What Careers Can Your Pursue in the Commercial Glass Industry?
Whether you are a student looking for what to do after graduation, someone looking for a career change, or a skilled tradesman looking for a new industry, the commercial glass industry provides many great opportunities for a career. Since glass is at the heart of Kensington Glass Arts (KGa), we wanted to share some possible careers you can pursue in the glass industry.
What are the sectors in the glass industry?
The glass industry has a few subsectors. This includes glazing and manufacturing in both commercial and residential. Glazing refers to the installation, repairs, and fieldwork involving the glass. Manufacturing refers to the factory work to produce the glass. The glass industry also has administrative support staff, sales, and other office positions for both glazing and manufacturing. Glass can also be divided into residential and commercial glass. Generally, residential glass refers to glass produced and installed for homes, while commercial glass refers to glass produced and installed for businesses. These two have different, but similarly applicable skill sets.
Traditionally, the biggest difference between the two segments of work is the size and thickness of glass. Commercial work tends to have larger lites of glass, however, the residential glass world has also been increasing the size of glass we work with on a regular basis. Depending upon which sector you’re wanting to work in, there will be different experience levels and educational requirements for these positions. In this article, we will primarily address the requirements needed in the commercial glass industry.
Kensington Glass Arts is unique, in that we are both a glazier and fabricator. KGa both fabricates and installs glass, a rare combination seen in the commercial glass industry. As such, we are able to speak on both the glazing and fabrication side of a glass career.
The first sector of the glazing industry we will cover is Contract, better known as the field workers. Field workers consist of various levels of glaziers and Field Superintendents to supervise job sites.
Glass Helpers, our most entry-level field position, are responsible for assisting our mechanics with the installation process. Glass Helpers are required to assist with measurements, and therefore should be able to read a tape measure down to 1/64th of an inch as well as set up and run other layout tools like laser levels. In addition, Glass Helpers assist Glass Mechanics with anticipating the needs to complete a glass installation, including materials, labor, and other resources to meet project deadlines. Further, Glass Helpers are responsible for ensuring their vehicle and job site are kept clean and stocked with commonly used supplies and hardware. All of these skills are required for a helper to move on to more demanding roles.
Glass Mechanics and Lead Glass Mechanics
Eventually, Glass Helpers can be promoted to the Glass Mechanic position. Glass Mechanics are responsible for the installation of our contracted projects. This includes gathering all materials, labor, and scaffolding for job sites. Glass Mechanics must have the ability to read blueprints and specifications to determine what materials are needed for the project. Further, Glass Mechanics assist with the development and scheduling of the Glass Helpers on their team. Overall, Glass Mechanics runs small to medium size job sites. After becoming a Glass Mechanic, you have the opportunity to become a Lead Glass Mechanic. Lead Glass Mechanics share similar responsibilities to a Glass Mechanic. However, they have the additional responsibility of running larger, more complex job sites.
Glazier Job Requirements and Job Outlook
Glass Helpers, as the most entry-level position, do not require significant previous experience. Some previous work in the construction industry is preferred, but not required. However, Glass Helpers must have the ability to read a tape measure down to one sixty-fourth of an inch. Glass Mechanics should have some prior experience in the glazing industry. Lead Glass Mechanics should have experience as a Glass Mechanic.
All glaziers must be physically able to exert up to 100 lbs of force, have vision clarity at 20 inches or less and 20 feet or more (with or without visual aids), be comfortable in all types of weather, and be prepared for loud noises from the construction sites. In addition, glaziers must travel to client sites for the installations they are assigned to.
Glazier jobs are expected to grow by 4% in the next 10 years. It’s also worth noting that the employment of glaziers relies on the amount of construction occurring at any given time. Living in areas with new construction often leads to more jobs and higher pay. You’ll see many glaziers in states with large cities, such as California, Washington, and Texas. This is because there is both new construction and renovations occurring in these areas with corporate offices and new homes.
Field Superintendents, in short, run the job sites and ensure that all jobs are running safely and efficiently. Field Superintendents oversee all field staff and quality control at their given job sites. Other construction field staff will directly communicate with the field superintendent. The field superintendent may run multiple job sites at the same time and rely on their Lead Glass Mechanics for further assistance. Field Superintendents not only help plan the materials and labor needed for a project, but they also track the materials. Field superintendents are the recordkeepers and communicators on job sites for clients and other contractors. Sometimes, Field Superintendents may be asked to assist other contractors with scheduling labor and materials to ensure a project is completed as efficiently and safely as possible.
