Difference Makers

A lot can be said for the influential people in our lives. Parents, teachers, friends, mentors, co-workers, managers, the list goes on. These are people who have inspired you to make a change; to do something differently; perhaps to think or vote a particular way.

In this issue of USGlass magazine we pay tribute to some of the glass and metal industry influencers. These are individuals who have recognized the need for and the importance of change as a driver of the industry’s growth and future success. They see the potential glass and glazing products have to help build a more sustainable environment and are advocating for its use. They recognize that training and developing the next generation will be essential.

The following individuals were nominated by their peers and selected by our editorial team. They were selected, not for what they have already done, but for what their positions and leadership roles allow them to do, and how they can change the industry through their business practices.

These individuals, listed alphabetically by last name, took the time to share with us some of their views on the industry—its opportunities and its challenges. They are insightful and inspiring. We hope you agree and will perhaps be influenced to instill change within your own business or organization.

To nominate someone you think is an industry influencer, email Ellen Rogers at erogers@glass.com.

Attila Arian

President, Schüco-USA LLP Newington, Conn.

The building envelope industry is facing a drastic labor shortage, and Attila Arian has recognized the importance of training and workforce development for the industry’s future success, including disruptive trends that will change how the contract glazing industry obtains, bids and executes work. His efforts center on adapting to the next generation’s unique needs and way of life, and developing changes in channels to market and customer base changes, among others.

Number of years in the glazing/metal industry: 10

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry today?

The shortage of qualified labor is the single biggest challenge in the industry.

What do you see as the industry’s greatest opportunity?

High performance building envelopes represent a great opportunity for the glazing industry. Architects, developers, legislative bodies and the building occupants are all calling collectively for better thermal and acoustic performance of the glazing systems. Instead of fighting it, we should all embrace it as an opportunity to secure jobs and create sustainable growth.

What do you think are the keys to developing the next generation of influencers in the industry?

Developing trainee programs to recruit, train and coach young professionals and equip them with practical knowledge as well as commercial and management skills. We need to adapt ourselves to their needs and way of life instead of forcing our work methods and life style upon them. We are past the age when salary and bonus attracted and retained talent.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

The fact that I was able to make a difference in the lives of others. Over the last 30 years I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to work with many talented people and helped and coached them to become great managers and leaders.

How about your biggest failure?

As a German/American executive, I was operating too long under the premises that: “whatever works in Germany will work in the U.S., too.” At Schüco, I believed that the glazing contractors in the U.S. would ultimately buy into our business model. It’s just recently that we started offering engineered and fabricated windows, doors and curtain-walls to glazing contractors instead of stock-length of material acknowledging that this is what the market wants.

What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?

I would become a teacher and coach. I love working with young people and accompanying them on their journey to find their mission in life.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?

The fact that the general contractors (GC) have become a dying breed. Most operate as construction managers (CM) and consultants and get paid for savings they achieve toward the already tight construction budgets. I would love to see a comeback of the GC, who self-performs a portion of the job and subcontracts the rest, coordinates the design and takes responsibility for their own work and the work of their subcontractors.

Describe yourself in one word?

Driven.

 

Renald (Ren) Bartoe

Director, Marketing and Technology, Vesuvius Fused Silica Beaver Falls, Pa.

Through dedicated international activity, Ren Bartoe has advocated for measures that will help develop and educate the industry’s future industry leaders. He has advocated for the importance of involvement across the industry to ensure areas such as standards development are first addressed within the industry and not mandated by outside organizations. He is also an avid fly fisherman.

Number of years in the glazing/metal industry: 42

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry today?

Managing the value proposition. Whether glass, machinery and equipment or refractories, quality and performance deliver value. When price is prioritized over value, product quality and performance are compromised, development and innovation are suppressed and everyone loses.

What do you see as the industry’s greatest opportunity?

Utilizing the innovations of the last decade as a springboard to new technologies, processes, products, applications and markets for glass.

What do you think are the keys to developing the next generation of influencers in the industry?

Communication, networking and trust. The “Old Guard” must share their knowledge and experience, then trust the next generation to lead paradigm change to drive new development.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

In business, being a part of a team that built the strongest brand of fused silica refractories in the global glass industry. In life, seeing the values, ethics and tolerances taught by my parents perpetuated through our daughters and now our grandchildren.

