Sunday, April 24, 2016

Up and Down Index

This past week we had two major construction related indexes release reports that featured some interesting takeaways. First from the General Contractor level, the results were not very rosy and somewhat surprising.  The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Construction Confidence Index (CCI) is a study/survey that takes 6 months into account and looks at the business in a few different areas- Sales, Profit Margin, and Staffing.  So for the latest CCI, tracking the last 6 months of 2015, all three indicators were actually down.  I can see staffing as a challenge but I have to admit that Sales and Profit being off is a shock.  And those of you dealing with GC’s each day probably agree.  Now the numbers are obviously much better than they were in 2012, but still interesting to see that the end of 2015 was not a major success for this side of the world- at least according to the index.  Meanwhile the monthly Architectural Billings Index (ABI) was released and it ticked up again coming in at 51.9.  New project inquiries were down slightly but they are still in a very healthy territory and regionally only the Midwest did not crack the break even mark of 50, finishing slightly under at 49.8.  So overall the ABI continues to be a source of positivity as we keep our eyes glued to 2017.  2Q usually sees a boost in new project inquiries, so we’ll see if that indicator starts moving that way or not.

Elsewhere…

--  Environmental Product Declarations is an area I am admittedly weak on. So I have been trying to educate myself and I came across this excellent article that provided solid insight.

--  If you somehow missed the great blog post by Kris Iverson on last week’s e-glass weekly, here’s the link.  Hiring is so incredibly hard; so any additional help is always appreciate.

--   Via Facebook I saw the news on changes at Vos Glass in Western Michigan.  Vos is one of those very respected brands and I am a big fan of Linda Vos-Graham who ran the company until now with a new team taking over.  I hope Linda is able to stay involved (if she wants) in the industry- her smarts and perspective were huge parts of events like the Glazing Executives Conference. 

--  We are about a month from the next event that many in the industry will participate in one way or another.  The 2016 AIA show is in Philadelphia this year and given its location and timing (better in May than in June) I have a feeling it could be very busy.  The fact it’s busy is not usually a guarantee for the exhibitors of a good show though since the event is so vast and education is still the priority, but the potential is there. 

--  Last this week… Prince passing away.  I’m a fan, have listened to his music for years.  What I did not expect was how many people were HUGE fans and the outpouring of love and respect for him.  It was Michael Jackson like including wall-to-wall coverage on the cable news channels.  Tough run for music superstars with David Bowie and now Prince passing away in such a short time.

LINKS of the WEEK

--  I love my FitBit and good to know that it can also potentially save my life… for now it reminds me that I suck at working out.  Ha Ha

--  Beware what may happen when you take sleeping pills.  You may buy a cow.

--  Wild story on a real life cast away luckily saved by a reality tv crew.

VIDEO of the WEEK

The first trailer for the new movie “The Founder” is out.  This is the story of Ray Kroc who built the McDonald’s empire.  The movie looks amazing…







Sunday, April 17, 2016

15 Years Ago

From time to time I hit some personal items on this blog.  The start of this post will be one of them, so if you are here for the industry related scuttlebutt, please skip down to the next section.  Otherwise thank you for hearing me out.   15 years ago this past week, my father passed away.  He was a great and patient man.  An inspiration in that he decided to “bet on himself” and start anew.. by breaking away and starting his own glass business in the 70’s.  Not exactly the greatest economy to do so, but he did and did it well.   He recognized the talent of people around him and put them in a position to succeed.   Efforts by my brother, sister and many others who were there at the start were huge and the company grew.  That team he built, led to more and more over the years as people connected to that original network branched out and now the impact from that foundation is felt throughout the industry today.   That makes me proud.  I was too young to be in that business at the start, I consider myself one of the branches of that tree though.   I wish he could still be here to see how we all are doing but that was not meant to be. In any case I do think about him all the time and miss him dearly- he may be gone, but never forgotten.

Elsewhere…

--  Nice pub for the industry and SageGlass with a quick Q&A in the New York Times in the Vocations section. 

