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Laurie Cowin

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Laurie Cowin is editor of Window + Door. Contact her at lcowin@glass.org

2024 Industry Pulse | We Persevere

The past five years have been a wild ride. Extreme demand, both waxing and waning, rocked the industry. Despite a predicted economic recession, residential fenestration companies predict stable sales and plan to invest in their businesses.

Q+A with VEKA North America | The Long Game

VEKA North America discusses its growth, environmental commitment, employee engagement and more as it celebrates 40 years in North America.

Q+A with Joseph Machine Co. | Workforce Needs in the Age of Automation

How automation can help companies combat the labor shortage, enhance safety and maximize resources.

Q+A with VEKA | Comprehensive, Collaborative Education

VEKA’s new Education Center delivers on its values of helping employees grow and customers to remain engaged in design trends and code compliance.

Q+A with Quanex | Rebounding and Rebranding

How a strong company culture and an open mind leads to growth and new opportunities. Quanex President and CEO George Wilson discusses rebranding, the company's focus on people, its goals going forward and the industry at large.

2023 Industry Pulse | Sustainable Slowdown

As the supply chain stabilizes, the single-family housing market slows. Nevertheless, the industry charges forward with new sales, product innovation and investments.

The Future of Hardware

Automated hardware is part of a larger trend toward whole-home automation.

2022 Industry Pulse Report

The annual Window + Door Industry Pulse survey had few surprises: the market is strong, business is booming and no aspect of the supply chain is exempt from the persistent supply and labor challenges.

2021 Window + Door Award Winners

This year’s winners exemplify innovation in the residential fenestration industry.

2024 Top Manufacturers

Companies take a holistic approach to their business as they invest in processes, people and products while keeping an eye on a market challenged by inflation and affordability concerns.

Vinyl’s Sustainability

The industry is amplifying vinyl’s sustainable attributes through LCAs, post-consumer recycling and more.

Window and Door Companies Bring More Operations In-house

Takeaways from the 2024 Top Manufacturers Survey.

Post-Consumer Vinyl Window Recycling

Canadian pilot program Winfinity aims to recycle as much of the 40 million pounds of post-consumer vinyl windows as possible. 

A Profile in Windows

Double-hung windows represent the lion’s share of the market. Tilt and turns gain more awareness. Manufacturing and product efficiencies remain top of mind.

Safety First

The industry continues to prioritize safety, as evidenced through window, screen and manufacturing safety considerations.

Next-Gen Construction

The changing workforce prioritizes career development above nearly all else. Investing in your employees and implementing technology are two notable ways to give your business a competitive edge.

Tenured Celebrations

The labor challenge likely will continue for years to come, but once we get people truly invested in this industry and what we do, they’re our greatest spokespeople. 

Investments Abound. Labor Rears its Ugly Head.

The past five years have been a wild ride. Extreme demand, both waxing and waning, rocked the industry. Supply chain complications strained companies as they raced to acquire enough materials in a timely manner, for which they often paid premium prices. Labor shortages continue to challenge…

Solutions-based Community

At a tradeshow like GlassBuild America, there’s always something new to see and education opportunities abound. No matter what aspect of your business you’re looking to improve, GlassBuild America will have a solution.

The Data Tells a Story

When John Burns Research and Consulting approached Window + Door about partnering in a quarterly market study earlier this year, we jumped at the opportunity to provide even more relevant data to the industry. But here’s the catch: it won’t work without your participation.

Manufacturers Plan to Expand Despite Some Headwinds

Supply chain challenges eased significantly, while labor, inflation and rising costs put more strain on companies. Despite headwinds, the industry continues to invest in itself, grow and innovate.

2023 Top Manufacturers Report | A Year of Growth

Companies expand their capacity as backlogs decrease and sales increase.

Energy Star Version 7.0

What companies should know as they prepare for the October implementation of Energy Star Version 7.0.

The Turning Tide: Is the New Year Marking a New Business Environment for Our Industry?

The annual Industry Pulse survey and corresponding report is one of my favorite editorial projects of the year and this year’s report was especially interesting. Although the past several years have been characterized by overwhelming demand amid supply chain and material disruptions, the responses…

IBS Dazzles with Products, Trends, Conversation

The industry was on full display during a record-breaking Design and Construction Week.

5 Takeaways from the 2023 Industry Pulse

The Industry Pulse not only revealed information about the economic landscape, but also lent insights into the changing supply chain and material landscape, ongoing labor concerns, product trends and more. Read on for the top takeaways.

