Sunday, September 17, 2017

GlassBuild 2017 Recap

GlassBuild America 2017 is now complete and I can honestly say this was pretty much unlike any of the others I have attended.  The weather scenario surely played an unexpected role in how things would unfold.  In the end I think the experience was more positive than many could have expected when the forecast targeted Atlanta for the day before the show opened (and the day most people would arrive)

There were great stories of people who were so determined to get there they had to rebook flights multiple times or had to fly to cities near Atlanta and drive in.  But once attendees arrived they were greeted with eventually 2 great days of weather and a jam-packed floor that raised the bar once again in regards to exhibits and product offerings.

Thank you to all who attended and exhibited- your efforts were truly appreciated and I hope you benefit greatly from it.   

So now to my annual look at the things I liked and noticed and the people I ran into along the way.

Note that I was not as active on the floor as I was on the past because I spent a lot of time at the Window & Door Dealer Days.  While that took me away from some of the action, I learned a ton there and was blown away by the content and collaboration.

There is no doubt that oversized and interior glass is hot right now.  I was impressed by the focus on those categories from the product, component, and machinery side.   Speaking of machinery, each year seeing the advancements really gets me going.  Glass equipment both from fabricating and installation keeps getting smarter and faster.  I also liked the concentration on safety with regards to the installation equipment being shown. 

Booth wise exhibitors are not messing around- they take this event seriously and their exhibits show it.  Some are more artistic or graphically pleasing incorporating product (Vitro, Guardian, Lisec, Bohle, M3, HHH, Quanex) while others come straight at you with their wares- cutting to the chase.  (IGE, CR Laurence, Matodi, Gardner)  But in the end it was truly an impressive display of approaches to brand and product.

For me the networking is always the key and being able to catch up with the best and brightest in our world is quite frankly a thrill.  I got to spend time pre show with Rob Struble of Vitro and I still hope his marketing acumen will rub off on me someday.  It was great to spend a few minutes with Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural, and then to be able to see his amazing product in action at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium next store was very cool.  I only get to see Rob Botman and Jordan Richards from Glassopolis once per year, so I try to take advantage of that- plus I loved that they brought out one of their classic campaigns for their booth background- well done men! 

I mention this every year but even if I only get to spend 30 seconds with the brilliant PR/Marketing/Communication gurus Rich Porayko and Heather West, I am grateful.  It was great to see Dan Polling from Schott and he still could pass for a double for actor James Franco.  I love getting time with Mike Synon and Terry Hessom from HHH.  Though Mike always had a line of people waiting to see him, so next year I’ll have to make an appointment.  I am glad Dustin Anderson of Anderson Glass made it over for the show and it is always cool to see what’s popping in his world- that guy does great for our industry.

I was happy to get a few minutes with Darijo Babic of Guardian, his energy and passion for the craft is top notch.  And on the subject of top notch and Guardian, I have always had that respect for Chris Dolan and it was good to see him and spend some time.  The video and product release that Chris and the gang had was extremely impressive- the production value was off the charts- serious kudos to everyone who had a part in that effort.

Chris Fronsoe from ICD was among one of the folks who ended having to drive in from a regional airport and yet despite the length of trip and adventure, he still was the best-dressed person at the show. I’m always delighted to visit with the great Shelly Farmer of SC Railing.  She introduced me to Scott Rowe of Rowe Fenestration and that was appreciated greatly- good guy and was pretty cool of him to tweet out a picture of us on the floor- loved the use of social media!  I also met the impressive duo of Jessica Olander and Katie Tarka- they manage the Connecticut and Massachusetts Glass Dealers and I loved how active they were in trying to learn more for their membership and help those groups advance. 

Last- social media was a big star of the show, more and more people continue to use it and the communication from it became more important with the need to get out information, timing etc.  I was honored to be asked to do an Express Learning session on it and it was admittedly one of the neater things I have gotten to do in my business life.  I can now cross off “speak at GlassBuild” from the bucket list!

So we now look forward to 2018 show and meeting wise… and there’s a lot to expect- I’ll hit on that next week and I’ll also cover the exciting news of GANA and NGA as well.  That is HUGE and great news for our world.


Selfies can spread lice?  Ugh- warn your teens!

I am fascinated by the Tesla vehicle.  And this story only adds to it.

