The Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference, sponsored by
the BEC Division of the Glass Association of North America (GANA),
wrapped up yesterday at the Palms in Las Vegas (Click on the video
for a review of the conference).
The morning had kicked off with a speech from football legend Dick
Vermeil. Vermeil spoke passionately on the principles of leadership,
and shared stories from his time as coach of the Philadelphia Eagles,
the Kansas City Chiefs and the St. Louis Rams, whom he led to Super
Bowl victory. Vermeil told his audience of contract glaziers that
a leader must like people and surround himself with people who like
and trust people. He also told those potential leaders in the audience
to always set a good example for others, and to create an atmosphere
in which people enjoy working, such as by rewarding employees with
recognition, appreciation and praise. Define, delegate and then
lead, Vermeil also noted, and develop a leadership style or approach.
Be sincere, was another word of advice; Vermeil added that establishing
credibility is among the most important qualities of a leader. The
former coach also noted, "You, as a leader, are never energy
neutral." Whether providing positive energy or sapping it,
the leader impacts the entire "team."
A notable leader from the glass industry, Russell Huffer, chief
executive officer of Apogee Enterprises, took the stage following
Huffer got down to the basics of the goals of using glass: providing
great aesthetics, creating a view and harvesting daylight. According
to Huffer, this industry has more value than ever today due to the
"Natural daylight is the most efficient way to light a building's
interior," Huffer explained.
On that note, he remarked that more than half of existing commercial
building stock is single-pane glass, and that more than 65 percent
is clear-coated glass. "Our marketplace is ripe with this opportunity,"
he said, urging contractors to focus on replacing inefficient stock.
And while photovoltaics (PV) in all of its uses, particularly as
integrated into facades, is a hot topic within the industry right
now, Huffer once again urged people to focus on established coating
technologies rather than PV, which still has leaps and bounds to
travel before having enough efficiency to truly be worthwhile.
"I think harvesting light is many more times efficient than
the use of building integrated [PV] systems," Huffer said.
HERE to view a one-on-one interview with Huffer on energy efficiency
from an earlier conference.)
Henry Taylor of Kawneer, and incoming chair of the BEC Division,
summarized and elaborated upon a number of the key points discussed
during the three days of presentations. He told listeners to plan
for the worst and hope for the best when it comes to the next several
months of the tightening economy. But then he reminded the audience
of the cyclical nature of the industry by asking individuals to
raise their hands if they had been in the industry for eight years,
or 18, or 28-a smattering of hands even showed examples of professionals
facing their 35th year in the industry-showing that industry members
have survived these last four downturns. "We've got people
in this room who lived through four of these and survived,"
For the upcoming year, Taylor offered a few words of advice. First,
he said, stay close to your banker. "Bankers can cause companies
to go under," he said, making it key to be in communication
Look at your general contractor, he advised. He recommended focusing
on working with those contractors with whom you already have a good
relationship-but to also introduce yourself to those particularly
strong contractors out there. "Make sure you service them well,"
Taylor said. "I think servicing is going to be key over the
next few years." He added, "Make sure you know the value
you bring to your general contractor and relay that to him."
Taylor also advised glaziers to know their suppliers, and to work
with those suppliers that offer products and technologies to differentiate
"Now is the time to build networks," Taylor said. "Rely
Stay tuned to USGNN.com for further interviews from the BEC
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