Sunday, July 24, 2016

Wild Week In Review

So now we have had a few days to let the PPG-Vitro deal sink in.  I think the underrated item in this deal is Vitro is not exactly a newbie when it comes to glass.  They have been producing glass since 1909.  So there’s history there for sure. I say this because the focus was on PPG getting out of glass after more than a century, and it may have been different if a young upstart company bought them.  Another item that had people buzzing is what happens to the current PPG workforce.  I can tell you that in a deal like this people are a crucial part of it.  Vitro now inherits some serious talent and they surely will want to take advantage of that.  Believe me if they don’t competitors will.  On the branding side, I mentioned on a previous post that the tried and true names will be staying.  That is a big move as we’ve seen acquisitions in the past where familiar names were blown out- and so were the specs that were attached to them for years.  So at this point there’s a few months while the particulars get settled and deal turns official.  We’ll keep an eye on it all but I think for the most part we won’t see any dramatic change to the way business is done in our industry based on this.  I do however see the logjam starting to loosen on other deals.  While we are in a serious rumor overload right now, I do think more action is coming in the 2nd half of this year.  And there are a few with potential to be bigger than this and also have an effect on the industry too.  Stay tuned.

Elsewhere…

--  Last note for now on the Vitro-PPG deal and it’s an angle I bring up with all major deals- will the new entity still support the industry the way the old did?  PPG is at every show and always willing to help.  In addition their education pieces are fantastic.  Hope that continues!

--  Another note from the acquisition side, I’m surprised that the Dow and Dupont deal has not had more coverage.  A lot of speculation there on what comes next specifically regarding Dow Corning.  Will bear watching as well.

--  The monthly release of the Architectural Billings Index hit right as all of this came to play.  So it flew under the radar some.  June marked the 5th straight positive month though the score trended down a bit to 52.6 from May’s 53.1.  New projects also fell some to 58.6 after a scorching 60.1 in May.  Basically this along with some other forecasting metrics keeps the industry on pace for a positive start to 2017.

--  Via the Twitter feed of Ted Bleecker a great column on the economy and the metrics with it.  So while I trumpet the above success of the ABI, I guess I too may be falling into that trap.  Good food for thought here.  And the author of this piece Alex Carrick, is also a good twitter follow too.

--  Last this week- one convention done, one to go.  Stepping away from the actual event and looking at the costs, these two events will tally more than 140 million to put on.  That number just blows my mind.  Yes it’s helpful for the economy- that 140 million goes to tons of trades and companies involved with it.  But it also just seems like an insane waste of resources.  And my misery will just grow worse with a BILLION dollars expected to be spent on the election in November. 

LINKS of the WEEK

Twins everywhere!  Mom gives birth to 3rd set in 2 years.

Where is the common sense here?  Threatening to sue after not making a team?  Nuts!

Editing genes.  As a friend noted to me, just because you can doesn’t mean you should

VIDEO of the WEEK

So if you are a music fan I have one for you.  Saw this group while I was on vacation and they were amazing.  They are “Striking Matches” and the guitar playing – especially towards the end, is nothing short of tremendous. 








Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Deal is Done- Quick Reaction

So PPG reached an agreement to sell their glass division to Vitro. The rumors that poked around for such a long time, surfaced publicly last Friday, all came true this morning.  I am honestly stunned.  Why?  Because anyone who has followed the industry has heard a rumor or two that PPG’s glass division would be sold.  Candidates from all over the globe were associated with it- but it never happened.  Until now.  It’s obviously going to be the end of an era.  PPG is a major name in the glass industry.  As the great John Wheaton asked on Twitter, what will the G stand for in their name now?  (My answer- just like ESPN used to mean Entertainment and Sports Programming Network- they dropped that and the initials just stay.  Or better example- MTV)

As for going forward- my assumption is the brand names stay (Solarban, Starphire etc) but that's not confirmed yet.  (that's crucial from a spec standpoint) UPDATE- I just got this confirmed.  Names staying  I can’t imagine Vitro doing a deal without those.  I don’t see any immediate disruptions in business or people, but I am sure as time goes on things will change.  They always do. - Also should note, in deals like this people are a key element.

The rumor mill in our industry by the way is spinning at warp speed.  I do think a lot of tire kicking is going on for sure, but for some of the proposed marriages I am being told, I just don’t think they are even close to happening. 


So this was just a quick take on some gigantic news.  More to follow as the details come out and things sink in.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Big Deal Potentially Brewing

The rumor had been floating out there for a while.  In fact rumors surrounding both companies are almost like a cottage industry.  Now the “rumor” has hit the main stream news.  I am talking about PPG and Vitro.  PPG selling it’s flat glass division to Vitro.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette acquired anindependent auditors report and then released a story late last Friday night.  Obviously this does not mean a sale is immenient.  We don’t know exactly what sort of report it was as the story doesn’t dig into specifics. But the fact the Post Gazette ran with this story is very interesting…  it now brings this backroom discsussion to the public.  We’ll see if this marriage happens or if something else swerves in it’s way.  In any case this will be one to watch.

