That Time I Moonlighted for DWM …
The end of August is bittersweet. I’m sad to see the end of summer approaching, yet also excited to see my son heading back to school … I wish we had time for one more summer journey, but eager for him to learn and grow. I’m sure many of you find yourself feeling the same way at times, so the best we can do is enjoy the adventure. And speaking of adventures … I had one myself a few weeks ago that I wanted to tell you about. It took me out of my USGlass world and into a whole new territory … well, sort of new.
This summer I had the chance to visit a couple of companies in the Northeast Ohio area, GED and Intigral. While they’re both primarily in the residential window segment, there are certainly some overlap areas, and I was excited to learn about companies and products I don’t typically write about.
The first stop was Intigral. I was familiar with the company; I knew they made insulating glass and I knew that a couple years ago they made a big splash at the show in Las Vegas when they launched the Innovia blinds between the glass product. Since then the company has seen tremendous growth and is relocating into a bigger facility that spans 140,000 square feet. And while the company may have first focused on the residential market, it’s now starting to make its way into the architectural segment. The company even exhibited at the AIA Show earlier this year, where its blinds between the glass products drew a lot of interest from the architectural community.
One thing in particular I found interesting about the use of these products in exterior, nonresidential applications, is that the intent really isn’t all that different than dynamic glazing. The blinds can be programmed to open and close automatically, allowing occupants to control the interior comfort and glare.
Our next stop was with machinery manufacturer GED. Of all the plant tours I’ve done over the years, I was particularly interested in this one as it was one of only a very times (the second, I think) where I visited a company that actually makes the machines. Sure, I see the machines in action during the various trade shows each year, as well as inside the glass companies I’ve visited, but it’s been rare for me to actually see the machines being built. GED also manufactures almost all of the components that go into its machines.
The company had recently relocated to a new 137,000-square-foot facility that’s super high-tech. The office area features “huddle rooms” for meetings; each meeting area has a touch screen pad by the door where rooms can be reserved. They’re also in the process of completing an innovation center that will include every piece of equipment used to build a window.
I was also pleasantly surprised to see a few familiar faces that day, but interestingly enough it wasn’t at either company’s facility. We had just finished lunch and were headed out when we spotted John Dwyer from Syracuse Glass having lunch with Mike McHugh and Ryan McHugh from nearby Integrated Automation Systems. It was a lot like one of those experiences where you bump in to someone you know in an airport in a city that neither of you are from. It made for a nice surprise addition to the day.
What are you looking forward to this fall? I’d love to hear about. Email me at email@example.com or leave a comment below.