Saturday, September 24, 2016

glasstec 2016 recap

The 2016 glasstec show is now in the books. It was an incredible experience and it did surpass 2014 on many levels.  So here's my take on the products, equipment, people, and scene from Germany.

Glass and glazing product wise the push at decorative and colors is still a driver.  There was a ton on the floor.  Also impressed by the anti reflective options.  That material is getting so clear, it's really invisible.  There were a handful of energy related products, I really liked a product called Light Glass that could switch from clear, to opaque, and then even to a light that could illuminate the room.  I also was really impressed by Glaze Alarm. This was a product a I saw 2 years ago here and it advanced nicely.  It has the potential to change the market when it comes to security systems for residential and commercial applications.  Plus it's inventor, George Schaar is easily one of the nicest fellows I've ever met.

Equipment wise this show always gets you going.  I love the automation advancements, and the overall improvements that the manufacturers keep making on their machines.  My favorite was one I would've missed but thankfully Nick Sciola of Hartung told me to check it out.  It was the Grezenbach guided vehicles for moving packaged glass.  These were automated vehicles and, forklifts and they were mesmerizing to me.  It's just a matter of time to see these in plants in North America- especially in job shop fabricators.

Exhibit wise, the marketing folks from around the world had bigger budgets to play with and really used some healthy creativity too.  I liked Glaston doing a remote tempering session.  A crowd of folks at the Glaston booth watching a big screen of tempering in Finland.  Evidently others have done this but this was a first for me.  Other stands featured all sorts of efforts to get an audience, including a contemporary dancer, painted woman,back to the future theme, music and more.  The best overall
booth and the one most people talked about was Guardian.  They had a concrete and glass structure that stood out.  I was in awe.  The structure showed the products they wanted to promote perfectly.
On the people side I missed many that were coming- folks like the great guys from Glassopolis Jordan Richards and Rob Botman.  I also was bummed to miss Dick and Mike Macurak from DM Products.  And I only got a second with Devin Bowman of TGP.  He though is so popular that's probably the amount of time he scheduled for me.  I did get to visit with many great folks though.  Loved seeing Donald Press and Peter Stattler of Okalux North America.  Good folks do I get well out there!  Also great to spend quality time with Kris Vockler, Chris Fronsoe, and Abram Scurlock of ICD Coatings.  The last time I saw Deron Patterson from PPG was glasstec 2014 so it was good to visit.  Running into Bill O'Keefe and Tim Nass of SAFTIFirst was very cool. You know I love everyone from Canada, so to run into the various company contingents from that great country was tremendous for me.  Always fun to get to chat with Thomas Martini of Vitrum.  He keeps me on my toes. Was also nice to meet his guys Adam Byrne and Tyler Boult.  Good young talent there.  Seeing Peter Garvey and Tim Richard and the team from SAAND was enjoyable.  Though I talked their ears off for sure.  Old friend Matt Hale was making his glasstec debut and he and Eric Channel of Global Glass Solutions were out of business cards by mid day 1. Not a surprise with how friendly those two are.  And speaking of friendly, I am always grateful for the friendship of Max Hals and Ian Patlin of Paragon.  Great guys who do super work and are as smart and hard working as they come.  Last on this section Bernard and Linda Lax of Pulp Studio were great as always.  Congrats to them on the new facility and all the good they have going on.
So aside from 4 solid days of seeing so much glass and glazing materials there was one really notable event that I was honored and quite frankly humbled to attend.  The Guardian Gala.  This event was off the charts with regards to food, entertainment, networking- you name it.  I'm just a consultant hustling to make a living and to be amongst the best glass people in the WORLD is incredible to me.  It was great to chat with so many people there but it's always great to catch up with Chris Dolan.  But I can't call him "Megatron" any more since that name retired from football.  So I'll work on an updated moniker there. And I must mention it was really special to see Amy Hennes be mentioned by the president of Guardian's glass division at the gala.  Those of us who work with Amy (putting my media hat on)know she really rocks at what she does.  With how busy she is at these shows, I was thrilled to get a few minutes with her.
All in all this really is a glass geeks dream event.  Just so much to see and experience.  And it gets me even more pumped for GlassBuild America.  Yes it's not the same but the ability to meet up with people, see new products, and learn are there and I never take any of those areas from granted.  Plus it's a lot closer than Germany!!!
No links or videos this week.  Writing and posting from my hotel in Dusseldorf, and I am afraid if I post a video it could crash the internet here.  Ha Ha.
Next week I'll have reactions to the first slip in ABI in a while and more....

