And There He Was… Gone
Originally published in Glass Canada Magazine, December 2020 Issue
I’ve had the privilege of writing my You Bet Your Glass column for over a decade now and I’ve always considered it a great honour to be allowed to bring you my views on our industry. It has been a responsibility I have not taken lightly. I have done my best to deliver topics I hoped would be of benefit to you in running your businesses while being interesting and insightful, and I tried to do so with integrity, empathy, and fairness. However, it’s been a bit of a struggle to come up with topics I find interesting to speak about lately so sadly, this will be my final column.
Over the years we’ve discussed a ton of topics ranging from technical issues to code and standards updates to movers and shakers to significant events that affect us all in the glass and architectural metal industry. If you want a copy of anything I’ve written, get in touch and I’d be happy to send it to you. To be truthful, I’m the one who’s benefited more and learned the most from the research I had to do to bring this information to you.
Personally, I gained a lot of insight through the interesting technical pieces I wrote: Photovoltaic glazing, measuring sound transmission through windows, spontaneous glass breakage from nickel sulphide inclusions, bird friendly glazing, invisible glazing through applied nanotechnology, and advancements in vacuum glazing technology.
Maybe not as exciting to read about but necessary to know about were the code updates and new standards we discussed over the years: CSA’s Installer Certification, installation standards, and building guards standards, Ontario’s balcony glass, energy and accessibility codes, and Fair Workplace Legislation, and the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS) replacing the CSA A-440 Windows standard.
I’ve met so many great people through my years in the business, have made many lifelong friends as a result, and I was happy to share some of their stories with you. Before starting the You Bet Your Glass series in February 2009, the first column I wrote for Glass Canada was in August 2008 about my long time friend Bill Parkin of Burlington Glass receiving the Ontario Glass and Metal Associations Lifetime Achievement Award. Since then I’ve told you about some of the industry greats: Tony Menecola of Applewood Glass, good old Brian Wiles now with BV Glazing Systems, Bernie Leaman of Commercial Aluminum, Don Ward of Griffin Glass, Peter Neudorf of Ferguson Neudorf Glass, and of course my father Fred Fulton, founder of Sealite Glass and Fulton Windows, my mentor and the reason I got into this industry in the first place.
A few of the columns I enjoyed writing the most are: “Glass for Dummies” on the history of glass, “What Are You Thinking”: a rant about the effect of corporate downsizing on customer service, and “And There They Were…..Gone”: the story behind Xinyi Glass’ derailed Canadian float glass plant.
In terms of importance to the industry, the story we followed that spanned many years about the re-writing of construction law and the introduction of prompt payment terms in Ontario would have to top the chart. I believe the Ontario Construction Act will lead the way in having similar legislation passed in provinces across the country and is probably the single biggest legal outcome win our industry will see for many years.
I take great pride, and so should all of you, in what our industry collectively brings to the architectural table. The facades we create are breathtaking and the engineering and ingenuity that goes into creating and executing them is to be admired. On the flipside, the practice of price gouging through the addition of an energy surcharge on glass products continues to be a source of disgrace to our industry. I had hoped that by exposing the real numbers behind this practice in a series of columns I wrote in 2019 that the manufacturers, and particularly the fabricators, would re-think their actions and rescind this unethical fifteen year “temporary measure” once and for all. Energy prices have never been lower and now would be a good time to end this. Will people of integrity please step up to the plate?
Thank you to Patrick Flannery, the editor of Glass Canada, for his support and for keeping me around for so many years. And, thank you to all of you who read my column and for your encouragement. I wish you success in business and in life and ask everyone to stay the safe course until we are past the COVID nightmare we have been forced to live through in this “tire fire” of a year. But, still keep involved!