Sunday, May 21, 2017

Glass Magazine, TGA Review and More

Every month I review Glass Magazine and I note various stories and details that I believe stand out.  The May issue, like its predecessors is loaded but features one article that you HAVE to read if you are in the position of trying to recruit for your workforce.  Bethany Stough did a fabulous job pulling together real life examples and giving very crucial tips in trying to help you build your workforce.  It is the most serious challenge our industry faces- getting people to work with us.  This article really is a resource that every executive and HR person needs to see. 

The May issue also featured an excellent cover story on collaboration and all that goes into that as well as very good quick pieces on codes, tough customers, sales techniques and more.  I am constantly amazed at what Katy Devlin and her team does every month and they keep topping my expectations!   The work they do brings great value to the reader and the industry and deserves all the attention we can give it.

Elsewhere…

--  In the same issue, for my “Ad of the month”  It’s Viracon with their “Bigger View” piece.  The graphic they placed caught my eye- good use of wording and font size.  And it was also the minimal amount of text that allowed the reader to enjoy the ad and take in the message.  I have no clue whom specifically to give kudos to at Viracon, so hopefully if one of the folks there who read this will pass on the credit.  Nice work!

--  I’m just back from the The Texas Glass Association event I mentioned last week and it was truly a memorable one for me.  I really enjoyed the opportunity and I think for a first time event it was an absolute hit.   I was so excited to run into people I had not seen in years.  Kelly Townsend of Trulite is an old friend and seeing him looking healthy and strong was a day maker for me.  Visiting with former co-worker Jack Wickstrom now of Tristar was fun as well.  Meeting new people though also charged me up.  One example was Craig Garner of Hartung- good and interesting guy.  Another was Dustin Anderson of Anderson Glass.  This guy is unreal, a breath of fresh air to our industry and the way we do things.  I plan on doing more with Dustin as time goes on.  Plus he’s got a pretty cool video series that can only help raise our profile- see my VIDEO of the WEEK for one of them.

--  The key of the conference was the learning.  Greg Oehlers of Tristar did not disappoint- a truly entertaining and informative session that included his prediction that 4th surface Low E’s and Argon will be growing and be more crucial products on the commercial side in the coming years.  That was surely something that caught my attention.  Also his talk on inconsistent code officials is something I may have to re-visit more about in the future.  Meanwhile seeing younger sharp presenters like Yuwadee Senamontree of Guardian and David Linhart of Vitro gave me some serious hope about the future of our industry.  We need that youth, intelligence and energy!    And it goes without saying the presentation that Nicole Harris provided on “Building a New Glass Industry” was strong and important.  There is so much happening from the industry level and getting more insight and communication amongst all parties is something that will have to continue to grow for us to be our best.  Bottom line is conferences like these are extremely helpful in educating and building a better world for us.  It was an honor to be involved in the process.

--  Last this week… I mentioned two weeks ago about new greenfields coming to our industry and one of the many I am following was announced.  Aldora is opening in Atlanta.  Given the major consolidation that market has seen over the years, the move looks to be a good one and moving into a building that once housed a very respected fabricator is surely not a bad play.

LINKS of the WEEK

Suing a bad date.  I don’t know this one is interesting to me. 

Many who know me knew at one time I was all about M&M’s… ah the good ole days… anyway can you see the comical part of this package?

Online trolling is very bad- but it also is a sign to all to watch what you make public on social media and online.

VIDEO of the WEEK

As mentioned in the blog- Anderson Glass does a series- “Will That Break Glass”- very cool and creative and raises interest in glass (and what we do!)


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Catching up on shows, education and more

So after only commenting on two main items on my previous post this week I have a bunch of quick subjects to talk about.  Time continues to fly as we are already in the middle of May.  Unbelievable.

First off a lot of show and conference related news and insights…

--  I am excited about being in Waco, Texas this week to speak at the Texas Glass Association (TGA) Glass Conference.  To be on the slate with the people I am (Nicole Harris, President of NGA, the legend Greg Oehlers of Tri Star, David Linhart from Vitro, and Yuwadee Senamontree of Guardian) is quite the honor.  This really will be an excellent opportunity for attendees (and me as well) to learn about what’s going on in our world on several different levels.  Plus I love the great state of Texas and have never had a bad time there. 

