Sunday, January 14, 2018

Looking Back Before Looking Ahead

Each year I start my blog posts with a look back at previous predictions and then forward with ones for the new year.  2018 has great potential for all involved and I am excited for all that is coming down the pike.  I’ll hit more on the year ahead next week.  For now let’s look back.

In January of 2017, I made the following predictions- lets see how I did…

#1- More Unitized- Honestly I think I nailed this.  Unitized is the hottest segment on the framing side and not cooling off soon.  (Speaking of Unitized, get to BEC, a great discussion is scheduled on this subject there.)

#2- Net Zero growth- I am going to say I got this ½ right.  It grew but not nearly as much as I thought.  I am bummed that more structures continue to fall for the folly that is LEED and not NetZero.

#3- Security, Again- I predicted in 2016 and was wrong.  I brought it back in 2017 and was wrong again.  It just did not take off like I expected.  I am half tempted to put it on the 2018 list again.  It’s going to happen.  Some day.

#4- Deals and Acquisitions- I think this was an easy win thanks to Apogee buying EFCO along with some other smaller but still important deals.

#5- A new social push- I got this one wrong.  Maybe because the industry is so busy the advancement on the social media world was light- or maybe we are really an old school industry.  Either way, the big push was not there.

So in the end I think I did ok- but I am determined to get them all correct in 2018!  Check back next week for my trends and predictions post for the year ahead…

Elsewhere….

--  Before we get too deep into January its time for my monthly Glass Magazine review… the December issue with the amazing picture of the team from Giroux Glass in LA handling some seriously heavy materials.  The overall theme of this excellent issue was handling and safety.  Those are HUGE subjects that affect us all, so very worthwhile reading inside.  There were some seriously good HR resources in there.  Please check out Katy Devlin’s piece at the front of the magazine on a ”near miss” – a very meaningful and helpful article and my heart was beating way too fast during the start of it.   In addition one of my pet issues, the OSHA Silica Rules are covered as well.  All in all if you are not reading these issues you are missing out…

--  Ad of the Month is going to double as a plea from me.  The ad for BEC in March with keynote speaker Jeff Havens gets my nod.  The ad is delivering a message on the generational workplace and it does it quite effectively- and quite frankly BEC is the event that you need to be at to continue to stay ahead the trends while keeping your network strong.  If you are doing BEC in the Spring and GlassBuild in the Fall you are doing it right.  In any case, nice ad on the speaker and what he’ll cover and if you want to learn more and then register for BEC- click here.

--  The NGA-GANA combination continues to proceed.  If you are a GANA member and have not voted, please do so.  There is still time and it is worth the few minutes to do so.  As I have stated here previously I believe this deal is a very good one and I am excited about what is next.  Also if you are a NGA member I believe you have a vote to handle as well.  So folks get to the ballot boxes!

--  It was a big week for fellow Glass Magazine blogger Gareth Francey of Bohle America.  He and Bohle purchased the shower door hardware manufacturer Portals.  Exciting deal for both sides and I am happy for Gareth and team as they continue to grow in the space.  So far all of the deals announced in 2018 are looking very promising for both the folks involved and segments they serve.

--  Last… Congrats to my friend Lewis McAllister of Coral Glass on his Crimson Tide winning the National Title.  I don’t know anyone else who lives for Alabama football like Lewis, so I am thrilled for him.  ROLL TIDE!

LINKS of the WEEK

The internet can be a scary and stupid place.  Like the latest trend, easting laundry detergent pods.  Unreal how dumb.


Speaking of flying between Atlanta’s power outage and JFK’s water main break, it has not been a good run for major airports lately.

VIDEO of the WEEK

This is a find… a guy in Russia reviewing old McDonald’s gadgets to see how they work….


Sunday, January 07, 2018

Off and Running in 2018

Well 2018 is here and we are back it with a lot of news and notes to get to.  Normally I use the first post of the year to have recaps and predictions but I am going to push that into the next couple of weeks because there are other items to cover.

--  On the company side of things we had a deal involving one of the companies in this industry I respect the most.  In announcement soon after the new year, Technical Glass Products (TGP) sold to Allegion, plc.  I don’t know much about Allegion but I do know they got an amazing company with incredible people.  Congrats to the Razwick family on the deal.  Everyone at TGP has always treated me extremely well and I am happy for them as this situation really looks positive for everyone involved.

--  Aside from this one there are a few other deals that are bursting at the seams and I expect announcements in the next week or two.

--  Also one of my favorite companies had a major rebrand at the end of the year- SC Railing is now known as Trex Commercial Products.  SC sold to Trex last July, so this makes sense to bring them into that family.  No matter the name, the influence and growth that SC/Trex has had in the industry has been quite impressive.

