful business. He used to say, “If I died tomorrow and could come back as anyone in the world that I wanted to, I would come back as Bernie Myers.”

William O’Keeffe Jr. currently serves as chairman of the board for Safti First. His entry to the glass industry began at age 15, working for O’Keeffe’s Inc. “installing skylights in 117-degree temperatures on a roof in Chico, Calif.,” he recalls.

USG: By what standard do you measure your own success?
WO: By the impact that success has on the people I’m associated with and the overall well-being and development of the company.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
WO: Providing protection from the onslaught of bankruptcies that are happening while still serving our customers’ needs.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now? WO: Pearl diver on a tropical island. USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
WO: “There, by the grace of God, go I.”

Nathalie Thibault, 33, currently serves as administrative director of Prelco Inc. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international business. Her entry into the glass industry came in November 2003 when she was hired as project manager in sales for Prelco.

USG: By what standard do you measure your own success?
NT: By the judgment of my experienced colleagues and other stakeholders that share with us.

USG: What is your biggest business pet peeve?
NT: Work that is done too informally.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
NT: The fragile status of the overall world economy.

USG: By whom are you/have you been influenced the most?
NT: Our senior managers and other industry legends.

USG: What would you like your industry legacy to be?
NT: A great example of innovation and overachievement.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
NT: I would fill a management position in any industry that is of interest to me.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
NT: It would be in French! “Y’en aura pas de facile!”

The Code Talkers
Without those individuals keeping an eye on the latest code changes, the industry’s standards might not be up to the challenge of meeting them. From ANSI to ASHRAE and ICC to GICC, our industry alphabet soup takes a lot of patience and tech know-how to keep up with.

Valerie Block, 60, currently serves as senior marketing specialist for DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions. She earned her master’s degree in organizational dynamics from the University of Pennsylvania in 1991, following a master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1974 and a bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College in 1973. Her first job in the glass industry was for her family’s business, Laminated Glass Corp., in 1976.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
VB: It might be interesting to be a journalist. I’ve always liked writing.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
VB: “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” -Maya Angelou

Julie Schimmelpenningh, 46, currently serves as global architectural applications manager for Solutia. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Emmanuel College. Her entry into the glass industry was as a research scientist for Monsanto in 1988.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
JS: Sustaining companies and maintaining valuable resources through the economic hardship.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
JS: Flight instructor and scuba diving instructor. Of course, you can’t do one, then immediately follow with the other, because of the “bends” so I would need to take a day off in-between!

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
JS: “… Don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious ... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” -Walt Disney Co.

The Go-To Guys
Whether there’s an unusual problem to be solved or simply a question as to whether or not a glass design is feasible, it’s helpful to have an expert on-hand who is curious as to the limits of what is possible with glass.

John Bush, 54, currently serves as plant manager at General Glass International. He earned his degree in engineering from the University of Cambridge, followed by a master’s in business administration at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His entry into the glass industry came with his role as technical director at Romag. In 1988 he began developing specialty laminated glass, including bullet- and bomb-resistant glass.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
JB: Attracting bright new graduates and having the confidence to invest in new technology.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
JB: Working for a Formula 1 racing team. The technology they develop is stunning. I can’t wait for next year when there will be a race on the streets of New Jersey overlooking Manhattan.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
JB: “My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police.” -Margaret Thatcher

Mic Patterson, 63, currently serves as director of strategic development for the Enclos Advanced Technology Studio; as he explains it, his job is to anticipate the future of the building skin. He currently is a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California School of Architecture. His entry into the glass industry came in 1979, when he first served as a designer for Synestructics.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
MP: Embracing change, abandoning vested interests, and innovating and educating ourselves and our clients about true life cycle costs and impacts.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
MP: Writing adventure novels, painting and photographing in Southeast Asia, which just goes to show how much I love my job!