Got this one submitted to me and its another angle from the hurricane- hogging much needed parking spaces in a garage


If this movie is half as good as the trailer- look out.  Wow.  “All the Money in the World” is the story of J. Paul Getty.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ready for GlassBuild 2017

So GlassBuild America is finally here though it’s under very unique and special circumstances thanks to Hurricane Irma.  Because the forecasted path of the storm included Atlanta (for a few days, but as of the 5PM update on 9/10 it does not) it’s made the run up to the show much different than normal.  Instead of people studying the exhibitor lists, making meeting plans, and cleaning up their work at home before departing, they are monitoring the weather channel or weather related websites trying to determine what exactly is expected for the area weather wise.  So obviously with the damage that this hurricane has already done and the fresh images in our minds from Harvey in Texas and initially from Irma, there have been some folks who have decided to stay back.

For me I’ve probably not handled people cancelling out well.  It’s mostly because I love this show (full disclosure I do work for the show) and I know how hard everyone works all year long to get ready.  And just as important I know first hand the incredible commitment the exhibitors make to do this event.  So I obviously want the best experience possible for all involved.  Trust me I am not frustrated with the people deciding not to come; I respect those decisions to stay back but my angst is all about the overall situation. (Weather + Timing = Awful)  In the end I need to keep perspective, this storm is doing massive life changing damage and that is surely more meaningful of my energy, thoughts, prayers, and support.  The show will go on this week and it will be back in Vegas in 2018 ready again, as always, to be that crucial part to our industry.

If you are not able to attend or had to cancel, please follow along on social media.  You can follow GlassBuild on their Facebook and Twitter feeds.  Also Glass Magazine and Window and Door Magazine will have continuous coverage on social media.  In addition there will be many other media outlets will be at the show and providing coverage as well.  So you can still stay connected.  Plus I may do a periscope or tweetstorm myself.

Here’s a quick list to connect:

If you are coming to the show… please download the App.  If you have downloaded in the past, you need to delete those versions and download the new one.  Click this LINK for more info.

Some pre show thoughts from the trade show floor…. I am really impressed by the overall size.  It is the biggest and most impressive trade show floor I have seen in many many years.  In some past years I could zip from end to end pretty quickly, that will not be the case this year.  I was also impressed by some of the exhibits as they were coming together.  Once again the creativity going into this has been strong.  The annual Best in Show competition will be tough on the judges! 

I also loved seeing so many of the loyal companies who come here year after year in support of the industry.  I know I will miss some (and I am sorry) but people like Fenetech, CR Laurence, Guardian, Bohle, MyGlassTruck, HHH, Vitro (PPG), Forel, GGI and IGE are here.  Then there’s a ton of companies that I have always either read about or saw at other events that are showing this time.  And last we have folks that are back here after a few years away.  So it really makes it a very interesting and diverse floor.

Anyway I am here and ready- the weather for the first day may be windy and rainy but after that it looks positive and I am excited to see what happens.  Next week I will I have my complete recap including my favorites and people who I ran into and sadly may have missed.


This is a wild way to get locked in your own place!

A club for the 35 and over…

OK all of you inventors out there… time to replace sugar and make some money!


The show… looking back at 2016 with some sights and sounds…

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Harvey and Irma

My thoughts are still with everyone affected and disrupted by Hurricane Harvey.  I’m still in awe over the amount of rain and damage it did in such a short time.  Now we have Irma churning out at sea and may come our way next.  After a few quieter years, it looks like hurricane seasons are back.  So for those who are in recovery mode and those who may be in the path of the next storm or storms- hang in there.  And if you have not donated to any of the Houston campaigns out there, please consider it. The recovery for many is going to take a very long time and they’ll need all the help they can get.


--  I’m a month behind in my Glass Magazine reviews… so this is a look at the August issue that features the sharp black and white photos on cover.  Obviously the main push is a fantastic and thorough preview of GlassBuild America.  That area is a must review for all participants.  There were also excellent pieces in there from David Vermeulen of TGP and Matt Johnson of the Gary Law Firm.  Plus the piece on prismatic glass was intriguing to me.  Check it all out- once again worth your time.

--  The ad of the month was a tough one because this issue was loaded.  But the winner was Pulp Studio and the “Perception vs. Reality” piece.   It was a smart use of art, text and theme.  Props to Bernard Lax and team on that one.

