• Field Notes 06.10.2009

    After more than (ahem) 25 years in the glazing industry, I’ve been asked to add “blogger” to my resume.  I’ve always tried to call it as I see it, and now this provides a new forum.

    This blogging adventure came about from stirring up a bit of a hornets’ nest with a letter to the NFRC calling out shortcomings I see in their proposed site-built fenestration rating system.  I copied USGlass editor Megan Headley on the letter, and she asked if I’d like to be a regular commentator.

    Beyond regulatory issues, I’ll take time in subsequent blogs to comment on working with architects and muse on technical stuff happening in the business.  This is really meant to be a dialogue rather than one guy pounding out his thoughts in the middle of the night, so I’m open to any suggestions you have to start discussing current/hot topic issues.  But for this first one, I thought I’d share some insights on things I love about this business that’s been so good to so many of us. 

    I was fortunate (?) to land in the glass and glazing business straight out of architecture school in ’81, working for Olden & Co.  Bill Swango and Charlie Morgan and all of the good people there began my instruction, and much of what I do today is based on the excellent foundation they gave me.  I’ve also been at Wausau Metals, Harmon, A. Zahner Co., CDC, and now Technical Glass Products (TGP).  Much of this has focused on curtain wall initial system design, preparing shop and fabrication drawings, and coordinating all of the above with fabrication and installation crews, with a little estimating, material purchasing, and scheduling thrown in for good measure.  

    It’s been a great business to be in.  The main feature of an architect’s design, after the general shape of a building, is the exterior skin.  As much work (and it is work) as it is to get these buildings built, after they’re completed it’s very rewarding to see how well they turned out, the relationships that you gain (or lose) with the people who helped build them, good, bad and/or indifferent, but always they bring a smile, sometimes of pride, sometimes with chagrin.   

    With apologies to Mr. John Swindal at Masonry Arts, who may not have phrased it like this, but put the thought in my head:  “It’s an awfully small business; it’s almost incestuous.  If I haven’t slept with you, I can make one or two phone calls and find someone who has!”   While crossing paths with a lot of folks in the industry, it’s amazing to me how many people I know, and how many people know me.

    The business is filled with great people and great characters.  The ones who’ve been around a while are good folks.  And there’s a part of all of us that ought to pass that on to the people just getting in, the way Bill Swango and Charlie Morgan and countless others passed it on to me.   And, we’re tied to each other in any number of different ways, through industry associations, through ASTM/GANA/AAMA standards, through price of materials, through the technical capacities of our suppliers and their goods, etc.

    And for the record:  No, I haven’t slept with…., oh never mind.

    Posted by Blogger @ 11:39 am

  • One Response

    • Hi and welcome. I am probably one of the many you have slept with, although probably literally slept, seems to happen during my presentations – joking , only th ebest from yours truly, at least that is what I am told…..to my face.
      Anyway, We have crossed paths, without drawn swords, and I am happy to see an addition to the Blog team that adds to the well rounded nature I think is the objective.

      So…congrats and looking forward to reading your points of view.

      Jim Fairley

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