--  And while I am talking about words like impressive and favorite, a gentleman who fits both descriptions took on a new position at the start of the year.  Dan Wright was named President of Paragon Tempered Glass, moving up from his previous role as VP of Sales & Marketing.  I cannot tell you how happy I am for Dan- a wonderful guy who I knew was destined for greatness way back in the day when he had to put up with my constant whines and cries when I was a customer of his.  Congrats Dan- you will do awesome in this role!

--  Good news from the last Architectural Billing Index for 2017.  The ABI crushed it with a crazy score of 55.0 – which is highest of the year and really had people talking.  The main analyst from AIA chimed in with this positive nugget:

“Not only are design billings overall seeing their strongest growth of the year, the strength is reflected in all major regions and construction sectors,” said AIA chief economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The construction industry continues to show surprising momentum heading into 2018.”

So we are geared up nicely… so as I noted above I am saving my recaps and predictions for the next weeks, and one reason is I want your input.  I have a poll posted on my twitter feed at @maxpsolesource that you can add your vote (and feel free to comment below that poll or here) that will add into my thoughts.  This obviously is very unscientific and my twitter reach not huge, but an interesting angle to me nonetheless. 

--  Last but certainly not least this week… there was some very sad news to report out of the gate as well.  Peter de Gorter, President & CEO of DeGorter Inc. passed away right before the new year.  The news was incredibly sad to me, the
de Gorter family has such a strong positive presence in our industry and have been so active- that a loss like this shakes you.  My thoughts & condolences the entire de Gorter family.

LINKS of the WEEK

Scary stuff but it is the world we live in now… digital tracking.

I think I could eat at the same place for 428 straight days..lol- I think I did that in College.  Seriously though this guy did it… at Chipotle.

Gotta be more to this story, but biggest question is “why bring the date home?”

VIDEO of the WEEK 

Too long of a video but some great pieces here.. the Top 100 viral videos of 2017….


Sunday, December 17, 2017

MVP 2017

So before I get to my annual industry MVP, I just wanted to hit on item that I have been pretty active on over the past several months.  This past Monday GANA sent a voting ballot to its membership asking them to vote on approving a combined entity of GANA and NGA.  As I have stated here on many occasions I believe this combined entity is a must for our industry- it is the opportunity to get that one unified voice and bring the best of these two excellent groups together.  One key is an improved efficiency and approach with meetings & events.  More focus and the opening for more input from parties that may not have been heard in the past or comfortable speaking up.  Movements like this and other possibilities will allow the strengths of these organizations to grow.  Obviously a lot of the work still needs to be done to determine how a combined group will exactly look when merged-but that’s normal in any unification.  But what I do know is the personalities involved are strong and caring, and they have our best interest as an industry at the forefront.  So if you have a ballot, please vote, and if you want to talk more about this, I am always up for a dialogue. 

Ok now on to the MVP…

2017 was a tough one… but in the end I did find my winner.

First though the runners up… and all of these are well deserving because they truly came to play all year long with the best interest of the industry in mind.

2 companies and 2 individuals make up the group that came close.  They are:

GCI Consultants- These folks made the list because they went next level with communication that made a difference.  Every other week for the most part, GCI released a podcast with an industry subject and guest.  That is something I have wanted to do for the past 3 years and couldn’t do and these guys are doing it and doing it extremely well.  To find new ways to communicate is a crucial step in reaching more of the world.  Kudos and congrats to GCI for pulling it off

Darijo Babic- Guardian Glass- There are stories about Darijo’s work ethic and hustle that are folk legend like.  There is no doubt he is a person who gets the job done and he brings a passion to the glass industry that is off the charts.  Darijo this year and in his past has been tremendous at educating architects and designers on glass and why it needs to be used.  

Cathie Saroka- Goldray- Cathie’s company has tons of admirers with the beautiful product they produce.  But it’s Cathie’s activities on the technical side of the industry and her being at the front of promoting the excellent potential uses of decorative glass (instead of non glass products) wins the day for me.  10 years ago decorative glass was a niche, it now is standard and the space it goes in can utilize a lot of different non-glass options, so having a champion pushing glass is huge.

Walker Glass- There are so many people at this company who could probably be on this list solo it only made sense to honor the company as a whole.  The commitment that Walker makes to the technical side of the industry is huge.  No matter where the meeting is, they usually have multiple people there.  And those folks usually take on leadership roles that involve more work than their daily duties.  Walker also has excelled at leading the way in newer areas of bird protective glazing and sustainable glazing with the etched products (going after HPD/EPD etc.)  Overall it’s an impressive body of work. Kudos to Lee Harrison, Ross Christie and the entire team Walker team for doing what you do!

Congrats to the above folks/companies.  You all represent the industry well!