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
MP: “I’m not trying to counsel any of you to do anything really special except dare to think. And to dare to go with the truth. And to dare to really love completely.” –Richard Buckminster Fuller

Henry Taylor, 71, currently serves as chairman of the board and CEO of Architectural Testing, having transferred his former responsibilities of president and chief operating officer on April 1, 2012. He completed three years toward a mechanical engineering course at Ohio State University. His first job in the glass industry was with Graham Engineering in 1964, serving in the design of architectural products and the design and construction of tooling and machinery to manufacture them.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
HT: By far the biggest challenge to the testing industry is to limit liability to its own work. In many cases, the owners, contractors and architects attempt to require the testing agency to indemnify them from all liability even if the testing agency has minimum or no responsibility. Further, workers compensation laws and awards transfer wealth to others well beyond reason and government reporting paperwork is growing exponentially.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
HT: If not developing Architectural Testing, I would likely have pursued at least one of the two possible paths. When I decided to start my business, I was well into flying twin-engine aircraft while training for a commercial pilot license. Further, I considered returning to college for my mechanical engineering degree while enhancing my skills with computers.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
HT: When someone indicates they have a question I typically reply, “Go right ahead, I have answers for questions that haven’t even been thought of yet.”

The Decorative Types
Although eye-catching glass is taking the architecture world by storm, it takes a lot of creativity and business savvy to create and promote these new combinations of glass to the world.

Marc Deschamps, 52, currently serves as business development manager for Walker Glass. He earned his bachelor’s degree in commerce/management at McGill University. His first job in the glass industry was as chief financial officer of Lamiver in 1992.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
MD: By far, it’s to adapt to the rapidly changing needs of the market, the focus being on unique and exclusive design intents with appropriate green performance.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
MD: I would definitely be involved in online/Internet marketing. The web, as a market, is fascinating, is evolving at the speed of light and offers exciting challenges.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
MD: This is a great quote that applies to our personal and business lives: “Don’t ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Bernard Lax, 55, currently serves as CEO of Pulp Studio Inc. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration. After a long and successful career in the garment/fashion business, his first job in the glass industry was his position with Pulp.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
BL: The lack of our customers vetting product quality and differences prior to purchasing.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
BL: Developing new innovations for various industrial applications.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
BL: Just because a designer believes in unicorns doesn’t make them real.

Mandy Marxen, 41, currently serves as vice president of marketing for Gardner Glass Products Inc. She holds a degree in journalism advertising from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has nearly completed an additional bachelor’s degree in studio art. Her first job in the glass industry was with Gardner Mirrors, when she was hired in 1993 to do line-art for mirrors.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
MM: Probably trying to sell my paintings on the side of the road. I’d still have to be coming up with ideas daily to get out into the world somehow. I’m not good for much else.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
MM: “No great thing is created suddenly.” –Epictetus. It’s a good reminder for patience and discipline, both things that I struggle with daily.

Kris Vockler, 41, currently serves as CEO of ICD Coatings. She holds a bachelor’s degree in geology and has nearly completed her master’s in business administration; she also holds various coating specific chemistry certifications. Her first job in the glass industry was with ICD in 1996, serving as a research and development lab technician.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
KV: Taking the time to evaluate materials going into the end product properly. With how fast our markets are changing and we are adapting to it, leaving commonsense and good qualification methods to the wayside will only get us in trouble.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
KV: Helping others grow in some way, I would hope. Those who have inspired me from a young age were those who started non-profits to help others or created something to help people, like a product.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
KV: “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” -Goethe

The Titans of Technology
Without the latest in machinery innovations and the creative software running it, the innovative designs devised by the industry’s bright minds would never come to fruition. These individuals regularly take on the challenge of improving the production process.

Stefano Bavelloni, 46, currently serves as managing director of Neptun, which he founded in 2008. He earned his degree in mechanical engineering, and then entered the glass industry in 1990 as area manager for Z. Bavelloni.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
SB: The challenges in the industry probably change a lot according to the economical arena. A trend that I see quite uniformly distributed in the world is the need for increases in flexibility in production. This is an indirect effect of the stock reduction policy, which is generally achieved by all companies in the industry supply chain, and not only in the glass industry. This causes a reduction in batch quantities which, in some cases, are reduced to single pieces and brings the need of quicker and frequent production change and quicker delivery time. This is not an easy issue to manage in a company.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
SB: Considering that Neptun is a my recent start-up and before it I was totally free to choose what else to do, having chosen this way means that it is my favorite option. If I really would have to think of an alternative I would join the Forest Guard on the Alps.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
SB: “If you look ahead when you create ... then you will innovate. If you look ahead when you choose ... then you will win.”