--  Another conference that is coming up that I unfortunately can’t attend, but if you are nearby or interested in growing your knowledge on some important glass and glazing subjects is the annual Glass Connections Conference- this year held in Burnaby, BC.  The educational slate is very strong with dives into some of the biggest issues and growing trends our industry has going.  One such subject is Bird Friendly Glass and I’ve mentioned here a few times the great work people like Walker Glass do on that end, so getting more insight out in conferences like this is huge.  More info can be found HERE.

--  And of course coming this fall the always must attend Glazing Executive Forum at GlassBuild America.  More on that as the weeks go by but this past week the agenda for that event was released and worth the review.  The “Solution Sessions” are the huge key given the subjects they cover and what you can learn and take back to your day-to-day operation. 

--  Finally on this subject… a conference/meeting that was just completed that really impressed me.  The Insulated Glass Certification Council (IGCC) had their meeting and it was the first one I have ever attended in all my years despite always being involved with operations with all units IGCC certified.  The meeting was very impressive.  Incredible technical minds in the room with discussions that were more innovative and forward thinking than what I see from the traditional technical meeting.  It was a breath of fresh air really to experience what was happening there seeing that this group is working into the future.  And kudos to my pal Joe Erb of Quanex- he basically ran a major portion of the meeting as the chair and he was like a great orchestra maestro with keeping everything going from all angles of the room.  Good stuff!

Other items to catch up on…

--  If you are in the retail part of the glass business you know the Angie’s List and Home Advisor names pretty well.  Chances are they’ve called you a hundred times to work with them and you surely see their ads.  Now the two will be merging (so less salespeople bugging you) and it will be interesting to see how the new entity works.  I was not a big fan of Angie’s List.  I always said if there was an “Angie’s List” to review the real Angie’s List they’d get a poor one.   We’ll see if combining services will move the needle at all in the very challenging world of catching consumer eyeballs.

--  I was very happy to hear my long time friend and former co-worker Dave Gillikin landed a new gig at Advanced Glazing.  Great hire for them and I think a super spot for Dave.  Dave is among the handful of people who has known me basically from when I started in this world and actually will still talk to me on occasion.  Ha Ha.  Congrats to Dave and Advanced Glazing- good combo!

--  Last this week… I try to always point out other blogs and the value they bring to you.  If you missed Andrew Chatfield’s entry last week on Glassblog, please go back and check it out.  An excellent code compliance piece with focus on railing installations. Railings are one of those “hot” items that I see out there and the confusion on glass usage is real.  Andrew did a nice job in breaking it all down. 

LINKS of the WEEK

As noted above- I love Texas but there better not be a squirrel in my toilet.

This is surely a new way to send drugs- by greeting card.

I love dogs.  Love good stories too.  So this has both! 

VIDEO of the WEEK

The hot item for kids these days are “Fidget Spinners” – I have no clue what they are but evidently tons of kids have them and their being banned from schools.  Anyway- this funny video shows adults reacting to this new fad….


Sunday, May 07, 2017

Deal and AIA Recaps

Only 2 subjects this week… the proposed EFCO acquisition and AIA recap…

For the last few months I have been hinting towards a “big deal” in our industry and at the start of the week, one of the deals I have been tracking- the sale of EFCO- appears to have finally came together.  Way back in 2007, this blog broke the EFCO-Pella deal and I’ve always paid close attention to what was happening at that company.  When I heard more than a year ago that Pella was selling EFCO I was not surprised, the fit never seemed to take the way people envisioned.  As this latest deal started to come together the info and mis-information was flying at record speed.  I knew several months ago who the players were and all had good reason to try and acquire EFCO and add them to their operations.  In the end Apogee, which has been aggressive on the buying front won out and adds another interesting piece to a very well put together puzzle.  An already strong company got stronger.  Out of the gate I don’t see much changing- especially as the market is very busy right now- but I have to assume as things settle down the product lines that repeat within the overall Apogee world will get a long look to reach more efficiency.  And I think this will force other competitors to raise their games meaning the acquisitions are not over…

Another angle her is if you follow Apogee’s stock, you know it’s been a little bit of a roller coaster ride as of late.  Things carrying along very nicely for a while and then a very rough day on April 13th when the stock dropped from $58 to $50.  Evidently some investors expected a better outlook for next year.  Slowly but surely in the last month the stock has been climbing back but there’s no question that the analysts and markets are paying attention and a deal like this can only help in that process.  For many in our industry this is a process (a publicly traded company) that many have no concept of because it’s not a common setup in our world.  So every move made here is watched a lot more than the typical private company.
 
