Nearly 300 attendees gathered at the Las Vegas Convention Center Oct. 18 for the 16th Annual Glazing Executives Forum, organized by the National Glass Association and held in conjunction with GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo. The group of glazing contractors and other glass industry leaders heard presenters address key issues in the market: managing contracts in the face of supply chain challenges and inflation; training and retaining the next generation of glaziers; preparing for the next industry downturn; and more.
The forum also included the annual economic forecast from Connor Lokar of ITR Economics, breakout sessions with event speakers and a reception on the GlassBuild America show floor.
Contracts during uncertain times
Vic McConnell, partner with Smith Cashion & Orr, PLC, provided insights on how glazing contracts can manage risks in their contracts in the face of daunting challenges. Contract glaziers are dealing with ongoing supply chain issues and rising material costs, and glaziers might get left “holding the bag” if key provisions aren’t addressed in their project contracts.
McConnell identified several key risk shifting clauses that glaziers should review to ensure they are protected during uncertain times. They include: change clauses, the new force majeure clause, notice/claim provisions, waiver clauses (including consequential damages and no damage for delay), schedule/delay clauses, and indemnity clauses.
Training the next generation
A panel of trainers for the Utah Glass Association’s apprenticeship program discussed the importance of training to build the next generation of glazing contractors. Panelists included Tim Hall, field training manager for Steel Encounters; Dave Olsen, estimator for Steel Encounters; and Jeff Lynch, senior lead glazier for Midwest D-Vision Solutions.
Having a clear, long-term training and advancement plan helps attract new employees. Additionally, it can keep them motivated and aid in worker retention, the panelists said. They also recognized the importance of “training the whole person,” said Hall. The UGA’s training program includes non-glazing-specific instruction on everything from financial planning to mental health awareness to family and marital support. “If you’re not happy at home, you’re not happy at work,” said Hall.
Thrive despite uncertainty
Madeleine MacRae, founder of MM MacRae Coaching & Consulting, offered business strategies to help prepare for the next recession. MacRae took a deep dive into four critical steps to take before/during a downturn, offered insights on how to consider the impact of inflation and supply chain issues in a strategy, and warned against the top mistakes to avoid in a crisis.
MacRae emphasized that business owners should not enter a downturn looking to just survive. “Your goal here is to thrive. You don’t want to just hunker down and survive,” she said. “Millionaires are made in a downturn.”