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2024 is Here... Let's Go!

Recapping 2023 and looking ahead to 2024

Happy New Year! Back at it here on the blog as we head towards the 19th anniversary of this effort. As I always joke, I started the blog at and around the same time as Facebook and Twitter launched. Man, did those folks miss the boat with their ideas vs. mine!  Anyway, it’s another adventurous year ahead and I do think 2024 will surely be of the rollercoaster variety.  

But before I dig into that, I need to do some housekeeping. Next week I’ll review the predictions I made for 2023 and see how my crystal ball was working. Then, the week after my predictions for 2024 will be posted. Yes, a little later than normal but it’s too good of content to rush out. Okay, now back to the matter at hand. 2024.  

We know from the various indexes and industry economists that there’s some murky water ahead. Initially most predictions pointed to slower work in March and continuing for the rest of the year. Lately though the predictions have changed some with some segments slowing down faster than others, one being small to medium work drying up quickly but bigger work hanging in, then a longer path to a comeback for all. Now all of this is also on pretty shaky ground because in the US it’s an election year. Normally those cause weird iterations to all markets, but this year’s edition is poised to be like nothing we’ve ever seen before, so those rumbles may have a deeper effect than normal. Meanwhile, companies that are being strategic with cash, looking to be diverse, and working/communicating at high level up and down their supply chain will be in good shape while those who are not will suffer.  And unlike the last downturn, there’s no PPP out there as a lifeline. So this could be very interesting overall. Bottom line is our industry is resilient and we’ll all keep hustling but the coming year is surely going to have some battles. 


Latest pod

In case you missed it… before the break I did a pod with John Dwyer of Syracuse Glass/Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope. John is an absolute champion and was fun to just hear his stories and feel the energy and enthusiasm he brings. Watch on YouTube, or listen here, as well as by searching “From the Fabricator” on Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

And on the podcast side, I’ve got a new episode, the first of 2024 next week and I’ve got some amazing folks lined up for the first few months of the year.  Next week I’ll share a couple of fun stats from 2023 too!

Industry retirements in 2023

The end of the year marked a couple of massive retirements in our space. Carle Abernathy and John Linhart both hung ‘em up after absolute landmark and incredible careers in our industry. Carle is a guy that I competed against early in my career and was in awe of. Heck, I was in awe of him even when I saw him this past October at GlassBuild. Class act, always a major presence in his markets and, at least for me, always greeted me with a smile and a hearty handshake.

I never got to know John that well, and then was lucky enough to sit next to him during a group dinner in 2023. Wonderful guy and I came to find out we had so many shared past adventures in this space where we  could compare notes. John spent the last 10 years as a part of the Tristar Glass powerhouse and his knowledge and approach was the picture-perfect fit there. Plus he’s another one of those guys that no one ever had a bad word for, at least to me. Our industry will dearly miss Carle and John and all they brought to the table, but I am thrilled for both of them and wish them the absolute best in their next phase of life!

Industry personnel changes

Also, news from the end of the year had these two notes…First, Mark Jacobson is retiring from full time work at Kuraray and transitioning into a consultant role. Mark is a laminating legend and a guy whose wealth of knowledge and passion for the space is unquestioned. I am glad he’s hanging a consultant shingle out as I hope he keeps tabs on our space and shares insights and knowledge when he is able! Congrats Mark on the move and incredible career at DuPont/Kuraray. 

Jon Kimberlain, one of the most popular guys our industry has ever seen, recently was promoted to Principal TS&D Scientist for Dow Performance Silicones. When it comes to talking about “great industry guys,” Jon’s name is always in that conversation and I am thrilled to see him getting some positive recognition and advancement at Dow. Congrats my friend and keep rolling! 

Reg for GPAD & BEC

FYI! Did you know registration is open for GPAD and BEC? First let’s talk GPAD. If you are a glass fabricator, and thinking about expanding into that space, this is a no doubt must attend. The opportunity to get excellent insight and education from some of the best machinery people in the world in a close setting is huge for your business. Really strong agenda! If you have questions or need more details, ask me! The info for it can be found here.

Meanwhile I think most that read this blog know about BEC, and it’s something that once again will be an incredible event. Two keynote speakers have been secured so far in Ricardo Maiz of Vitro and Troy Johnson of Harmon. It is worth it alone to see them but then there is so much more. It will truly be a special show. For more check here.  

Top 10 affordable cities

Last this week, you know me, love the lists, so why not start the year off with one…the Top 10 affordable cities (no specific order) for homebuyers are out and here they are:

  1. Columbia, South Carolina
  2. and Greenville, South Carolina. I do love South Carolina and can see how these both make it.  
  3. Indianapolis, Indiana. Amazing the growth there and still affordable.
  4. San Antonio, Texas
  5. and Houston, Texas. A ton of my readership comes from the great state of Texas and these two areas make sense. We surely know a city like Austin isn’t, but I have to admit I’m surprised to see Houston.
  6. Cincinnati, Ohio. The home base of sales king James Wright of Virginia Glass & Mirror.
  7. Greensboro, North Carolina. Speaking of Virginia Glass, not far from this spot and good to see the area thought of positively. It took a step back after Mike Dishmon (now at Vitro) left town, so nice to see it back.
  8. Raleigh, North Carolina. I did not expect or think this was affordable thanks to so much growth but evidently it is.
  9. Louisville, Kentucky. Tony Kamber of AMG has kept this as his secret of an amazing place to live but that secret obviously is now out. Hearing tons about how great it is too for business and meetings as well. 
  10. Lakeland, Florida. Interesting as the only Florida location and especially given its proximity to the theme parks, etc. Nice town and I visited there last summer and liked it. 

That’s it. Note very clustered overall with 9 of the 10 combined with an area nearby. Also surprising that some of the areas in Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri did not make it and nothing west. Read the whole story with context.


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