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You Bet Your Glass: June 2009

A night at the races

June 17, 2009  By Frank Fulton

Brian Wiles from ProTemp Glass wins by a head while Grace Genitori, left, and Mima Krutzler, right, from TAGG Industries place and show.”

Brian Wiles from ProTemp Glass wins by a head while Grace Genitori, left, and Mima Krutzler, right, from TAGG Industries place and show.”

At the end of April this year, the Ontario Glass and Metal Association (OGMA) held its first event of the season at the Woodbine Race Track in Toronto. We had held a few race nights in years gone by, then stopped doing them for a few years due to apathy and dwindling participation, as I recall.  The association resurrected the outing in 2008 with a decent turnout for standard bred harness racing and we were very happy to host 58 members and guests this year to watch the thoroughbreds run on a mild, clear evening. 

For those of you who haven’t been to the track in a while, if ever, they’ve done a lot to make it a fun and pleasant place to go. The service is friendly, the roast beef buffet is quite good, and the seating and surroundings are comfortable. The general area away from the dining rooms still has that seedy feel full of desperate faces, so if this is the atmosphere you prefer, don’t worry, it’s still there to be enjoyed.


A very few lucky participants in our group managed to go home with a few more dollars than they came with, but most of us, including me, donated funds to the cause. I only go to the races once or twice a year and have déjà vu all over again with each visit. 

When the races begin, I am brimming with confidence, armed with the “secret picks” I got from the newspaper, then promptly lose the first two races and the daily double. My confidence level wanes.  Why aren’t these horses doing what they’re supposed to do anyway?  I need a break and start to believe that there must be one in my immediate future and figure that winning a triactor will redeem my enthusiasm. Well, it may have, but it didn’t happen during the next three races, and it’s time for a new “think outside of the box” approach. Doing the math of desperation, I determine that if I bet the exactor on all eight horses in the race I stand a very good chance of making a profit. Well, if you can believe it, both of the heavy favourites finished first and second, accompanied by very low payouts. At least I had the joy of going to the cashier window to collect $5.60 on my win. Unfortunately that winning ticket cost me $56. 

I then decided to take a break from betting the next few races and actually felt like a huge winner. I finished the evening deciding that the whole thing must be rigged and that horses are stupid. If you ever think that you’re going to reach easy street at the track, do yourself a favour and buy some lottery tickets instead. They’re far less frustrating.

Forgetting the philly follies, after hibernating through a long winter it was great to get out and see a number of people from our industry again. There were a few new comers like Theresa Sherwood of Sherwood Windows, a respected past competitor of mine with whom I and my brother Bob shared a table with, along with a few others. Having new participants out is encouraging, but for the most part the majority of attendees are from the same loyal companies who are always out supporting our association: TripleSeal, ProTemp, Oakville Glass, TAGG, Alumicor, and Tremco to name a few.

It wasn’t that long ago that the largest companies in glass manufacturing and aluminum products were the cornerstone of our association. They supported all of our events and always brought a large number of their employees and customers. Sadly, this is no longer the case and the entire industry suffers as a result.

Compared to years gone by there seems to be much less recognition placed on the value of networking and just getting out for a social occasion to chat and lie with others in the industry and to share news or rumours. Budgets and bottom line pressures don’t permit spending of this nature in many of today’s corporations. For new people coming up, the opportunity of meeting others in the industry and learning what is happening outside of the company they are working for just doesn’t exist.
When I started at Fulton Windows, my father, Fred, encouraged me to attend the Metro Toronto Glass Association (MTGA) golf tournaments and dinner seminars and I met a lot of people I wouldn’t have otherwise. As a newbie, it was kind of exciting to see all the who’s who that make up the industry and I learned a little of how all the various companies worked, what they did, and how they did it. Through my involvement with the association, I grew far beyond what I would have, had I not participated.  Not only that, most of my best friends today are people I met through the association.

As an owner or manager, you know the value of having good people in your company. Giving your employees, and particularly your “up and comers” the chance to get out to participate will not only help them grow, they’ll appreciate the fact you brought them. You end up with a much better and loyal employee with greater potential, and the cost is relatively cheap.  Do yourself a favour and get yourself and your employees involved in your local industry association.

* Frank Fulton is president of Fultech Fenestration Consulting, offering technical and improvement project assistance to the glass and metal industry. He has been in the glass industry for 30 years. You can reach him at .

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