Thursday, December 28, 2006

Happy New Year from Las Vegas

Happy New Year...

Hope everyone is well... I am here in Las Vegas also known in some circles as "Lost Wages"

This place is amazing from a construction standpoint- the new City Center project is going up as well as several time share and condo High rises.

While on the surface that seems great, the worry I have is the amount of inventory that will soon be available here. You can not literally walk 10 feet down the strip without someone approaching you about a time share deal. Its insane and somewhat scary, as these folks are aggressive.

Believe me its not like the folks who hand out the little cards featuring the local ladies... You can just walk right by them. The time share folks stalk you- which tells me there's some urgency there.

Regardless from a construction standpoint its obviously all good right now- so that should be the focus.

Elsewhere in our world:

How about Denver getting another massive storm? The glaziers and fabricators out there have to be pulling their hair out dealing with Mother Nature's fury. Jobs have to be getting more and more delayed with every snow flake- making for a very interesting start to 2007.

Have you visited the US Glass Message Boards yet? Shame on you if you have not. Some great stuff up there and lots of food for thought. The China debate added a few people including Jay Vaughn and Jim Fairly. Both gentlemen had great takes on this extremely serious issue.

While in Vegas I can not help but remind you that the GANA BEC show is coming quick around the corner. March 4-6 at the Aladdin (soon to be Planet Hollywood Hotel). I scouted that hotel yesterday and I am confident everyone will find it to their liking. Plus the conference itself is a rock solid winner. Registration will cut off at 600, so get in now... its worth it. (for more detail on GANA BEC, you can either go to or wait til the January issue of US Glass Magazine- where I preview the event with my column)

Lastly- off topic- last night we saw Jerry Seinfeld live. The guy is an out and out genius! He could do his TV show again tomorrow and with all of the fresh material he had last night, he'd have the country laughing for another 11 years. If you see him touring in your town- grab the spouse or partner and go see him- it is truly worth it.

And while there's tons of Jerry I can post here, most are 7 minutes long or longer and I know the average blog visit for me is 2 minutes, so I had to find a quick hit Jerry stand up piece so you could get the flavor...

Happy New Year everyone- see you in 2007!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Happy Holidays Housecleaning

Happy Holidays to one and all...

No real theme to this post, just some housecleaning...

Also I am making the "Video" portion standard, hey, everyone needs a break, so why not try and provide it here!

This is a classic combo of a great Christmas song (could not find a proper Hunnukah tune- sorry Mom) and some of the "uglier" sporting events from 2006. Enjoy!

First note that the Message Boards from US Glass are now easier to use... no long registration process. Feel free to check them out at

(And yes I will need the Glass pundit, Kris Vockler to tech me how to "hot link" so all you have to do is click on it)

The posts are slow, but I believe it will grow and give people ample opportunity to vent. Its funny, I know from the stats how many people visit my blog, and I know from e-mails and phone calls as well. Its just shyness I guess because people aren't as comfortable leaving comments... which is fine by the way. But if you do have opinions or thoughts and you want them heard- don't hesitate!

As for the industry- as you may have seen AFG announced the closing of their Cinnaminson plant. I found it interesting and actually surprising but many others did not. On those aforemention message boards, Scott Surma of IIMak, had an interesting take on it. Plus he noted the environmental angle, which always now must be considered. In any case, I hate to see anyone lose their jobs and I surely hate when it seems like the industry is moving backwards.

Also lots of coverage on the recent glass show in India. Obviously India is one of the worlds most populated areas and a country that will continue to develop its infrastructure. I got a kick out of a quote attributed to Bipin Shah, whom I though was gone from NFRC, but the story had him representing NFRC. In any case, he was in India to help promote the "Ratings Efforts" Well my friends in India, welcome to the NFRC adventure. Plus any advances you make won't be because companies like Guardian and Pilkington are developing new products- no it will be because Jim Benney and NFRC made it happen... just like they did here in the states on the residential end. (If you don't know what I am talking about, scroll down)

Lastly a subject I promise to cover in depth more in 2007 is China. Especially now that there are at least 2 jobs that have come to the US already assembled... Glass and Aluminum.... meaning no need for a true glazier. Believe me, if you are a glazier and you do not take China seriously... you'll regret it.

(Edit 12/21- Did you see yesterday's USGNN? -
"China Glass said the acquisitions will help it explore more overseas marketplaces."
It was in the first story and is NOT good news)

Other than that Rocky opened today and at least the reviews I read were great- hopefully I'll see it in the theater as watching on DVD at home just does not have the same flavor.

And as always feel free to comment or e-mail me at

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

You think you're frustrated?

Its getting down the stretch of 2006 and I think everyone is at wits end. Yes the holiday's are coming but most people are so busy right now, they are in a real scramble mode. Not only that everyone wants their project done before the holidays so the pressure is intense.

So with that in mind, take 2 minutes and watch how these various NFL coaches react... can you imagine if the glass industry had press conferences? Man that would be hillarious.

And yes I am using video because my blog is not even close to being a visually beautiful as the Glass Pundit or the "Professor" Paul's site. (Both can be reached via the US Glass Message boards)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Message Boards

By any chance if you are a visitor of this blog and you missed that US Glass has started message boards, here's the low down.

Go to:

Its in its infancy but it is something to check out. The board is being moderated by Paul Bieber and his takes and info are pretty cool.

In any case that board start up and US Glass showing a commitment, is what now has me updating this site more often. I always enjoyed the therapy of it and the give and take, but often forgot- not anymore.

Also if you are new and shy... Join the many others who choose to e-mail me direct their thoughts, comments, slams, etc. Some people are not comfortable posting comments and having everyone take a shot at it and I understand that.

