Evans Glass Wins Torch Award for Ethical Commerce and Student of Integrity

The anticipation is over as 2015 Torch Award Recipients were revealed at BBB’s dinner event held April 28 at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel.  Jennifer Kraus, Newschannel 5, award winning investigative reporter, served as emcee of the event attended by more than 350 business owners and community leaders.


Evans Glass Company,
Nashville, TN

 

 

The value of perspective

Are you managing based on experience or wisdom? Experience is defined as learning from one’s own mistakes. Wisdom is defined as learning from others’ mistakes. Wisdom is defined as learning from others’ mistakes. Experience is always expensive. Wisdom is free.

During my career at Evans Glass Co., I have experienced five major financial crises: 20 percent interest rates during the Carter administration, the late 1980s recession as a result of the 1986 tax code revision, the Dot.com bust, 9-11 and the recent mortgage crisis. Based upon my experience, which has been very expensive, I have learned that our behavior is very predictable before, during and after each crisis.

Before

  • Consumer spending on luxuries/non-necessities accelerates because society begins believing that the current boom times are normal.
  • In our industry, we begin to see the creation of many small glass shops. Glaziers think they see “the boss getting rich” and leave to start their own company. My father said this typically happens six to 12 months before the crisis begins.

During

  • Society begins loudly complaining that “gas prices are too high,” and our dependence upon “foreign oil” is out of control.
  • People begin worrying about other countries “owning” us and how our country will become a puppet of the foreign powers.
  • Parents begin fretting about “their kids’ future” and the legacy they will leave the “younger generation.”
  • Generally, people believe we will never see good times again.
  • Businesses panic and operate out of fear by slashing jobs, reducing inventory and taking projects at near cost “just to keep their people busy.”
  • It is easy to become a victim of short-term thinking with very little or no thought of the future. We function in survival mode.

After

  • We can’t believe we are emerging from the crisis, so we postpone growth decisions. We are afraid to invest in our business, even though it is the best time to do so and we will get the best return on our investment.
  • Revenues and profits do not parallel each other. Revenues grow first and faster than profits. Businesses are still using low margins to get work. Margins will be raised when demand begins exceeding supply. Increased profits will then follow.
  • Cash flow is constricted. Businesses must buy materials to execute the new work. These materials must be paid for before the business collects receivables, or payment to vendors must be delayed until collection. In the latter case, vendors begin demanding payment or they will cease supply. In a few months, the cash flow shortage will disappear.
  • New equipment purchases or the repair of existing equipment is required. For example, old trucks that were idled need repair, or new hires are necessary.

When we are in a crisis it is difficult to know our location. It is probable that we will forget our past experiences in similar situations. This is a recap of my experience. Will you make decisions based upon experience or wisdom?

Bill Evans

What Are You Thinking?

Most people are not aware of how their thinking influences them or others around them. Below are 2 actual situations that I encountered recently.

I am a member of a local Athletic Endurance Team (BEAT).  BEAT is a member of a national organization (USAT).  USAT is conducting a competition, among its member groups, during December, January, and February.  Each team accumulates points from swimming (10/mile), biking (1/mile), and/or running (3/mile). All of these sports are individual sports, not team sports.  As a matter of fact, each individual team member usually does their training alone and not part of a group.

I do my training alone.  I have a training schedule that I follow to achieve my goals.  My schedule, for example, may call for me to run 5 miles on Tuesday.  What I have discovered is that as I run the 5 miles I have started thinking about running an extra mile to help accumulate more points for BEAT.  This is an interesting realization.  An individual sport has become a team sport in my mind.  Thinking about what I can do to help my team makes my individual workout easier and more meaningful.

A 2nd situation occurred at Disney World in early January.  I entered 2 races on consecutive days.  Both had many, many participants.  The Saturday race had 27,000 runners for the half marathon.  It was evident to me before the start that it was going to be impossible to run a fast time.  I made a conscious decision to adjust my thinking about the race. There were many 1st time runners that had trained to reach their Big Hairy Audacious Goal of completing 13.1 miles.  There were also seasoned runners.  The 1st timers were not aware of runner’s etiquette.  For example, when they decided to stop running and walk they did not move to the side, but stayed in the center of the road.

