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A Conversation with Ron Crowl, NGA Board Chair

NGA Board Chair Ron Crowl interviews with NGA's Sara Neiswanger, discussing technology and its impact on the industry, opportunities he sees for suppliers within NGA, and the importance of strategic partnerships.

Ron Crowl
Ron Crowl

Sara Neiswanger: You are serving as NGA’s first chair representing our supplier membership segment. How do you feel about that? What opportunities do you see?  

Ron Crowl: I am honored to be the first supplier to be the NGA Chair. I believe that representing suppliers in this manner illustrates the important role suppliers play in enabling NGA to do all the amazing things they do to support and promote the industry. My hope is that in this role I can further educate suppliers of the importance we all play in supporting NGA. I also hope to elevate the role of the supplier to that of a strategic partner within the industry.  

SN: What do you want NGA’s membership and the broader industry to understand about how supplier companies fit into our association and the supply chain?  

RC: Very few businesses succeed based purely on their efforts in a vacuum. A successful organization is built upon a collection of partners who are all striving to reach a common goal. In our industry reaching that common goal can span from inspiration through installation of a project. In the middle of that journey sits manufacturing / fabrication, which relies heavily on suppliers. When we all work together in pursuit of success, a supplier has the opportunity to transition to the status of a strategic partner, one that plays an active role in the continued success of not only one of their customers but of our industry as a whole.  

SN: Founding and working for a software company serving the glass industry, you must be pro-technological growth and advancement. What have you seen over the years in terms of technology innovation and adoption?  

RC: Technology has occupied all 40+ years (30+ in the window, door and glass market) of my professional career. As a fresh college graduate all those years ago, DOS and floppy disks were considered hi-tech, so yes, I have followed, adopted and developed technology as the years have passed by. In the mid-1960s, Gordon Moore was credited with Moore's law, which stated that the number of transistors in an integrated circuit would double every two years. This observation has held true for the most part and is the enabler of the rapid advances in technology. I've been fortunate to live through and participate in the advancement of technology that has changed the world—and certainly our industry. The biggest change I've seen over the years is that technology has become so much more user-friendly; it is not uncommon to see toddlers easily swiping through a smart phone. The intuitiveness of products today is incredible.  

SN: In what ways do you see technology helping and/or hindering the glass industry in the future?  

RC: Technology has certainly improved our industry and given us tools to be more efficient and deliver higher quality products with shorter lead times. Companies need to adopt the latest technologies. The next generation of workers will not only expect it but will not be able to function effectively without it. 

SN: Describe what you find to be the unique value NGA brings to supplier companies like yours?  

RC: To many suppliers, GlassBuild is the NGA, but there is so much more to it. The NGA provides educational materials, helps drive codes and standards, advocates for the advancement of fenestration products, and provides awesome networking opportunities. In short, NGA helps strengthen the industry and by doing so creates opportunities for all suppliers to grow their business.  

SN: If you could recommend one more avenue for someone to get more engaged, what would it be?  

RC: If you are already an NGA member, get engaged with the opportunities NGA makes available. Go to the events, participate on a committee, just be present and participate. If you are not yet an NGA member, join and invest in your future.