You Bet Your Glass – Frank Fulton honoured with OGMA Lifetime Achievement Award

Once in a lifetime
Frank Fulton
October 10, 2017
By Frank Fulton
If you’re a regular reader of “You Bet Your Glass,” you’re probably aware that I’ve been involved in the architectural glass and metal industry for quite some time now and that I expend some of my energy into supporting the cause of the Ontario Glass and Metal Association.
Well, my peers and fellow board members did me the great honour of bestowing on me the OGMA Lifetime Achievement Award for 2017! The presentation was made at our fall golf tournament last month.

Nominations for the award are submitted from the membership and “recognize individuals that have made lifelong and/or outstanding contributions to the glass and metal industry, have been active in the OGMA and other industry-related associations, as well as tenure.”

The first OGMA Lifetime award was presented to Bernie Leaman in 1998 followed by Ian Moore in 1999 and my father, Fred Fulton in 2000. These are all people I looked up to when I got involved in the business and still do to this day. All were held in high regard by everybody throughout the industry. I truly consider it a huge honour to be on a list with these luminaries, and I think it’s also pretty cool to be part of the first father/son recipient team.

My first involvement in the industry was a summer job in 1971 working on the sealed unit line at Sealite Glass where, for the princely sum of $2 per hour, I hand-applied the primary butyl seal on the spacer bar. For the next number of summers I got a decent rounding of experience working at Glaverbel Glass making insulating glass, working on the automatic glass cutting line, or schlepping in shipping and receiving.  

When I joined the fledgling family business in August 1979, Fulton Windows was already a member of the Metro Toronto Glass Association and Fred suggested that going to the fall golf tournament the following month would be a good place to meet some industry people. Later that fall I attended an MTGA seminar presented by Werner Kloke on “The History of Glass.” What impressed me was not only the amount of work that went in to putting these events together, but how engaged and lively everybody seemed to be. The extent of all the chatter, jokes and laughter was a surprise I wouldn’t have expected from a group of people competing against each other in business. I remember thinking I’d like to be involved in this in some way.

The following year I applied and got accepted to the board of directors and in 1987 I was elected as the youngest president to serve on the MTGA. It was one of the most gratifying moments of my life and came on the heels of our dedicated group pulling off the first major glass show in Canada: IMAGE ’86.

Since I began in the industry, I always felt it was essential to be involved. How else would you ever know what’s going on or what’s coming next? In 1985, I cajoled my way on to the CSA A440 technical committee, the body that writes the standards for the performance of windows in Canada. Not only did this give me a say in the rules we had to follow in business, it was a huge advantage knowing what changes were coming years in advance. It kept Fulton Windows ahead of the curve and the competition.

Today, as with all trades, the shortage of management-calibre people coming on board could well be one of the greatest challenges facing companies going forward. Personally, through my participation in the OGMA, I have learned far more about all the moving parts in the industry than I would have if I remained stuck at a desk focused only on my own business.

I would encourage companies to participate in their regional associations. After all, they’re the only bodies looking after our collective interests and there’s no better way to stay informed and connected.  Bring your staff to events and encourage them to get involved. When they get exposure to experienced people, the views and ideas can’t help but enhance their growth and development as up-and-coming employees. Being involved enhances their self esteem, makes them better people, and will maximize their potential.

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