You can reach me at

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Dawn of a new Blog day

Yep, its basically here, this Blog along with 3 others are now linked via US Glass Magazine. Obviously I am pretty pumped about it. Also as noted in one of the comments below, I had to try and "improve" my looks here because the other Blogs look a lot better than mine!

Well aside from adding a video here and there, I don't have the time to really re-model, but eventually I will.

In the meantime, I do have to take to task something I read in DWM (Door and Window Manufacturer). That magazine is run by Tara Taferra, who is the one to blame for me getting my gig at US Glass. As I was then, I am now a HUGE fan of her magazine and work. So if you don't get DWM, go sign up for it- its worth it.

Anyway, in the latest issue, none other than Jim Benney from NFRC appears (Note- yes in the pages of US Glass I swore off discussing this subject anymore, but I am making a "blog" exception because this is so amazing)

Jim makes the following statement:

"Without pointing fingers, we certainly can see the statistical results of industries failure to support a single, credible, third party rating system. The same year that the residential fenestration industry showed a 58 percent low E penetration in new windows, commercial glazing only had a 30 percent market penetration! The commercial fenestration market needs transformation. If it had been as successful as the residential market; it could be saving building owners at least 5.8 million BTUs every year."

Wow. So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. NFRC is the reason that Low E has taken off residentially and yes if you welcome us with open arms, we'll also change the world of you pathetic low e hating commercial folks! The problem is his numbers are way off and its like I wrote in a previous edition of US Glass- there is NO FEAR at all of using Low E- and in fact its getting more and more acceptance daily. I guarantee you if someone credible did a poll (not the NFRC or the DOE who basically mimic everything NFRC says) you would see tremendous growth on the Low E and Solar improvement products. And that number, when properly broken out, and not lopped in with mirrors, table tops and mono doorlites would easily be close to the 58 percent penetration mark that Jim boasts about.

See that's the thing- NFRC ignores everyone and on this one, they are ignoring the architectural community. Anyone paying attention basically knows that every architect wants to either design for "Green" or for "Energy" and that means using the right products. However Jim and his PR agency and his Lobbyist firm, would love you to believe that no, the clueless architect needs to have his hand FORCED into using that evil LOW E!! (You know because without "pointing fingers" the commercial guys suck)

It amazes me. The NFRC and Jim Benney truly believe they are the reason why Low E has taken off. Oh well- like I have said before, it doesn't matter. I don't have Clark & Weinstock to lobby for me and I don't have Potomac Communications to "PR" for me and I surely don't have the DOE in my back pocket- so I am really (and the commercial industry as well is) at major disadvantage. Anyway, maybe Jim and NFRC can work on health care or workmans comp while there at know because we're failures and all...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Video Test

After seeing some of the other USGNN blogs, I have my work cut out for me... so I am working on being able to post video...

So bear with me...

Testing with a video from the upcoming Rocky Balboa movie.... which me being a HUGE Rocky fan gets me pretty pumped...

Coming Soon!

You may have noticed in yesterday's USGNN that Blogs will be coming soon... I am thrilled to say that this very blog will be involved in that process!

Best part is now weekly, for sure, this space will get updated.

I am excited about the whole process and look forward to welcoming more folks to this forum!

I think I may have to re-model this page a bit too... so a new look could be in the offing as well.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


A happy and healthy Thanksgiving to everyone out there in Blog-Land!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Great News... possibly... maybe....

Well keeping up with the Blog will become much easier now. No I did not hire a blog assistant, but coming soon, I will be updating the Blog weekly in conjunction with some other (soon to be announced) goings on.

So this should be a good thing to keep the debates going and information flowing....

Except I will surely have to spell and grammar check!


Hope everyone is well...

Happy Thanksgiving too!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Two Posts in one day

Amazing as it is, but I had to post again...

Please if you don't get USGNN, go there now and read Penny Stacey's fantastic coverage of the NFRC meetings.

Read todays entry and you will see why I get so mad. See the quotes from Rich Biscoe of lab powerhouse ATI (ATI is a gigantic company worth more than many of us fabricators and glaziers... yet they pay $400 to NFRC and get in return, tons of business, and tons of grant money!)

See when you read it, and you see that every logical argument that comes up gets shot down.. you can clearly see what I am talking about.

But it will never change. The DOE doesn't want to see it and until a legal process can blow this thing up, their deals will continue.

By the way, at least according to the story, Marg Webb of IGMA went at the baord with a big issue- so I must apologize about the note in the previous post about IGMA and Keystone. It still smells funny- but I am at least glad iGMA is not sitting back.

Please go to that site- read today's story and try and tell me that ATI and Rich Biscoe are looking out for the stakeholders... and try tell me how NFRC is as well....

Yep its HAS been awhile

Sorry folks.. I have been off on the blog updates. I know I am behind when my own Mother tells me she checks my Blog from time to time and its not updated. Heck maybe I should have her write some stuff!

Anyway... my apologies.

As for goings on....

Well China is making more and more inroads to the industry here in the states. It has scary potential.... recently a Chinese company sent glass and aluminum already assembled direct to the jobsite. I have been hammering away on this for a while, and while some take heed, others ignore.

And I am not talking about the commerce side. I am talking about the fact that the goal is tooeventually cut out the fabricator and glazier. People always sit back and say "this won't happen to me" well guess what... its coming.

As for my other favorite subject- NFRC. I am still gagged. Though it doesn't matter at this point- they are moving full steam ahead and really there's nothing that can be done to stop it. I used to think that it could be contained, but thats not the case. They have too much power and too many people in their pocket. And while things are being prepared behind the scenes on this effort, for me, I am done.

