Saturday, March 21, 2015

Good News/Bad News

There was a mix of economic related news that populated my twitter feed this week.  First the good news, where on a link from Conners Sales (@ConnersSales) any initial fears about the awful housing starts number from last month were calmed.  Basically the analyst called it “winter” and said to wait another month.  That’s good enough for me.  Then the bad news came up via Ted Bleecker (@TedBleecker) with a story on the scary debt situation in China.  Surely one to continue to monitor especially since it will have a massive effect on the world economy.  Both items will be big drivers and bear following along.

Elsewhere…

--  Quick family note… I'm absolutely thrilled about my nephew Josh joining on with the fine folks at Pleotint.  As any reader of this blog knows I am huge proponent of dynamic glazing and its usage and potential.  Great to see Josh signing on to that world and very excited to see what great things they do together.

--  Last week I posed two questions at the end of my blog… one on the upcoming Apple Watch and one on ultra thin glass.  I really was blown away at some of the insights I received and learned a lot as well.  The great Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP educated me on a few things including ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) which is being used in glazing areas on some really intense projects.  Overall on thin glass question, the issue of finding the sweet spot for usage was the theme.  As for the watch, universally negative towards its success.  Apple has not failed with a product launch in a very long time, so we’ll see if their winning streak is up or we’re all missing the boat here.  Thanks again to all who responded!!

--  Congrats and good luck to Margaret Brune who recently joined the tremendous team at SAAND as a rep in the Michigan market.  Once again a good match of company and salesperson.  I’m glad I’m not involved in sales anymore as back in the day I had to compete with Margaret and she crushed me on a daily basis…

--  Over in England there’s a very strong daily blog called Double Glazing Blogger (DGB) and he had a post last week that was very interesting.  The use of quadruple glazing in China, combined with a video of a 57 story building in China going up in just 19 days using the quad glazing system. Just crazy how things get done over there… I wonder will the quadruple glazing run come this way?  Given that triple glazing has not gained as much market share in North America as the experts predicted, I’d guess this one going mainstream is still far off.

--  And while on the subject of China (my gosh, 3 items related to China this week and none featuring me ranting…odd) A good look here at two all glass skyscrapers designed by SOM… the key?  Huge IGU’s but oriented a little differently than we are all used to.

--  Programming note- no post coming from me next week… unless of course big news happens, which right now seems doubtful as its pretty quiet out there.  Next post coming first full week of April!

LINKS of the WEEK

--  104-year-old woman and her secret to the long life?  Drinking three Dr Peppers a day!  Incredible.

--  A 38-year-old man takes the AP High School history test.  Interesting read.

--  The selfie craze is annoying when people like to be a part of a tragedy or major emergency event.  This one though turned out right if you are rooting for karma.

VIDEO of the WEEK

It is March Madness and the guys from CBS (network that televises it all) had some fun this week making fun of each other and their catch phrases and mannerisms.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Back Into The Swing of Things

After spending several days out of the office, I’m scrambling to keep up, so for this week’s blog, no lead story, but just a bunch of quick hits…

--  The positive trends economically in our industry are still popping along but then again so is the continued tightening of supply and lack of consistent transportation.  Last week I spoke to several industry insiders who told me they are rolling with things the best they can, but its getting tougher every day.  The key?  Planning and communication.  The more you do of both, the better off you will be.

Only in Vegas!


--  You never know what and whom you will see in Las Vegas.  And while I have been there at least 40 times (in my best estimation) I have never run into anyone as epic as Steve Cohen of PPG did last week.  So picture on the right is a glass guy and the “baddest man on the planet,” former heavyweight champion of the world Mike Tyson.  Nice!  I wonder if Iron Mike will now be calling on architects with Steve… could make a convincing case to get products in the spec!  Plus props to Steve for  taking a selfie with him.  Crazy.  Way to go my friend.




--  The most prestigious award program in the industry is back with its 2015 edition.  Nominations are being accepted now for the products and projects portion of the annual Glass Magazine Awards.  For more info including the specific categories please click HERE!

--  Caught a very interesting documentary this past week- Pink Ribbons Inc.  The focus of the movie was about the massive “pinkwashing” surrounding fundraising for breast cancer awareness and more importantly the lack of progress in identifying what causes breast cancer and finding better treatments/cure.  Really intriguing to watch as I have never been a fan of certain organizations jumping on board to help their own image (the NFL every October is one big one) and frustrating to see billions of dollars raised yet no major advancements in place.  Worth the watch if you are interested.

