In the book smarts vs. street smarts survey, I fall into the following category

Christina Lewellen
January 16, 2008

The Talk, Page 2...

Survey Results for 01/16/2008:

In the book smarts vs. street smarts survey, I fall into the following category:

Master's degree or higher





Specialty trade certification





Four-year bachelor's degree





High school only





Two-year associates degree





Are window and door industry representatives book smart or street smart? The answer is yes. As you can see, the responses to last week’s poll gauging the level of education among people in the industry fall into all categories. Although those with a master’s degree top the list, there is still plenty of dispersion between the book smarts and street smarts camps.

Here are some thoughts from each side of the fence:

“My prediction is that the days of entrepreneurial success for relatively unschooled tradesmen in the fenestration industry are about over. Previously, the technology of our industry was driven by engineers employed by the largest manufacturers. While that is likely to continue, the technological sophistication of fenestration products is approaching the point where marketing and installing those products will require an understanding of the physics of energy efficiency equivalent to a baccalaureate engineering degree. Old men like me should send our daughters to engineering schools, or sell the family business. I should add that the front and back offices are unlikely to become simpler to manage anytime soon. There is no substitute for professionalism, in any department of any business.”

“I believe that in most cases a person does not need ‘book smarts’ to be successful in our industry, or most other industries for that matter. I have an associate’s degree in a completely unrelated field and have enjoyed tremendous success over the 6 years of my sales career. … From my experience, it seems more an issue of positioning yourself to rise to the top of whatever employment situation you are currently in and making yourself noticed, as opposed to spending countless hours in a classroom learning what someone else knows from their experience. I guess what I’m saying is that in the end what matters most is performance; so if you create for yourself an opportunity to show what you can do and refuse to be anything less the amazing, scholastic education becomes irrelevant.”

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at

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