Making Connections at Every Level

Last fall, I had the opportunity to present an educational session on commercial warm-edge spacer technology at a regional architect conference in upstate New York. It was a great experience to make new connections, advocate for high-performance technology in modern buildings, and help a few folks in the architectural community earn some CEUs.

Now, it wasn’t the type of large-scale conference that would make the trade headlines—and that’s exactly what made it such a good opportunity. These smaller-scale, regional events and conferences are ideal for high-touch interactions with key audiences and building quality connections across the industry.

It got me thinking about a few things, such as the opportunities we can open by deepening these connections at every tier of the commercial glazing market.

Boosting Performance
Ever-increasing thermal performance demands are a well-worn topic by now. But that doesn’t make them any less important, particularly when state governments or local municipalities have taken matters into their own hands by adopting stricter building codes than the national standard.

Such is the case in New York, and why a targeted learning opportunity can be particularly effective in an environment with more stringent energy needs. Architects and builders need access to resources to help new buildings meet local demands—warm-edged spacer systems, commercial-rated vinyl systems and other technologies can help them get there.

Industry Advocacy
Forging deeper connections throughout the fenestration industry also grants us more opportunities to advocate for our industry as one where aspirational young folks can build a fulfilling and rewarding career.

This is particularly important. Like thermal performance, labor (or lack thereof) is a topic any reader of this blog is familiar with. Labor challenges exist, from the shop floor and installation level to the top of the most forward-thinking glass and glazing companies, and we need to do everything in our power to foster the next generation of fenestration professionals. Making connections at smaller regional events and conferences is just as important—and potentially even more impactful—as anything else.

Making the Most of Your Time
The winter months are a good opportunity for forging new connections, too.

Commercial glass shops and jobsites tend to slow down in the winter months, and it’s a great time to catch up on some activities that might get sidetracked in the rush of the busy season. Taking advantage of some training opportunities can be a good use of time here. Meanwhile, with the autumn rush behind us, professionals throughout the industry may find themselves with the chance to target smaller opportunities.


Deepening our relationships throughout the fenestration value chain benefits the entire industry. Whether it’s taking advantage of new technology, continuing to develop the next generation of talent, or mining new educational opportunities (large or small), it will take our collective effort. And it’s a good way to jump-start 2024.

Joe Erb is the national account manager for Quanex.