April 11, 2017

Where The Jobs Really Are

By Paul Bieber

There has been a controversy lately about jobs in the U.S. According to Fortune Magazine, March 1, 2017, there were 86,035 employees involved in mining coal for electrical generation and 370,000 in solar powered electrical generation in 2016. What does this mean to us in the glass industry?

The economy of the United States is changing, rather quickly in my opinion. Another fact: the wind-energy workforce was 101,738 in 2016, and the Bureau of labor Statistics said that ‘wind turbine service technician’ is the nation’s fastest growing occupation.

I am not suggesting that you close your glass shop and start to fix wind turbines. After all, for most of us, glass is in our blood, and I, for one, could not think of a better industry to work in. But we have to change with the times. 

Energy efficiency has to be balanced with the aesthetic appearance of glass installations. If you can serve both of these masters, which is relatively easy, your business will grow and prosper.

This is easy for me to say this. I am in my office-off-of-the-kitchen in our New Hampshire-mountainside home, not really in the trenches like you are. You have to take the time to learn. Spend 15 minutes every day studying our industry. There are great web sites from each of the floaters in North America. Who? Look up the sites of Vitro, (formerly PPG), AGC, Guardian, Pilkington (or NSG) and Cardinal. Study these sites and learn the basics of each type of glass out there. And there are a lot of choices.

Next, study the sites of the fabricators in your area. A fabricator cannot carry glass from all five. There is just not enough room, and there are similarities from one company to the next. Learn the products that your fabricators work with. Ask your fabricators to come in and teach you, your sales and estimator staff and your job captains.

If you are not suggesting high-performance low-E on almost every job, you will lose the work to those upstart glaziers who are up to speed on our industry. Read the trade magazines. Study the floaters brochures. Ask for understand the values of samples.

Lastly, realize you will become a member of buggy-whip and the TV home antenna manufacturers society if you don’t grow with our industry.