One of KGa’s Field Superintendents said the most important part of his job is caring for his team. “I always try to put them first,” he said. Derrick notes that each new day brings new challenges, which makes his job interesting and fun. To combat these challenges, Derrick ensures that all materials, labor, and other parts of the project are running optimally. Stephanie Staub, Director of Marketing at Architectural Glass Institute, says that “You have to be able to manage people, deal with people above and below you, and conflict resolution. I think it takes someone with a certain level of finesse for these types of roles.”
Field Superintendent Requirements and Job Outlook
Field Superintendents should have prior experience running construction job sites either as a Glass Mechanic or Lead Glass Mechanic. Field superintendents face similar physical challenges as glaziers. As such, they have similar physical requirements to be able to be in their job.
Union Glazing Jobs
Our primary discussion has been on non-union glazing jobs since that is the work KGa performs. However, union glazing jobs have different requirements than non-union jobs. For one, union glazing jobs require individuals to attend a trade school for two years. During trade school, you will learn applicable skills for on-the-job work. After completing trade school, you will participate in an apprenticeship program for 3-4 years for on-the-job training. To learn more about the trade school and apprenticeship process, check out our blog article on How To Get Started in the Construction Industry.
Unions require more training than non-union jobs. On one hand, this ensures employees are receiving continuing education. On the other hand, this can feel limiting to those who do not want to or are unable to attend a trade school. Many glaziers are able to learn additional skills on the job, so long as their organization takes on a wide variety of job types and supports continuing education of their staff.
The next section we are covering in this article is the fabrication of glass. Fabrication refers to the manufacturing processes that must be done to complete the creation of glass. Typically, this type of work involves warehouse experience with mechanical knowledge. There are many jobs in the manufacturing facility all with different levels of responsibility.
Seam & Wash
Our Seam & Wash Technicians are in charge of seaming and washing all glass produced in our fabrication facility. In this position, the glass is slightly sanded to create a smooth or beveled edge for further glass manipulation. In addition, the glass is washed to ensure it is clear of any imperfections prior to tempering. At KGa, most individuals with only entry-level warehouse experience start in Seam & Wash. This is because all glass must go through this process and the technical/mechanical skills are minimal. Therefore, Seam & Wash Technicians see all types of glass, thickness, types of defects, and more. Together with our Edging Technicians, our Seam & Wash Technicians prepare the glass for further tempering. Typically, Seam & Washers are promoted to the Edging position after learning the necessary skills for this new position.
Edging involves shaping the edges of the glass into various configurations. Edging Technicians are responsible for coordinating all activities and manpower to edge glass. Meanwhile, Edging Leads carry more responsibility than edging technicians. Edging Leads must respond to changes in production schedules, maintain clean and functional workspaces and machinery, and any other duties as assigned. Further, the Edging Leads are in charge of the training and development of their appropriate Technicians. In addition, Edging Leads are responsible for the total productive maintenance of all edging-related machines. In short, Edging Leads are responsible for the entire Edging and Seam & Wash department. After attaining proficiency in edging, the employee may move to work on the Vertmax machine, or our CNC machine.
A CNC Technician is responsible for the safe and quality operation of production on the CNC Machine. A CNC Machine is a manufacturing machine in which pre-programmed computer software dictates the movement of factory tools and machinery. At Kensington Glass Arts, this machinery is used for cutting the glass into various shapes. CNC Technicians and CNC Leads should have some computer and technical knowledge to understand the machinery.
CNC Leads are responsible for overseeing the activities for the entire CNC Department. As such, they share similar responsibilities to our CNC Technicians and other leads. Similar to other leads, CNC Leads are in charge of the training and development of their technicians, and responsible for the maintenance of the machines.
Cutting and Polishing
Another department in our fabrication division includes the cutting department. We start with large 108″x144″ on average size sheets of glass weighing hundreds of pounds, then cut it down to “block” sizes to allow for polishing down to finished sizes as required by the project order. Cutting Technicians are responsible for, simply put, cutting the glass. In addition Cutting Technicians must correctly label the glass, sort, and stage as needed. Similarly, Polishers operate the machinery to polish the edges of glass to the required profile and size required by each individual piece of glass on the order, as well as inspecting the glass to remove imperfections.