Some seasoned runners did not appreciate the rookies’ lack of etiquette.  Some seasoned runners complained aloud and to anyone in listening range.  Their complaining negatively affected those that heard it.  I, and many others, accepted the fact that we would not run a fast pace.  We encouraged the 1st timers throughout the race and talked to the volunteers and our fellow runners about meaningless yet friendly subjects.  Just being positive and encouraging raised the spirits of those struggling to run the distance.  Often, the encouragers were thanked by the struggling rookies.

These are 2 different situations.  One is an individual setting and one is a crowd setting.  Yet, a simple decision in both cases had a profound impact on the outcome.  As a member of BEAT, the decision to go farther because of the team made it easier than running a shorter distance for me alone.  As an individual in a crowd, the decision to adjust my thinking to deal with circumstances kept me from being frustrated and also made it enjoyable for me and those around me.

Always be aware of how our thinking influences our attitude; how our attitude influences our actions; and, consequently, how our actions influence others and their attitudes and/or belief levels.

Bill Evans

What is your No. 2 priority?

People often misuse words such as affect/effect, may/can, need/want, and urgent/important. Perhaps, the last example affects business people the most, especially this time of year.

Let’s look at the following list of tasks:

  • Important, urgent items
  • Important, non-urgent items
  • Urgent, unimportant items
  • Non-urgent, unimportant items

It is easy to prioritize items that are urgent and important, or not urgent and unimportant. But, how we prioritize the other two determines our effectiveness. Which is more valuable? Which will lead to long-term gain?  If something is urgent but not important, what is its value? Quite frankly, we all get consumed by what we consider “urgent” without analyzing its importance. This is compounded by the prevalence of smart phones and 24/7 accessibility. If it is not important, why do we feel the pressure to respond quickly?

Recently, I attended a two-day meeting with peers in the glass industry. Most of us own glass shops, and one owns a fabricating company. I really didn’t have time to go to the meeting because of the daily, urgent demands of my business. However, this meeting was important, even if it wasn’t urgent.  I always learn something at these meetings, and my employees ask me what I learn that is applicable to the business. They are excited about ways to improve. So although the meeting wasn’t urgent, I still chose to attend because it was important.

When we place urgent, unimportant items in the No. 2 slot on our priority list, we ease present situations. But it also keeps us forever focused on the short-term. Growth will be a result of working more hours, not smarter.

When we proactively plan, we place important, non-urgent items in the No. 2 slot. This allows us to look to the future, strategize, and implement plans for growth and survival. The fourth quarter of the calendar year is a great time to work on important, non-urgent items. Use this time to plan for the next year, five years, and 10 years. Do not be consumed by the urgent, non-important. Success is dependent upon having a priority list that looks like this:

  1. Important, urgent items
  2. Important, non-urgent items
  3. Urgent, unimportant items
  4. Non-urgent, unimportant items

Bill Evans

Is Your World Lookin Foggy?

Double pane glass makes for a good, energy efficient window and many people don’t realize that they don’t have to replace their entire window when the glass has failed (fogged) or the glass has been cracked or broken. Glass repair is far easier than complete window replacement and costs far less. Here are some typical questions asked by customers:

What is an IG?

A: IG stands for Insulating Glass Unit. An IG, double pane or thermal pane window is composed of 2 pieces of glass separated by a spacer, which creates a sealed air space between the two panes. IG’s are manufactured as airtight units that resist fogging due to desiccant in the spacer. It’s the air space that creates the insulating properties that makes these units so energy efficient. The size of the air-space determines how efficient the window will be. A window with a ¾” air-space will be more thermally insulating than one with a ¼” air space. Other factors like Low-E or tinted glass can also increase energy efficiency.

Are all double pane/insulating windows filled with gas or Argon?

A: No. Most dual pane windows are simply filled with plain air. This provides a dry sealed air space which reduces heat transfer. Argon gas is less conductive than air and nitrogen and in extremely cold climates can result in a noticeable difference in heat transfer. In warmer climates like Tennessee, however, the additional cost of Argon gas is not as beneficial or even necessary.

Why have my double pane windows failed?

A: All sealed double or thermal pane windows eventually fail. There is no such thing as a window that will last a “lifetime”. Seals can break and leave you in a fog-filled world. Fog found in double pane windows is caused when the seal surrounding the two layers of glass loosens and moisture seeps through and becomes trapped between the layers. Just a pinhole can create foggy windows. A quality wood framed window that is well maintained (caulked and painted regularly) may last 20 -25 years. Aluminum framed windows may last 17 – 20 years; while vinyl framed windows may last 15 years. The degree of the exposure to sun and rain a window gets will determine the IG’s lifetime. Windows facing south or west will not last as long as windows facing north that do not get direct sunshine.