--  Very interesting article here on a 1600 year old glass kiln discovered in Israel.  The best part of it for me was that they mention how even back in ancient times there were costs differences for glass based on supplier.  The price lists were on stone tablets… amazing.

--  A great twitter follow is Glassworks Inc. (@Glassworks_Inc) as there’s usually an excellent article or picture to take in.  This past week was no exception with a super link to an article on “Architectural Embellishment” and that story was spot on.  For the architect the question is… the freedom to design whatever you want is surely available… but should you? 

--  I got the new Glass Magazine this week and kudos again to Katy Devlin and company for a fantastic issue.  Tremendous reads cover to cover and the list of top fabricators never disappoints.  In addition the piece on interiors was very informative.  A lot more to think about with that application than I think many expect.   And the continuation on “Exit Planning & Succession” series was strong.  Good stuff.

--  And in that issue, my “ad of the month” award goes to Dorma.  I liked the layout of their piece- very sharp and eye catching.  Right amount of text and thumbnails of product really worked here.

--  Last this week… the NHL playoffs kicked off, as did then NBA.  So here are my picks in both.  Again apologies to the fan bases I choose, as I am rarely right…  In the NHL I am taking the San Jose Sharks to beat the New York Rangers.  Yes I know picking the Rangers means I am picking against my Penguins….  In the NBA, this year will be amazing to watch.  I am excited that my Detroit Pistons are back in the post season for the first time in years, but they have no chance, unless they convince Guardian’s Chris Dolan to come out of retirement and rain down lots of three pointers on the Cavs.   I don't  think LeBron can guard Megatron Dolan.  
I would love to see the Spurs win because of my friends in San Antonio, the awesome Luna family. But I think it’s the Warriors world and while they will be tested, in the end, I think they pull it off in a finals rematch vs. the Cavs.

LINKS of the WEEK


--  Smart pharmacist during a robbery

--  Sorry this cake will not come close to replacing Red Velvet as my favorite…

VIDEO of the WEEK

Well if the Pistons or someone else eliminates the Cavs, LeBron can go back to his other job… making pizzas.  Fun video here- LeBron does own a piece of this franchise too.


Sunday, April 03, 2016

Proper Recognition

If you read my blog with any regularity you know one of my favorite things to do is recognize the quality people in our industry.  So when a company makes a move to promote super people like what happened this week, it’s even better to talk about.  YKK announced promotions to Oliver Stepe and Mike Turner and I am thrilled for them.  Both are excellent guys, talented to the core, and have a commitment to the industry.  That last part means a lot to me personally.  This industry is made better thanks to efforts of people like Oliver and Mike and they represent us very well.  Congrats guys, the recognition is truly much deserved!

Elsewhere…

--  I am thrilled that I will be attending glasstec in Germany this fall.  Especially now that I have done the show once, I feel like I have a better appreciation for the enormity of it.  To make it even better, glasstec announced its focus this week- “Glass Industry 4.0” with a heavy emphasis on technology.  I simply can’t wait to see what that is all about, learn, and grow.  The 3+ weeks that feature glasstec and GlassBuild America surely will be exhilarating and exhausting but oh so good!

--  The architectural community is in mourning after the loss of Zaha Hadid.  She was an absolute legend in that world and her passing have hit many hard.  Her designs will surely be her legacy.  There was an excellent remembrance in the New York Times by one of her employees Tegan Bukowski, capturing the qualities that made Ms. Hadid the incredible architect she was.

--  Looking at the initial designs of the redevelopment of the Inglewood, California site where the St. Louis Rams are re-locating looks very ambitious.  If this concept can become reality it surely will be a place to see.  I am guessing that a lot will change before ground gets moved, but if it comes off the way this article shows, sign me up for a visit! 

--  Twitter reminder- if you are a on the service and not following John Wheaton (@JohnLWheaton1) you need to do so- he always provides interesting insight and on occasion good project questions and quizzes including one this past week.  The last one he did I had no clue on, so it was fun to sit back and watch him converse with another excellent Twitter follow (Garett Henson @Viracon_Garret) on the details. In the end I learned- which is a benefit of good follows on social media.