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Getting to glasstec and more

So this week I will be in Germany for the bi-annual glasstec show.  This event attracts people from around the world and my true hope is to see some new things- especially on the product side.  On my last trip there the equipment on display was dominant and impressive, but the actual product technology left me a little cold.  We’ll see and I look forward to reporting back here on what I find and what may make an impact on our world going forward.  Also this is a nice chance for me to get familiar with many exhibitors who will also be at GlassBuild America.  I counted around 100 glasstec exhibitors who’ll also be in Las Vegas in October.   So that will be a neat sneak preview for sure. Last I always look forward to and also get a kick out of the fact that I’ll run into people from North America there that I won’t see ever over here.  Depending on wi-fi connections I am going to try and tweet, so feel free to follow along at Twitter.com @maxpsolesource 

Elsewhere….

--  The good news via the monthly forecasts keeps coming.  The latest Dodge Momentum Index was up again for the 5th straight month.  We’re still far from where we were during the crazy pre-recession times, but we’re also now getting far away from the depths of the recession itself.  Obviously we all look towards November and we’ll see happens then and the effect it may or may not have on the economy.

--  I was very happy to see my friend Scott Hoover and Solaria back in the news again in a collaboration with the NSG Group.  I love innovation and technology and the more steam fresh products can get- the better.

--  Time for the monthly review of Glass Magazine.  And this is an issue that you will want to devour.  A few pieces of note…. Katy Devlin went inside with a piece on the PPG-Vitro deal.  Story was great but I also must say the appearance and layout of it was even better.  Really loved how it looked! Also really liked the piece from Gary McQueen of JE Berkowitz on design assist.  Well done.

--  But the real focus of the issue was GlassBuild America and what to expect and who and what to see.  It was really an excellent primer to get you ready for the show.  So if you are going, you really want to read through this.  And if you are not going, it surely gives you a great taste of what you are missing. 

--  Ad of the month?  Because this issue was gigantic I could not just pick one ad winner.  A lot of companies raised their creative game this month… so I have 3 who get this extremely valuable honor of being named my ad of the month… so here goes…

Guardian is back in the winner circle again- loved their ad featuring a sketch drawing and calling out where the glass goes.  Just caught my eye and was impressive.

Schuco is also a winner this month- they showed an old typewriter and headlined “Don’t become a thing of the past.”  BRILLIANT.  Congrats to them on a great hook.

Lisec takes the last spot with their “Velocity” ad.  They wanted to promote speed and the ad caught my eye and did that.  It was a simple, clean piece that was effective.

All in all though tons of good creative this month… congrats to all out there working that angle!

--  Last this week… US News and World Reports released their top colleges lists this week and it’s always interesting to see what’s considered the best here and there.  But I had to laugh that they listed the top “value” colleges and #1 was Harvard… and the “value” price was just….. 62K per year.  I guess value has a different meaning in the college world. 

LINKS of the WEEK

Tons of news on bathrooms and rules, but  how about this- a youngster doing something positive and helpful with regards to bathroom signage.

The story of an arranged marriage ruined by a dog.  Seriously.  On both accounts.

This one is interesting.  Kid sues parents over Facebook photos.  Personally if my kid hates me that much to want to sue my about this, I’d probably not want the photos up there!!






Sunday, September 11, 2016

Industry Always Stepping Up

Many times in the past 11 years I have hammered in this space on the lack of respect our industry sometimes gets.  And while some of that disrespect may be warranted most of it is not. As an industry we do a very solid and admirable job of working with the code bodies, offering insight, and in the end producing products that meet and exceed all standards set.  And it’s an unending process too.  The groups that work for our industry, with tons of volunteers (and ALWAYS needing and WANTING more of those) keep setting the bar higher and higher.  Some examples?  I am excited about the upcoming launch of MyGlassClass.com from the NGA.  That will be a huge and helpful educational tool that everyone can benefit from.  I am always into what IGMA has going on, when I read this week about their upcoming education conference I was excited because one of the main goals there is continuously improving long term performance of one of the crucial products we all produce and install.  I’ve covered what GANA has done and is doing many times here.  I’ve also noted my hopes and appreciation for the NACC and their angle to certify glazing contractors.  That can be something that really makes a difference when outsiders question our skills.  Add in the great work being done by AAMA, AEC (more on them below), and others and you have to feel to good about the way we go about business.

Elsewhere…

--  So speaking of AEC- this incredible story included dogged work by that group in chasing down an aluminum stockpile in the Mexican desert.  The fabulous twitter feed of John Wheaton (@JohnLWheaton1) led many others and me to it and it truly is a must read. 