How about your biggest failure?

Oh, I’ve had my share, but none stick out as bigger than others. Most of my failures have been tied to risks associated with opportunities, and each one has been a valuable learning experience. Stay tuned, I don’t think I’m done failing …

What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?

Fish and game conservation officer.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?

Not a thing. The glass industry is a living, healthy enterprise going through an evolution that must find its own course. I would only encourage more cooperation and collaboration, and of course participation in the trade associations.

Describe yourself in one word?

Swell.

 

Victor E. Cornellier

Board Chairman, TSI Corporations Upper Marlboro, Md.

In addition to leading one of the country’s top contract glazing firms, Victor Cornellier has also been an advocate for growing the industry’s partnership with the ironworkers union. These efforts have led to enhanced training and safety, not only within his own company, but with companies across North America.

Number of years in the glazing/metal industry: 54

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry today?

Recruiting and training of individuals for all phases of the work: office, plant and field. It appears there are more jobs than there are people to fill them today.

What do you see as the industry’s greatest opportunity?

Embracing technology to improve all phases of our work. Artificial intelligence and robotics continue to play an emerging role for quality assurance in both the plant and field alike.

What do you think are the keys to developing the next generation of influencers in the industry?

In part, number three above, and also recruiting individuals who represent the clients that we serve. What better way to serve your clients than having employees come from the owner, architect or general contractor side who know and understand the client needs.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

Beyond the sustained development of our business over four decades, it’s the bridge that has been developed with our ironworker-union partners. This partnership has created a highly trained, safe working group of individuals that contributes significantly to the overall success of TSI Corporations and others across North America. We embrace ironworking as a professional career and work hard together to assure that the partnership success continues on into tomorrow’s future.

How about your biggest failure?

Failing to fully understand the impact of starting new businesses with business partners.

What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?

I probably would have retired from either the medical or aviation profession. Quite a spread, but I have a high interest in both areas.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?

As the industry has seen so many business failures over the years, I would raise the bar on the ability for individuals to come into the industry. Teach our industry members to be better business people, managing risk successfully. Sureties today do not hold our industry in the high regard as they did at one time.

Describe yourself in one word?

Imperfect.

 

Douglas Noble

Architect and Associate Professor, University of Southern California; Facade Tectonics Institute Los Angeles, Calif.

Doug Noble is driving the focus on education at the university level about glass, glazing and the façade. Combined with his role and involvement with the Façade Tectonics Institute, Noble is working to bridge the gap between education and industry and to increase the awareness of the impact that high-performance materials have on not only future buildings, but also on the environment.

Number of years in the glazing/metal industry: 30 years at the university; more than a decade with Facade Tectonics.

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry today?

Education. The breadth of knowledge and experience required to excel in this industry is outpacing our ability to keep people at the forefront. There are new materials, coatings, adhesives and sealants. There are new assemblies, new work processes and partnering strategies, new construction techniques and new problems. Academic and industry research efforts are advancing the industry at a remarkable pace, and it’s only going to get faster. It’s difficult enough to stay anywhere near the fore-front, much less help others catch up or keep up. We need to find ways to teach and learn faster, and to disseminate new knowledge to the broadest audiences.

What do you see as the industry’s greatest opportunity?

We could quite literally save the world. Energy and sustainability are facing unprecedented crises. Building energy consumption is the single largest sector. Much of that energy is in response to conditions occurring at the building envelope. Glazing currently is incorrectly only perceived as an energy liability. Our efforts can help buildings move from net-consumers of energy, to net-zero, to net-positive.

What do you think are the keys to developing the next generation of influencers in the industry?

Giving the next generation responsibility and a voice sooner. Recognizing and supporting underrepresented groups in the industry, including in the traditional categories of gender and cultural identity, but also unheard voices from the construction site, the research labs, the related professions, and from the universities.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

Helping to establish the Facade Tectonics Institute and the graduate programs on facades at the USC School of Architecture.

How about your biggest failure?

I’m sure I’ve not yet had my biggest failure, but not getting on board soon enough and moving too slow would certainly be high on the list so far.

What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?