Fabrication Technicians are the employees at KGa who work on the tempering oven. The Fabrication Technicians are responsible for accurately fabricating, sorting, and stages all glass as required. These employees must understand the science behind glass, so that they can ensure the tempering process is going smoothly. This requires close control and adjustments to the recipe balance between heat, time, and humidity in the tempering process.
Our Production Supervisors are highly experienced Technicians with knowledge of all aspects of the fabrication and operation efficiency to ensure a quality product is made within standards at a cost-efficient process. They are in charge of making sure the day-to-day responsibilities in our fabrication facilities go smoothly. Our Production Supervisors work with our Master Scheduler to create plans for the day. In addition, our Production Supervisors make sure that our fabrication employees continue to remain safe on the job. Further, our Production Supervisors inspect the glass we produce in our fabrication facility to ensure that it’s exactly to our client’s specifications.
Manufacturing Job Requirements and Outlook
Individuals who are looking to join the manufacturing industry have an advantage over other candidates if they have some sort of prior construction or manufacturing background. This is because manufacturing requires employees to stay on their feet all day, so having some type of experience in this role will ensure the organization that they are prepared for this type of labor. In addition, having experience using precision measuring tools like calibrated tape measures and micrometers is essential for this role, to ensure you’re able to measure the glass. Further, some employees, such as those on the CNC machine, require some computer and mechanical knowledge to operate the machinery. If someone has a forklift or prior warehouse experience as a bonus this may qualify them for additional responsibility required to operate heavy equipment. This will be addressed on a case-by-case basis, to ensure that the individual is put in the most fitting role based on their experience.
To progress your career in the fabrication facility, you must rely on your work ethic. If someone is interested in learning another machine, department or take on additional responsibilities, KGa encourages this. After taking on additional responsibilities, the employee may migrate to the department they want to work in.
Because KGa continues to grow, we expect that there will be an increase in the total number of manufacturing positions available in the Mid-Atlantic and Virginia areas. Our Director of Manufacturing said “If you want to make it a career, it’s great for a lot of people. Even if you’re straight out of high school and want a career to grow with, it’s a great place to begin.”
Quality Control Technicians take an active role to ensure all glass is received, produced, tempered, loaded, and delivered as a superior quality product. To do this, Quality Control Technicians guarantee that all glass products are free of defects like bows, haze, scratches, and chips. In addition, Quality Control Technicians must review all glass for quality control standards based on glass specifications set out by certification boards. If any complaints come up, the Quality Control Technicians work with the Fabrication Sales Team and customers to resolve quality concerns. This means they will evaluate the original glass and recut glass to resolve process issues.
Eventually, Quality Control Technicians may be promoted to the Quality Control Manager position. This position holds some additional responsibility of managing the procedural tasks related to certification boards, such as the NACC, SGCC, and ISO certifications. Quality Control Managers must give special attention to the loading and material handling of the glass products, especially when strapping down and tying off the glass on the trucks. When the Quality Control Manager notices truck conditions that could damage the glass, the Quality Control Manager is responsible for reporting these conditions and equipment issues. Further, Quality Control Managers are responsible for the training and development of their Technicians.
Quality Control Requirements and Job Outlook
Our Quality Control Team is expected to exert up to 100 lbs of force occasionally. Quality Control Technicians and Managers must be able to see at a clarity of 20 inches or less and 20 feet or more with or without visual aids. Further, our Quality Control team must be able to see colors, judge distances, and have the ability to adjust the eye to bring an object to a sharp focus. The work of a Quality Control team member is performed in a shop environment with frequent exposure to moving mechanical parts, outdoor weather, and vibrations. Therefore, having the ability to withstand loud noises and extreme weather is of key importance to our Quality Control team.
Similar to other roles, while the total number of Quality Control Inspectors are expected to decline, we do not expect this decline to affect KGa and the Mid-Atlantic area. This is because of the rapid expansion that KGa will require additional Quality Control Technicians and Managers to inspect the many types of glass KGa produces.
One important and often overlooked aspect of the glazing industry is the logistics of transportation for the glass to a client’s job site or location. That’s why individuals in logistics, such as utility drivers, loading coordinators, delivery supervisors, and logistics managers are of great importance to any glass fabricator or glazier.