--  Congrats to Mary Avery of Tubelite on her promotion to VP of Marketing.  Mary is off the charts talented and her work with Tubelite over the years has been smart, creative and effective.  Awesome to see her efforts recognized!  Plus I do usually love it when a marketing person gets the pat on the back… you know since it’s usually marketing’s fault for everything.  (Inside marketing joke….)

--  Next weekend I leave for Germany and glasstec- so next week’s post will be focused on that and what I hope to see and accomplish.  But the comical thing for me is I started to pull some clothes to pack and it hit me that I don’t think I have worn a coat and tie or suit since the 2014 glasstec.  Maybe once or twice but surely not often. 

--  Speaking of clothes but with an industry spin.  So I have 4 shirts- all same make and model- yet all fit completely different.  One is gigantic, one too small and so on.  Can you imagine if we as an industry did stuff like that?  I’d be thrilled if I could get shirt within the tolerances we allow for tempered…

--  Last this week- rare any more for me to look forward to a new show on broadcast TV, but I am.  “Designated Survivor” with my old pal Kiefer Sutherland of “24” fame is the star in the ABC drama.  The previews look fantastic… so I’m hopeful I’ll have new show to get lost in.

LINKS of the WEEK

Pretty riveting oral history of 9/11 from the folks with the President as things unfolded.  Long read but very good.

An “interesting” diary of an employee’s first week at Target- personally I think its fiction.  Way too much going on here to be real.

I knew this about Gene Simmons because I read a great book on KISS a few years ago- but this article does a nice job on his abstinence from drugs and alcohol. 

I tweeted on this… love this Florida State football player and his approach to a young boy.  Class act all the way. 

VIDEO of the WEEK

If you have not seen this yet… check it out… it’s easily the smartest thing that has ever come out of Ohio State University…. Kid has a chance to get everyone a free 100% on first quiz of the year if he makes an impossible shot…. And guess what…



Sunday, September 04, 2016

Looking at Labor

So since we are coming off Labor Day weekend I thought it was appropriate to talk about…labor!   More specifically the continuing battle to fill jobs in our industry.  And actually the search for workers expands to an entire construction segment.  We are surely not alone.  What can we do other than talk and complain about it?  One thing that is happening, but thanks to our bizarre political climate right now I am not sure it will be pulled through, is a move in congress for a few acts that can bring additional training and push to segments like ours.  One is the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act and another Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity for Careers Act, or the Four C’s for Careers Act and both have potential to at least create programs that could get more people into our systems. In addition the Perkins Act, which was created to support the needs of industries like construction, is on the table for when congress returns this fall.  Not a lock for major success obviously but a start.  And we have to start somewhere.  Meanwhile as I was preparing this I came across a quote that I think makes sense with regards to how we get and then KEEP our employees:

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” 
– Richard Branson

This plays to culture and many companies in our industry really do this right but it is something that is always evolving.  So you always have to be on top of the situation.  Hopefully between the acts above, more education and training, and companies embracing a positive culture we can at least tread water and then gain on the employee needs.  But a long road ahead for sure….

Elsewhere…

--  Another angle of concern employee/industry wise?  Health Insurance costs.  It’s going to keep getting uglier.  This story from USA Today turned my stomach (but no way will I go to a doctor for that- can’t afford it… ha ha)  Anyway as most of you know the rates will keep going up and up some more. This is a massive issue that somehow is now seems completely off the radar really.  I will note many companies are doing as much creatively as they can to combat the rate increases- as a brief example I was very impressed when I heard/saw that my friends at Binswanger Glass had introduced some proactive measures to support better health for all in the efforts to keep rates under control.  I am sure many others are doing that too… Because in this day and age you have to.

Ok enough of the bad news… moving on to our world. 

--  I love innovative products.  And innovative usages of products.  I’ve written about many here like BIPV, dynamics, digital printing, Childgard glass, privacy, and so on.  The latest one I learned about at the recent GANA event is via the gang at Viracon and it’s glass that can protect the interior from cyber-spies.  Basically someone with the right equipment can position outside an office building and attach to the Wi-Fi inside and with nefarious intentions do serious harm.  So it was cool to see a product developed and advanced (as I know there’s been similar in the past) that can combat that.  Props to Ron McCann and the team there on this one.  Good stuff.