What is safety glass and why do I need it?

A: “Safety glass” or “tempered glass” is a form of safety glass created by heating regular glass then chilling it quickly to create an inner tension in the glass. This tension produces glass that is about four times stronger than regular glass. However when it breaks, it breaks into small pea sized pieces that eliminate the deep wounding cuts caused by glass. Uniform building codes exist for specific applications for residential buildings to ensure safety. Evans Glass Company installs glass according to the required building codes in order to reduce your risk of harm or liability.

What is Low-E and what does it do for my windows?

A: Low-E stands for Low-Emissivity. Low-E coatings are virtually invisible, microscopically thin metallic oxide layers deposited on a specific surface of the glass to reduce heat transfer entering or exiting the window. Low-E can reduce the heat transfer in a window by up to 60% over a non Low-E window.

Is it possible to repair a failed (foggy) window without taking out the entire frame?

A: Absolutely. Many people don’t know the difference between window replacement and glass replacement. Window replacement is replacing the entire window frames and all, down to the rough opening. Glass replacement leaves the frame intact and only involves replacing the glass (IG) part of the window. Most windows frames from wood, aluminum or vinyl are designed so that the glass units can be removed and replaced without removing the frames.

Pros and Cons of Glass Replacement:

Pros:

  • Cheaper than window replacement
  • Instant results
  • Can be done to virtually any type of window
  • You can upgrade to low-E, tinted, design glass, add or remove internal grids.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t upgrade your window frames.

Developing a growth-oriented recruiting plan

Most small businesses hire people to execute current work; they don’t think about hiring people to help them grow their companies. But as small business owners, we need to hire leaders to help us grow our companies. I am always looking for people, even if I do not have a position available. I know that when I find someone, I will create a position for them.

There are three components to developing a growth-oriented recruiting plan: Prospecting, Interviewing and Hiring, and Orientation and Basic Training.  Here, we will talk about prospecting and interviewing.

Obviously, the best prospects are usually referrals.  Trust is the key, and referrals always come with an assumed level of trust.  The potential employee must trust you just as you must trust him or her.  This trust will lead to a more open interview.  Trust will allow you, as the interviewer, to get more honest answers.  I want to answer three questions during an interview (notice that I did not say I want the applicant to answer the questions):

1) Can the applicant do the job? (What is their experience and/or potential?)

2) Will the applicant do the job? (Are they motivated?)

3) Will the applicant do the job for me? (Do they fit our corporate culture?)

To get an accurate answer to #1, we must clearly define the expectations for the job.  We have to know what our company needs.  What is the job description?  This definition must be told to the potential employee during, if not before, the interview.  The key to getting accurate answers to #1 is clearly defining the job expectations.  If the answer to #1 is not positive, then #2 and #3 become irrelevant.

How do we determine motivation?  I ask about their proudest accomplishments and also about their greatest disappointments.  I can get a good idea from their past about what will motivate them in the future.  The two biggest motivators are the desire to get something or the fear of losing something.  When we uncover the answer to either of these, we know what tool to use to motivate the new employee.

I recently interviewed someone referred to us by a competitor.  After the initial interview, I asked him back for a second interview conducted jointly by two trusted employees.  I needed to know if he would fit in with our current staff.  By using existing employees to conduct a follow-up interview, I got another viewpoint about the potential employee.  Do they want to work with him?  Are they willing to work with him to help him succeed?

—Bill Evans, president, Evans Glass Co., Nashville 

Are You a Leader? (Part 2)

Daylight Savings Time begins March 13th.  Hallelujah!  Attitudes change with the clock change.  Everyone becomes calmer and friendlier.  Most people can be led easily during this period.  How can leaders take advantage of this to mold others and their companies?

My trainer constantly reminds me to stretch after running.  He says it’s the best time to stretch because your body is poised to benefit.  Stretching will help prevent injuries but also strengthen. I understand, but the fact is that I hate to stretch.  I have little free time and, after a run, I am hurrying to accomplish the next item on my TO-Do-List.  The fact that I have many things to do does not lessen the importance of stretching.

