Sunday, May 12, 2019

Award and Interview Season

A couple of fun ones to cover at this top of the post this week… first the single most prestigious award program in the entire glass industry is now open for nominations.  The Glass Magazine Awards for 2019 launched last week and I am so excited to see the process play out.  There are so many great categories that will really show off the extreme talent in our industry.  So check out thelink and get your projects and products in!!

Also my summer interview series- “The Big 3” is back again… Last summer I interviewed several people from many different walks of life in the glass and glazing universe and I’m doing it again this year.  I already have 9 people on my wish list and I am starting to reach out now.   If all goes well I’ll start rolling out the first one in the next few weeks and it will run through the next few months. 


--  Congrats to the folks at Guardian Glass on their new website.   A nice advancement on the previous version, layout is solid for user experience and video piece in center of screen works well.  Tons of info on there too.  Good job to all involved!

--  New fun follow on Twitter is “Cursed Architecture.”   Find it here and follow along as the post some of the craziest layouts and mistakes you could ever imagine.   

--  Fall Conference registration is open and its being held in the great town of Toledo.
Unfortunately I have to miss it and that’s killing me as there’s a load of VERY important technical items on the agenda and there’s also the “Old Guard Group” which brings together some of the best folks our industry has ever had and they share their wisdom. 

--  Speaking of the Fall Conference, a staple at events like that was Doug Nelson.  Sadly the word broke at the end of the week that Doug had passed away.  No doubt that was some rough news to hear.  Doug was the owner of the Brin group in Minnesota and was a force in the Flat Glass Manufacturers Association (FGMA) and then into the Glass Association of North America (GANA) back in the day.  I will always remember Doug for just holding court amongst the crowd.  He was bigger than life to me as I was just a pup learning the ins and outs.  I admired what he had built then and his legacy is still alive today with the companies he built still thriving in the Twin Cities.  My thoughts and prayers to Doug’s family and friends as well as everyone that worked with him at Brin.  A tough loss for sure.

--  I’ll be shocked if this is the design in the end but this look for the new Notre Dame rebuild is pretty fascinating.

--  As I am sure you know GlassBuild registration is open but also do not forget to book your hotel room.  GlassBuild gets a great block of rooms at favorable rates- so book through the GlassBuild site to take advantage!  Click here!

--  Last this week... programming note- no blog post from me next week… unless of course some sort of major story breaks.  Otherwise I’ll see you back in this space week of 5/26.


An iguana as a weapon?  Really?

Frightening but the guy I believe is OK.

Met Shaq once- such a nice guy. See stuff like this about him all the time.  Great to see!


Not sure if I posted this trailer or not- but the next MUST SEE movie for me is Rocketman- the Elton John Story and that comes out at the end of this month… can’t wait!

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Opportunity is Ours

Last week I briefly touched on the story from New York City and the Mayor there commenting on glass and glazing.  Since then it’s been a very interesting ride to follow the various stories and reaction to it.  First as the news got some legs folks from the Mayor’s office tried to soften it some with some much needed clarifications on what he meant.  Then we got some excellent takes on the issue from Glass Magazine editor Katy Devlin, View’s Rao Mulpuri, and my old pal Dr. Helen Sanders of Technoform.  But even with the smart comments coming in, the initial damage was done.  The narrative that stuck was: a “ban” on glass was needed because glass is bad.  So here we go again.  I even chuckled when I looked at these two e-mails back to back in my inbox

So it is now back to us to be better at how we communicate our products and how our industry represents ourselves.  This is an OPPORTUNITY for us.  We all know that we have GREAT products that can meet and exceed the energy needs and provide benefits that brick and other products do not.  We can rise to the challenge and show we are not the problem here and actually bring positive solutions with us.  Older buildings that desperately need energy upgrades everywhere are where this effort should start.  Glass needs to be the driver and the solution.  Let’s go get it.


--  I missed noting the annual “Take Your Child to Work” day on last weeks post.  It was really cool to see so many companies in our industry showing off what they did on social media.  When you think about the whole “ban” issue and also the fact we need youth in this business, it’s really important to get kids interested in our world sooner than later.  So big props to everyone who brought their kids in and to all the companies who pushed and supported it!

--  So has everyone seen Avengers End Game yet?  Super movie.  Don’t worry I won’t spoil it but I do want to say I loved the glass usage in the movie- and I got a kick out of some of the breakage too- looked like in some scenes the glass broke more like annealed.  So while others will go see that movie again to experience it another time, I’ll go back to study break patterns…

--  Never thought I’d see Wal Mart as the next leader in store innovation but here you are… interesting piece on a test store in NewYork. 

--  Travel nugget… I swear I have a Joe DiMaggio like streak of picking the wrong security line at airports.  I have the awesome TSA pre-check but once you get through that and have to pick a line…. I think I am 0 for my last 30 on choosing the faster one through.   So if you see me at that part of the airport go opposite of my choice!