Utility drivers are responsible for driving the fabricated glass to the customers for delivery. This includes the acts of loading, delivering, and unloading the finished glass product in the most efficient, safe, and accurate manner possible. Prior to delivery to the customer, utility drivers must verify the quality of all products prior to delivering to the customers. Utility drivers must assume responsibility for all packing slips and their data. In addition, utility drivers are tasked with keeping their trucks clean and properly maintained. Further, the utility drivers must work the organization’s accountants and production staff to ensure all delivery efforts are being conducted in the more efficient and safest way possible. To ensure accuracy, utility drivers must maintain a customer delivery logbook to keep track of their deliveries.
Utility Driver Job Requirements and Outlook
Fleet employees must maintain driving records and documentation consistent with the appropriate states’ Department of Transportation. Fleet employees must be able to drive, stand, walk, use their hands and fingers to feel and reach, and talk/hear customers during their deliveries. Sometimes a utility driver may be asked to exert up to 100 lbs of force to move objects such as the glass. The work is performed oftentimes at a shop or construction environment, with frequent exposure to moving mechanical parts, outdoor weather conditions, and vibrations. Therefore, having the ability to remain productive in extreme weather and near loud sounds is of key importance for this position.
Loaders are responsible for loading finished glass products in the most efficient, safe, and accurate manner possible. This means Loaders are responsible for ensuring the accuracy and quality of all products being loaded into vehicles for deliveries and will-call pick-ups. Loaders also ensure that carts used to store and move glass are kept clean, functional, and organized. If a Loader would like to take on some additional responsibility, they may move to the Loading Coordinator position.
Loading Coordinators are responsible for coordinating the loading and on-time delivery of glass and other materials as required to customers and job sites. The loading coordinator also assists with the pickup of materials from vendors as required. Loading coordinators help with deliveries to the customer and will-call pick-ups. Overall, the Loading Coordinators coordinate loaders, drivers, and maintenance of delivery vehicles.
Loaders Job Requirements and Outlook
Loaders must be able to stand, walk, and use their hands and arms to reach and hold the glass. The employee must be able to exert up to 100 lbs. of force occasionally. In addition, Loading Coordinators must be able to see at the clarity of vision of 20 inches an or less and 20 feet or more (with or without visual aids). This is because loading coordinators must be able to judge distances and spatial relationships when loading the glass. The nature of this work involves being in a shop environment with frequent exposure to moving mechanical parts, outdoor weather, and vibration. Having the ability to remain productive during extreme weather and loud sounds is necessary for a Loaders.
The Delivery Supervisor role is responsible for managing the on-time delivery of glass and other materials as required to customers and job sites. In addition, Delivery Supervisors must supervise the pickup of materials from vendors. Further, Delivery Supervisors assist with logistics and fleet management issues as required. The Delivery Supervisor must oversee the day-to-day activities of the delivery drivers. Further, this employee communicates with the Manufacturing and Fabrication Sales Managers to create delivery requirements, including confirming dates and times. The Delivery Supervisor may be asked to assist with cleaning up the loading area, putting away returned materials, and assist with deliveries as required.
Delivery Supervisor Job Requirements and Outlook
Similar to many roles at KGa, Delivery Supervisors must exert up to 100 lbs of force occasionally. In addition, the Delivery Supervisor must possess the ability to stand, walk, and use their arms and hands to reach. Further, talking and hearing are required in this position. In this position, having the ability to see at clarity of 20 inches or less and 20 feet or more is required for safe traveling between job sites.
Fleet Maintenance Assistants
The Fleet Maintenance Assistant supports the maintenance and repair of all company vehicles. The Fleet Maintenance Assistant is the change of picking up and dropping off company vehicles as service is needed or completed. In addition, this position requires assisting with emergency callouts on the road to company vehicles that need assistance with mechanical issues or involved in an accident and will need to be towed. In addition, the Fleet Maintenance Assistant ensures that vehicles clean and company logos are in good condition. Further, the Fleet Maintenance Assistant is required to exercise basic auto mechanic abilities such as changing batteries, flat tires, light bulbs, and windshield wiper blades. In short, Fleet Maintenance Assistants are in charge of making sure vehicles are in good, operating order in accordance with Department of Transportation regulations.
