Industry Shares Memories of Working with Sak
June 21, 2011

“Sak will always be an icon in the glass and glazing industry--without question he helped educate any and everyone that stepped on the property at Construction Research Laboratory,” said industry consultant Greg Carney on the passing of A.A. “Sak” Sakhnovsky. “Industry members from around the world came to Miami to test window and wall systems and left knowing more about their products and every product that came in contact with their materials as a result of even a few brief moments with Sak."


Photo courtesy of Mark Meshulam, Chicago Window Expert

Sakhnovsly, who passed away on June 19, 2011, tested his first curtainwall mockup in the summer of 1955 when he operated a lab at the University of Miami. After leaving the University in 1968, he established Construction Research Laboratory specializing in curtainwall tests. The lab has 40 test chambers, half of which are 35-feet tall or taller.

Sak was instrumental in developing the ASTM static water leakage test procedure in the early 1960s and the procedure today is substantially as originally written.

He was also a well-known speaker at glass industry events, including the Glass Association of North America’s Building Envelope Contractors Conference. Carney recalls one event where Sak’s presentation method was not quite as advanced as current Power Point technology.

“While his slide tray approach may have been out of date, the content of his presentation, his knowledge and willingness to share with others made the event a special moment for everyone in attendance,” Carney said.

Others also fondly remember Sak.

In Sak’s memory, Mark Meshulam “the Chicago Window Expert,” chose to run an article today he wrote five years ago.

“The original article was proudly displayed at Sak's 80th birthday party and also hangs yet today at the lab,” said Meshulam in his newsletter. “Due to Sak's colorful nature, and the crazy things that happen at the lab, it will be impossible to read this article without a smile, and this I guarantee.”

And as Dave Jackson of MK Architectural Metal Inc. posted on the USGNN.com message board, “We have lost a pioneer in [the] testing of aluminum curtainwall who was eager to share his knowledge. A man who will be missed. RIP.”

Also on the boards, Ian R. Chin wrote, “I am thankful for having had the opportunity and pleasure of working with Sak. He will be greatly missed by the building industry.”

In addition, some industry members say they are considering a reunion at Miami Lakes Inn in memory of Sak.

“It's now Shula's, but thousands of nights have been spent there by people testing at Sak's,” said Carney. “I don't recall ever staying at Miami Lakes and not seeing someone that I knew from the industry.”

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