Sunday, March 11, 2018

BEC 2018 Recap

Well another great BEC Conference is now in the books and once again it was a major winner.   Like the many I have attended previously I left very fired up about what I learned and whom I got to meet and spend time with.  This year the attendee numbers were strong, more than 500 were there and they were active, either in the conference area or in the mini trade show spot.  This was the first year since those crazy pre-recession days that the numbers were that impressive. 

--  As for recapping there were a few things that stuck out.  The opening panel, that featured leaders from the design, manufacturing, installation, and contracting world was off the charts.  It could have easily taken up the entire morning session, especially with quite a few questions that were still waiting in the queue.  So lesson learned on the planning end- something that good, will need more time.  Tom Jackson, President of Steel Encounters did an absolutely fantastic job on the world of employee relations, culture, finding and retaining the workforce. He had one stat that I discussed with a lot of attendees and so I need to share here…

“95% of job candidates believe culture is more important than compensation”

--  That still blows me away but also shows I am old fashioned…. And speaking of old, the keynote (thanks to Guardian Glass and an inspired choice by Chris Dolan) was Jeff Havens and he provided an incredibly energetic and entertaining approach to generational differences in the workplace… old vs. young… and my gosh I am now officially old. 

--  Overall the presentations were excellent with a ton of different subjects to satisfy so much of what the modern glazing contractor or installer could need.  The technical meeting, chaired by the impressive Matt Kamper of Woodbridge Glass was interesting.  I always enjoy the ins and outs of it but the fact that NFRC was covered in detail cracked me up.  I have been in the NFRC mix since 2004!!  And we’re still talking about the same basic things.  Just incredible really. 

--  As always the networking makes the event. The Sunday night reception was awesome- the room was jam-packed and when the reception ended it was still busy with the hotel management trying several different moves to get people to clear out.  That is always the sign of a good party.  And yes I stayed til the end. (That never, ever happens if you know me.)

--  Before I run into whom I visited with, I have to give props to Gus Trupiano of AGC for leading this event as the chair of the BEC division.  Gus is not only an excellent and classy man, but he’s also a great leader who did the industry proud once again.  Kudos as well to Sara Neiswanger of GANA/NGA for her tireless work on this- she does so much behind the scenes, and does it with great care & skill.

--  As for the networking… it was fun to fly on a plane loaded with industry folks, poor Joe Erb of Quanex got stuck in the middle seat next to me for 4-1/2 hours.  He deserves a medal.  Plus the team from Guardian Glass was on board and I do sincerely enjoy chatting with them any chance I get.  Once in Vegas it was great to see Bill Sullivan of Brin Glass, he’s a tremendous supporter of the industry and it is appreciated.  In that same boat are people like Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP and Jon Kimberlain of Dow- I love what they do and getting a few minutes with each of them is a great honor for me. 

--  The talent on display at this event is really crazy- people like Gary McQueen of JE Berkowitz, Rob Carlson of Tristar, and Ian Patlin of Paragon are so impressive to me.  And my friend Shelly Farmer of Trex Commercial never disappoints, she’s always top of her game and doing great things.  It’s well known I am a fan of the Viracon guys, Garret Henson, Seth Madole, and Cameron Scripture- brilliant and good people too. 

--  I like meeting new people and learning new things too… It was great to meet Charles Alexander, the newest addition at Walker Glass (though saying goodbye to Marc Deschamps was VERY hard for me) and meeting Joffy Thompson and John Vissari of United Plate Glass was incredible.  Good, sharp guys for sure.  As for new things, I learned about the new, exciting unitized product from Kurt Levan and Joel Phelps of Entekk- that was very cool.  Best of luck to them.

--  Got to chat with Chris Knitter of Oahu Metal & Glazing for the first time in a few years and same with Maure Creager & Tim FInley of SAGE Glass  (Side note- SAGE has the coolest business cards- props to Derek Malmquist on that) I only see Tracy Robbins of Walters & Wolf at this event, and I am glad I always do, good guy!  Running into a former co-worker of mine Wardi Bisharat of PRL was fantastic- she rocks as always.

--  Any time I get with the great Rich Porayko is a blessing for me.  I got to tell the “how I met my wife” story to Bob Burkhammer of Giroux and his wonderful wife, and I spent some quality time with Bernard Lax of Pulp which I value a ton. 

--  The event was so huge I did not see a lot of people I wanted to see.  I barely saw Tim McGee of Glass Coatings and Concepts and I missed Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural completely.  I so badly wanted to hear how great things are going for him, as I see Clover everywhere these days!  I also missed visiting with the Vitro folks and missed a few opportunities to catch up with old friend Tim Moore of Standard Bent.

