What are your expectations for the glass industry in 2009?
Jordan Richards, president, Glassopolis, Toronto
“[In 2009] it’s going to be a more competitive business climate. For glass contractors, it’s a high liability, high risk job. Often they’re at the very end of the supply chain and they’re asked to assume huge risks on these projects. I think there will be more pressure and more competition, and it’s going to force glass contractors to be smart about how they do business and who they do business with.”
Dan Mock, vice president of operations, Glass Doctor, Waco, Texas
“In 2009, you are going to have to be a much better businessman than you were in 2008. It’s going to be critical that you focus in on your customers. You’ll need to diversify and offer your customers more than just a window replacement. There is a lot of opportunity in our industry to branch out into other areas that really can help a small business get through a tough time. We’ve been through this before, and we’ll come back. I’m not concerned at all. It just really makes everybody be a better businessperson.”
Ray Asbery, CEO, Equalizer Industries, Round Rock, Texas
“If every bank in the world failed tomorrow, we’d have to start bartering or doing something. Are we going to let that happen? No, we’re not. By the time we get to next spring, we’ll see the auto glass side [of the industry] get stronger if the price of gas stabilizes and we get a new president in office. We’ll see the economy go back up.”
Mark Silverberg, president, Technoform North America, Twinsburg, Ohio
“The industry at large in commercial will see a slowdown in bids and estimations, especially for the second half of 2009. A lot of commercial fabricators will be busy through first half of 2009. But they see the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 as a big danger zone. There are a lot of warning signs for that level of business.
[Globally], Europe’s growth is a little ahead of North America in the construction industry right now. China has slowed down, along with all of Asia; New Zealand, Australia, are slowing down a little bit, but not near what the United States is. The liquidity and financial issues in North America are more extreme than what they’re experiencing in Europe and Asia. The constriction of business activity … is not hitting them the way it is here. … 2009 is going to be a tough year for the economy and our customers.”