--  Last this week.. the glass industry someday could be known as the place that spawned the next awesome social media network!  Check out this great article on Jeff Meyer of White Bear Glass as he and his family and partners have launched a new social and file sharing site called “The Horn”  - This thing has incredible potential and the key is privacy.  While Facebook just decided that privacy is important, Jeff’s site is all over it.  Wouldn’t it be awesome that a Minnesota company with a major connection to the glass industry makes inroads in the tech world of Silicon Valley?  So combining with the top story- not only is the glass world great but we also do social media better than anyone else too…. Good luck Jeff!!


Very interesting story here on a good thing done but a delay needed in publicly thanking.

I don’t go to doctors to begin with but no way am I going if it’s a screen with an “Artificial Intelligence” doctor.   Look out.

This takes data mining to an incredible level


This video is absolutely fascinating.  It is a mouse who is cleaning up small tools on a workbench.  Yes. Seriously.  And evidently this mouse does it nightly too.  I’m floored here.  (Yes I am easily amused and entertained)

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Get Involved!

One of the most important approaches we have going right now is the NGA Advocacy and Technical Services department.  It is here, where so much that can affect our day to day world, is worked on, debated, pushed, delayed etc.  This takes on a larger role when you think about the comments made by the Mayor of New York last week with regards to glass buildings.  (There are others in our industry, like Chuck Knickerbocker, who covered this much more eloquently than I could ever, so I’ll their words stand for me)
We are used to people taking shots at our industry and livelihood and we will continue to fight on all fronts but we surely could use more people involved and following along.   Go to this page HERE to see what’s happening currently and reach out to add your help to it.  If we don’t keep working together as an industry comments that are directed at going to less glass will start to become more real than we want them to be!  We can’t sit still, so please get involved!!


--  It has been a while, so time for the latest Glass Magazine review… I’m looking at the April edition, which has cover of an incredible entrance that was fabricated by AGNORA.  This issue was dedicated to the “Top Fabricators” and delivered as always.  The special section included a list of the top companies; focus on women owned operations, standout “partner fabricators” as named by their customers and some excellent stats about the market place.  It’s truly an incredible section of reading for anyone who has interest in the fabricated glass world.  Also for the 3rd month in a row, the “Trendhunter” article delivered thanks this time to Michael Spellman of IGE.  Awesome piece on automation on the fab floor that has me wishing I had a plant of my own to put some of this innovation in.  Oh and the “take 5” with Andrew Haring was super.  I am getting to work closely with Andrew on GlassBuild promotion and the guy is absolutely brilliant.

--  Ad of the month choice was tough yet again, very thick issue with a lot of contenders.  My winner this month is Sika.  I usually don’t like text heavy ads- but the Sika ad jumped out at me because of the awesome picture they chose and the color matched Sika logo.  The picture was a very sophisticated structure that made me want to study it.  So when you stop on an ad like that it’s a winner.  Kudos to whomever at Sika did this- I think I only know the great Kelly Townsend there, so Kelly you can take the credit…lol!

--  Congrats to McGrory Glass on their new website launch.  The site setup is very unique with regards to layout and optimization.  It works nicely on the user experience for sure… check it out here- and congrats to the team there on a job well done!

--  The Texas Glass Association Glass Conference II is coming up quickly…. If you are involved in this industry and in Texas, you need to consider getting there for it.  More info can be found HERE.  Personally I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new people.  As I previously noted I am honored to be speaking at the session, and I’ll be sharing some interesting forecast news amongst other nuggets.
In addition the other speakers and topics are very strong.  Learn more here.

--  I have been hearing that black matte hardware- of all styles and applications are getting extremely hard to find.  I’m even hearing that from the millwork side of the business.  That look is hot right now and maybe too hot for everyone to keep up.

--  GlassBuild registration is now open.  Don’t procrastinate… register now and also grab your hotel room.   By the way my Philadelphia friends both the Eagles and Phillies will be in town during the GlassBuild run up and show, so you can mix a little sports with your show of the year.

--  Last this week… one of the coolest things to see architecturally in Michigan is at Michigan State University and the Broad Art Museum.  The exterior is stunning thanks to a great design by Zaha Hadid and glass from Guardian Glass.  Now this summer on the inside of this amazing structure will be an incredible glass sculpture in the exhibition named Oscar Tuazon-Water School.  Instead of me screwing up the description I’ll just use this from Guardian Glass:

“Tuazon’s “water window” uses more than 200 square feet of monolithic, tempered lites provided by Guardian Glass. The four trapezoidal shapes, which weigh in excess of 800 pounds, are installed in a steel frame connected to a post and bearing, which allows the water window to also rotate, further transforming the window into a door. A digitally printed image – a reference to the original water window by Baer – was placed on the 3rd surface and fired into the glass.”