Now to the winner…. I have known this gentleman for a few years and was a fan of his style and skill.   But honestly it wasn’t until this year when I saw him in action in a few different venues that he hit my radar as a guy that was performing even beyond my initial knowledge. My industry MVP for 2017 is Joe Erb of Quanex.  Joe is easily one of the most likable people in our world and one that I would be stunned if anyone did not hold in the highest levels of respect.  He is a focused, caring guy who has thrown himself into several volunteer roles all with the industries best interests in mind.  As I noted above, I watched him do his thing in a few meetings and it was awesome.  Joe kept discussion flowing and debate/collaboration at a fair and respected pace.  All the while making sure that the work being done would provide a benefit to what we all do.  Like the past winners of this award, I am just in awe of the effort Joe puts forward and appreciate all he does!  Congrats Joe, I believe this honor is well deserved!

Ok so that is it for my last “scheduled” post of 2017.  If major news breaks I’ll jump in online and on twitter.  Beyond that I want to wish all of you out there a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy, and rewarding 2018.  I am looking forward to what’s in store and I can’t wait to continue to share my thoughts, gripes, and whines with you here on this blog.  Take care and enjoy!!

LINKS of the WEEK

An “ugly” Christmas sweater that went kinda wrong….

This would be a brutal flight delay!

This may not be for everyone- but for those who want a Christmas tree but don’t have space- this is not a bad idea!

VIDEO of the WEEK

Part of me thinks this is fake… a seagull grabs a “GoPro” camera and flies away.  The owner finds it several months later and this is the video it shot…. Online they are calling this the seagull drone…




Sunday, December 10, 2017

Slowing the Roll

The past week brought some technology plays to the forefront of our industry.  Usually I am pretty upbeat about the possible innovation breakthroughs because I love when we push the line.  However this time I’m a little more cautious than normal.  The first of the two chunks of news was from NREL with the press release on a thermochromic glass product.  This potential product supposedly will mix the thermochromic property into a solar/electricity generating one.  The issue I have is this is not new, has been done, and the product they are showing still is nowhere close to any sort of commercialization.  It’s very premature that they are even trumpeting this- but if you Google NREL and glass, this isn’t the first time they’ve pushed their news. With every ballyhooed announcement about some solar breakthough and then nothing happens, it does cause our industry as a whole to take on unwarranted criticism that we are not innovating.   It’s a neat concept, but that’s all it is right now and until it can be produced in a consistent manner in commercial sizes, the celebration needs to slow a bit.
The second story came from Merck out of Germany with news on a production facility to produce Liquid Crystal (LC) Windows.  This has some interesting potentials and it appears this is much much further down the process line than the NREL item mentioned above, but what caught my eye was the distribution comment. 

Merck does not see itself as a competitor to glass and window manufacturers, but rather will supply the modules enabling them to make these smart glass elements, windows and façades. In addition, Merck assists architects, designers as well as window and façade makers in an advisory capacity.

So I guess some day soon your window manufacturer will be bringing in LC to integrate into their windows… it just doesn’t seem that doable given the technology needed to handle it all.  But it bears watching and despite my comments, I am keeping an open mind. 
By the way you may be noticing a lot more news from the “smart” glass world.  Reason is based on continuing market studies that say the switchable/smart glass market will be in the billions of dollars in the coming years.  It’s been a pretty constant prediction of that since I started blogging and the studies (big numbers coming in a few years!) just keep moving the goal posts.  But a billion dollar potential is surely enticing.

Elsewhere…

--  More positive economic news… the latest Dodge Momentum Index was very strong.  It surged up almost 20% on the commercial building side in November.  Year over year the index is up 24%.  Obviously very good signs.  Another good sign are the commercial building backlog statistics.  They currently stand at an all time high with this last 6-month stretch blowing the doors off past numbers.  All the metrics do have 2018 looking to be very good, obviously we’ll see if everything plays out like the projections are showing.

--  Congrats to Heather Evans of YKK AP America on her first blog on GlassMagazine.com last week.  This was a super read and another great use of the medium.  Informative, interesting, helpful.  Job well done Heather!

--  Next week my glass industry MVP will be revealed along with this years runners up.  All I can say is this has been the toughest call yet and none of the past ones were close to easy. So many good choices!

--  Last this week… Folks who know me know I hate the commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell.  So obviously this week was not a good one for me when he signed a new contract with the NFL worth 200 million dollars.  200 million.  That just makes me ill.  I used to live for sports, and especially Sunday NFL football- but that love is long gone.  200 million.  Absolutely insane.

LINKS of the WEEK


The bad guys are always coming up with new ways.  Now to steal push button start cars….

Wow- I am stunned this still is done… and what a deep letter.  Ouch

VIDEO of the WEEK

An old friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I was absolutely mesmerized by it.  It’s a great song to start with but then you add the Peanuts gang, all seemingly playing in tune… check it out- great stuff!