--  So it’s now on to the next events… for me its most likely GlassBuild as I do not think I am attending AIA…. And I am very excited about GlassBuild based on the vibes just experienced at BEC.  We have a lot of positivity flowing in our industry right now, so let’s keep at it!


You don’t always get rewarded for doing something nice or right, (as that’s not why you do nice things) so it’s very neat to see when it does happen!

If any of you think you can be stealth and private?  Not a chance… everyone is watching.

Jury Duty needs… and if anyone wants to hear my classic jury duty story, just ask… it’s a favorite of mine…


I mentioned how energetic and entertaining the keynote was at BEC and found a quick video of him online… this gives you a flavor.  Good stuff!

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Covering the Bases

This week… I am in Las Vegas at BEC and I will have my review and wrap up on the event on my post next week.  With more than 500 people in attendance I truly expect some very interesting conversations and great insight into our world and as always I look forward to sharing some of my experiences here with you.

--  One person who is usually at BEC and won’t be here will be George Sultage of Vitro.  As I wrote a few weeks back, George is battling a health issue and can still surely use all positive thoughts and prayers.  We will miss you at the conference George and hang in there!

--  Economy wise it has been a pretty volatile since my last post.  The stock market had some terrible days and some less than cherry forecasts came out.  The possibilities of tariffs were openly discussed by the US and that was not accepted well by many.  In the meantime I point to a post from ITR Economics (you may remember them from having a yearly speaker at the Glazing Executives Forum) noting that 5 leading economic indicators are now trending lower and this came out before the stock market saw its declines. Add in some fears with regards to the homebuilders and the residential forecasts and quite frankly it was a skittish week.  Hopefully this week will be better, but is surely now more important to keep an eye on all of the metrics out there.

--  My good friend Marc Deschamps of Walker Glass announced his retirement and that is going to be a huge knowledge and personality loss to our industry.  Marc is a wonderful man who was extremely dedicated to his company and industry.  A tremendous volunteer, the amount of time he gave up to help push industry topics forward was amazing.  His departure will leave a hole in a lot of efforts that is for sure. Personally, I am really going to miss seeing him and his awesome suits and style at the various glass industry events.  Best of luck and fortune to you Marc and ENJOY retirement my friend…. You earned it!

--  Recently I wrote on licensing and certification and I got a few questions on the process and the organization.  A very good overview handout is here.

--  Also this week a pal of mine called to ask me about the Silica Rule via OSHA.  It is real folks and as frustrating as can be.  Glass Magazine has written some excellent pieces about it and in case you missed it you can click here and here.

--  Last this week…. I have one kid in college and one about to go in the fall.  So I had to laugh when I was told about a major being offered at Northern Michigan University.  It is in Marijuana.  Yup.  But it’s not as easy as it sounds… interesting story and will be fascinatingto see how this takes off.


I love it when justice works out!

Bizarre and brilliant!

More bizarre stuff and frightening


This is crazy cool.  It is a mash-up of the 2 amazingly different songs into one and it works incredibly well.  I am a fan of both songs; so hearing it this way blew me away…  good creative stuff.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Forecasting Volatility

I study a ton of forecasting data.  Some of it I can easily understand and some has me in an utter state of confusion.  Right now we are in one of those times where the forecasting details may not be matching reality- both good and bad.  Some regions in North America are exceeding what was predicted and some are falling short.   So it’s been a tough one to get straight.  Somewhat following that theme, this week I found an interesting release from Dodge Data and Analytics that looked at commercial starts in 2017 vs. what happened in 2016.  The immediate surprise for me was the New York region- so amazingly hot for many in our world, was down again in 2017 vs. 2016 and way off of the 2015 results.  Also down in ’17 vs. ‘16 were Los Angeles, Dallas, DC, and Miami.  All of those markets have been booming.  Among the up in 2017 were San Francisco, Philadelphia, Orlando, Austin, and San Diego.  What does this mean?  Well starts usually do not affect our work until a year later or longer- so possibly could this be a signal of things to come in those markets or a reason why for some folks out there its been very inconsistent business wise.  The whole piece is worth the read….


--  And while we are looking at the forecasts… the month Architectural Billings Index continues to be incredible.  The January performance was the best January showing since 2007.  3 of the 4 regions looked at were very strong with the Northeast lagging behind.  I will admit when I see comparisons to 2007, I do start to sweat some, as it wasn’t too long after those amazing days in 2007 that the bottom fell out.  I am not saying it is happening here, but it surely gives me pause.