Fleet Maintenance Assistant Job Requirements and Outlook
Fleet Maintenance Assistants must be able to stand, walk, and use their hands and arms to reach. The employee may be asked to exert up to 100 lbs. of force occasionally. Maintenance Assistants perform work in a shop environment with exposure to the outdoors. Similar to many other positions, a Fleet Maintenance Assistant will be exposed to very loud sounds and extreme weather conditions, so remaining productive during these conditions is of utmost importance. While specific statistics on job growth do not exist for this position, we expect that demand for this position will increase as time goes on.
Fleet Administration Specialist
The Fleet Administration Specialist is responsible for supporting a broad range of administrative functions for the organization’s fleet. This includes generating reports specific to the organization’s fleet, Department of Transportation and CDL compliance, state and federal reporting, vehicle registration, scheduling maintenance, and processing insurance claims.
Fleet Admin Specialist Requirements and Job Outlook
As an administrative professional, it is important for the individual in this position to be able to use a computer keyboard. Primarily, this person will be working in an office environment with occasional interactions with folks in our Contract and Field divisions.
Typically, the larger an organization’s fleet, the more likely an organization will need additional Fleet Administration Specialist positions. At this time, KGa has only one individual in this role. Therefore, while we expect the total number of Fleet Administration Specialists to neither increase nor decrease, we do expect the total number of administrative professionals to increase overall as an organization’s size increases.
The Facilities Specialist is, in short, responsible for maintaining the facilities of the organization. This includes all custodial duties for the organization, such as stocking, cleaning, and organization of the office, breakrooms, and bathrooms. This includes overseeing the inventory of housekeeping items for the organization across all locations. Further, the Facilities Specialist assists with any events that occur within the organization, such as all-hands meetings or trade shows.
Facilities Specialist Job Requirements and Outlook
Because the Facilities Specialist is in charge of cleaning the building, it’s important that they are able to exert up to 100 lbs. of force occasionally. In addition, to be able to clean properly, the Facilities Specialist must be able to see at 20 inches or less and 20 feet or more. Work will be performed in a shop environment with frequent exposure to moving and mechanical parts or extreme outdoor weather, so being resistant to the elements is important.
Maintenance Assistants are responsible for maintaining all aspects of the building, equipment, and supplies associated with equipment. These individuals assist with the safety and OSHA compliance training and program development within an organization. Maintenance Assistants must identify and report on equipment that needs repair or conditions that need attention. In the event of an emergency repair, the Maintenance Assistant may be asked to assist with repairs. In addition, Maintenance Assistants order required supplies for repairs needed. As a part of ordering supplies, Maintenance Assistances are expected to be familiar with current vendor lists and pricing. Eventually, a Maintenance Assistant may be promoted to the role of Maintenance Supervisor.
Maintenance Supervisors are also responsible for maintaining all aspects of the building, equipment, and supplies associated with equipment. Maintenance workers share the same responsibilities as Maintenance Assistants. However, they have the additional responsibilities of Maintenance Supervisors are responsible for diagnosing and repairing any (PLC) and Electrical Systems as required on the equipment. In addition, Maintenance Supervisors train and develop their team to be the best maintenance workers possible. The Supervisor is expected to have some additional experience working in Maintenance in comparison to the Maintenance Assistant position. Once one has experience with both the Fleet and Maintenance side of Logistics, they may be promoted to the Fleet & Maintenance Manager position.
Fleet & Maintenance Manager
The Fleet & Maintenance Manager is responsible for maintaining all aspects of the building, equipment, and supplies associated with equipment as well as managing fleet administration and maintenance. The Fleet & Maintenance Manager shares all the responsibilities as the Maintenance Supervisor. However, they are responsible for overseeing the production staff to ensure that all tool and equipment requirements are being met. On the Fleet side of this position, this employee is expected to assist in troubleshooting fleet mechanical issues and concerns as they arise. Further, this employee works closely with the Fleet Administration Specialist to ensure all Department of Transportation regulations and fleet administration is being maintained. This employee supervises the Maintenance Supervisor, Metal Fabrication Technicians, Facilities Specialists, Fleet Admin Specialist, and Fleet Maintenance Assistants. As such, experience in management, maintenance, and working with fleets is required for this position.
Maintenance Job Requirements and Outlook
Due to the nature of the job, Maintenance employees are expected to be able to exert up to 100 lbs. of force occasionally. In addition, these employees are expected to be able to see at 20 inches or less and 20 feet or more, in order to properly diagnose equipment issues. This job is primarily performed in a shop environment with mechanical parts, outdoor weather, and loud sounds.
