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The Battle Continues

It may have been forgotten, or at least minimized, in light of all else going on in our world, but our industry is still “battling” for the wall. There continues to be movements out there for less glass and it is one that the NGA and its dream team of leaders and advocates are fighting at every front. Last month the issues came up again during the ASHRAE 90.1 Virtual Meeting and thankfully the folks on our side were present and on top of things. But this continues to bear watching and supporting when asked. If you are not a member of the National Glass Association, put it in the budget for 2021. Then follow closely what the team is doing there to protect our interests. Glass is too good to be minimized and it is worth the fight!


  • Congrats to old friend Chris Fronsoe on his new spot at Vitro Architectural. Chris is a tremendous guy and passionate about our world, so it’s great to have him out there on the glass side again. Plus, the style he brings, especially with his choices in shoes, is a must to make up for people like me who wear the same pair of New Balance everywhere to everything! Congrats Chris and Vitro; Great combo!!
  • And speaking of Vitro, they also made news this week with their Steve Marino winning “Article of the Year” from Construction Specifier Magazine. His article on diagnosing glass breakage in buildings was a winner and I love when our industry stands out amongst all the other building product players in a competition like this. Congrats, Steve!
  • Two more spots on my 15 most influential being filled this week, and it’s folks that truly blazed trails in their specific discipline. First up, the couple of Larry and Trisha Vockler of ICD Coatings. The Vocklers (along with daughter Kris, as time went on) changed the world of spandrel. Before they developed their product, smaller fabricators like my family business at the time could never truly compete in commercial work because of the spandrel space. Larry and Trisha changed that with their product and their commitment to the industry too. They recognized an area of need and groups of companies who could get behind it and started a major change. Simply a huge positive developed by brilliant people. In addition, they are pure class and great ambassadors for all we can do in our world.

The other spot this week goes to Michael Spellman of IGE Glass Technologies. Same theme as the Vocklers, Michael changed the way people bought glass fabrication equipment and moved an entire sector into a new and innovative space. Michael’s efforts to find new products that could improve all we do were huge movements in improving overall efficiencies and bottom lines. Obviously, that continues today and where I am excited is Michael now has his eyes on Vacuum Insulating Glass and trying to disrupt that like he did equipment; again it will be good for our world.

Two more spots taken by folks without whose influence and direction our industry may be in the stone ages, and surely not as advanced as we are now and will be going forward!

  • Last this week, part two of my interview with Patrick MacLeamy, former CEO of HOK. I will note that I was bummed by his answer on my glass question obviously you all know me I want people to be over the top effusive in praise for our core product. Patrick’s answer is great and true, but man I would’ve loved him to talk about glass like we all do! In any case, here’s part two and some excellent insights to be had!

Max Perilstein: I have blogged a few times about the importance of executive coaching and that is something you embraced as you were climbing the ladder at HOK. How hard was it for you to truly take on those lessons and how much would you recommend it to executives now?

Patrick MacLeamy: I initially soured on leadership training from seminars where consultants conduct team-building exercises. I never saw quantifiable benefits afterward. In contrast, private coaching, which I called “charm school,” proved invaluable. It taught me to allow people room to voice their own thoughts—reinforcing the “careful listening” technique championed by HOK co-founder Gyo Obata. A second take-away from coaching is that people need to understand why something is important, not just what to do. This invests people in the problem-solving process and builds a stronger consensus. 

Executive coaching undoubtedly advanced my career. I’m indebted to HOK HR Director John Mahon, who took me to dinner and said that I could be the company’s next CEO—if I would accept private coaching to help develop a middle-ground approach between a relaxed atmosphere that encourages design creativity, and the rigidity required to make a business profitable. I recommend executive coaching for any aspiring leader. 

Circling back to team-building, we found working together as volunteers more beneficial than consultant-conducted seminars. For example, 200 top HOK leaders helped a school in Mexico by building a classroom addition, assembling playground equipment, and planting a garden in conjunction with one of our periodic leadership retreats. This reinforced a foundational HOK philosophy: Collaboration inside is the best way to compete outside.

MP: My audience is glass and glazing. I believe we play a massive role in the design. What advice would you give to the glass industry to be better partners to the architectural community and advance our standing?

PM: The building industry suffers from fragmentation, with too many small players and a lack of true collaboration between the architect, contractor, and owner. Building Information Modeling has become the digital platform to foster improved collaboration between all the different participants in the building industry—including providers of glass products. I helped found buildingSMART International in 1994 to promote open BIM standards for the building industry and continue to serve as international chairman. The organization champions open-source software for everyone involved in the four phases of a building: design, procurement, construction (which I prefer to call building assembly), and operations. I encourage glass manufactures join with us and become full participants in shaping the future of the global building industry.

MP: Two sides of the coin question; Is there a trend now in architecture and design that excites you and is there anything that concerns you?

PM: Sustainability is the answer for both sides of that coin. Building construction and operations are responsible for 40-50 percent of the world’s carbon emissions and 40-50 percent of landfill waste, presenting an enormous challenge—and opportunity—for our industry. Open BIM and advanced software enable the design and construction of energy-efficient, sustainable buildings with significantly reduced construction waste. At HOK, we instituted the Smart Effort Curve (which the industry later called the “MacLeamy Curve”) to illustrate the advantages of front-loading efforts in the project design phase, preventing costly fixes in the concrete/steel/glass stage. The world needs more efficient, sustainable buildings, and we—designers, builders, and building product manufacturers—must work together to meet that urgent goal.

MP: You are still involved with your role at buildingSMART International, which you have been involved with from the start I believe. How is that going and why is it crucial that the architectural and building product world to embrace these efforts?

PM: BuildingSMART has become the leading creator of digital standards for the global building industry, with chapters in 23 countries and ongoing work to extend these standards to become more useful. In the past five years, buildingSMART has also become the standards body for the global infrastructure industry—roads, bridges, tunnels, railroads, airports, and more. I believe buildingSMART is the key driver of positive change in the design, procurement, construction, and operation of buildings and infrastructure around the world.

Thank you, Patrick! His book Designing a World-Class Architecture Firm is an excellent read and worth checking out. Click the title above to learn more. 

Read on for links of the week....


Max Perilstein

Max Perilstein

Max Perilstein is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. Contact him at