Park Ranger, National Park Service.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?

Dramatic increase in research and development in partnership with universities.

Describe yourself in one word?

Educator. (At first I selected “varmint,” but others here overruled me and said I should go somewhat more conservative).

 

Helen Sanders

Strategic Business Development, Technoform North America Twinsburg, Ohio

With extensive knowledge of sustain-able design standards and requirements, energy modeling and daylight modeling and design, Helen Sanders has a combination of technical and business expertise. She is active in association and advocacy work and was instrumental in the “battle for the wall” code efforts to not minimize the allowable use of glass.

Number of years in the glazing/metal industry: 25 years

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry today?

Finding and retaining skilled staff. The last recession caused an exodus of talent from the construction industry and the focus on four-year college education and reduced the pool of skilled trades people.

What do you see as the industry’s greatest opportunity?

Protectively leading the construction industry in the use of more and better glazing rather than allowing the trend of using less glazing to continue. We can position the industry to drive toward the design and construction of durable, resilient, high-performance buildings. The pressure from increasingly stringent energy codes gives us two choices: Use fewer windows or much better windows. The latter is the optimum choice, not just for the health of the fenestration industry, but for the health of building occupants who need the daylight and views.

What do you think are the keys to developing the next generation of influencers?

We need to help the next generation:

  • Develop a broad knowledge of our industry—both technical and business related—and of external trends;
  • Develop a network of connections inside the glazing industry and in the broader design and construction community;
  • Provide (or help them to create themselves) opportunities/platforms from which to develop their influence within the glazing industry and broader communities.

Our industry associations can provide a significant support in these activities.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

I have had the opportunity to be part of growing and developing new products, markets and businesses, and to be part of supporting and growing our industry through participation in our associations.

How about your biggest failure?

When things don’t go to plan, it presents a development opportunity and a chance to learn more about myself and my strengths and weaknesses. Now that I’m 25 years into my career, I’ve learned pretty well what I am good at, and I know the type of tasks that I should delegate and roles that I should avoid. And I am still learning.

What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?

Education is something I would probably have gravitated toward.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?

If we could be more pro-active in the advocacy arena we could create and take advantage of opportunities to advance our industry and high-performance buildings.

Describe yourself in one word?

Driven.

 

Mic Patterson

PhD, LEED AP (BDC) Director of Strategic Development, Schüco-USA; Ambassador of Innovation and Collaboration, Facade Tectonics Institute Los Angeles, Calif.

Mic Patterson has recognized that the building skin is the key to resilience and sustainability. He is dedicated to bringing understanding and awareness of the changes and developments that are shaping the industry; promoting innovation in the art, science and technology of the building facade in an effort to accelerate change in the performance of built environments. Both he and Noble have also worked to develop Façade Tectonics as a center of innovation and growth in the glass and metal industry.

Number of years in the glazing/metal industry: 38

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry today?

We all, as industries, societies and individuals, share the same challenge in the face of anthropogenic climate change; the radical transformation of our lifestyles, business practices, societies, economies and the built environment to a truly sustainable paradigm.

What do you see as the industry’s greatest opportunity?

To catalyze and lead the transformation suggested above through processes embracing innovation, research and development, education and collaboration. With respect to buildings and urban habitat, the building skin is the great integrator, the key to resilience and sustainability.

What do you think are the keys to developing the next generation of influencers in the industry?

Education. We are way behind in educating the breadth of our industry on the multiple complexities involving the building facade system and the use of glass as an architectural material, and on how to innovate and collaborate in this challenging space.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

Still working on that. Certainly the hardest thing I’ve done so far is finally finishing the bloody dissertation for my PhD last December.

How about your biggest failure?

It’s likely yet to come, and that’s pretty scary given the magnitude of my many past failures.

What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?

There were other paths for me, but they all converge to where I am now.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?

For us as individuals and an industry, to exuberantly abandon vested interests and embrace the constraints necessary to reverse global warming and secure a future for generations of humanity to come, and to amplify and accelerate spending on research and development. (Okay, that’s three things, technically…)

Describe yourself in one word?

Student.

 

Julia Schimmelpenningh

Industry Technical Manager – Architectural, Eastman Chemical Co.Springfield, Mass.