Elsewhere…

--  We are halfway through the year, so let’s do some looking back and some peering ahead.  2016 got underway with some early weather issues and dropping oil prices.  Both of those items were especially unkind to the great state of Texas.  Bird friendly glazing continued to be in the news and growing in the minds of designers, building owners, and consumers.  Hopefully it will find more usage as well.  Also in the first half of the year, another successful industry gathering at BEC, ending an increbile run of success by Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning in the lead of that event.   From an overall economic side, both residential and non residential starts and put in place are running ahead of forecasts and the analysts are bullish.  The ABI and DMI also looked solid during Q1 and 2. 

So now looking ahead, will oil prices stay low or start to grow?  The bi-annual glasstec in Germany hits in September and I’ll be curious on where the vibe is there, especially given the whole “Brexit” adventure in play.  GlassBuild America goes a month later than usual this year and is bigger than ever- bigger floor space, more exhibitors, and tremendous innovation and networking to be had.  That’s in October.  I still expect other acquisition news to hit- (aside from mentioned above) though being a major sellers market, there may be some delay in any of that happening with valuations a lot higher than folks would like to pay.  Of course no looking ahead can happen without the one thing that most likely will be life changing.  The 2016 Presidential election.  No words can probably describe that one accurately….  Anyway it should be an interesting run to 2016… buckle up!

--  Speaking of GlassBuild, just a reminder on the Glazing Executives Forum.  Two great keynotes (George Hedley and Ken Simonson) and “Solution Sessions” that will be well worth your time.  To learn more and join the growing registration list- visit http://www.glassbuildamerica.com/glazing-executives-forum.html

--  The winners of the Glass Magazine photo contest are out and I loved the winner.  A picture of glass after going through a two hour fire test.  Just an awesome shot overall.  This contest was a fun one and I expect it grow and be even better in the future.  Our industry has a ton of great looking and innovative pieces… let’s keep pounding our chests and show it off!

--  I’m a bit late on this but congrats to Bobby Hartong and his family, his partner and my brother Steve, and everyone at WA Wilson in West Virginia on their 175th Anniversary!  Yes 175 years… amazing accomplishment and could not have happened to nicer folks too.  That party in 25 years for the 200th will be a wild one….

--  If you have the slightest interest in the growing 3D Printing world, this link is for you.  A ton of great insight and resources in one place thanks to Benesch Law and my good pal and industry supporter Rick Kalson.

--  Last this week… interesting article on the Las Vegas building market and how the tall residential towers are not in the future plans… I wonder if this same fate awaits Toronto?  Eventually there’s just too much.  Good piece overall though….

LINKS of the WEEK

Is this really true?  The Waldorf no more?

Totally depressing that the government booted this issue.  The “May contain” label is so important- so of course they screw it up.

Rough relationship finally reaches an ending I think. 

VIDEO of the WEEK

I hate the ESPY’s but am a fan of John Cena.  Good work here with SNL fave Leslie Jones.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Brexit and Us

When any time I give analysis on the economy, I always leave a healthy “but” in there with regards to the political climate.  So when #Brexit – the vote of Britain to leave the European Union- happened this week, that surely became an example of something that “could” be an issue.   We live in such a reactionary world, that some times you really can’t get a true feel for any sort of impact because of the immediate bluster in the aftermath of the event in question.  “Uncertainty” is the key word.  Obviously there’s a lot at play here, and a long way still to go,  so it surely bears our attention going forward.  Could this be something that derails the positive trend that many of us are on?  I ask because the emotional reactions right now are outnumbering any rational ones.  Curious of the thoughts of the amazing minds out there in the industry on this one.... so feel free to share.

Elsewhere

--  Speaking of positive trends… the Architectural Billings Index had an excellent May.  With a score of 53.1 the index posted it’s best score of the year and the analysis is pointing to a fresh surge on the institutional side of the business.  Personally I always liked institutional work because they were less likely to “value engineer” products out.  In any case, this currently stands as a good sign.  Now whether or not the geo-political strife is going to hamper this- we’ll see.

--  Fantastic book out that industry geeks would love.  “One World Trade Center-Biography of the Building” by Judith Depré takes an extremely deep look at the building of the new World Trade Center buildings and the amount of mention on glass and aluminum has been surprisingly heavy.  There’s also insight in there on suppliers for the building I was unaware of, so that was interesting to me.  The best part is it shows our industry as more than just folks who throw some random glass into any old hole.  There’s precision, planning, and care.  That was cool.  I will note the first ½ of the book is where the action is, 2nd half starts in on the other landmarks of MYC and some other items, so it makes for a quicker read.

