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.


--  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 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.


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


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!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Remembering Frank and Jack

The glass and glazing industry lost two amazing people last week with the passing of Frank Dlubak and Jack Hoisington.  Both men made significant impacts in the markets they played in and will be missed greatly.  Frank Dlubak was a remarkable inventor and founder of Dlubak Corporation.  Some including myself thought of Frank as a mad scientist (In a good way!) He was always coming up with a new product or machine that could change the way the market worked.  My first visit with Frank was many years ago and he showed off a new addition to one of his tempering ovens, it was all home made, all invented and developed solely by Frank.  It was jawdropping and I was speechless.  But pretty much you felt that awe after every conversation with Frank because he had this amazing energy about him. 
Jack Hoisington was a Michigan glass and glazing leader for many years as the owner of Madison Heights Glass.  He was also probably one of the overall nicest people this industry has ever seen.  He was extremely friendly and positive as well hard working and ethical.   He was a guy that the glass and glazing industry can point to as an excellent example of class.  Frank and Jack were guys who always left a positive impression on you because they allowed you to have a conversation and you learned after every interaction with them.   The passing of these two incredible men leaves a massive hole in our world and hearts.  My sincerest condolences to family and friends of Frank and Jack…


--  The latest issue of Glass Magazine is out- this one is dedicated to the Top Metal companies in the industry so several pages are focused on that area including some interesting insight on the challenges that some of these companies faced in 2017. Plus I loved the coverage my pal Tom O’Malley (Clover Architectural Products) got with a full-page shot of the Cummins Building in Indianapolis.  I know Tom has always been extremely proud of his company’s contribution to that structure, so it was great to see it recognized.  Obviously I advise reading this (and every issue) cover to cover, but I want to also point out that there’s some interesting content on the Buy America Act, codes on glass wall systems, and an excellent piece by Carl Tomkins of Sika about doing things differently. 

--  The ad of the month goes to the gang from TGP.  The layout of the ad caught my eye with a bold, smart headline and then just enough text to carry the message all the way home.  Tremendous work and props to the team at TGP on a job well done!

--  Last week I asked about the building used on the TV show- “The Good Doctor” and thank you to all who replied with the info.  (One was my friend, the great Steve O’Hollaren of National Glass- very cool to communicate with “SteveO” again.) So what we know now… this is a real building and it is in Surrey, BC.  So I’d love to know who fabricated and installed the glass.  Tons of tremendous companies in that part of the world, so I am not even going to guess. 

--  Did you see that one of the soccer stadiums in Qatar beingbuilt for the World Cup will be demountable?  All of it.  We as an industry are now used to demountable interior office systems… but an entire building or stadium?  Wow.

Last this week, a story to follow and one that has a lot of moving parts and pieces but does have a glass related connection.  In Philadelphia there’s a move a foot to get rid of the all bullet resistant glass structures at convenience style stores.  I have been used to that set up my entire life (there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken we used to go to that was the first I can remember) so I’m very curious to see how this proceeds.


I gotta admit this is the first time I’m seeing a teacher busted for this…

This is a tough one- the world is changing and you have to be able to change with it- but she seems very needed and if she can properly treat the patients- nothing else should matter

Sometimes I’ll activate “Siri” when I say “Sorry” but thisstory is much better… wow


Lindsey Stirling is an amazing talent.  Violinist and dancer… I’m a big fan.   If you’ve never seen or heard of her, it’s worth checking out!  Here’s her latest to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Almost Done with 2017

We’re now entering the home stretch of 2017.  For many people the year is over.  The amount of work that gets done between now and new years is usually on the low side.  So productivity is not a positive right now.  Still work needs to be done, and weather is cooperating in the traditional winter weather spots of the US.  That could change pretty quickly but nasty, job-slowing precipitation has not been a factor yet.  This year though has absolutely flown right by…


--  The latest Architectural Billings Index (ABI) came in with a return to the positive.  The key with tracking the ABI is that it doesn’t touch our world for at least 9 months, so these consistent upbeat reports, along with healthy backlogs really are momentum builders for 2018.  There’s obviously the daily worry that some geo political nightmare that bursts from a twitter post could bring all of this to a halt, but so far so good metric wise.

--  A while back I wrote briefly on the “fake marketing” that is happening in our industry.  Sadly that trend keeps continuing with companies attaching their names to projects online and leaving the reader to incorrectly assume that said company supplied the entire noted product on the building.  It’s a lazy and weak approach and quite frankly distasteful to try and take credit for something you don’t deserve.  As you can see it makes me somewhat crazy- mostly because companies can and should be better than that.