Yes I have said it before, but things like the IECC allowing blatant conflict of interest to interfere in their process when it regards the NFRC, just blow me away. Note though that some very good people are still fighting this process, but unfortunately, we as an industry, and like the small to medium residential guys before us, just do not have the organization to make a difference.

By the way, did you see IGMA hired Keystone Certifications to help them with some processes. Keystone is owned by Marcia Falke, Chair of the NFRC. The NFRC is going to get into IG Certificatons... gee I wonder who they'll hire to oversee that?

Well thats it for now- I will make a better effort to keep this up and when people send me e-mails, I should be able to turn that into material here- instead of debating there.

Hope everyone is well...

Monday, October 09, 2006

Off topic - Sports Time

While there's probably tons of good things to grasp in the glass and aluminum industry- my other passion.. sports really has taken center stage.

First.. baseball.. and the Detroit Tigers.

I live outside of Detroit and even though I grew up in Pittsburgh and will always be a Pirate fan, living the last 9 years here made in to a Tiger fan and obviously today I am pretty pumped.

The Tigers miracle series win over the Yankees was simply amazing. No one, and I mean NO ONE in Detroit thought these guys had a snowballs chance in beating the might Yankees.

The celebration afterward ws proof of that- it was one of those "oh my we did it" types of releases. And it was unreal.

Now onto Oakland, where Tiger fans can only hope that the boys don't come out flat against a very good A's team.

Meanwhile, probably lost in the whole TO debate yesterday was that the Steelers.. defending SuperBowl champs are in deep trouble after losing to the Chargers.

Basically the Steelers have to go 10 and 2 the rest of the way.. and thats a tall order.. plus those 2 losses can not come against the Ravens or really anyone in the AFC....

On the bright side if any team can string together victories, its Pittsburgh... but it just seems like Bill Cowher is not into it...

Anyway that's my off topic dump- next time in we'll get back to glass and aluminum and all of the adventures that come with it...

Hope everyone is well...

Monday, October 02, 2006

Back Again

Yes, and sorry again for the delays in posting. Been very hectic around the industry right now. Everyone is seemingly very busy- which is good.

The recent GlassBuild show is now in the books- lots of people on hand- Vegas can really draw them in. Hopefully that is a good sign for our 2007 BEC conference- its one you do not want t o miss.

NFRC wise I have to be quiet. However not sure if anyone noticed that at the IEC code hearings last week, an alternative path to NFRC using AAMA 507 was voted down. No surprise except for the fact that the IEC allowed 2 committee members, who are also NFRC Board guys, to be able to vote and control the hearing.

Amazing. What's more to be said than that? Is there anyone out there at that level that is not awash in massive conflicts of interest? Anyone?

China wise, the show in Vegas really showed that the Chinese are coming strong. Shame is that many people will buy into it, bringing more Chinese influence to the states, and eventually hurting the industry. One glass shop owner told me he had no issues with the Chinese and that if they were low, then that's his supplier. Oh well, that is surely his choice- but at the end of the day this will not be good. The glass shop may not suffer like the installer, but it still will be troublesome.

Hopefully now that things are mellowing I can keep up with this better. Its funny, a comment was made about me to one of my co workers- the guy said "doesn't he have better things to do with his time?" and Yes its true- I do, but I enjoy the communication of this blog and what spurs from it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Are you ready for some....


Well its time. I was asked by a few people to jump on in with some football precitions, since all of my others have been so awful- must be betting the opposite.

I guess also since everything I write on here gets scrutinized to the extreme, I have to at least have a breather post!

Anyway here goes:


By the way I have typed "NFRC" so many times my fingers are conditioned to type that instead of NFC. Comical.

NFC East- TO will implode in Dallas- no way he can stay calm with the Tuna. Philly may surprise but I am not convinced Westbrook is healthy and that is a major key. The Skins are a mess and if they don't get off fast, I have a feeling that Joe Gibbs will wanna be racin' again. The pick is the Giants- with great running in Tiki and Jacobs and another year under Eli Mannings belt.

NFC North- Terrible division overall. Minnesota will be nightmarish. Its time for Favre to hang em up in Green Bay and the Lions simply have too many holes- though their schedule is verrry easy. The pick here is Da Bears. Their awesome D easily makes up for the weaknesses of the offense.

NFC South- The opposite of the North- its tremendous. New Orleans will be better with Brees and the awesome rookie Bush. Atlanta is strong but I am not a fan of their coach and his usage of Mike Vick. Tampa can always count on their D and hopefully Caddy can take them far. The pick though is Carolina- they have balance on Offense and a tough D.

NFC West- San Fran should be in the NFC North they are so bad. The Rams could be just as bad. Arizona will be scary on offense- their passing game is lethal and add Edge to it, wow. The pick is easy though- Seattle.. just too much balance and talent.

In the AFC-

AFC East- The Jets are long way from coming back to respectability, but they may catch the Bills. The Bills though should get a better season from Willis McGahee now that knuckleheaded coach Mike Mularkey is gone. Miami will contend because of their combo of Brown and Chambers at the skillset. But the pick: New England. Their D won't be as good as in the past, but their O is awesome.

AFC North- Cleveland lives under a jinxed sign, but theyare ammasing some talent. Look out for Winslow Jr. Baltimore is a shell of its self, even with a legit QB like McNair. My Steelers aren't getting any breaks this year- (they used them all up last year) and their schedule is simply brutal. The pick: Cincy. Palmer is amazing, the WR's are great and Marv Lewis can coach a D.

