Architecture, construction, glazing and manufacturing offer a great balance between art and engineering; however, people of color still represent a small percentage of professionals in the industry, says William Green.

Green is a business development manager at Technoform North America. He has more than 20 years of experience in engineering, manufacturing, and market development in the automotive, telecommunication, residential and commercial construction industries. He works with the architectural community to help develop high-performance products to meet energy performance needs and sustainability goals.

More Outreach

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics confirms Green’s observations. The organization reported in 2020 that Black people held just 5.1% of construction jobs, compared to their 11.8% (at the time) share of total employment.

Young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds need to be guided to the industry instead of it being viewed as a fallback option lest all others fail, says William Green (left).

“There are a lot of great opportunities in the architectural, construction, glazing and manufacturing communities,” says Green. “More outreach in high schools and colleges could help provide greater visibility to these opportunities.”

That sentiment was shared by Carle Abernathy, a glass industry veteran and current director of business development at Architectural Sales of Colorado. He says that organizations need to step up and implement more programs geared toward reaching people of color.

“I look around at the number of Black people at glass trade shows and meetings, and we are minimally represented, which indicates how many players we have,” says Abernathy.

It’s not like the industry isn’t attractive, adds Green. Young people from diverse ethnic backgrounds need to be guided to the industry instead of it being viewed as a fallback option lest all others fail, he says.

“We all don’t have to have a college degree,” says Abernathy. “There are so many ways to get solid training with a plan. With a plan, you identify your goals and objectives and from that, you can make a good living in this industry.”

A Safe Bet

Green joined the industry due to his interest in architecture and automobiles. He originally planned to major in architecture in college but decided that mechanical engineering was the safer choice based on market conditions at the time. However, he says his desire to jump into the construction industry was revitalized after some time in the automotive industry and telecommunications.

After a stop in the plumbing industry, he joined Technoform, where he recently helped launch a product for commercial building wall systems. He says that release resulted from many years of hard work, which came with its share of challenges and setbacks.

“One of the major challenges in my career has been aligning the development and use of thermally broken cladding solutions with the needs of key stakeholders – the building owners, architects, general contractors and subcontractors,” he says. “Balancing cost and thermal performance is always a challenge.”

Despite the challenges, Green says being part of the glass industry is exciting. He enjoys working with teams to see an idea develop into a market solution after months of planning and coordination. That’s what makes this a great industry, he says. He hopes the younger generation will see the appeal.

“I believe our industry would be very attractive to many young, creative minds from diverse ethnic backgrounds with the proper guidance, education, marketing and mentorship,” he adds.

2 Comments

  1. I am assuming you mean black people. Our field crews are over 50% Hispanic. However we have only one black and who’s been with us 25 years and is getting ready to retire. Our local community college recruits in all the high schools looking for kids to train in the construction trades but gets very little interest. The interest and work ethic to take on a demanding trade needs to be instilled before they get out of high school.

  2. Drafting was taught in my 8th grade shop class and has paid off exponentially. Without the need for further instruction, I hit the ground running when I entered the glass business.
    I am never surprised when I meet grown men and women who have no idea how to read blueprints. They could have benefitted from an 8th grade shop class that included the fundamentals of drafting.
    Not everyone needs to be a doctor or lawyer. We just need to plant the seeds of construction careers early by teaching the fundamental basics in our education system.

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