037 GGP 1214

GGP December 2014

In The Hot Seat Brian McDonald, sales and business development manager for Ritec, talks to GGP about how the industry has evolved over the last 20 years and how Ritec is poised to “When I came into the glass industry it December 2014 37 Boom to bust – and back again take advantage of the current upturn. GGP: Tell us a little about yourself – you’ve been in the glass and glazing industry for over 20 years, but what do you do when you’re not working? McDonald: I try to unwind over the weekend, having two boys keeps me busy but when I get the chance I enjoy a round of golf. I also try to keep in shape so I fit in as much cycling and attending the gym in as possible. GGP: What did you do before becoming a part of this industry? Was it by accident or by choice!? McDonald: By accident really. Many years ago I worked for ABB and was approached by a recruitment company looking for a contract manager to work for Solaglass Architectural. I joined their curtain walling division in Coventry and that was it – there was no escaping from the industry after that! GGP: You’ve worked for a wide range of companies in a career that spans over 20 years in the glass industry, including Global Glass, Saint Gobain, Hegla and Bystronic. How has the industry changed from your perspective over the last two decades? McDonald: Enormously. When I came into the glass industry it was a boom time. Most finished product was manufactured in the UK with very little imports from overseas. The first major was a boom time.” change I witnessed was the decline on the bulk processing industry. There were many large companies producing bulk processed glass and mirror for the furniture and white goods industry, which was at the time buoyant. However, over the years to come, this bulk manufacturing declined, glass was being imported from China at a much cheaper cost and most of the big processors either closed or changed their offering. Companies had to look to items that couldn’t be manufactured too far in advance, value added offerings such as processing thicker glass, specialist finishing etc. were on the rise. Glass companies had to become more diverse and the investment in machinery and toughening plants to do this increased. However, although the bulk processing industry declined, the sealed unit manufacturing companies were on the increase, as the requirement for better quality and higher performance sealed units increased. These companies grew to what we now know as some of the major players in the UK and Europe. We then had the recession which, once again, changed the face of the industry in the UK, many famous names and good people disappeared from the industry and it was a very difficult time for a lot of us. But out of the recession arose a stronger, leaner UK glass industry. Quality and service became paramount. The ability to help your customer with all his needs and not just one ensure you would get and retain their business. This has now grown into the industry we work in today and I believe it has made it a much stronger industry than ever. GGP: What was the reason for your move to Ritec? McDonald: Ritec is an extremely well-known name in the industry, however most people don’t realise the potential of the product and its numerous uses that can add value to products. I certainly didn’t even after 20 years plus in the industry. To me, it was the stuff you sprayed on sand blasted glass to protect it. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was invited down to London Continued on page 38


GGP December 2014
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