Ron Crowl, 49, currently serves as president and CEO of FeneTech Inc. He earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology from the Rochester Institute of Technology. His first position in the glass industry was as an engineer for RoviSys in 1994.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
RC: To stay current with technology and trends. To become relevant in the design phase of a new building project and not an afterthought.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
RC: I would be an author. I love to write but just never seem to find enough time to start that first novel!

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
RC: “You can never cost-reduce your way to prosperity.” All opportunities—including wealth—begin with developing new business.

Hans Hoenig, 52, currently serves as vice president and director of sales for Lisec America and regional director, North America, for Lisec. He earned his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Federal Department of Construction and Industry in Austria, and holds a diploma from the College for Textile Operation Technology in Austria. His entry in the glass industry was through Lisec, when he was appointed as regional sales manager in 1996.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
HH: Continuing to deal with the over-capacity in the market and how best to re-allocate those under-utilized assets to meet new demands.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
HH: Never thought about that, but I would probably be working in another machinery manufacturing industry, or even still in the nonwoven machinery industry.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
HH: Work like you don’t need the money! In other words, you should make all your business decisions without being influenced by anything or anybody.

The Educators and Ethicists
Horace Mann once said, “A human being is not attaining his full heights until he is educated.” These individuals are helping the industry attain its full potential by helping to educate end-users and colleagues alike.

Greg Abel, 63, currently serves as president of Advocates for Safe Glass. He earned his degree in criminal justice. His first job in the glass industry came when he founded Safe Glass Consulting, following his son Jarred’s 2001 wired-glass accident that left him with severe nerve and tendon damage in his left arm.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
GA: The economy.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
GA: I am happy with the path that I have chosen.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
GA: That everything happens for a reason; my son, Jarred, taught me that.

Paul Bieber, 62, currently serves as principal of Bieber Consulting Group. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from Babson College. He entered the glass industry in 1976 as a salesperson for C.R. Laurence Co. Inc., covering Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
PB: Our industry is not making enough money to keep investing in new technology, plants and equipment, and educating people.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
PB: Here’s a hint: “Take me out to the ballgame … take me out to the crowd.” If you didn’t get the hint, I would be coaching Little League; maybe the oldest bat boy for the New York Mets or anything to do with baseball.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
PB: Yes, taken from the Jewish Bible: “What is hateful to you, do not do to anyone else. This is the law: all the rest is commentary.”

Lyle Hill, 65, serves as managing director of Keytech North America. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration and psychology from Olivet Nazarene University and his master’s in business administration in engineering and technology management from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He first entered the glass industry in 1970 when he served as foreman of the plate glass department for the old Tyler and Hippach Glass.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
LH: There is a shakeout and realignment taking place right now in the architectural side of the glass industry … among the contract glaziers specifically. Knowing who to align with, what jobs to pursue and so forth, is very challenging.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
LH: I would most likely have been a teacher and coach at the high school level.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
LH: Love what you are doing and you will never work a day in your life.

Henry Taylor currently serves as manager of Kawneer North America’s architectural services team. He earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing and English from Georgia State University, followed by a master’s of business administration in management from Kennesaw State University. After college, he worked for a commercial developer/builder out of college, where he earned an overview of industrial and commercial construction. He joined Kawneer in 1995 and, after training, took a position as the company’s architectural products representative in Detroit.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
HT: Time is our biggest challenge. We have so many tools that make portions of our work and life faster. But these tools do not make all areas of our lives faster. We live in a society based on instant gratification—one where I am able to ask my kids a question and in moments they have it Googled and are presenting answers. There are some aspects of our industry that have been made faster by today’s tools but the entire construction process can’t be accelerated. Ours is still a relationship business and we still do business with the people we want to do it with. It is frustrating to see time become a bigger driver in our industry than quality, history, trust and relationships.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
HT: I would want to be a high school English teacher and work for the National Park Service during the summers. USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share? HT: “You never get a second chance to make a first good impression!”