AFC South- Houston will be getting better because of Kubiak. Tennessee is getting worse and worse. Jacksonville is not pretty but effective. However none of them can hang with Indy. Peyton & Co. are a machine and the D, that gets no respect, is very very good.

AFC West- Oakland will bring up the rear in a very tight race. KC will not be as good as last year. San Diego has to hope and pray that Phillip Rivers is at least decent. The pick: Denver is a toss up really- they always, somehow, find a way.

Overall the AFC is so much better than the NFC it is scary.


NFC: Carolina over Seattle in a reverse of last year

AFC: Indy over Cincy

SuperBowl- Indy. Peyton gets his first SuperBowl.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Quiet on NFRC but loud on....

Sorry for the delay, I was advised that I needed to be quiet on the NFRC issue for a while and well I guess I forgot I can write about other things while that situation plays out.

Anyway, did you catch the acquisition of Antamex by Oldcastle?

Interesting as Antamex is one of North America's largest glaziers. They are a powerhouse on the install side and now Oldcastle can install right along with their customers!

I think right now since everyone is so busy, no one will care that their competitor is selling them product- but at the first downturn, lookout.

Then again Harmon and Viracon have been "out" for years and it doesn't matter. I don't know how that plays. One time, back in the good ole days of the one and only Perilstein Distributing, we had a driver named Billy Eichler. Billy one day was asked by a glazier to "help" because they had some guys off. So Billy being the guy he is, hopped right in and "helped" this customer install some glass. Well don't ya know it but one of that customers competitors happened to drive up on the job and saw our guy Billy humping units into the holes.

Well all hell broke loose.

But I guess actually installing is worse than sharing quotes and trying to steer business to sister companies?

Last note-

I wanted to give props to a former co worker- Bruce Mikels of BDM was one of the featured folks in the latest edition of US Glass as one of the nations best manufacturers reps. He simply deserves all of the kudos he can get. He is not a sit at home guy who waits for the phone to ring- he is a hustler who built a great business and I am proud to say I worked with him at one time.

I know Bruce is a reader of this blog so that makes him great too! But in any case, Bruce is proof that a manufacturers rep can impact your business in a positive manner.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Enron and Spam

Hope everyone is well...

Watched the movie "Smartest Men in the room" yesterday- very interesting look into the whole Enron mess. Well done piece and just mind blowing what those guys did. The effect they had on California's energy issues was huge. No wonder that California WANTS regulation like the NFRC because obviously when Enron had their way, everyone suffered.

One part especially was comical. The traders at Enron would just call a power plant and TELL THEM to power down... and THEY WOULD! Simply insane. Anyway it is a great rental and is also a tragic story of men ripping off so many people... Sad that it lasted so long and it was really somewhat accidental that a journalist would not drink the Enron kool aid and called them on it- that helped start the unraveling.

Good stuff.

As for spam, comically this blog is getting spammed robotically. Not that any of you care, but its amazing that there is an actual spam program that can search and work the blogs. Isn't technology great!

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Why is this even happening?

I think I may have covered it before but after the USGNN piece came out I got several e-mails about why the NFRC even is doing a non res program.

Well that is a great question.

I would love to give the answer, except I do not know... and neither does the NFRC... and that is why when this thing starts to involve lawyers, it will get much uglier than my cute little blog.

Lets look back.

When the question was first asked of then NFRC Chair Marv Stover... he replied, on NFRC letterhead that the NFRC had a mandate from congress to implement this program. Except they did not. And the NFRC knew it and when they were called on it the story was changed.

That changed story happened in Chicago. I happened to ask NFRC board member Gary Curtis why this was happening. He replied "The codes" Except the codes were not and have not demanded it. In fact at that meeting Greg Carney had evidence to prove such. The evidence freaked out many NFRC loyalists- in fact former board member Ken Nittler studied his code book from cover to cover, I guess hoping to find the magic connection.

Ok so on the scoreboard its:

Need: 0 Wrong Excuses: 2

So what happens next, well the NFRC says "California needs it" and bam that is enough to get it rolling... plus with career code folks like John Hogan working the code side as well as the police side, its just a matter of time before they make Gary Curtis' assertation true.

Side note- John Hogan works for the city of seattle, yet travels literally all over the world for NFRC and other code issues. Damn. Wish the taxpayers of seattle would subsidize me. I think he even went to India on behalf of one of these groups... its insane.

Anyway, so that's why this thing is still living and breathing. But alas, more people are getting into it now. BOMA is now interested in this unnecessary program that will affect their members and I would have to think that the DOE has a renewed interest in the process given the continued chaos surrounding it.

Plus there's more articles and speeches coming- so the spotlight will be shining.

Anyway, so that's the story behind it. It may get pushed through and people may have to follow it, but eventually it will be challenged- especially if its a pork ridden, profit machine that it has the potential to be.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

An interesting experience

Well I have been to a few NFRC meetings in my past but never a membership meeting. Well this week, I got to go and it was interesting to say the least.

First and foremost you are blown away by the sheer amount of acronyms.
PCP, CMA, LAP, AEP, ACE, and so on. Your head spins as you try and follow some of these things.

Then you are amazed at how far their grasp is. They are working on rating storm doors and windows... Isn't that somewhat crazy? Then again I am not in that world, but I look at my $50 storm door and I see the price going up because of future NFRC labeling. Yippee

As for the main issues, it was un eventful because in classic political style alot of discussion took place outside the room. Why? Because inside the room there's a handful of people who simply love to hear themselves talk and waste significant time doing so. Plus there's people who may look like they are on one "side" and yet they are working close with the other- so that can be public can it?