In addition to employees in the field and in the fabrication facilities, employees who work primarily in an office environment also exist in the glass industry. These folks help support the overall business by increasing sales, managing day-to-day operations, and working through all steps in the project management process.
Our Fabrication Sales Team is responsible for assisting sales staff with customer inquiries and requests and controlling the flow of required documents. Additionally, the Sales Team are responsible for quote creation, order entry, order tracking, and follow-up for customers, cross-checking orders and technical informational support for customers.
Fabrication Sales Job Requirements and Outlook
Sales Specialists start by learning about the glass business terminology, processes, and software to be able to speak to clients more knowledgeably and provide information and advice to advance their organization’s sales goals. As the Sales Specialist becomes more efficient, the volume of quotes, orders, entered and checked will increase. This increase leads to handling larger, more complex glass accounts and client relationships. Eventually, a Sales Specialist may have the opportunity to be promoted to a Sales Manager, with the additional responsibility of handling larger, more aggressive price-tier projects/accounts. In addition, Sales Managers are responsible for coaching their team and help develop the skills and relationships to handle sales as a routine business with occasional consultation.
Also on the sales team is an organization’s marketing team. At KGa, our Digital Marketing Specialist is tasked with building awareness and engagement for the organization. This awareness and engagement will, in turn, get the organization more sales leads and potential contracts. This is done by creating dynamic content, such as blog and social media posts, emails, and more to promote the organization as a glass authority. Further engagement for the brand is built by participating in relevant glass and construction organizations, such as the ABC Metro Washington’s Marketing Peer Group. Further, the Digital Marketing Specialist helps manage KGa’s relationships with others in the glass industry to keep up-to-date on the latest glass news and assist with the distribution of the organization’s news.
Marketing Job Requirements and Outlook
Similar to the Fabrication Sales Specialists, Marketing Specialists should be knowledgeable about the glass business terminology, processes, and software in order to efficiently promote the glass business. Therefore, having some prior glass or construction experience is an advantage to those looking to fill this role. In addition, the Digital Marketing Specialist should have strong writing skills to support the organization’s content. The Digital Marketing Specialist should have some basic graphic design skills to create compelling blog header images, social media posts, and emails. Some prior experience in marketing, whether in office or by education, is also of utmost experience for this role.
Estimators are responsible for creating cost proposals of glazing installations and turning them into sales for the Contract Division. Overall, Estimators must compute cost factors to prepare estimates used for management purposes. Estimators do this by analyzing blueprints, specifications, proposals, and other documentation to prepare time, cost, and labor estimates for commercial glazing installations. To do this, estimators must forecast and track key account metrics to analyze data to help establish company strategies and focus. Part of this forecasting includes maintaining ongoing awareness of new products, services, competitor activities, and other glazing research needs. In addition, Estimators are in charge of reviewing critical project path milestones and proposals of action paths, schedules, processes, and accuracy of project scopes. As such, estimators must be comfortable with math, numbers, and percentages.
Estimators also must be great communicators and relationship builders with key stakeholders to the organizations. This includes both external clients and other internal divisions. For example, Estimators may be asked to interact with vendors to establish project costs and assist with the product specifications.
At times, Estimators may be asked to assist with high severity requests or issue escalations as needed. This may involve proposing solutions to technical issues and helping implement proposed solutions, and acting as technical resources to the Project Management staff. Therefore, Estimators must possess excellent time management abilities, attention to detail, and a calm demeanor in tense situations.
Estimating Job Requirements and Job Outlook
When one becomes an estimator, one must first learn how to read a blueprint. Estimators will review these blueprints, at first, to handle very straightforward jobs to identify the scope of work and accurate take-off of materials. Gradually, the estimator will review more complex jobs and begin actively negotiating the award of these jobs. Estimators must occasionally travel to project sites, trade shows, and client sites for purposes of communication.
As stated earlier, locations with new construction or renovations will have a higher demand for construction positions, including estimators.
Preconstruction refers to the preliminary planning and engineering services offered by construction companies before a construction job even begins. The Preconstruction Team consists of Preconstruction Administrators, Project Managers, Engineers, and CAD Drafters.