The Branded
While they may prefer moving in the background, these brand gatekeepers do an exceptional job of keeping their companies’ images in the limelight and above reproach. Please note: Dave Hewitt of EFCO Corp., a Pella Co., declined to be interviewed for this feature.

Oliver Stepe, 46, currently serves as senior vice president for YKK AP America, overseeing all business unit operations, marketing and engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree in construction and architectural engineering from the State University of New York at Farmingdale. His first position in the glass industry was in 1985 as a draftsperson for a glass and glazing contractor, Cantor Brothers Glass Corp.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
OS: The biggest challenge for the industry is how to evolve from a historically low-technology to a high-technology industry and one that is recognized for its tremendous potential to have a significant positive impact on society by reducing energy consumption.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
OS: Driving a race car. It was my childhood dream and since my wife just gave me a NASCAR adventure as a 15-year wedding anniversary gift, maybe I will get a chance to experience a piece of that dream after all!

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
OS: It may sound cliché but I find myself quoting our founder’s philosophy, “The Cycle of Goodness,” and the quotes “If you do good things for people, they will do good things for you” and “No one prospers unless he renders benefit to others” oftentimes in professional and personal settings.

Robert Struble, 47, currently serves as manager, brand and communications strategy, for PPG’s flat glass business unit and corporate marketing. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communications from Clarion University. His entry into the glass industry came in 1992 when he began writing technical manuals and other communications for a company that supplied the glass industry, Harbison-Walker Refractories Co. He joined PPG in March 2002 as the manager of marketing communications.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
RS: Having seen more than a dozen different industries in my career, the glass folks seem to have a very hard time selling value. When you think about what we do, it’s pretty amazing. We take a common, opaque material and make it transparent and strong. Then we add a practically invisible coating thinner than a human hair (actually comprised of many smaller layers) that splits the light spectrum and delivers hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of energy savings.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
RS: I love what I do and, in all honesty, can’t imagine myself doing anything else. If not here in the glass industry, I’d be somewhere else building bridges to understanding and communicating value.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
RS: Often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, it goes something like this: “When your only tool is a hammer, every problem tends to look like a nail.” I see its truth in advertising as well as the glass industry. Manufacturers or marketers will tout their products as the best solutions for your problems (no matter what the problem). For example, there are glass makers who have only one platform for making low-E coatings and flog that particular technology regardless of the application. I value our position at PPG, where we operate multiple platforms and can discuss the advantages and limitations of each from a base of knowledge and credibility.

Earnest Thompson currently serves as director of global corporate marketing and branding for Guardian Industries Corp. He earned his bachelor’s degrees in political science and psychology from the University of Michigan, with graduate studies in public health and hospital administration (marketing) there as well. His first position in the glass industry was his current position with Guardian, which he began in September 2005.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
ET: Making glass innovations a more valued element of the products and projects we’re in.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
ET: I guess it’s too late to play shortstop for the San Francisco Giants so I’ll settle for blogging about the Giants and Raiders.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
ET: “The team. The team. The team.” –Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler. Even Steve Jobs didn’t win alone for all of his legend. It takes a team to take an organization to the top.

Karen Zipfel currently serves as the director of marketing for Kawneer North America, an Alcoa Co. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Western Connecticut State University, graduating magna cum laude. Her entry in the glass industry came with her first position at Kawneer, for which she was hired in December 1991 as marketing communications manager.

USG: What do you think is the biggest challenge for the industry right now?
KZ: There are still many challenges to be faced coming out of the downturn. In any market, creating differentiation is critical and I see this as one of the biggest challenges to help sustain leadership and growth for us and our customers.

USG: What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?
KZ: At one time, I thought I might like to own my own business; an advertising agency or public relations firm. However, I love what I do; my passion is marketing and branding and I am fortunate to be part of a highly recognized company with a market-leading brand.

USG: Do you have a favorite quote/saying you could share?
KZ: “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” –Tom Brokaw


USG
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