--  BEC is kicking off this coming weekend and it looks like more than 500 people will be there.  I am looking forward to catching up with friends, networking, and learning about what’s new, exciting, and hot in streets these days.  Obviously I’ll be reporting back here and posting on twitter.  If you are attending I look forward to seeing you!

--  The GANA-NGA merger is done and I was very impressed by the video message that NGA President and CEO Nicole Harris released recently.  It is a quick piece where she outlined her thoughts on the deal and I love the use of the video medium, it is a great way to continue to reach additional audiences. 

--  Two Amazon related items to end the week…. First I went into a “Whole Foods” for the first time in many many years.  When you have my body and eating habits that is not a place to frequent… in any case I was blown away at the amount of specialty foods available and the costs of them.  Now I know why a buddy of mine calls that place “Whole Paycheck”
Also the news surrounding the new Amazon HQ 2 continues with word that the new betting favorite is Dallas.  From the start I have been on Dallas and Atlanta as the choices, so we’ll see if that happens, but supposedly there was a major spike in housing searches in Dallas from people in Seattle… so that set the rumors on fire…


This is a very interesting article on “forgetting how toread” and quite frankly I fall in to that category.  It’s a struggle now…

For my marketing friends… the sponsorship drain from the Olympics.  I think we all go through the same thing in evaluating spends in our world as well.

I don’t have any idea what to make of this.. so I’ll just leave this link here.


Did you see and hear pop singer Fergie trying to sing the National Anthem at the NBA All Star game last week?  If not here it is….  And its rough.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Architects and Glaziers, Licenses and Certification

A big story that has been working its way through our world is the Architectural Glass and Metal Technician Certification Program (AGMT) and I bring this up again because another movement got me thinking…(and I’ll get to that in a second) 
To recap…  the AGMT program is one that is designed to provide an independent assessment (written and practical) of the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the experienced glazing technician.  I am a believer in efforts like this because we need to always be evolving and growing our training and knowledge base and our performance as a whole in the marketplace matters.  The AGMT program continues to be built and hopefully soon will be launched.  Until then we’ll continue to learn more about the way it works and the positive end results that can come from it.  And that brings to me to the action that got me going… many states... at least 25 so far are weakening the licensing requirements for architects.  The AIA is fighting back and obviously and they should.  Believe me I am not one who loves tons of regulations, but the licensing of Architects is one I truly believe is needed- in the same way that advanced training (certification) of glaziers and glazing companies is needed.  I still chuckle that in some states you have to be licensed to cut hair, but not design a massive building or install some of the most important parts?  The end winners of these efforts are the occupants and owners and also the industry as a whole. 


--  There was a really good, quick, and easy piece from Window and Door Magazine on the outlook for the housing side of things.  As many of you know, the fate of the residential side usually runs into the forecast on the commercial side.  When residential starts to falter, we get the warning that commercial will soon follow.  According to this article, the foundations are still strong over on the housing side of things, which is positive news for them and for us.

--  We are coming down the stretch in preparation for BEC… more than 430 people have already signed up- have you?  It’s going to be an excellent event…

--  The new Apple headquarters is having an issue with people walking into glass.  I really am stunned as I thought the glass was going to have digitally printed marks on it to offer enough distraction to avoid this.  I know many of you who read this have been in that structure- any insights?

--  Am I the only the one out there who hates doing Gantt charts?  May be because I have no idea on how to do or struggle with understanding the end usage, but just curious…

--  Do you want your e-mail to be advanced?  I am not sure I want to go down this rabbithole.  Basically your e-mail could eventually act as a specific browser.  From a marketing standpoint this is a game changer- send someone info that has them directly on your site.  On the flip side, I see myself falling deep into it and killing my own personal productivity.

Last this week… I started with a word on architects and so I end with one… the architectural profession was a winner, seemingly at this point, in the new US governmental tax plan.  The new plan gives many architectural firms a deduction they did not get before, so maybe the next time all of you suppliers out there do a lunch n learn you should have the firm pay for it with their tax savings!!!…LOL!


Disney World in Orlando prices keep going up… will be interesting to see if this has any effect on the crowds…

Whoa!  Speaking of Disney… I had no idea there were “social clubs” involved at Disneyland.

McDonalds changing the happy meal… making it more healthy by removing one single piece of cheese… Seriously. 


With the world a not so happy place- I figured I would do something with laughter for this weeks video… funniest 50 movie out-takes of all time…