Latest Articles in THE TALK...

  • Greg Brooks, a consultant to the lumber and building materials field, suggested at the recent AMD convention and exhibition that things are looking up for “independents.” Economies of scale have not added up for big companies to an advantage, he says, pointing to, among other things, the fact that in most markets, locals are effectively competing with Home Depot on price. Brooks also... more »
  • Numerous exhibitors at the AMD show were buzzing about Fortune Brands’ decision to pull its companies—including Therma-Tru Doors—out of the 2008 International Builders’ Show. I heard unconfirmed rumors that other companies—including a big window manufacturer—had dropped out or were considering dropping out too. News like that reinforces what most of us know... more »
  • This week, I want you to go out of order. Before I taint you with the following information, take the poll to the left, then come back and read the rest. Ok—you voted, right? A news story (see The Outside View...) announcing some continuing good news for tintable glass developer Sage Electrochromics explains how the emerging supplier has set up shop in Faribault, Minn. Sage’s CEO,... more »
  • What will homes look like in the future, and what kind of products will they demand from our industry? Last week, the mall in Washington, D.C., offered a preview, with teams from 20 universities worldwide building solar-powered homes for the Solar Decathlon, sponsored by the Department of Energy. Lorin Hancock, with our sister publication Glass Magazine, reported on the event in their electronic... more »
  • A bit of a surprise at last week’s Remodeling Show was the fact that relatively few vinyl windows were on display. They were there, sure, but not at a level that reflects their number one market share position. That’s been true for steel entry doors for several years now. Even though they still account for more than half the residential entry door market, manufacturers don’t... more »
  • Today, ladies and gentlemen, is the day for some serious truth telling. Get ready to fess up—I’ll start the confessional. For all the mouthing off I do about windows and doors all day, every day, I’ve never actually put a fenestration product in a hole. I’ve seen many, many products being made. I’ve even bought my fair share of replacement products and happily... more »
  • “What should I be for Halloween?” It’s October now, and if you’re like me and have kids, that question has probably popped up around your house already. Of course, we all know Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore, and I know our home office at the National Glass Association in Virginia isn’t the only place of business where employees come to work dressed up on... more »
  • Last week, I had the privilege to speak at a gathering of Pella’s engineering team. The group’s focus was innovation, and the list of speakers included an interesting guy—Paul Leinberger. A marketing and branding guru, Leinberger said that innovation is no longer a competitive edge, but a consumer expectation. To get noticed at all, he suggested, companies need to be innovative... more »
  • As far as I’m concerned, the retirement benefits generation-shift is official. Andersen announced this week that it’s stepping away from a traditional pension plan and moving to a 401(k) program. Whether it's better for employees or not, the realities of the business world have led companies large and small—in all industries—to move away from traditional pensions. Century-... more »
  • Aside from the concrete floors and florescent lighting, trade shows are pretty cool environments. For me, trade shows mean reuniting with my industry contacts, learning new things and listening to exhibitors talk about what fires them up the most—their product offerings and how business is going. There’s a lot more buzzing this week at GlassBuild America than just equipment being... more »