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The Meaning of Essential

One of the things we learned this past week what the definition of “essential” is. Garret Henson of Viracon actually gave this thought to me, and he deserves the props for pointing it out. Obviously, we all have felt what we do is essential and that we provide an incredible and very important building product. However, for years we had always been beaten down either in the codes or by random glass bashing articles. Now during this time of crisis we get our answer and in a majority of cases, including New York before the bigger shutdown Friday, we are deemed “essential.” (And yes, you party poopers out there I know it’s mostly construction as essential but we do have some specific cases, especially float plants, that are officially essential.)

The tough thing, unfortunately, was even getting that recognition didn’t mean business could progress. Other factors including job site and workforce availability were/are big issues that many in our industry are dealing with on a daily/hourly basis. States now forcing shutdowns are another. But I’m going to take this notice of “essential” and count it as a win. I mean, at times like this you gotta look for the wins and positivity right?

Oh and by the way, for when we as a world emerge from this crisis, I think glass is positioned to be a major benefactor. We have a great, clean product and one that has a lot more benefits than people realize. Those advantages will come very clear on the other side. (My project of the week is a good example) I look forward to getting there… and hopefully sooner than later.  


I have been attempting to keep this blog less focused on the virus, but I do need to point a few things out.

  • The #NGAalerts on LinkedIn have been amazing. I was honored to provide one about staying in touch, and I have enjoyed and learned from all the others. If you have something you want to share, let the folks at NGA know, or ping me and I’ll get you connected! When this whole thing started I stressed communication was a key and it is absolutely a must.
  • In addition, now would be the time with workforces being on the lighter side to do extra training. MyGlassClass is loaded and ready. The courses are tremendous. Use this time for good!
  • Ok, now to the lighter side, and reviewing the Glass Magazine Top Fabricator issue. I mentioned a few weeks ago the actual Top Fabricator list which is super. But this issue has some good nuggets in there as well with articles by Marco Terry on profits and the family business as well as my man Joe Erb of Quanex talking about do’s and don’ts on the factory floor. Again a loaded issue with info and resources, so get it, read it, and grow!
  • On the Ad of the Month award: I’m going to an old friend and one of the best in our world, Rob Struble at Vitro Architectural Glass. The ad that adorns the back cover is fantastic. The job photo is a showstopper. Just stunning and beautiful. Love the color scheme, layout, and headline. Nice job Rob and the folks at Vitro on this ad!
  • Guy jumps head first through a glass door to rob a store: look at this story, it’s missing some key needs for me, including a better picture of the scene. It looks like maybe the door was knocked off the hinges versus glass breaking. Anyway it’s a release from the daily news to look at this and try to figure out: what happened?
  • Last this week, two projects that make our industry look great and I’d love to know what companies were involved―you deserve props!

First is the The Charles Library at Temple University. Man it is nice. And the second one is this retrofit in Boston where glass was the clutch and the key product refreshing a building from 1917! Great work to whomever was involved in these.

Read on for links and video 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