“I spent too little time with people in the industry like you and a whole lot more time with analysts and investors,” allowed Apogee Enterprises CEO Joe Puishys, who gave the opening general session on Monday during the Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference, taking place in Nashville, Tenn. Puishys, who also mentioned that he is only the fourth CEO in the publicly-held company’s 70-year history, gave an overview of how he saw the glass and metal market in the near future. And the news was good.

Joe Puishys, Apogee CEO

“I see a robust market for the foreseeable future,” he said, though not without qualification. Puishys sees tough times ahead for companies involved with “travel and businesses that bring large groups of people together in one place,” he said to much laughter. “I see a healthy market for at least the next two years, though.”

Puishys also mentioned that the uncertainty around the coronavirus, along with other factors, has led Goldman Sachs to lower its estimate for the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from 3.4 to 2. “This is a huge change,” he added.

Puishys also reflected on how much has changed in the industry since the last time he spoke at the BEC Conference more than five years ago.

“A lot has changed dramatically,” he opined. “A lot of my competitors today were barely noticeable in this industry five years ago … The strength of our dollar brings in foreign competitors and makes them more competitive.”

“I tell our staff that we can’t moan or cry, all we can do is deal with it. It is reality. We need to suck it up and move forward,” he said, adding that “the world we live in overreacts to good news and bad news at lightning speed, and we have to deal with that.”

He also discussed the impact of regulation on the industry as well as the opportunities for the glass industry in the renovations of buildings—a frequent theme.

He ended by explaining what he feels is the biggest issue confronting the industry—that’s what he calls a change of leadership.

“The boomers in our industry are retiring in record numbers,” he said “There are not enough Gen-Xers to fill their leadership positions, so we also should rely on millennials. In the last 18 months we have installed new leaders in five of our six business segments. Those changes came about as the result of a lot of planning. They were done and implemented over time. We all need to have our leadership of the future ready,” he added. “It’s a global market and we all need a level playing field.”