Much to Get Excited About

The opportunity to honor many of our industry’s innovators with the Crystal Achievement Awards makes our September issue one of the most gratifying to work on each year. It’s not just about recognizing the winners, however.

Looking through all the nominations always reveals something about the direction we’re heading as an industry. This year it was evident that window and door manufacturers and industry suppliers continue to make many impressive strides in technologies that increase energy efficiency and durability, as well as provide more design options and enhanced function.

In returning their ballots, several judges offered comments on the high caliber of this year’s nominees. “The spirit that drives innovation and progress is, without doubt, alive and well throughout the fenestration industry,” wrote David Steele of The Window Gallery in Augusta, Ga., and a member of the Window & Door Dealers Alliance advisory committee. “The innovations brought forward for our consideration in 2011 will lower costs, add value and improve the quality of life for end-users, our employees and our planet.”

I would add that not only was the quality of nominations high this year; so was the quantity. We received nearly a hundred nominations for the 2011 awards. The market may not be back, but we were back to nearly the same number we saw when window and door sales were at their peak. That level of product development and other new initiatives says quite a bit about the strength and resilience of our industry. We are not all just sitting around, impatiently waiting for the economy and our markets to improve. Many companies are clearly working to be well positioned for growth when it does come.

In an economic landscape dominated by debt deals, downgrades and market slides, it is sometimes hard to remember that business will improve again. And the level of innovation evident in this year’s winners—as well as developments on the horizon—suggest there’s much to get excited about once we climb out of the hole we’re in and start moving forward again.

I would like to conclude by thanking all the companies that submitted Crystal Achievement Award nominations and the judges that helped to select the winners. If you’re interested in serving as a just next year, email me at jswanson@glass.org. And, of course, we’ll be looking for nominations again next year.

Of course, I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate this year’s winners. To be recognized by your industry peers is something special. And, in nearly every award category, it took something special to stand out.