Childcare, Flexibility and DEI in Manufacturing

Women have tremendous power to close the manufacturing skills gap, but barriers remain, preventing women from entering—and staying—in the industry.

A Transformational Career

Jay Lund, former Andersen Corp. CEO and current board chair, retired from Andersen at the end of 2022 and took time to discuss his career and the challenges and successes he saw during his tenure.

Case Studies | Doors

How doors can transform a home, plus market insights from manufacturers.

Performance Matters

Codes and standards ensure that products are performing to their highest level.

2022 Top Manufacturers Report

Manufacturers mark another year of growth and increased demand while navigating material and labor constraints.

Evidence of Growth

The Top Manufacturers Report and List shows just how much the industry is growing in a tricky business landscape.

Do More with Less

Offering fewer product lines can bring value to your business.

Policy, Regulation to Watch in 2022

Tax credits, trade, regulation around safety and supply chain issues are major players in the current legislative and regulatory landscape.

Disruption Alert: Transparent Solar

A conversation with Ubiquitous Energy about the opportunity for renewable energy and how solar windows can enable smarter homes.

Next-Gen Tech to Meet Energy Goals

Transparent solar and VIGs are among the window technologies poised to take the fenestration industry to the next level of energy efficiency.

High-speed machinery

High-speed machinery can allow product to move through a facility in an expedited manner, but companies need to consider more than speed before investing in this equipment.

About Innovation

As we discussed labor and supply challenges, product trends, manufacturing capabilities and more, I kept noticing the overriding theme of innovation. Innovation in how to mitigate labor and supply chain struggles, innovation in product development and innovation in manufacturing processes.

5 Takeaways From the FGIA Hybrid Annual Conference

The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance Hybrid Annual Conference Feb. 28-March 3 in Amelia Island, Florida, was a jam-packed week of education, networking and a healthy dose of vitamin D from the Florida sunshine.

Builders’ Show Returns to Orlando

Although some notable window and door manufacturers didn’t have a presence at the International Builders' Show this year, the show floor held no shortage of new products and ideas for residential fenestration professionals.

Supply Chain Struggles Continue

The industry prepares to enter another year rife with supply chain and labor concerns. Hardware supplier INOX shares its perspective about how companies can navigate this tricky time.

Economic Growth Continues into 2022

Despite ongoing challenges on the supply and labor side, construction is poised for a robust, well-rounded recovery.

5 Takeaways from the 2022 Industry Pulse

This year’s annual Industry Pulse survey takes stock of how the industry is responding to labor and supply chain challenges, as well as where companies are focusing on business and product growth.

Unique Innovation

WinTrax by GED Integrated Solutions was introduced in 2019 to track windows through the production facility, into finished goods inventory and throughout the supply chain.

Most Innovative Window Component

The Pinnacle balance by AmesburyTruth was designed using a new concept for inverted block and tackle balances. 

Most Innovative Window

Pella Corp.’s Easy-Slide Operator is designed to allow homeowners to easily slide the operator up to open and down to close casement and awning windows.

Most Innovative Patio, Multi-Slide or Multi-Panel Door

The Magic Window Wall is a modern adaptation of traditional folding doors that incorporates Parallex hardware, which rids the window wall of any hinges.

Most Innovative Manufacturing Process

New to the market in September 2021, FlexScreen Lite is a more economical version of FlexScreen that is geared toward price-sensitive, large-volume, standard-size windows for new construction.

Most Innovative Machine/Equipment

The Erdman OMRC (One Man Robotic IG Cell) has been designed to only require one operator. 

Most Innovative Entry Door

The Despiro aluminum door by Eko-Okna joins an aesthetic form with panel technology on both sides that is flush with the frame with a depth of 77mm. A fingerprint scanner and touch panel come standard with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. T

Most Innovative Door Component

The INOX TL7 Magnetic Tubular Latch for interior doors uses magnetism to latch the door rather than an old-fashioned strike-plate lip that physically forces the latchbolt into the strike’s box. 

Connected Equipment and the Future of Manufacturing

Machinery isn’t exempt from the world’s shift to technology-based solutions. Ready or not, automation is the future of manufacturing. Companies today have no choice but to embrace Industry 4.0 in their manufacturing practices or run the risk of being left behind, according to leading industry…

Back to Business

Learning how to conduct business in a reality where high demand, material shortages are exacerbated by a tenuous labor market.

