Under the Glass
Editorial: Frank Fulton – not just a great putter
Thanks to Frank Fulton for all he does for this magazine and this industry.
By Patrick Flannery
Congratulations to Frank Fulton who is celebrating his 10th year writing the You Bet Your Glass column on our back page. He’s been in this magazine longer than I have! Frank is a precious resource to this publication because he combines a deep knowledge of this industry – gleaned from a lifetime working in it as a contractor and supplier – with a really high level of writing ability. That’s incredibly rare. I barely need to touch his copy.
But all the writing ability in the world is no use if you have nothing to say. Frank does not suffer from this disability. I never tell him what to write about or even need to consult with him to help develop topics. I just receive a spirited, well-informed, well-written column in my inbox every two months, usually before deadline. It’s an editor’s dream. Frank is deeply interested in all aspects of architectural glass – technical and business-related – and his constant reading and discussions with industry folks combine with his curious, analytical mind to generate stories and opinions that entertain, stimulate and inform. Far from simply belching the contents of his mind onto the page, he actually interviews sources and conducts background research to support his columns! I don’t know what I did to get so lucky.
As if all that weren’t enough, Frank also has the courage and determination to take a position and say what he feels needs to be said, even if it’s unpopular or runs against the accepted line of thinking. In our April 2018 issue, he drew attention to the uncomfortable fact that the Canadian Glass Association has lost its way and faces existential peril if it can’t find new enthusiasm and a new mission. Not something that anyone wanted to hear, but something we all needed to hear. His last column addressing Xinyi Glass’ ouster from the Guelph-Eramosa region was a blistering takedown of the shortsightedness and hypocrisy of small-minded municipal politicians – all the more effective for its firm grounding in the facts. His pressure on the forces guiding Ontario’s Prompt Payment reforms has been unrelenting, reflecting his determination to make sure those reforms actually address the needs of small glass businesses.
Frank is one of those rare people who strongly believes in an integrated industry community and is willing to put in the time and energy to see it built. He’s the beating heart of the Ontario Glass and Metal Association, dedicating more than his share of the time to organize every golf tournament, social event and education seminar. He’s also the deserving recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award. Ever wonder where the OGMA update comes from in our Canadian Glass Association newsletter each issue? Hint: I don’t write it.
Because of Frank’s efforts, any of us can look back on what he’s written and done and get a sense of what makes this business special. If this magazine is worth reading and serves any purpose in this industry, a very large part of it is due to Frank Fulton’s contributions.
No, Frank, I don’t have any more budget to pay columnists.