More info can be found here- but if you find yourself in the great state of Michigan this summer- this is worth seeing!


There’s usually some dumb political move each week- here’s one for this post.  This can’t be true right?

The length that folks will go to for tickets to the Masters is amazing

This one is the ultimate “hmmmmm” article.  Interesting battle on parking tickets andenforcement. 


So did everyone binge the 2nd season of Cobra Kai on YouTube yet?  I did- thought it was good- of course not as good as season 1, but solid nonetheless.  Regardless of it you watched the show or not- if you saw the original Karate Kid movie- this “mock” 30 for 30 is a fun watch.  Check it out. 6 great minutes of content!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Show Review

Busy industry week for those on the east coast of North America.  Both the Top Glass event in suburban Toronto and the Mid Atlantic Glass Expo in Maryland had full houses and strong events that attracted a great range of glass professionals.  I was lucky enough to be in Maryland and experience what the fine folks at the Mid Atlantic Glass Association put together.  Good large layout that made it easy to work the room and network.  Great representation of industry companies overall and a pretty positive attitude towards the market though the event happened before the latest ABI came out (more on that below).  Of course for me the networking possibilities are the driver and I got to meet some new people and re-connect with others.   In the new category, was great to visit with Joe Sennese of Vitro Architectural Glass.  Good guy for sure and he was working their stand with my old friend Nathan McKenna who gets congratulations on his latest promotion inside the walls at Vitro! Kudos Nathan!  Also new but too quick and not enough time to talk was Trevor Elliott of Kawneer,  I wanted to spend more time with Trevor but he was the MAN in demand being the outgoing President of the  MGA and all.  Hopefully next show we can catch up more, but glad I put a face with the name. 
Meanwhile it was an awesome trip down memory lane for me at the Trulite booth.  I got to see three people that I worked with closely in various times of my professional career but really had not seen any of them once I started Sole Source years ago.  Debbie Lamer and I go very far back and it just was incredible to see she is the same awesome, focused force she was back in the day.  I worked with her when we were both young pups in the business and I look and feel like I am 70 years old and she looks 24.  April Oakley and I worked together at Arch and she was one of my favorite customer service reps ever and she was also one of the first people to ever read this blog way back in 2005.  I loved catching up with her and the fact her skills and talents are being perfectly utilized by Trulite was a daymaker. Last but not least I worked with Ken Passmore when I was at Vitro and he has not changed a bit- still smart, sharp and just an all around solid guy.  It was a great thrill for me to see and visit with these three…  So of course I am now very fired up about the next two events on my calendar… The Texas Glass Association Conference May 17 in Waco and of course GlassBuild America in September.  Can’t wait to see people and keep the networking and education going.  This week just helped keep those fires burning!


--  Speaking of GlassBuild… get ready REGISTRATION opens this week!  Keep an eye out for notification of the open and get registered.  Even bigger… go get your hotel rooms locked down, Atlanta will be busy so get in the hotel blocks sooner than later.  This show will be off the charts… you will not want to miss it.

--  Some sad news though this week on the people side.  John Lang passed away.  John was a fantastic sales professional in our world for years and I worked with him when he was at Arch in Kansas City.  Funny guy- great sense of humor and timing.  He retired from the industry a few years back and traveled the world and enjoyed himself.  I am so sorry to see him go, my thoughts, prayers and condolences to John’s family and friends.

--  Back to the industry world, I teased above the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) hit a big roadblock this month… the ABI posted its lowest score in 7 years at 47.8** 
So a few things to look at… first we knew that the crazy January score of 55.3 was a bit of an outlier and so the lower scores are corrections for sure.  The labor shortage as we all know already is very real and now the analysts pointed to that as a reason the index was underwater.   On the good side, work and future activity is still pointing to a strong year and economic experts are waving off any thought of a recession at this juncture.  We’ll keep monitoring it all though and see if we get a bounce back. 
**Note- ABI has changed formulas so the 47.1 posted in 2012 may not be an exact match to this month’s low score, but there’s no conversion chart to use otherwise.

--  On the flip side other metrics were up in March so, again we have a lot of data at play here so it all bears watching closely.  I think those scarred by the recession happen to be more keenly interested in every data point.  (I am one of those for sure)

--  Last this week…  you may have seen this… plans for a big floatable city that is big time sustainable…


The college admission scandal continues to enthrall me.  I love the argument now that the celebs didn’t realize they were doing anything wrong…. No way… horrendous excuses abound.

Just click to read the headline.. then move on.  Wild.

Sorry this guy is not as good as El Pres when it comes to Pizza Reviews.  Get the one bite app…


With GlassBuild registration about to open… time to look back at last years event… check it out!