--  Now that BEC is in the books, next up is a couple of excellent regional shows including the always-popular Mid-Atlantic Glass Expo April 29th and then AIA which hits mid May in Atlanta. Before you know it, GlassBuild America will be here and from all indications this year’s event will be very strong.  I’m excited to see how things progress there.

--  Last this week…. two questions I am curious to get your opinions on… one pop culture/social and one industry…

1          1.  Do you think the Apple Watch will make it?  I am torn.  I love Apple products but have not worn or needed a watch in years.  I can’t see the need when my iPhone does everything.  But I’m also old and staid.  Curious for other insights.

2          2.  At BEC, guest speaker James O’Callaghan made mention of the use of ultra thin glass.  There are a few manufacturers who make it (AGC had their Dragontrail on display at GlassBuild last year) but finding that home for usage is still a question.  So do you think that this product will find its way into prominent places in the exterior glass world?

As always feel free to e-mail me, as I don’t monitor the comment section very closely.

LINKS of the WEEK

--  The bizarre and frightening side to our online world.  Stolen identity.

--  Not sure how they pulled it off.. but woman hires an impersonator to go to a friends birthday party.

--  For the life of me I don’t get why people forget to lock their doors… after all a crook or a cow could come in.  Cow???

VIDEO of the WEEK

Really wild one here… family on safari in Africa- close up to some Lions… and one Lions shows a unique skill!


Monday, March 09, 2015

BEC 2015 Recap

Each year the big industry event in the first quarter is GANA’s BEC.  This year for the first time in a while it was combined with GANA’s Annual Conference, which used to be known as “Glassweek.”  So when you get a couple hundred companies in a small space together along with some of the great technical minds in our industry some news is made and networking happens. 

On the news side- one our industries most precious resources is Dr. Tom Culp.  He gave updates on the upcoming ASHRAE 90.1.  The big item so far is no changes to the window area.  As you can remember a few years ago there was a major push to reduce the window to wall ratio, thankfully as of now, and thanks to amazing efforts by Dr. Culp and others that is not on the table.  However many other items are in process including changes to the climate zone map and reduction in u factors.  Nothing that is brutal though, at least in my opinion.  

Another major piece of news is the formation of a certification group for glazing contractors.  The NACC or North America Contractor Certification program is built to certify glazing companies using five points of criteria such as: Quality, Competency, Ethics, Finances, and Safety.  This is one to watch as a national certifying body could offer some interesting scenarios down the line.  

As for BEC news- the speakers were spectacular.  Joe Puishys, President and CEO of Apogee gave, in my opinion, the best industry keynote speech in the history of this event.  He mixed a tremendous speaking style with interesting insights and opinion.  One major takeaway was we as an industry economy are on a positive trend line- potentially for the next five years.   I’ll have some other thoughts on his epic speech next week. 

James O’Callaghan, who’s firm is responsible for so much of the memorable Apple buildings also did not disappoint.  To get a serious inside look at how the glass usage at the Apple Store started- from stairs all the way to structure was incredible.

To end the day was the keynote speaker thanks once again to sponsorship from the great people from Guardian Industries was former baseball star Jim Abbott.  The speech was fantastic, mixing humor with inspirational lessons.  Plus in a moment that I thankfully survived Abbott called me on stage to throw a pitch to him.  Scary does not begin to describe how I felt.  I have not thrown a baseball or any ball for that matter in years.  Heck I won’t even throw a ball to my dogs… so to throw a pitch… on stage… in front of the industry… surely tested every nerve I had.  Luckily I survived!!   Me throwing the ball into the chandeliers in the ballroom was a made for YouTube moment that I avoided! 

Props to BEC leader Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning for an awesome event… but he surely raised the bar very high with this one!

Now to the networking side…

--  Overall attitude and tenor of people attending was very positive.  There’s a lot of industry confidence right now that is awesome to see.

--  As for seeing actual people, I am blown away getting to visit with so many talented and incredible people in our industry.  And humbled that they will give me the time of day to chat. 