Preconstruction Engineers are responsible for reviewing architectural drawings, specifications, and details as they relate to the installation of an organization’s contracted scope of work. This includes multiple projects from the date of the award through the submittal process of the project. From reviewing the scope of work, budget, selection of vendors, preparation, and revisions of shop drawings, Preconstruction Engineers are responsible for many moving parts of any project in its early stages. This means Preconstruction Engineers must be experts on a variety of glass types, glazing techniques, and specialty products used by their respective organizations.
Preconstruction Engineer Job Requirements and Outlook
With the specialized nature of this role, expertise in glass, glazing, metal finishes, general door hardware, and construction terminology is required for this position. In fact, having previous experience in the glass industry is preferable for someone looking to become a Preconstruction Engineer. Preconstruction Engineers must have creative thinking skills and the ability to work independently through construction challenges.
Preconstruction Administrators and Project Managers
A Preconstruction Administrator shares similar duties to a Project Administrator. Both are responsible for a broad range of administrative duties in support of their teams. However, with Preconstruction, the Team — including the Administrator — are working to ensure timely deliveries and turnover of newly awarded projects to the Project Management Teams. The files and communications with the Preconstruction Administrator focus on obtaining CAD files, project schedules, LEED cover sheets, and other relevant data for projects.
The Preconstruction Administrator has a similar average pay and job outlook to the Project Administrator. Finding growth statistics on this specialized job is difficult. However, we predict that as new construction and renovations occur, there will be higher needs for this position. Like the Preconstruction Administrator, a Project Manager in the Preconstruction Division will have similar responsibilities, pay, and job outlook.
Computer-Aided Design, or CAD, refers to computers being used to assist the design process in all sorts of industries. At KGa, CAD Drafters are expected to provide drafting for various projects using CAD software and similar modeling programs to accurately represent KGa’s scope of glasswork. To do this, the CAD Drafter will need to interpret existing architectural drawings, details, specifications, and project manuals into a work product that can be used to accurately convey the scope of work.
Part of this job involves communication with the rest of the Pre-Con Team, Project Executives, Project Managers, and Field Managers. Further communication may be required with vendors for details and files to help in the shop drawing efforts. Further, CAD Drafters at KGa may work with CAD Drafters at other organizations to assist with project submittals.
CAD Drafter Job Requirements and Outlook
Similar to many other administrative roles, one must be able to comfortably work in an office environment, be seeing, and able to use a keyboard. Due to the nature of work, CAD Drafters should have exceptional computer and technology knowledge. Previous experience working on modeling programs can give one an advantage to obtain this position. While this job is primarily performed in office, the CAD Drafter may be asked to visit jobsites on occasion.
Our Project Administrators and Project Managers oversee various teams in the field. Project Administrators support our Project Management team with a broad range of administrative duties. Project Administrators set up and maintain comprehensive project-specific systems and files through all stages of a construction job. In addition, Project Administrators monitor and track milestones and must provide recommendations to ensure progress is maintained.
Project Administrators communicate with general contractors, vendors, and corresponding staff to ensure project milestones, materials status, and deliveries are communicated to all stakeholders. Further, Project Administrators must assist with writing and sending change orders and requests for information as needed to project stakeholders.
As with many other positions in this article, openings rely on how much construction is being completed in a given area at a given time.
Project Administrator Job Requirements and Outlook
Project Administrators typically work in an office and must be able to use a keyboard and hearing to handle client emails and phone calls. Further, Project Administrators must be able to see at the clarity of vision at 20 inches or less (with or without accommodations) and able to see color to view shop drawings. Overall, Project Administrators must be able to judge distances and spatial awareness by seeing.
Typically, anyone can become a Project Administrator. However, someone with a background in office work and/or the construction or glass industry will do better in this role than someone with no relevant experience. One of our Senior Project Managers says, “The more the person either knows about basic office functions the easier it is to train, the same with the more they know about sequencing in construction even if they do not understand the exact product, the easier it is to train.”
While there are very few statistics on the growth rate of this position, this position is expected to grow as new construction and renovations occur in new areas. At Kensington Glass Arts, we added the Project Administrator position 7 years ago for two individuals. Now, we have a Project Administrator in every glazing department, making for a total of 8 individuals in these positions while we continue to seek out additional individuals to fill these roles. This shows that the Project Administrator role is becoming a more valuable and available role to any wanting to fill this position.