--  Congrats to my friends at Walker Glass for completing the HPD/EPD process for several of their products.  That is not an easy or inexpensive process but it is meaningful in the big picture of transparency with regards to sustainable building.  Well done gang!

--  The home of the 2018 edition of GlassBuild America, the Las Vegas Convention Center is getting some serious upgrades and additions.  860 million will be spent to make the center the 2nd largest in the US right behind Chicago’s McCormick.  My guess is Vegas saw how GlassBuild is growing and with the merger of GANA and NGA, they needed to add more space to take care of us glass folk!

--  Does anyone out there watch the new ABC show “The Good Doctor” – if you do you see an amazing looking hospital featuring tons of glass.  I’m curious is that a real structure (or Hollywood magic) and if it is real, where is it and who did the glass and glazing… because it is sharp!

--  Are you a Top Glass Fabricator?  If so submissions are now open for Glass Magazine’s Top Fabricator list.  Get your details in and you can also nominate so great glaziers along the way too! 

--  I think “Black Friday” may be the biggest day of the year for promotional e-mails.  I was floored by the amount that I received to start the day and how they just kept on coming in.  I think every list I have ever been on from a retail outlet reached out to me as well as many others that I have no idea how they found me.

--  Last this week, before the Thanksgiving holiday in the US I posted a handful of things I am thankful for within our industry.  If you are interested you can find that posthere…


This story shows a sad part of our society- people confusing Charles Manson with music star Marilyn Manson

Part 2 of society frustrations… how people can be mad at a professor for telling the simple truth

Deep and long story on the last of the Iron Lungs in operation.  I honestly had no idea this was still out there.


Fun video- guy does one of those typical contests during an NBA game and wins food for entire crowd… backstory they don’t mention, the shooter recently survived cancer.  Very cool.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Ok in keeping with my all time favorite holiday, (Thanksgiving in the US) I am taking a different spin on this week’s blog…  I am going with things in this industry I am thankful for…

--  I am thankful that we have so many amazing people in this industry who care… do you know how hard it is to find people who really truly care these days?  And yet in our industry the selflessness by so many people and organizations is pretty awesome.

--  I am thankful for the potential upcoming merger of GANA and the NGA.  Such a huge and important move for the health, welfare, and future of our industry.  And kudos to Nicole Harris for being a visionary in pushing for this.

--  I am thankful that Glass Magazine picks up my blog weekly.  I think I have given Katy Devlin and Bethany Stough fits with having to worry that my weakening writing skills will devalue their amazing site and also whom I may end up offending along the way.  But they still support me.  Amazing.

--  I am thankful to all of those folks (way too many to mention) who helped me along the way in our glass universe; like my brother Steve who convinced me to leave television to join the business, then convinced me to turn down a great gig hosting a TV show in Virginia to stay at it.   And my late dad, who never pressured me about joining the business or even staying in it, he would’ve supported me the same incredible way if I was doing the fishing report in North Dakota or working in the glass industry.  Class guy who didn’t talk much but his lessons, even 16 years after he is gone still speaks volumes for me.

--  I am thankful that the forecasts for the industry look positive for the next few years.  Obviously a lot can change and change quickly, but I am surely enjoying the positive wave now.

--  I am thankful we have companies that are innovating even though some from outside the industry don’t believe it.  Our materials have come a long way since I started in 1991 even though some days it doesn’t feel that way.

--  I am thankful for all I have been fortunate enough to experience in person in our industry, including amazing float plants, great fab operations, unitized glazing setups, installations, testing, R&D, trade shows etc.  So many experiences and memories I cherish and will always be on the lookout for more.

--  I am thankful for my fellow bloggers who write blogs I only wish I could write.  People like John Wheaton who bring up really insightful subjects and get people thinking and acting in a way that can only help our industry. 

--  I am thankful for GlassBuild America and for GANA BEC- two events that mean the world to me and our industry, and all I have learned at both.

--  Last… I am thankful that I still have the opportunity to write this blog every week and that at least a few people and my mom still read it.   I truly appreciate it and I am legitimately blown away every time someone notes they read it.  I’ve been posting for 12 years and I hope I still bring some interesting items up even though I am a ton mellower than I was when I started. (Thank goodness!)  I sincerely hope that every one out there in the U.S. has a wonderful holiday and to my friends in Canada and elsewhere enjoy the peace and quiet that should be emanating out of the United States Thursday!


This sounds like a heck of a sight!

A yacht with 186 MILLION dollars worth of cocaine…. Wow.


Next June the new Deadpool movie comes out… I am torn on this one… I know some people loved it (my son especially) and others did not.  It is surely different.