The thing that was most apparent this meeting was the labs desires to be dominant in the process thus holding their significant revenue stream. The NFRC is their bread and butter in some cases and they are in no mood to give ANY ground. The labs were in a fighting mood so much so that the meeting was stopped for 25 minutes while legal had to clarify a voting snafu. Why the delay, well the labs could not believe they ended on the wrong side of a few votes and instead of letting it fly (they've NEVER lost- so its a new experience) they noticed that their was a problem with the voting involving proxies. When the lawyer was rustled from his room, and figured out what went wrong their was only 1 vote that was affected by the snafu and the re vote ended up RE AFFIRMING the original position.

Needless to say, they would not have paid any mind to this snafu if the votes were coming out on their side.

See but the big thing is NONE OF THIS MATTERS. The board and can and will impose whatever it feels is best. Meaning days like yesterday may be good for debate but nothing more because the Board will eventually make the call. The only difference is more people are watching this board than ever before. Aside from knuckleheads like me, you know have the DOE more interested, as well as BOMA, certain congresspeople and of course the media.

The NFRC knows they must be transparent- they have too much at stake.

So what do I think will happen going forward?
Well work will be done by a task group on this process, meanwhile others will be working the other angles... and we'll all be Virginia in November.

By the way, in the near future, the NFRC will have to figure out yet another excuse for why they even are having this program as that challenge is coming. Remember Marvin Stover former Chair lied in a letter to the membership of GANA that this program was created because of a mandate from congress (Which he and the board knew they did not) then the reason was the codes (nope) and now its because of their "subsidiary" CEC needing it.

Guess what that won't wash.

Anyway it was a special experience all the way around- so much to write about and cover- so after i review some notes I may write some more. Plus doing it on here saves me from having to write it individually to everyone who asked for a report.

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Well we are coming up on the NFRC meeting in Minnesota and I noticed no one from the 'reputation salvation" firm that the NFRC hired will be there.

I did notice that they have some parties that are attending probably to show off how great they are... and in some areas they do serve a purpose... but since they make no apparent effort to understand commercial glazing unless certain key members of NFRC can either make a profit or do it for the sake of "doing it" hope these guests are not commercial related because even they will see the trainwreck for what it is.

I can't believe Clark and Weinstock is not going to be there. Damn.

Hey but US Glass and Glass Magazine WILL be there so Potomac can not control the content of the meeting like they have done in the past... so a true accounting will come. I do not know the writer coming from US Glass but I do know the one from Glass Magazine and she is a very level headed and talented writer- so rest assured a fair and reliable account will come through!

((For those of you new to this- the best of Potomac is on display from an October 05 meeting that none other than Deb Levy, esteemed publisher of US Glass Magazine attended and wrote up a piece about. Then Potomac put ut their fiction piece... amazing... like it was 2 totally different meetings... well you can't say Potomac doesn't earn their huge $$$$$ from NFRC!))

Friday, July 07, 2006

LIVE from New York

Just finished reading a tremendous book called "Live From New York" by Tom Shales. It was about Saturday Night Live and its history... great inside stories. The book is a few years old, so it can be found in paperback.
If you were or are a fan of the show it gives you a great insight on how it was born and how it survived and grew.
The drug use from the 70's and of course the sad deaths of belushi, Farley and Phil Hartman are covered there as well. Tons of interesting stuff.

On that same note, Jay Mohr also wrote a book about his time on SNL that I read called "Gasping for Airtime" and that too was great... very in depth about the 2 years he was involved in the show.

Anyway, some light book talk on the blog today instead of my normal militant angle!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Independence day to all of you in the USA. Hope everyone who has the day off enjoys it.

As day like the 4th has a lot of meaning... and I think most adults have an idea of that.

Anyway, we have a lot to be thankful for in this country and in North America as a whole. Hopefully continued safety and no terror will shake our borders our effect our lives and may that extend throughout the world, as peace should be everyones priority.

Meanwhile our efforts to do the best we can continue. The NFRC meets at the end of July in what should be an interesting meeting. They'll have their expensive PR firms and reputation managers on site to spin the reason why they (meaning certain board members who control the NFRC) want to make big profits on the back of the "public" they supposedly serve. Those firms will also keep trying to work over the DOE and the various politicos to keep their funding alive so they can pass those funds on to like minded (read organizations that they all belong to) to do "training" instead of research.

You would never believe the amount of e-mail and comments I get on the money that the NFRC gave to Gary Curtis to "train" architects. Everyone from DOE to NFRC poo poo this as "oh that's no big deal.. its needed.. yadda yadda" but they do not realize that the public can see right through it- so when money is needed to come up with a program to group aluminum frames, so that the cost and time is not stupendous- that must go through a vote. But when a fellow Board member needs the money- it just gets done. Amazing.

I got an e-mail a week ago that hammered me bad about this blog.. "no one reads it, no one cares.. bloah blah" Well I can tell you while the hits dropped a bit when I was off working, they have not gone away, and in fact we've had some solid spikes. People do read and they do comment- and I know people like Potomac probably have this in their Favorite Places to see when I will mention Leonard or Kristine again. But seriously the point is, the NFRC can continue to pound forward, ignore the public it serves and try and create a self serving, expensive program because their sisters in California "asked for it" but they have no idea of the steps that will take place going forward.

As for California- that is the biggest joke in the land. Shame is that no one will take it on, but I will. Plain and simple, NFRC had no mandate or direction to do this program. Actually they STILL DON'T! But they had their puppets in California "ask" them to create and system and SHAZAM we're all busting butt to get this done.

Its a joke.