Not only has Julia Schimmelpenningh been a strong voice for the use of laminated glass, but she has also dedicated herself to serving the industry in many leadership activities and levels, both domestically and globally. Her focus continues to be on sharing knowledge and education to attract and keep new talent in the industry, and working with the younger generation in ways that meet their needs and expectations.

Number of years in the glazing/metal industry: 30

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry today?

The labor shortage.

What do you see as the industry’s greatest opportunity?

Training program development to at-tract and keep talent in our industry.

What do you think are the keys to developing the next generation of influencers in the industry?

The upcoming generation is data driven. The ability to “look it up” or “Google it” is almost part of their genetic make-up. I believe the influencers are going to be the ones who take the time to understand the rationale, experiences and history of how things came to be. In order to get them to want to do that, we need to be ready to share experiences and not just data. We need to light their passion and root it deep in their soul. Then we need to keep them so they develop into a “glass of their own.”

What’s been your greatest achievement?

Overall in life—being a mom and raising two wonderful girls. In industry, gaining respect enough for people to ask and act on my opinions and suggestions.

How about your biggest failure?

Not reaping all the learnings I could out of my many failures.

What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?

Anything that allowed me to distribute learnings and experience: teach, consult, association work, etc.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?

Raise the level of awareness, specification and use of high performance products versus “fill the hole” mentality.

Describe yourself in one word?

Positive.

 

Oliver Stepe

President, YKK AP America Inc. Austell, Ga.

In 2016, Oliver Stepe became the first non-Japanese president of YKK AP America Inc. and since that time has continued to transform the strategy and culture of the organization. He is seen by his management, peers, and employees as a transformative and progressive leader who is not tunnel focused on short-term results but intensely focused on creating a path toward continuous success, generational transfer, and assuring all major stakeholders shall benefit—employees, customers, and society.

Number of years in the glazing/metal industry: 33

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry today?

Generational transfer. The industry is facing the reality that knowledge and opportunity transfer is a critical component in order for the industry to re-main vibrant and relevant. As industry veterans retire, we have to be certain that we have recruited and developed the employees, leaders and influencers of the future.

What do you see as the industry’s greatest opportunity?

To not overly benchmark the industry against itself. Let’s not continue to talk about how this is the way we have done it since whenever; let’s look at other leading industries and companies and seek to learn new ideas on how to enhance our own.

What do you think are the keys to developing the next generation of influencers?

Organizations first have to come to grips with the reality of the need and create a sense of urgency about the importance of developing the next generation of influencers. Secondly, you have to evolve your way of thinking and corporate culture to reflect the changing dynamics, diversity and needs of the workforce of tomorrow. After all, if you cannot attract and retain the next generation of industry influencers, how can you develop them? Lastly, you have to actuate. Procrastination is not your friend and don’t be daunted by the task. Seek small wins, singles or doubles. Progressive small wins turn into big wins and sustainable success over time.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

Hands down being a husband and a father. I may not be the best of either, but I hope that I continue to learn and evolve. And there is no doubt that being a husband and father makes me a better leader and influencer in my professional life.

How about your biggest failure?

I would say that the biggest failures that I’ve faced relate back to failing to take action sooner rather than later. In business especially, time is not on your side. One of my mentors always advised me not to over-procrastinate during the decision-making process. He encouraged me to make informed decisions and to move forward, but at the same time have the courage to admit if I made a mistake. In my view, hiding mistakes happens all too often in business and the practice can destroy an organization and a team. That’s why leaders and influencers must create a culture in which team members can openly discuss failures. A deep under-standing of failures leads to multiple successes.

What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?

Driving a race car. For those who know me it may seem out of character, and truth be told I am not a NASCAR kind of guy. But I most certainly respect (and enjoy) the combination of skills necessary to seamlessly connect four tires to the road at a high rate of speed.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?

I’ve often heard that the glass and glazing industry is seen by the general contracting community as a lower tier, less sophisticated member of the subcontractor ecosystem in the built environment. For example, the barriers to contract glazing are generally low, limited to no licensing required in some jurisdictions, and there are too many subs. The glass/metal industry is increasingly becoming a more important aspect of the built environment and I’m hopeful that the next generation of influencers can continue to elevate quality and highlight the importance of industry image.

