The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) hosted a Coatings and Glazing Forum this past week at its headquarters in Hanover, Md., to equip glaziers with the tools they need to become successful. While the group has hosted regional events in the past, this is the first on a national level. Attendees came from all over the Northeast and some from the West Coast.
Glaziers started the day with sessions that offered AIA continuing education credits including “What Every Architect Needs to Know about Silicone Sealants,” presented by Dow. Then AMS staff detailed specifics of its North American Contractor Certification (NACC) program.
“This is a business making a decision that it is going to have standardized systems in place,” said Jeff Dalaba, NACC program administrator and program development director with AMS.
Dalaba discussed the importance of having quality management systems and a quality manager to ensure follow-through and how crucial it is to find the root cause of a problem.
“If your employees are catching things because it’s in their heads, what happens when they are out one day,” Dalaba said. “A quality management system helps with all this.”
Glaziers in attendance who participated in the program relayed how it helped rebuild their project management processes from the ground up.
“When we joined, we started from the person who answers the phones all the way up,” said Jeff Willett, president of Woodbridge Glass.
If there is a problem in the field, for example, that is time-consuming and costs money. “Decide to do all the testing before you get in the field,” Dalaba said. “You’re only installing once.”
Ben Beeler, NACC technical director, talked about how companies often don’t set expectations. “The NACC requires these to be set,” he said. “You have to measure quality. If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
Attendees were offered the opportunity to tour the training facility during a lunch break and Matt Fox, a specialist at International Finishing Trades Institute, pointed out the many tools available there. This includes the utilization of oculus technology and a virtual welder, which helps excite high school students about a glazing career path
The facility includes 10 welding booths, and students can get certified and practice attaching curtainwall systems.
“We want to make sure our workforce is the most skilled,” Fox said. “And every glass job is different so continuing education is very important.”
Jim Williams, the general president at IUPAT, was thrilled to host the event, which he described as an introduction to who the group is and a welcome to its national training center. “If we can put your best together, we can accomplish great things for working people,” he said.
He referenced the government’s ten-year Infrastructure Plan, which will require glaziers to be ready. “It’s time for us to go to work and start impacting lives.”
The IUPAT ended the day on a high note — a panel discussion devoted to workforce development that included representatives from the Department of Labor, Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. “Workers are leaving because they are looking for better [jobs],” said Kaitlan Walker Mooney, representing the Good Jobs Initiative. The group talked about everything from initiatives to bringing more women into the trades to ensuring “we are not leaving anyone behind.”