During winter our habits change.  Some people leave work earlier; some choose not to make a call until tomorrow; some sleep more.  As we emerge from our winter hibernation our habits need stretching.  Be aware that employees will not want to change (stretch).  They will resist it because most do not like change.  Their resistance is similar to my dislike for stretching after a run.  As leaders we must teach others how to change (stretch) their habits.

Also, most of your competition is resistant to change. You will create a competitive advantage when you use this time to stretch.  In a race there are only a few strategic places where you can pass your competition.  You may not know beforehand where these places may be.  What is most important is to be alert to recognize the opportunities as they occur.  Now is the time!

The best leadership is by example.  My father taught me not to ask your employees to do something you are not willing to do.  At Evans Glass Company I make it a point of calling on new potential customers weekly, calling to collect a past due account from a “problem” customer, developing relationships with new suppliers, and generally doing things that may be uncomfortable initially.  Leaders are willing to do the uncomfortable things until they become comfortable.  As others see what we do, they will quickly lose their resistance to change (stretching).  When you stretch you grow (and your company grows).

Are you a leader?

Are You A Leader?

January and February are naturally depressing. The holidays are over; it’s cold; our cars are dirty; everything is a shade of gray; work is scarce; days are short. Forget business, negative media, competition, the economy, health care and rising gas prices. This time of year stinks (and “stinks” is not my word of choice).

It reminds me of the hills I encounter when I run. How I deal with hills can impact the quality of the race. How we deal with January and February can impact the rest of the year. At my company, I encourage people to search for positive news to report during our weekly office meetings. We encourage each other to look to the future (warm weather, lots of work, cookouts) and quit focusing on our present conditions. It’s all about our attitude. When encountering a hill or obstacle, our attitude is the main propellant that gets us over it.

When encountering a hill, some people stop. Some look for a way to go around it. Some slow their pace to conserve energy. Some keep a steady pace. Some attack it.

Personally, I love hills! My wife and I often run together. We have watches that tell us our pace, distance, calories burned, etc. We always encounter several hills during each run. I initially believed that she would slow her pace at each hill because I would beat her to the top. After several runs, I questioned her about slowing her pace. She showed me, using the data stored in her watch, that her pace had been consistent. She examined my watch and noticed that my pace increased during most ascents.

Both of us get to the top of each hill, but differently. Neither one of us, however, stops or looks for a way around it or slows down. My wife is steady. She leans into the hill, but controls her pace. I also lean into the hill, but I accelerate. I want to conquer that obstacle as quickly as possible. I know I will be fatigued at the top, but it feels good to know it’s behind me.

Those people that stop, slow down, or waste time trying to circumnavigate the hill will be left behind. Those that maintain a steady pace or accelerate through the hill will lead.

Are you a leader?

—Bill Evans, president, Evans Glass Co., Nashville 

Risk

I attended and graduated from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tenn. (Both the school and the city probably prefer not to be associated with me.)  I needed 6 quarter hours (two classes) to graduate at the end of spring quarter 1977.  It was the ’70s, and everyone that knew me then said I had a good time. (I’m glad they remember, because I don’t.)

One of my classes was Marriage and Family Relations. I attended the first class and didn’t go back. By the way, I’ve been married 33 years, so I don’t think I needed to attend any more classes.

My other class was accounting theory. I have always thought this to be a nonsensical class because accountants do not work in theory. They use actual numbers to determine costs, profits, losses, depreciation, etc.

I went into the final exam with an average so low that if I got 100 percent, I could not raise my grade high enough to pass. As the professor instructed us to begin, I turned the paper over and wrote on the front, “Dr. Waters: If you pass me, I promise I’ll never practice accounting. Bill Evans”.  I got up, handed him the exam and left.

Did I take a risk?

—Bill Evans, president, Evans Glass Co., Nashville

Giving back to the community

Evans Glass Company

Evans Glass Company, based in Nashville, TN is doing their part to give back to the community by volunteering their time and contributing to supplies. The company donated all of the glass for the doors and door frames of the new building and sent two employees to come out to The Nashville Build and volunteer their time.

Employees Joey Ferrell and Denney Popp, seen above, are putting their skills to work and assisting with the build in any way they can.

“It’s a great experience to be here,” says Popp, “It’s amazing to watch it on TV, but being here and seeing it all come together and to be a part of it all is so exciting.”

Ferrell and Popp are working hard and look forward to seeing the final results of the build coming together.