--  Another note on GlassBuild… the last day- aside from that amazing opportunity to see me speak on social media, it will also feature the end of show reception/party.   That event will be a good way to blow off some steam and also win some great prizes.  Overall I am expecting 3 fabulous days at the show and can’t wait to see everyone there!

--  The glass industry had a quick hit on a great documentary recently.  In the ESPN 30 for 30 “What Carter Lost” there was a brief archived clip of the signage of Oak Cliff Glass & Mirror from 1988.  Not sure if that sign or location still exists but cool to see since Oak Cliff Glass & Mirror is one of the better known brands in the glazing community in Texas.  I’m such a glass geek that a sign from a company fires me up.

--  Recently I wrote about some marketing maneuvers in our industry I was not a fan of… another one now is out and that is using the entire square footage of the actual building space to promote where the glass was installed not the actual openings.  They don’t mention the actual usage of glass square footage so it’s a way to float a big number out there that truly isn’t associated with the actual material supplied & installed.  So basically if I supplied a door lite to the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, I could write a PR that notes my glass went into this amazing 3 million square foot project. (Even though the actual glass was only one opening- probably 16 sq ft) Hopefully people are smart enough to read through these sort of games, but you never know.

--  Last this week the battle for gaining quality workers continues and I saw a new approach that caught my eye.  A window company here in Michigan is giving away $500 Amazon gift cards just for interviewing! I have to assume there’s some sort of catch but I gotta think they’ll surely get some people in the door.  No doubt its tough to find people so desperate times call for some desperate measures.


On a bike.  On a highway.  Yeah that’s not right.

Ouch- this is some rough revenge that lacks some personal responsibility

No getting around telling the truth on a college app.  Because if you lie- they will catch you.


One item to come out of the coverage of Hurricane Harvey is you never know whom you may see while covering it.  Reporter Jeff Flock ran into his daughter who was working the storm for another station and he hadn’t seen.  This was cool.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Challenges Ahead on Supply

A lot of news, but first and foremost, my thoughts are out to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey.  That was/is a challenging storm and hoping for only the best for those in its path today and going forward.
Now on to the glass world and its been a tough one on the float side.  The market is relatively busy right now save for some soft spots here and there, so the need for glass is pretty high.  Unfortunately some events at the float level have me very concerned about capacity and so thus comes the warning.  (Katy Devlin had a fantastic take on it HERE) Glass is tight now and going to get tighter.  This is the time to get as organized as you can and understand your supply chains and the future orders you need to fill.  Proactivity is a must.  This is also a massive reason on why you need to attend GlassBuild America in a few weeks because if you are not networking and communicating you will be left behind.  I will be monitoring this glass supply issue and will continue to report when relevant.  And yes I know I am more reactionary than others out there, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.


--  A few weeks ago I mentioned another big glass deal was coming and that happened publicly last week with Glass Dynamics being sold to Press Glass.  Obviously the interesting angle here is the parent company of Press is in Europe so this is a new player having a location the North American fab market.  Press has a great reputation in the areas they are already in, so there’s a positive from the market standpoint.

--  Congrats to Martin Bracamonte on his new position as President of IGE Glass Technologies.  Michael Spellman built a strong team over there and he’ll obviously still be involved but adding Martin as the President was an excellent move- he’s a good and talented person.

--  And while I am in the congratulatory mood, props to the folks at Conners Sales.  They launched a fabulous new website last week.  Really impressive work and great examples of the lines they represent.

--  The latest Architectural Billings Index was released this week and once again it was in the positive- that’s now 6 straight months on the good side of the ledger and overall a pretty amazing run over the last 2+ years.  All of the other indexes that are tracked (regional and new inquiries) were up as well.

--  I’m a big “Smart roads” guy and look forward to seeing ifand how this works.  The next area for testing is in Kansas City along with two other to be determined sites.  Really curious to see how this holds up in climate like KC…

--  Last this week, College Football is now back… can’t wait…. One of the first college games of the year will be held at the new stadium in Atlanta. (Which you can view close up when you attend GlassBuild)  Architectural Digest got a tour and broke itall down….


--  Naming your baby “Eclipse” Ugh.  I guess in 2024 that kid will have its day in the spotlight again.

--  This is brilliant- gamers are very sharp and good to see their skills going to something very meaningful.

Driving a BBQ Grill.  And the Grill is on.  And the driver decides its time for a smoke.  Youcan guess what is next.


Sinkhole happens in China.  Then a few minutes later a guy on his scooter comes by…. Uh oh