--  Great to see old pal Cliff Monroe of Oldcastle BE.  He’s in tiptop condition and looks like he could run a marathon tomorrow.  Of course no GANA meeting is the same without Eastman’s Julie Schimmelpenningh, catching up for a few minutes was wonderful.  And a cool surprise to see my former co-worker Jon Johnson, now calling View home.  He’ll do great there.
--  After years of coming to events like this I thought I met everyone I could from Viracon, but nope, I finally got to meet Bob Carlson in person, which was great.  Plus visiting with Garret Henson, Seth Madole, and of course the Hollywood model Cameron Scripture is a treat. 
--  I have heard about and admired Tim Kelley of Tri Star Glass for years, so meeting him for the first time was excellent and seeing Greg Oehlers (also Tri Star) is never dull.  Spent time with Steve Cohen of PPG who is settling in nicely to his new digs there. 
--  One of the classiest men in our industry Dave Helterbran was here and all I can say is he fights the good fight better than I ever could.  Keep getting better Dave!  His daughter and son in law (Lindsay and Dustin Price) are launching a new business with Dave and I know it will be a tremendous success.
--  Speaking of success I think everything that guys like Marc Deschamps (Walker), Mark Silverberg (Technoform), and James Wright (Glass Coatings & Concepts) touch turn to gold.  Just picking their brains and having a dialogue with them makes you smarter too. 
--  Quickly visited with Bob Cummings (Hartung) and Kirk Johnson (Glasswerks) which was great, since I probably only get to see or talk to those guys once a year. 
--  And I will say as marketing guy I was really impressed/jealous of the awesome video that the folks from Vitrum showed.  Incredible piece and it was nice to get to chat with Thomas Martini, Bruce Robinson and Tara Brummet about that and all the good things they have going on.
--  Also from a marketing and PR standpoint getting to share a room with the insanely talented Heather West and Rich Porayko was as good as it gets.  Those two produce some of the industries best materials on a daily basis and it’s an honor to get to spend any time with them.

I know I probably missed some folks… sorry- all I can say it is always an awesome time to network with the industries best and again thank you for sharing time and conversation with me.

LINKS of the WEEK
VIDEO of the WEEK

Will return next week…..



Saturday, February 28, 2015

Winter Woes

We’re entering the final month of Q1 2015 and there’s now an extra storyline to deal with.  The renewed grip of winter hitting in more areas than normal could wreak havoc on bottom line performance in this quarter, which would be similar to what happened same time in 2014.  Obviously a majority of the industry bounced back nicely but no one ever wants to start from behind.  Plus winter delays will also make the glass capacity issues even more perilous.  Basically jobs that should be installed right now are behind and on hold and eventually they will go as well as the jobs that were scheduled to go during that time.  And what will come with that will be an extra dose of mayhem, if glass supply stays tight.  So once again, the need for planning and proactivity is key.  Bottom line for me… I hope March quickly gets from its “entering as a lion phase” and moves right to the “lamb” portion.  The sooner the better…

Elsewhere….

--  Just a programming note… next week I’ll post this blog from Las Vegas, site of the GANA Annual Conference and BEC.  I’ll have some recaps of the events including some insights from the annual Energy Day program that incredible people like Mark Silverberg of Technoform put on as well as code updates from Dr. Tom Culp and more.  Plus the networking notes and who knows what rumor or scuttlebutt can come out…

--  If you did not catch the blog from Jeff Razwick of TGP, please check it out.  As always it’s well done and though provoking.  And it’s also a very effective argument about some of the great things our industry does. 

--  A congrats to Linda Vos-Graham on her recent honor of being named a finalist for the “Top Women Owned Business Awards”- she is seriously deserving of this recognition.  Linda is a tremendous asset to our industry and the few times I have seen her in a public dialogue (NGA’s GEF a few years ago especially) she was simply amazing. 

--  So a big question… a design of a new Google headquarters is out and it looks absolutely wild.  With that, what are the chances that a North American manufacturer and fabricator get this work or will it come from overseas? 

--  Good part of it finally being March?  March Madness and the College Basketball brackets. Not sure anyone can beat Kentucky….

--  Last this week… the magazine Fast Company did a piece on the most innovative companies in 2015.  (actually makes me think we should do a list like that in our world- I think I will do some day soon) The top 5 were…

5- Instgram
4- Google
3- Alibaba
2- Apple

and #1…. was… Warby Parker!  Only one problem… I have never heard of them… no clue who they are or what they innovate (eye glasses from what I found)  So I’m blown away that the most innovative company according to these guys is someone that surely is not near the mainstream.  And if they were a computer or software related company I could believe it, but glasses?  Wow.

LINKS of the WEEK

The downside of the very popular website Etsy.

Classic justice served to the “office lunch thief” – Love it!

The hero teen in a snowstorm…

VIDEO of the WEEK

The keynote speaker at GANA BEC is Jim Abbott… retired and amazing baseball player.  Should be a great speech… here’s a look back at one of the great moments in Jim’s career.