GlassBuild America Displays Industry’s Resilience

Exhibitors, suppliers return to in-person event with high energy, focus on meeting industry challenges and identify industry trends.

Back to GlassBuild

Exhibiting companies have spent the previous year developing new product solutions to address their customers’ top concerns, and these innovations will take center stage at GlassBuild.

A Refreshing Return to Business

The FGIA Virtual Summer Conference provided a detailed look at what's happening and what's to come in the fenestration and glazing space. 

2021 Top Manufacturers Report

Today’s manufacturers are keeping pace with a robust residential market while grappling with supply-side challenges.

The Tight Supply Side

Companies in every part of the supply chain are wrangling with material shortages, high costs and long lead times.

5 Takeaways from the 2021 Top Manufacturers Report

This year’s Top Manufacturers report revealed several key takeaways about the manufacturing and housing markets as a whole, and how residential fenestration manufacturers fit into it.

Logistics and Material Shortages in Hardware: One Supplier’s Story

Dan Gray, director of sales, Roto North America, sat down with Window + Door in February to discuss current supply chain challenges, logistical considerations and how to work through them.  

Virtual Sales Are Here to Stay

The virtual tools companies adopted to maintain business continuity during the coronavirus are here to stay.

Extruding Solutions

Vinyl extrusions need to meet increasingly stringent performance criteria while matching the design flexibility customers want.

Replacement Windows in Action

Case studies show the transformative power of replacement windows.

Virtually Speaking

Conversations at industry events look at what to keep an eye on in the coming year.

Make Work Cool Again

Although the skilled labor shortage is a long-discussed topic, it’s a conversation happening with renewed vigor, particularly as companies are experiencing record-high business and feeling the labor shortage more acutely as they struggle to keep up with demand.

4 to Watch: Policy Expectations for the Year Ahead

At the Window & Door Manufacturers Association Spring Virtual Meeting and Legislative Conference in March, experts discussed what the next year might hold in regard to housing, labor, safety and health policy. Speakers agreed that COVID, climate and energy efficiency are most likely to…

An Optimistic Outlook for a Busy Industry

Last week’s FGIA Virtual Annual Conference was packed with information for the fenestration and glazing industries, and covered everything from economics to safety to design to codes and regulations, and more. Read on for some of the key residential takeaways from the event.

Economic Outlook: Single-family will continue ongoing growth, but at a slower pace

Housing growth will continue for the next several years, but at lower growth rates than we saw last year, according to NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz during a press conference at the International Builders’ Show virtual experience on Feb. 9.

The 2021 Industry Pulse

Despite challenges around COVID-19, the industry looks forward to a robust 2021 and beyond as demand is booming and residential construction posts historically strong numbers.

5 Takeaways from the 2021 Industry Pulse

This year’s Window + Door Industry Pulse survey encompasses several themes, from labor and sales to technology to supply chain and product specifics. Overriding every conversation, however, was the COVID-19 pandemic and its marked impact on the residential fenestration industry throughout 2020 –…

Diversify Your Workforce

A lot of hiring happens because people know people, which is good in some ways, but it also means people often hire those who think like them.

The Hope of a New Year

The industry is poised for tremendous growth and innovation this year, but it won’t come without its challenges.

A Rollercoaster of a Year

Companies describe some of the best business conditions they’ve ever seen, period. In many cases, they have more than rebounded from unsettling and low times earlier this year. Although there doesn’t appear to be a shortage of work anytime soon, busy production lines paired with a shaky supply…

How Video Can Help Launch New Products

How to successfully launch a new building product in the midst of COVID-19.

Innovation in Crisis

How fenestration companies have protected employees and customers, developed solutions for the industry, and given back to their communities during the pandemic.

9 Things to Know on the Legislative and Regulatory Landscape

During GlassBuild Connect in September, Jeff Inks, vice president, advocacy, and Kevin McKenney, director of government affairs, both with the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, examined key issues facing Washington and the industry as a whole.

Take the 2021 Industry Pulse Survey

With such a yo-yo year almost in our rearview mirror, it’s time to look ahead with Window + Door’s annual Industry Pulse survey. The survey takes stock of the current marketplace and paints a picture of what’s to come for all areas of the supply chain.

Software, Data Curation and Advanced Manufacturing

Among the pandemic’s many consequences is the adoption of digital tools, including software that enhances work in the office, factory and selling. Today’s software often is designed to integrate with hardware and machinery with the intent to streamline automation and interconnectivity.