Describe yourself in one word?

Authentic.

 

Richard Wilson

President, AGNORA Ltd. Collingwood, Ontario

Richard Wilson and his wife Laura have led the development of a team-based customer service culture coupled with innovations in the production pro-cess. His company is also a leader in the emerging field of jumbo glass. He brings strategic leadership, a dynamic team culture, exceptional customer service and strong partnerships. With customers, strategic partners, suppliers, and his own employees, he has infused customer service in all aspects of his partnerships and business interactions, and has built an internal process with the goal of keeping the customer in mind in everything that AGNORA does.

Number of years in the glazing/metal industry: 7 ½

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry today?

How to deal with anisotropy, how to measure it and how to prevent it.

What do you see as the industry’s greatest opportunity?

Continuing to incorporate smart technology into glass and glass products.

What do you think are the keys to developing the next generation of influencers in the industry?

Have passion for what you do, believe in your people and don’t be afraid to take risks.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

Rescuing and building a local Collingwood, Ontario, company that employs 70 families.

How about your biggest failure?

Balancing work and family.

What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?

Helicopter pilot.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?

More related to the construction industry overall, but less confrontation and more partnerships.

Describe yourself in one word?

Energetic.

 

Janice Yglesias

Executive Vice President, American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) Schaumburg, Ill.

Through her work at AAMA, Janice Yglesias has helped the organization evolve based on changing industry needs and strategic direction from members and the board of directors. As an example, she led the creation of the Fenestration-Masters professional certification pro-gram offering two credentials, one for those new to the industry and another for experienced professionals. She also brought the InstallationMasters professional training and certification program in-house to offer more direct oversight and expand the program’s content.

Number of years in the glazing/metal industry: 19

What do you see as the biggest challenge in the industry today?

Finding qualified employees and navigating the green/sustainable space.

What do you see as the industry’s greatest opportunity?

There are great opportunities for out-reach to schools and local communities, such as through Manufacturing Day, to really showcase the innovation and technology that’s critical to the fenestration and glass manufacturing operations so potential new employees can really see the value of a career in this industry. Also, as millennials continue to move into the workforce and the consumer base, the emphasis on sustainable design and product selection is only likely to increase. Although a complex field to navigate, understanding this field will pay dividends down the road.

What do you think are the keys to developing the next generation of influencers in the industry?

Supporting idea generation and encouraging training and experiences outside the direct areas of responsibility. People need to have a safe space in which to suggest new ideas and successfully make contributions to the organization’s objectives. This builds confidence and a sense of ownership of the process and the outcome. Also, the broader the person’s experience, the better the overall perspective on any issue. I can’t tell you how many times it has benefitted me to have a good overall understanding of the technical aspects of AAMA, even though the specific project I was working on may not actually have been technical in nature.

What’s been your greatest achievement?

Establishing strong working relationships with our staff and members. AAMA has a tremendous staff team that not only produces a significant volume of work, but also is simply a genuine pleasure to be around. Being surrounded by such an effective team is motivating and rewarding. The same can be said for the many active member participants within the association. Working closely with these individuals to learn from them and draw on their experiences has been absolutely invaluable.

How about your biggest failure?

Not taking advantage of opportunities to learn more about U.S. and world history and not paying more attention to current affairs early in my career. There’s so much to be learned from history and by observing events around us. I feel like I missed out on some valuable education. I should have learned to golf at some point in my life, too.

What would you be doing for a living if not what you do now?

If I could choose any other profession (and magically manifest the talent to be successful at it), I’d probably be a novelist or a movie critic.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would that be?

Vastly divergent code adoption and enforcement. There’s an exceptional amount of effort and expertise that goes into setting building and energy codes and writing the performance standards that largely serve as the basis for those codes. With states and individual jurisdictions adopting all, part or none of the ICC codes, often with modifications and at varying intervals, tracking compliance across the country is mind-numbingly complex. With better consistency in this arena, many professionals who focus on code compliance complexities could re-focus their time and extensive talent in other areas such as product innovation, R&D and downstream user education to continually support the production of better buildings.

Describe yourself in one word?

Driven.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

 

 

 

 

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