--  Saw the news this week on Asahi and Solaria.  That is excellent stuff and major kudos to my old friend Scott Hoover who’s obviously doing great things in his role at Solaria.

--  I was able to finally see the movie “13 Hours” and I have to say I am impressed that they kept pretty close to the book.  That’s rare in Hollywood.  But then again this story was so deep and intense it was almost impossible for Hollywood to screw up.  (Then again so was the book based on “Munich” and that was ruined, so who knows)

--  I had one of the moments recently where I know I am getting old.  I had to change the settings on my iPhone to the largest print.  My kids can read my phone from across the room now, as well as some astronauts in space…. 

--  Last this week- a programming note.  No posts coming from me until the week of July 18th.  Unless of course news happens… Which on that note, the rumor mill is churning at record speed, but yet no news, so maybe over these next two weeks things break?  If they do, I’ll tweet about them more than potentially blog.  Anyway, I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Canada Day later this week and Independence Day in the US the week after.  Please try and celebrate the good in the world, honor those who served, and stay positive for the future.  See you back in this space in mid July!

LINKS of the WEEK

--  I love butter… but 2000 year old butter?  Nope.  I’ll pass.  Fun story though.

--  This is such a great story, but you always have to have your guard up somehow since we do live in a world where people love to prey on the good.  Still glad  this worked out.

--  Funny circumstance here… getting stuck in a Barney the Dino head.

VIDEO of the WEEK

So this holiday weekend, instead of watching what looks to be an awful sequel, maybe check out the fun original instead.  Movie I am talking about is Independence Day…  the first one was super.  Not sure the 2nd one will be.  So here’s a flashback to 1996….


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Schools, Glass and the Future

One item I have hit on here in the past is improved/innovative design in schools.  It is something I believe in greatly, not only that we can provide necessary security but with the right usage of glass and glazing we also improve the learning atmosphere.  This week I got some company on my soapbox thanks to an excellent article that not only talked about what schools need to advance but also the demographic and economic market around building them.  It’s a worthwhile read.  Let’s be real here, a lot of our industry thrives thanks to school and institutional building, so a solid sector there is very good for all of us.  I personally though would like to see our products grow in emphasis there.  We can supply the security, energy, decorative and functional products that the educational facilities in North America deserve. 

Elsewhere…

--  Speaking of great reads… once again the latest issue of Glass Magazine did not disappoint.  And props to the creative team there- just a wonderful and slick layout. I love how pictures of great glass jobs can fill a page and there’s several in this issue.  The big story was the annual Top 50 Glazier list (mentioned last week) but the series on exits planning continues to be a must read.  Kudos to the class act that is the DeGorter family as they were profiled in the issue- good people, nice to see them covered!

--  PPG gets thumbs up here too- as they were my ad of the month in the aforementioned Glass Magazine.  They nailed the text bringing out the image piece with their spot.  Creative and well done!

--  I talk about where social media can be a good tool for learning/resource and this week was no different with the coverage of the AAMA conference on their twitter feed at @AAMAInfo.  Even if you can’t follow in real time (I couldn’t) the beauty is going back to their feed after the fact and just going through it all.  Tons of info there.  Well done folks and great use of the medium!

--  The news of LinkedIn being bought by Microsoft was big this past week.  But the bizarre part for me came in an article from the New York Times that said one of the key drivers for Microsoft was the ability to be able to incorporate LinkedIn into the Microsoft Office products.  Now I can see Skype and Outlook being integrated somehow, but the article specifically mentioned Word.  Now that would be flat out bizarre.  I can see it now, writing a piece in word and a pop up comes up that says “Your LinkedIn Connection Joe Blow Is Also Working In Word”   or something like that.  That has potential to not be fun at all.

--  Last… many people noted that I did not mention the Penguins winning the Stanley Cup in last weeks post.  Normally I post on Sunday mornings, but many do not see this until Tuesday.  So the clinching game was not done when I posted.  I have to say I am amazed they won… and special kudos to my pal Joe Carlos of TriView who noted that I somehow planned it out by picking San Jose at the start of the playoffs, where my jinx would be timed perfectly when the two teams met in the finals…  believe me if I planned it, San Jose would’ve been out in round 1!  Anyway, I’m pretty thrilled still about the Pens….thanks everyone for the notes! 

LINKS of the WEEK

Can this be a real story? Closing schools after 8th grade?

Is there a hotter ticket than “Hamilton” on Broadway?  Will the departure of one of its stars make a difference?
  
Since we mentioned the Stanley Cup- it’s been 5 years since the Vancouver riots and the famous “kissing couple” caught in a photo.  This article catches up with them.
  
VIDEO of the WEEK

Dogs.  I love them.  Wish any of our 3 were as smart as Buddy is here.  Cool setup!