Spotlight on Smart Hardware

Hardware manufacturers in 2020 are experiencing burgeoning demand for technologically advanced and hands-free hardware both as the world moves toward more automation and as touch-free options become necessary safety components in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Macro economic Rebound in Focus

The shape of the macroeconomic rebound is coming into focus as 2020 nears its end, said Connor Lokar, ITR Economics, during the GlassBuild Connect presentation on Sept. 8. Housing remains a bright spot in the overall construction industry, which likely hasn’t experienced the full effects of the…

As Hurricane Season Descends, Products, Education Can Help with Resilient Design Understanding

Hurricane season is upon us once again, which often spurs conversations around resilient design. GlassBuild Connect includes several impact-rated products and education sessions to help understand codes, installation challenges and plans.

2020 Industry Trends | Part 1

An in-depth look at the equipment, technology and products that shape our industry. Join us online at GlassBuild.com beginning Sept. 1 to continue the conversation. Today’s machinery is reaching a new level of maturity to further address user needs such as automation, efficiency and labor concerns.

Economic Update: Recovery is underway, but expect a slow return to normal

Leading indicators of the health of the residential construction and remodeling market send mixed signals about the economic climate, but all agree that challenges exist as the economy emerges from the coronavirus-induced recession.

Energy Code Update

The National Glass Association’s Thirsty Thursday webinar on June 18, presented by Tom Culp, Birch Point Consulting and NGA technical codes consultant, dissected some of the upcoming energy code evolutions in 2020 on a national and regional level.

Factory View: An Eye to the Future

Component and end-product manufacturers in the residential fenestration industry all seem to agree on one thing: the coronavirus pandemic and its associated effects are unprecedented and have caused businesses to alter and re-think how they operate. 

Helping is the New Selling

How to leverage Instagram and LinkedIn for sales and marketing.

Finding New Opportunities

Confront the down cycle as an opportunity zone to re-evaluate and improve business with nine strategies for dealers to get ahead now in preparation for the years ahead.

Passive House and Performance-based Building Codes

Passive House is all about energy modeling and meeting comfort, air quality and hygiene requirements. Rather than using a prescriptive approach to get to the end goal, Passive House requires the finished building meets certain standards.

How to Leverage Instagram and LinkedIn for Sales and Marketing

Marketers are tasked with finding new ways to get in front of potential customers and communicating messages that resonate. And, with people remaining home under coronavirus-induced shelter-in-place orders, organic reach is incredible right now. More people than ever are online and the time is ripe…

Communication in the Time of COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many companies to shut their physical doors and move operations online where possible. Among the challenges some face is how to best communicate to maintain relationships with existing customers and partner companies and how to attract new business.

COVID-19 Economic Update: Indicators Provide Clearer Picture as States Consider Re-opening

Economic indicators give a clearer picture as to the state of the housing industry as governors commence conversations about re-opening parts of the economy

Embracing Virtual Sales During COVID-19

As people continue to shelter in place and want to explore home improvement projects, fenestration companies adapt and take measures to keep employees and customers safe.

COVID-19 Economic Update: “No Question” US Is in a Recession

March data paints a grim picture that caused several industry economists to declare the U.S. is in a recession. “We are in recession, full-stop, no question about it,” says Richard Branch, chief economist, Dodge Data & Analytics.

COVID-19 Economic Update: Recent Developments Offer Hope

As has been the case since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the duration of the virus’s sweep across the country will determine if the economy rebounds quickly or if it’s in for a longer recession, said Ali Wolf, chief economist of Meyers Research, in an economic update webinar on April 1.

Project Continuity Plans in the Era of COVID-19: Best Practices

Whether construction is considered to be an “essential” business and allowed to continue amidst the COVID-19 pandemic varies state by state. In the Associated General Contractors’ “Navigating the Outbreak” webinar series, panelists discussed best practices for maintaining project continuity in the…

Safety Considerations Amidst COVID-19

The current approach for handling employees’ confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases is “better safe than sorry,” according to Howard Mavity, partner at Fisher Phillips law firm.

COVID-19 Economic Outlook: Race Against Time

Policymakers are acting fast to keep the economy as stable as possible and reduce the duration of an inevitable recession in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Ali Wolf, chief economist of Meyers Research, in a webinar on March 25.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act: What are your obligations for paid and unpaid leave?