I have to note that unlike 2007 when I was younger, immature, and considered myself bulletproof- I simply don’t break news like a pending acquisition on here anymore.  But because of my connection to the past deal and knowing what I knew, people inside of the deal started to contact me to tell me wrong info to throw me off the trail.  I took it as an honor that a transaction worth a couple hundred million had people worried about an industry consultant with a blog.  Pretty cool right?  Obviously I was saddened that people I would respect would go out of their way to outright lie to me for the purpose of throwing me off, but hey it is what it is.  They had to do what they thought was best.

In the end a major acquisition is basically done and there are more in the pipeline that can rival this one.  Plus get ready for some new greenfields that are in the works too.  Bottom line- there is a lot of action in the market right now. 

As for AIA…

So the feedback came in waves last week and the majority of the responses were the same… the architects are simply not walking the floor or visiting the exhibits.  And that is not new.  This has been the case for years.  Yet exhibitors are always there and one reason is because AIA has a great way of always having a “carrot” of a great location for the future.  In previous years people looked past terrible shows because Washington DC, or Philly were coming up.  And this year is no different with New York being the 2018 site.  It is a shame that so much money and so many resources get wasted this way but for many that dream of hitting it big with an architect on the show floor overshadows all else.   Don’t get me wrong I love trade events- love shows.  And AIA serves a purpose for networking and growth- just not for reaching architects (that exhibit portion of that show will never show up on a list of “what an architect wants.”)   I can only imagine taking a show budget and using it on direct appeal approaches instead of 3 days of waiting around…

Overall the attitude of the vendors on the floor and the rare decision makers that visited were that the positive trends we keep reporting are real.  I love to hear that… As we know everything can change quickly, especially in a world filled with turmoil, but so far so good. 

Last- if you feel different about the AIA show- I’d love to hear about it.  I enjoy the opinions of others and always want to learn!

Next week I’m back with the normal format blog, including a show in Canada that is worth the effort to visit, a technical meeting that blew me away, and much more!

LINKS of the WEEK

If you are in college be careful what you are searching for during class…. The teachers are watching!

Not sure why this guy was arrested but I have had the same idea of hiring people to attend events…. A wedding though is surely interesting.

Is this new utensil from McDonald’s real?

VIDEO of the WEEK

I have really gotten into these “honest movie trailers” where some insanely creative people with a TON of time to blow re-create trailers into a different reality.  This one on Beauty in the Beast is great.


Monday, May 01, 2017

EFCO

Well the big deal has gone down... check back this weekend for my post on the deal.... a lot to unpack here....

Friday, April 28, 2017

Building the Image

As many in our industry gathered in Orlando for the AIA show my thoughts wandered over to a subject that I have covered a few times here- the seemingly age old question of how to attract more people to our industry.  It frustrates me to no end that young people would rather have a dead end job in a gigantic company than an opportunity to learn and grow in an industry that would truly embrace them.  Evidently we are not alone in dealing with this issue as the US Chamber of Commerce is touring the country and having “listening” sessions with different business leaders to get ideas on how to make skilled trades and the less popular industry segments one that can attract the work force they need to survive and thrive.  Ideas that have come from some of these sessions include promotional campaigns from an industry standpoint and public demonstrations (at malls and other busy retail areas) of what the industries are about.  So two things to consider here… 1- We as an industry need to come together and build a campaign to promote ourselves and all the good that we do.  Hopefully the talks with NGA and GANA lead to an agreement because one strong voice there would surely help.  2- Other industries are stepping up, so not only will we be competing with the “sexy” businesses but also other trades similar to ours.  I will be curious what the US Chamber reports back when their tour is done and if anything of relevance comes out I’ll surely break it out here.   In the meantime, we need to consider the situation and be prepared to do what we can to attract the next generation of people to us.

Elsewhere….

--  The AIA show… I’ll have some more thoughts on next post as with when I am writing this I have not gotten a lot of feedback in yet.  It looked busy and loud (Guardian did a great periscope of a presentation but the music from a booth nearby was blaring) I will note it is always interesting to see which glass and glazing companies exhibit there.  Some make sense and quite frankly some do not.  But the dogged desire to get to see a real, live, breathing, architect in the flesh for 12 seconds can be pretty tough to pass up….ha ha.