--  Just a heads up… the latest version of LEED… LEED v4 is now ready to be the only version of LEED accepted in the marketplace.  Many still use the LEED 2009 and that has been allowed as LEED v4 has been rolled out.  But come October, that option won’t be there so if you are not up to speed on new LEED and are active in getting requests for info or submittals for it, you may want to brush up on your research.

--  Last this week… this was just the last Sunday until February without NFL Football.  So that season now begins.  I am much more of a college guy now thanks to my absolute dislike for Roger Goodell.  But I still follow a bit and I know many of you need my prediction for the Super Bowl….  This year I am going with Cam Newton and the Panthers to win it all over my pal James Wright’s Cincinnati Bengals. 

LINKS of the WEEK

Incredible story here and hopefully Michael Phelps can see this and respond.

A fatal hickey?  Yikes.  Yet another thing to worry about with growing kids.

I love this story and it is just so Canada.  I swear that country just never surprises with their regards to fellow man.

VIDEO of the WEEK… well maybe not…

So instead of a video.. Let’s go with a very cool extra link.  This one is when a person decided to eat fast food for an entire week… but the “healthy options” only.  What happened?  Check it out.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Catching Up On Green and More

This past week GANA held it’s Fall Conference in Kansas City and as always with events like these there’s a great deal of information and education (as well as primo networking) available.  So a few takeaways from that event…

--  If you haven’t heard the acronyms LCA or EPD, get ready, you will certainly be hearing more from them and about them in the future.  LCA stands for Life Cycle Analysis and EPD is for Environmental Product Declarations.  This is a trend that started a few years ago that boasts more transparency in a products environmental make-up.  Green building rating systems are a driver of it but so are architects and building owners.  Mark Silverberg of Technoform, who always leads thoughtful discussions on serious energy issues was great in taking the audience through the options.  This will be an area to watch.  But I will also throw it out to you my dear readers- are you seeing LCA or EPD in your specifications? 

--  Also in the same session that discussed the LCA/EPD, Dr. Tom Culp gave some updates on the various code and ratings bodies.  The push to be sustainable seems to getting more organized with two groups combining standards and I liked the fact that one standard has an angle that really promotes the use of dynamic glazing.  As anyone who knows me, knows I am a fan of that technology, so seeing it the approach here was a daymaker. 

--  In addition I learned that the NFRC hired a consulting firm to among other things “help them understand the commercial manufacturers value chain and what will encourage them to adopt the program”  Seriously.  I was among many who told  them these things way back in 2004.  I was mocked and villified as I wrote, debated, argued that the commercial world was different.  And in the end so much of what our industry tried to teach them was ignored.  Amazingly in the end they could’ve saved themselves a ton of money and resources if  they would’ve listened.  Oh well.  And despite this move I do not believe they’ll ever really want to understand the commercial world. 

--  The conference featured a tour of the AGC Float Glass facility in Spring Hill, Kansas.  For me it was the 7th float plant I have toured and I still learned new things.  The AGC folks really did a tremendous job with this effort, the plant was spotless and impressive.  Major thanks to Gus Trupiano of AGC for setting this up. 

--  Kansas City also featured some great glass and glazing viewing.  Really unique buildings, excellent usage of glass for the most part, and the downtown area was very nice. 

--  Next up on the North American show/conference schedule is GlassBuild America and the Glazing Executives Forum.  You seriously can never have enough education, information, or networking in your life.

--  But before GlassBuild America dominates the landscape I am excited about getting to attend my 2nd glasstec in Germany.  That show kicks off in a few weeks and now that I have one under my belt, I am pumped to take the show on again.  I look forward to reporting back on here some of what I see and experience.  And if you are headed over there, I look forward to running into you along the way!

--  Last this week… the always great Twitter feed of Conners Sales Group (@ConnersSales) had an incredible link posted a few days ago.  Check this one out.  It is an “All Glass Office” and when I say “All Glass” I mean ALL GLASS.  Now I love glass.  Live for it.  Want it everywhere- but I have to admit this actually was event too much for me.  That would be live or work in as obviously if I was the fabricator or glazier, I would LOVE these jobs….

LINKS of the WEEK

I hate companies that gouge.  I get profits and wanting to make a lot… but gouging is terrible and what the makers of the EpiPen (I have to buy at least 6 a year) are doing is criminal.

And while we are on the path of things that are very wrong in our world… how about the debtors prison?  I get the concept, hate the execution.

This is just 30 minutes from me and so comical.  I think Canada needs to build a wall….LOL

VIDEO of the WEEK

The turning of the tables… robbers take on a cell phone store.  Manager runs out the back and locks the bad guys in the store.