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act is slated to take effect no later than April 2 and is set to last until the end of 2020. Per the act’s stipulations, employers are required to provide some paid relief for employees, but employers may apply for tax credits on a quarterly basis that will…

Initial Outlook: Economic Impacts of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is bringing with it global uncertainty, fueled by unknowns as to long-term impacts, duration and economic implications. “It’s a given we will have an adverse economic impact in the first and second quarters of 2020,” said Ali Wolf, chief economist of Meyers Research, during a…

Multi-panel Doors | Big, Bold, High Performance

Bigger openings, more glass, larger panels and narrower frames dominate the multi-panel door market today. All of these attributes fulfill what customers seem to want most: a connection with the outdoors and prolific natural light.  

Multi-panel Configurations

Overall project considerations, functionality, performance, aesthetics, available wall space, desired purpose and interaction, and budget all determine which type of multi-panel door is appropriate for a given project, including multi-slide, bifold and lift-and-slide configurations.  

Closer Look

Materials heavily influence the aesthetics and performance considerations of multi-panel doors, as well as impacting ease of functionality. 

After the Storm

Natural disasters often spur conversations around resiliency in building, but the term can be vague and broadly defined. 

Hope After the Storm

With hurricanes predicted to worsen in the coming years, according to a study by Yale University, the resiliency conversation is more important to the building products industry than ever. Certainly, smart building practices and materials are paramount to the conversation, but even the strongest of…

Automation's Role on the Factory Floor

Automated machinery is moving into the front lines of the factory floor as demand for windows and doors remains strong and companies continue to struggle to find workers to produce the products. Manufacturers are responding with suitable products for all clients—those just entering the automated…

And the Winners Are...

Innovative. Forward-thinking. Transformative. Truly unique. These terms, among others, are those judges used to describe the winners of this year’s Window + Door Awards (formerly, the Crystal Achievement Awards).

Industry Pulse 2020: Embracing A New Decade

Window + Door's annual Industry Pulse report reflects on 2019 and lays expectations for 2020, including insights on product, sales and employment trends. The report also frames how the greater economic landscape affects fenestration, and sheds light on how technology is increasingly changing the…

Chasing Daylight

For several years, I worked in an interior office with nothing but a buzzing fluorescent light to illuminate my space. After buckling down on a project for hours, I was always surprised when I emerged, looked out someone else’s window and saw it was snowing. Or storming.

Vinyl Trends

Little did I know when I started at Window & Door that the Pittsburgh area is jam-packed with manufacturers in the fenestration industry. In April, I was welcomed to two local-to-me plants. I visited Thermal Windows & Doors in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, which introduced vinyl windows to the…

Industry 4.0 is Here

Last week, I attended Glass Processing Automation Days in San Antonio. Organized by FeneTech and supported by the National Glass Association, the event is focused on the glass side of our world. But there was still a ton of great information about integrating automation that applies directly to our…

The Resiliency of Construction

As the housing market crashed in 2008, I was in the early days of my career in construction-related publishing. Despite entering the workforce—and the construction-related workforce at that—at arguably one of the most tumultuous times possible, I somehow weathered the Great Recession with my job…

The Opportunity for Women in Fenestration

This week is the National Association of Women in Construction’s Women in Construction Week, an annual event the first week of March that aims to promote women as a viable component of the industry. Although women comprise about 47 percent of the total U.S. workforce, construction is made up of…

Futuristic Fenestration

Worldwide spending on augmented and virtual reality could reach $160 billion by 2023—more than nine times the $16.8 billion figure forecast for 2019, according to a study by the International Data Corporation. Fenestration is exploring these alternate realities and using them to boost efficiency,…

Industry 4.0

Click for larger view of infographic. As technology infiltrates more areas of life, data breaches rise. Nearly 9,000 reported data breaches occurred between January 2005 and April 18, 2018, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. IoT attacks rose by 600 percent in 2017, according to…

Form & Function

Inox’s CeraMax Rainbeaux ceramic-coated, hand-finished door hardware is designed to resist deterioration from salt spray, oxidation, humidity and UV light. Hardware manufacturers today are tasked with making products that not only appeal to myriad aesthetic styles, but also that function for the…

Automation

Europe generally is more advanced than the Americas in the building products field and technology, and the same holds true with machinery. Tony Mehringer, vice president of sales and marketing, Sturtz Machinery, recalls being “blown away” as far back as the early 1990s by how much more open Europe…

Strategies For Success

Women are vastly underrepresented in construction. Although women comprise 47 percent of the total U.S. workforce, they represent only 9 percent of the construction workforce. With construction experiencing such an intense labor shortage, opportunities for women abound.