Oh well.. and see I started this post with hopes of peace....

anyway, Happy 4th...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cardinal Low E

Did you see the press release that Cardinal is out with a new Low E?

Sounds great but it will interesting to see if it gets legs on the commercial side. Cardinal is strong residential wise, but has not hit it big commercially.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New Technology

As promised, I will also cover other subjects aside from NFRC. (Also a thanks to the many people who have re-visited the last few days- that stats and the e-mails to me were very encouraging and appreciated!)

So today I have to alert you on a cool "new" technology. Its DECOTHERM... (Ok and before you start hammering that this is an Arch only thing it is not, the folks at Oldcastle have it too)

Decotherm is simply the way to go when you want designs on glass. It is superior to sandblast and silkscreen. Check out as they explain in more detail and better than me.

But I will say this, at the last few trade shows I have worked, designers have been simply enthralled with Decotherm and what they can do with it. So if you are a glazier and you end up with a decorative spec that wants a custom sandblast or silkscreen- you need to go to Decotherm.

And yes, this is somewhat of an ad (unlike the NFRC I admit when I shill) but I honestly think this process is a winner and the people who have used it will agree.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Another interesting note that came from the NFRC recently was they announced the hiring of a lobbyist named Clark & Weinstock.

Clark & Weinstock, according to their own website is:

Clark & Weinstock is a consulting firm that specializes in reputation and crisis management, regulatory issues, mergers and acquisitions, public affairs, government and financial relations, and investment community relations.
Our work involves the positive positioning of clients and their important issues with the institutions, individuals, and audiences that will influence the outcome of client objectives.

Wow I love the line "reputation and crisis management" See because I have been told my efforts on this issue are a "joke" but yet I did not need to hire a firm that specializes in reputation management!

This is fun... the NFRC said in their release that C&W have a history of representing "non profits" and I am sure they do. But when you look at the list of companies that these people rep, sure don't look like non profit to me...

Microsoft, AT&T, Lockheed Martin, Xcel Energy, New York Life and so on. Yes they do handle some non profits but its surely not in the same light that they handle these folks.

So why does NFRC need them? In his release Jim Benney noted that federal funding of fenestration related groups have been declining. And in the NFRC's case IT SHOULD! Any money that the DOE or federal govt gives NFRC is $1 more than it deserves. So really our tax payer money can go to people like Potomac? Or how about a cool 60K to a NFRC Board member for "research." They get money from DOE already and who knows what is done with it- getting anymore is simply insane.

Not only that, the NFRC with its fees and charges is having no problems making money. If they need to make money, here's a novel idea:
How about charge the people like WestLab and Keystone, WHO MAKE MONEY because of their relationship with NFRC more than $400? Maybe those firms who stand to make money on inspections and testing and the various procedures enacted by NFRC should start paying more for the privledge.

So they hire these guy.. Obviously there's something more there. But then again anyone who is inside the NFRC thinks that all is merry and I am just nuts. Which I am for the most part, but logic would win this battle and believe me any logical human would look at this group and just shake their head.

So Clark and Weinstock, welcome. You won't have nearly the opposition that you have when you represent Microsoft, or the Pharmaceutical Research folks, but you will a find a few with passion to at least raise their voices.

By the way one more item... What sounds more expensive:

Las Vegas in February at $109 per night or Hawaii in March or Quebec City in July.. At dramatically more. Ok just curious.


I guess after taking some time off I am having problems getting posts to accept... working on it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Well I am sorry that it has been so long. I apologize.

A few things...

1. It was quiet on a lot of fronts NFRC and business wise but very busy for me in the Arch world of things. At the end of the day my family eats because of Arch. (because I don't have a revenue stream like the NFRC or Potomac)

2. I am back.

Ok a few things, on the return, I will cover more than NFRC... I will talk China, softcoats, and other issues. Thank you to everyone who e-mailed or called me and asked what my problem was and why I was not blogging.

But as always I have to start with NFRC....

In the last few weeks they came out with several items and over the next few days I'll look at themm. First and foremost, lets look at the resignation of Bipin Shah from the NFRC so he could start his own company.

Bipin is a very nice guy, no doubt and that being a nice guy allowed him to resign NFRC and start his own business with one new customer right off the bat- NFRC! As the saying goes "well aint that just special" (Church Lady Saturday Night Live). Wow what a stunner huh, and Bipin gets to still lead parts of the Non res process while making profits above board. yep NFRC really looking out for the public eh?

See this is a classic example of what is wrong with them- now, all of those fee's which for some go into the THOUSANDS of dollars go to paying someone to do work that staff was doing and this guy is free to help lead the program in a direction that may benefit him further financially. I guess the NFRC was tired of me harping on them making profit so they farmed out a part to their own.

How does this make sense?

There's other great nuggets that I will address in the next few days...

Will any of this make a difference you ask.. probably not, but we can try. The one thing I know is that people who are married to the NFRC are completely blind to what is going on. they make wild and bizarre statements (amazingly much worse than me) but they know they are covered because they are the Pit Bull in this fight. they have potomac and as you will find out they have another giant in their corner (wonder what they are afraid of...)

Anyway its good to be back!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Been Awhile

Yep took some time away from this beat- but now back on it... with a few questions...

1. Why is Marv Stover still listed on the NFRC website as a BOD? Why are they not replacing him? See the reason they released was they'll wait til the next election, but that did not stop them when Kate Offringa resigned last year- alot later than Marv... ah yes, you gotta love a group that prides itself of transparency... oh yeah that would not be Potomac/NFRC.

2. How about no updated minutes since the secret 2/9 meeting on line. Once again I guess they feel that Potomac's hokey "Comminque" fits that bill. Oh we'll just put out some stuff, give it a french name and sign Jim's name to it... everyone will eat it up!

