November 30, 2020
We start this week some tough news. A few days ago, word came that Cliff Monroe passed away. Cliff was a leading technical mind in our industry for many years, and held important roles at Arch Aluminum, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope and eventually his own consulting company. Cliff was also a main voice in the world of GANA and the technical committees there.
I am so gutted by this news of Cliff passing. He was a great man and friend to me and my family. He was loved by so many in our industry and truly was special. Cliff had a biting sense of humor, sometimes deprecating, sometimes sarcastic, but always on the mark and often always had a great smile on his face. Most of all, he legitimately cared about everyone he worked with and for. An incredible quality. I spent so much of my professional life over the years with Cliff, such a super person. He will be missed.
Then, from a national figure like Cliff, to a local one for me. Ed Williams, known lovingly in the Michigan glass and glazing market as “Uncle Ed,” also passed away this week. Ed was a legend in the Detroit area. How much so? He had a golf outing named in his honor for years. Yes, alive and well, and every year you could play in the Ed Williams Invitational! Now, that’s amazing. Ed was incredibly kind to me when I moved to Michigan in 1997 and always greeted with a smile. Ed’s family is heavily entrenched in the glazing community here, so this is a big loss for sure.
Last, I am not sure when it happened, but heard that another ex-coworker of mine, Richard Alvarez, also passed on. Richard was a great and caring guy, and along with Kirk Johnson, really was a major force in the southern California fabricator market. I always could count on Richard to drop me a note from time to time commenting on my blog, but more so, whether I was working with him or not, if I needed some insight or direction, Richard never failed me. And I know was not the only one that he never let down.
Not the best of weeks recently, that is for sure, as three more excellent people and industry leaders pass on. Thoughts and prayers to all of their family and friends.
- The ABI was released, and it actually stayed relatively the same from the previous surprising month, this time coming in at 47.5. We are still under water, but staying steady, and we didn’t have that drop-off I expected. Love being wrong on that! There was some good news in that project inquiries really boosted up (59) and design contracts passed the 50-mark, coming in at 51.7. That is very hopeful stuff, and we’ll keep watching it all and reporting back.
- Nice and exciting news on a big-time player in our industry. Kensington Glass Arts picked up a Subcontractor of the Year award from the ABC in Metro Washington & Virginia. As I always note, it is so important when one of our companies win positive recognition, and these guys at KGa do it right. Props to Jim Rathbone, Bill Wilson and everyone there on a much deserved award and honor!
Note: what is also nice on Kensington’s success is that they were also an early adopter of the NACC certification program. Wins like this also shine a positive light on what I consider a truly important program that only makes our industry stronger and better.
- Last this week: only 5 more spots on my “Influential 15” and two will be taken now…
First up is Dr. Helen Sanders of Technoform. Helen is pure brilliance. I had her on my list and then when I heard her on John Wheaton’s excellent “Creating Structure” podcast, it just reinforced my decision. Helen was, and is, an amazingly influential player at the energy and code level. She gets it. She brought high performance and our needs to really understand it and push it to all levels of our industry. She also was willing to share and volunteer, being all over the place, supporting events and committees with an incredible amount of selflessness. I for one appreciate her commitment to our world, and without her, we’d be so much further behind in the daily code battles and efforts to get the word out about our products and performance. Her efforts now are needed more than ever; go listen to the Wheaton pod to learn more about her personally (fascinating) and professionally (insanely impressive).
My other choice this week is Julie Schimmelpenningh. Julie is without a doubt one of the most influential people we have seen in our world ever. She was a huge key in making laminated glass the massive growth area that is today. She also (like I mentioned with Helen) was and is a huge volunteer of time and care in every technical aspect of our industry. Julie also tells it like it is. Always. She doesn’t sugarcoat. And never will. And we all need this quality in our lives. I have mentioned here previous, but this whole move to bird glazing that now is huge? Julie was the initial lead voice alerting our industry that this is real. I mean, if noting a movement that many at the time (me included) thought was a joke is not influential I don’t know what is. Personally, I owe Julie a ton; she supported me when it probably wasn’t the popular thing to do, and always treated me a ton better than I deserved. Last, Julie is also well known for being absolutely unstoppable once the meeting ends and recreation begins. I have never experienced that because I’m in bed by 9 each night of a conference, but the legend of Julie there is also truly epic.
Julie and Helen; two strong, smart, and super women that our industry has been blessed to have!
Only three more people to go; two next week and then my last one who also happens to be in the running for my 2020 MVP, which will be revealed on that same last scheduled post of the year in two weeks.