--  The latest Glass Magazine review…this is the issue that has the guide to specifications that I mentioned last week.  That is outstanding.  Some other pieces to surely read.  Good reminder/best practices article from Marco Terry on “Seven Tricks to Improve Cash Flow.”  I am a fan of Pete de Gorter and he has a very level headed look at steps to take when buying equipment.  I think that is very relevant since it feels like everyone in the industry right now is looking or buying some sort of equipment.  And as always whenever Joe Schiavone of CRL writes, I’m reading it- this issue he broke down the Florida Building Code and Impact products.  So there’s all of that and much more… check it out!

--  Best ad of the month was a tough one… but I am going with Sage Glass as I thought they took an interesting approach with their ad.  Usually the dynamic guys focus on the product and what it does, but this ad was about the installation.  Different focus and it made me stop and read.  Kudos to the gang there!

--  Last this week…. The news that ESPN was letting go more than 100 people was all over social media during the week.  There were many theories on ESPN making major cuts but the biggest one that people rarely mentioned was that network got too fat.  Too many people, too many ventures, the focus was all over the place.  We see it in our industry all the time, when times are good people sometime expand for expansion sake and not with a plan.  We should always be challenging everything we do and if we diversify its with a plan and approach in mind.  I think that’s where ESPN lost its way and quite frankly they may still have more cutting to go…

LINKS of the WEEK

Searching for a hermit.  Seriously.  They exist I guess.

Nice story- hopefully this young man continues to prove the doubters wrong!

Fun one- mascot comes through in the clutch!

VIDEO of the WEEK

One in a million sort of shot here… puck goes through the slight opening in the glass!


Friday, April 21, 2017

Missing AIA

This coming week is the annual AIA show and for the first time in a while I will not be attending.  My times at that event have lessened over the years but I still liked to go to see what was new and get a feel for the attitude on the floor.  So since I won’t be there I ask you, my loyal readers, to please drop me a line and let me know what you thought of the event and if there was anything there that was newsworthy.  I truly appreciate the help!

Elsewhere…

--  The latest Architectural Billings Index finished the first quarter with a major flourish.  The index came in at 54.3 which is a massive score in the scheme of the way they track things.  So the enthusiasm and the action coming from the architectural community is obviously on a roll right now.  Let’s keep riding that train….

--  Speaking of architects, Glass Magazine has an incredible online guide to “Glazing Specifications” and I think its one of the best things that talented team there has ever done.  There is an entire in-depth 6 part series of documents and I am still going through them but I wanted to point out their “Glass and Metals 201” as agreat example of the sort of information and insight at your fingertips.  Carve out some time (like I am) to check them all out.

--  And one more Glass Magazine related note… the most prestigious honors that our industry has- the Glass Magazine Awards are back again and the process for submittals in several categories is now open.  There are some very interesting categories that will surely bring a lot of great recognition to deserving companies & people.  So please take a look and get your submittals in!

--  Last week on the Glassblog a new writer made his debut.  Gareth Francey of Bohle America had his first posting and I thought it was an excellent piece.  Welcome to the wild and wonderful world of blogging Gareth!

--  Congrats to Brad Thurman on his move to GGI.  I have known Brad a very long time and he’s one of the most intelligent guys in our industry.  He’s a super person and he’ll be great in his new position there for sure….

--  I am not a New York City type of guy at all- but I do really admire the constant pace of construction there and the basic evolution.  One example is what they have done with Times Square.  Making it a pedestrian only area was obviously a brilliant idea and this link gives you a ton of before an after shots.  If you look hard enough you can see one of the coolest items at Times Square, the Ruby Red glass stairs at TKTS that the fine folks at Walker Glass and AGNORA worked on.  As a glass geek- that’s surely a favorite for me.

--  Last this week I read an article recently that noted 3D printers are able to make glass.  Right now they do it with some form of liquid that can be shaped into very intricate things.  I think we are safe on the traditional flat glass side- I don’t see 3D printers making high performance Low E any time soon… but my goodness anything seems possible anymore….

LINKS of the WEEK

This story is a great marketing case study- when what looks to be a neat idea really goes off the rails.  

This is why I am a dog guy- they are too chill to try and figure out what’s going on.  Cats on the other hand….

I’m not a “juicer” guy so maybe $400 is normal for one?  I just couldn’t imagine spending that much on it

VIDEO of the WEEK

The next edition in the Star Wars movies series is coming this December… and the trailer just came out… here it is… and even if you don’t like the films the music should give you chills!