3. Love the fact they always mention that the California Energy Commision is a "customer" of the NFRC. Man if we had "customers" like that I would not have to work. I do see that Potomac now is smart enough not to quote Tony Rygg anymore when they put out their pathetic releases... yes they have propped up Nelson Pena. Good stuff... yep that makes it much more legit.

You know I think Potomac should go to work for the President- the way they spin and use subtle and what would normally be weak scare tactics (that amazingly WORK! our trade orgs are simply pathetic... scared to death of the Potomac machine... congrats on that Potomac!) I think Bush and the GOP could have Michael Moore begging for mercy. C'mon Kristine, Leonard... you could make more than 100 grand working for the GOP... all the money would still be coming from the same place!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Why I do it

Got an e-mail recently and asked why I spend my free time.. or any time, writing about the NFRC issue.

Simple. How they go about their business is wrong. The bias towards profiteering members, lack of inclusions, the amazing lack of transparency and the overall arrogance drives me.

All you have to do is attend a meeting or read the past minutes and you become the same as I.

You know like this nugget from the Quebec City meeting last July:

G. Carney encouraged the NFRC Board to get knowledgeable on materials as they study the commercial fenestration marketplace. A. Ward asked that he bring forth all perspectives of that market place, not just his organization's.
G Carney for those of you who don't know is Greg Carney and he is one of the industries best technical people (and one of the most respected I must add) He asked for a simple request, one that SHOULD OF BEEN EMBRACED but was not only shot down in public, but then immortalized in the minutes. Of course Greg was there on behalf of an "organization" but I think.. no I know, it can be clearly stated that Greg was speaking for the ENTIRE GLAZING MARKETPLACE when he asked that request. But in classic, lack of inclusion, lack of transparency Potomac Puppet land of NFRC they have to shoot down what could've been a helpful resource- Then again, if they would take the time- then it would become TOO obvious that their plan is flawed, redundant and unnecessary and quite frankly on advice of supercounsell Scott Meza, they don't want to know that.

So I keep hammering- and will keep at it- until a program is developed that makes sense and TRULY BENEFITS the public- I won't stop.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Board

Well the latest edition of USGNN came out today and it had the Marv Stover resignation from the NFRC Board on it.

Of course they are not going to replace him.. I mean the elections are JUST AROUND THE CORNER.. you know in NOVEMBER. Yet last year when Kate Offringa resigned, in June, they quietly replaced her....


Plus you have to wonder when Marv really resigned- love that timing, right after the last election- almost like they kept him propped up to get another year of utter and total board dominance.

Anyway LOVE that transparency gang. I am sure Kristine and Potomac are in full alert mode right now spinning like crazy.

Plus they also had the blurb about the 30K for education to CWI and Gary Curtis. Still not grasping why NFRC could not do this "education" themselves.

Oh well.. the beat goes on.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Where's Marvin Stover?

Hey Kristine, Leonard and the gang at Potomac.... where's Marvin Stover?

Let's see he is not on the NFRC letterhead anymore and evidently does not work for Mikron anymore.

So he's off the board right? So when does the NFRC Board put another one of their own in for him? C'mon are you vetting candidates? Is Harriet Miers available?

See if the NFRC were serious about the commercial process a true commercial supplier or someone with commercial ties would get that spot-

Or maybe someone who cares a ton, like Tom Culp?

Nope, you can almost guarantee that it will be someone who is controllable by the powers that be. Heck Kristine you should take the job- you already set all the policy...

Amazing that transparency...

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Still Plugging

I can't let another week go by without at least blogging something....


The Hoops have been good.. some good upsets but at the end of the day teams like UCONN and BC are good- question is how Memphis, UCLA and Texas will fare...

Baseball is just around the corner. awesome.

On NFRC, not sure theres much to write about- today I am melancholy... I think maybe Potomac is winning... heck they make 100k+ and I don't.

I am sure I will get my second wind, plus other shoes will fall I am sure, but today, amazingly, for the first time since I have started this whole issue, I am not into it. I really believe that trying to take on a machine like Potomac is unhealthy- I mean you can never get anything published because they are everywhere, probably threatening the lives and careers of anyone if they dare print a dissenting or in some cases the REAL VIEW!

Heck you can't look any further than to last August and the Atlanta task group meeting, Potomac put out a release about the meeting and it was like a fairy tale- but they have the power- I have a blog.

I won't give up.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I've made it

Some people need the Hollywood Walk of Fame to say they have made it... others need just a pat on the back... Me? Well I got mine... yes Potomac Communications, also known as the NFRC had me in their little newsletter. Leonard, Kristine- THANK YOU.

Now maybe they'll think of me commission wise huh? C'mon guys I am getting you business here!

Anyway in the latest NFRC Update- and if you are a member it should've been e-mailed to you- if not you can see it on their website at in the message from the Chairman, my debate with Jim Benney was mentioned.

Marcia Falke wrote (at this point I am assuming she wrote, though I would be willing to bet it should be by-lined POTOMAC Communications) a piece on the swirling controversy at NFRC. She tried once again to clarify their beloved 501c3 status. Believe me we KNOW, we have been hit over the head with it a million times.. you serve the public we get it... but while they take potshots at the poor wretched 501c6's they always convienently leave out our biggest bone of contention...


That will be a question that will never be answered by Potomac. Or maybe they will, but they will do their $100,000 spin on it and ignore the facts that how can the PUBLIC take seriously a group that can implement costly procedures that BING BING BING board members and other NFRC elite PROFIT because of....