--  Do you ever wonder what will happen to your online profile when you pass away?  Right now, it looks like nothing.  Long, but semi-interestingarticle here on the situation, specifically on Facebook.  Personally I see it on LinkedIn and Twitter a lot and no doubt it throws you when someone who has passed comes up in your feed or as a recommended follow. 

--  Programming note- no blog post next week… I will be back in this space week of April 18th unless news breaks ahead that. 

LINKS of the WEEK

--  Fun story on a Kenyan woman who photoshopped herself into others vacations.

--  Old school smells that are disappearing…

--  I am not a big lawsuit person but this one has merit and I hope they win.  I am so baffled their initial case got thrown out. So sad.

VIDEO of the WEEK

Well 8.5 million views to date mean this video- a comical, and somehow fake volleyball game- has gone viral.  Funny stuff….



Sunday, March 27, 2016

Windows Follow Up

Last week I wrote about a window job in Hawaii that I had significant concerns about.  I was thrilled to hear from many people with additional thoughts on the project and I wanted to cover a few of them this week as a follow up.  First off, I did get told that the windows were not floor to ceiling.  They are floor level but only going up 30”.  So that obviously makes a difference in the scenario of an adult walking through it.  Even with that I am still not a fan of the design and still don’t believe it’s logical.  The opening still can be very dangerous for a child or a pet.  How that’s not a bigger issue is surprising to me.   Plus as I mentioned last week- without a safety screen this makes it an opening for debris to fall and cause damage on the street below.  I guess this make up is common, though it really makes no sense to me.  If you want fresh air, it seems to me that there’s got to be other ways.  The other avenue that a few brought up was energy loss.  That’s a healthy opening to allow air in- how does this effect the energy usage?  I am not sure- I’d assume the climate in Hawaii may be OK for this as the AC may not need to run at night if you can get air flow from the window openings.  Anyway, it’s been a fascinating ride and I’ll continue to monitor.

Elsewhere…

--  The Architectural Billings Index popped back into positive territory for February.  I had a feeling that was going to be the case.  The real positive takeaway was that the AIA feels March and April will be strong- so here’s the thing to watch… Most expect 2016 to be a good year.  The put in place spend is already there.  2017 is something we just don’t know.  This forecast (because it hits our industry a year out) is one of those indicators that could give us a clue- so the next few months are important in relation to the start of the 2017 cycle.

--  If you have not seen the incredible video from Guardian Industries on how float glass is made, do yourself a favor and check it out.  Well done and a great tool for showing those in the industry who have never been to a float- how it works.  Kudos to the team at Guardian responsible for this one!

--  Time is running out for you to get your nominations in for the prestigious Glass Magazine Awards. April 8th is the cutoff.  So many great projects and products in our industry- I love this stuff!

--  So time for another list… Forbes did a rundown of the Top 10 most traffic-clogged cities… so I know have had this subject before because it always intrigues me.  This one is missing a doozy location in my opinion… here’s the countdown

  10- Honolulu- Wow I may move HQ of this blog to Hawaii since that area keeps coming up!  You know to be closer to the news and action of course!
  9- Atlanta- It’s bad- but not top 10 bad for me- those who live there may disagree
  8- Chicago- Absolutely brutal.
  7- Boston- When it rains- this is top 3.
  6- Seattle- Traffic a mess because of layout of city.
  5- New York City- Is this true or reputation?
  4- Houston- Been there, taken side streets to avoid the backups, only to be more miserable
  3- San Francisco- All of the public transport doesn’t help?
  2- Washington DC- no question- deserved…
1-    Los Angeles- Is this like NYC?  Reputation over reality?

Who’s missing?  Dallas/Ft. Worth.  That is a top 5 traffic nightmare city for me.  Between construction and rush hour and those crazy GPS destroying on and off ramps, how this is not in the top 10 is amazing to me.

LINKS of t he WEEK

Denver got crushed with a blizzard last week.  Thank goodness I was not there for that…

Good stuff- hopefully this young man can keep climbing at that organization


VIDEO of the WEEK

If you know me- you know I LOVE dogs.  This video is great- a stray dog, living on the streets is rescued and rehabbed.  Video captures the amazing journey…