Project Managers are responsible for leading an entire team on a variety of projects. This includes managing a backlog with potentially multi-million dollar projects. This means project managers must assume responsibility for projects from the submittal stage to completion, including oversight of shop drawings, other submittals, and project closeout. Part of this responsibility is to remain accountable for all financing aspects of a project, from purchasing, resource management, to profitability. In addition, Project Managers must track all assets required to complete a project, including materials, labor, and other resources. Project Managers also must review assigned projects to establish the critical milestones, action plans, schedules, and verify the scope of work. When deadlines are at risk of not being met, Project Managers must initiate corrective actions as needed to ensure the project progresses as planned. This means Project Managers ensure that their team adheres to established schedules, quality standards, and standard operating procedures of the business.
Project Managers must mentor staff to create a highly functional and interactive team. Project Managers must work with the Director of Project Management and Senior Vice President to make hiring and firing decisions for their team. Project Managers also assist with external communications as well. For example, Project Managers must communicate with client representatives, vendors, subcontractors, and even internal customers. Project Managers help create and maintain relationships with clients to facilitate new project sales.
Project Manager Job Requirements and Outlook
Project Managers have similar physical requirements needed to do their job. Project Managers also have the additional responsibility of occasional travel to job sites to assist with client interactions and team development. At these job sites, the Project Manager may be exposed to potential extreme outdoor weather or loud sounds, so the Project Manager must be prepared for these events.
Nearly all organizations in any industry require Accountants to help the business run. At Kensington Glass Arts, we have a Project Accountant, Senior Project Accountant, Payroll Specialist, and Accounting Manager. The Project Accountant is responsible for monitoring the progress of all projects, investigating cost variances, approving expenses, and ensuring that project billings are issued to customers and payments are collected. The Senior Project Accountant has the additional responsibilities of full range bookkeeping for accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and collections using various software systems. The Payroll Specialist is responsible for the full life cycle payroll activities, including the processing of weekly certified payroll and ensuring that prevailing wage documentation is processed and reported in accordance with customer contracts and in compliance with county, state, and local laws. The Accounting Manager is responsible for monitoring the progress of their accountants, and supporting the Chief Financial Officer in the monthly closing, and reporting to inside and outside entities.
Accounting Job Requirements and Job Outlook
Accountants share similar physical requirements to other office employees. Having prior experience in accounting, or a degree in a relevant field will help one in this position.
The Human Resources Team at Kensington Glass Arts consists of a Talent Acquisition Specialist, Employee Development Specialist, HR Specialist, and a Vice President of HR. The Talent Acquisition Specialist is in charge of researching, developing, and implementing effective recruiting and staffing strategies to attract a diverse pool of qualified and capable talent to the organization. Meanwhile, the Employee Development Specialist is responsible for identifying and coordinating training and development programs to improve individual and organizational performance. In addition, the Employee Development Specialist is responsible for coordinating and conducting new hire orientation and ensuring that an organization’s onboarding practices are meeting the organization’s needs. The Human Resources Specialist assists with all the administrative and clerical support for an organization’s benefits, payroll, recruiting, and performance management functions. This includes all the organization’s benefits offerings, including health, dental, life short-term disability, long-term disability insurance, and any 401(k) plans the organization offers. The Vice President of Human Resources plans, directs, and implements the activities of an organization’s Human Resources function, including employment, performance management, compensation, benefits, employee relations, training, development, and compliance.
Human Resources Job Requirements and Job Outlook
Human Resource employees share similar physical requirements as other office employees. Having prior experience in Human Resources and/or a degree in a relevant field is important for this role.
Directors and Executives
All departments typically have a Director that oversees the activity of the entire department. These directors report to an executive that oversees many departments. To obtain the level of Director or Executive, one must have many years of experience in all aspects of the department, and some experience with management.
About Kensington Glass Arts
Kensington Glass Arts is a high-end commercial glass Fabricator and Installer. In addition, our Commercial Service Division can assist you with any repair or maintenance you need on your current interior glass. KGa prides itself on caring about our employees. We offer full health, vision, and dental benefits, 401(k) matching, generous sick and vacation time, and life insurance coverage. KGa has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Workplaces in Frederick, Maryland for three years in a row. We are always looking for individuals looking to become part of the future of glass. If you’d like to be part of the future of glass, you can view our open positions here!
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