No they'll just keep hammering and that's fine- I am used to it. But before you throw some of those 501c6's under the bus, because "they will do whatever their membership wants" keep in mind that may be true, but the Boards of those groups and the "elite" members of those groups do not have the power of an ATI to get programs in, so they can profit.
Yep NFRC serves the public by allowing more costs to be loaded in the programs when they are NOT NEEDED!

Plus labs only pay $400 for its membership and makes a lot of money. You gotta love that! If I was a testing lab, man I would be Mr NFRC....

Then in a bizarre interview with John Hogan's best friend architect from Seattle, Potomac tries to bring up the whole responsible party issue. Of course the whole interview and questions are slanted (what you think your reading balanced journalism in the NFRC update?) and the answers make little to no sense.

On the responsible party, basically our interviewee says "legally" it won't fly if you make the architect responsible- so that means it will fly legally to make some one else? Gee thanks for the idea- I guess Contractors all over the country now need to consult their lawyers... and you know what, that is exactly what a good program like this needs... lawsuits... lots of them. Yep the DOE will love lots and lots of lawsuits. Architects, Contractors, Manufacturers.... get your lawyers..

Will that happen? Who knows- but do you think if the Architects feel that they are legally free of this that everyone else is just going to take it?

NO WAY and if they do shame on them.

Ah another fun day at the ranch.

Monday, March 13, 2006

March Madness

I plan on taking a few days to enjoy March Madness.. unless of course Potomac Communications comes out with their sickly slanted version of what happened at San Diego.

Believe me after the release I saw them come out with after the Atlanta task group meeting, I can only imagine what they will put out after this one. Everything was quiet news wise- no stories except a innocuous one on USGNN, so maybe nothing happened that Potomac could slant...

Anyway for $100,000+ a year that's their job. You gotta love that a group that is "serving the public" needs such a high powered and expensive PR firm... hmmm maybe because they need the spin? I mean why else do you need such an animal? Someday someone more connected than me will start to look into this whole setup and ask questions that may actually get answers... until then I'll keep hammering away- though I am sure eventually I will get a letter to stop.. but I am serving the public.... same as them.. just for a lot less money.

OK so basketball wise I can not see how UCONN can lose.
Upset in first round- Iona over LSU

Thursday, March 09, 2006

NFRC San Diego

As you know I was not at NFRC in San Diego- while many people question how I have time to do this blog, seemingly no one questions how people have time to meet for NFRC 30 times a year. (3 4 day meetings that with travel days turn into 5+ along with various task group and then if you are so honored to chosen (not elected-another story) for the board, you get a couple of retreats in there too... pretty nice gig for these folks and their "non" profits eh?)Anyway, I expected it to be quiet and really don't have a lot of feedback yet.

I really think that at the end of the day this whole thing comes down to the true definition of "Serving the Public" - Everytime I see that line in a Potomac release I think about President Clinton slamming his fist on the podium and saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Monica Lewinsky" See because if Potomac and NFRC were TRULY serving the public, they'd listen to it..... instead they have no desire, they have the game long figured out and they will continue to live and work the way they do. So while it is noble and appreciated that they try and rid fraud from certain aspects of the building industry- you just can not get by all of the other manuevers and actions they promote.

More on San Diego soon....

Monday, March 06, 2006


Did you see the update on NFRC and GANA working together?

Can it be a hopeful step?

Was the NFRC sincere in its invitation?

On the surface I would say yes, but then while the glow of a smart, forward thinking, move was still shining, Potomac Communications had to come out with a Press Release trumpeting their invitation. See all that then proved was the invite was done because someone pressured them. Instead of trying to do the right thing for the right reasons, NFRC and Potomac needed to spin this "invitation" into some great altruistic offer.

Pathetic. If it was meant to be a true offer then there would be no need to have a press release.

You know I should start getting a commission check from Potomac, I mean without me they'd really have to earn that 100K they get per year from NFRC. Now it comes just too easy.

By the way, 100K per year to a PR agency. I guess "transparency" costs a lot of cash.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Another Meeting

Well we are on the eve of yet another NFRC meeting. Yes it seems like yesterday they just met in that well populated and easy to get to locale of Santa Fe New Mexico.
In actuality its been 3 months and thankfully the next meeting is not until late July giving the travel club a rest.

Not sure what will come out of this meeting but one thing I hope gets some action- the NFRC Board awarded a $30,000 grant to Gary Curtis and his "Commercial Window Initiative" for education. WHAT A SHOCKER HUH! Yes Gary recused himself (and this is not a shot at Gary, he should do what he can to support his organizations- this is a shot at the NFRC for doing what it does best, pander to their own self interests) from the vote BUT look at who the biggest sponsors of CWI are... Cardinal (2 votes on the board with Jim Larsen and their lawyer Garrett Stone- yeah gotta love THAT balance on the board) and Mikron (though Marv Stover supposedly resigned from the Board because he is not with Mikron- but there has been no press release on that and plus Marv being a past chairman made a lot of friends in the past) so Gary and CWI getting the money was a rubber stamp.

I think my blog will ask for money next since the NFRC is in such a giving mood.

How can members of this organization, who pay tons of cash stand for this?!?

Anyway, instead of using the money to improve processes and try to remove costs, they use the money to support their own and educate people about a program (non res) that has not been finalized yet.

And on the Stover thing- I guess powerhouse PR firm Potomac Communications is not able to "spin" a release on that. This is yet another board member in the last year who has quit and there has NEVER been a public mention. LOVE THAT TRANSPARENCY! (Kate Offringa resigns last summer, she is just quietly removed from all records, Ken Nittler who was outspoken and into the process resigns and he becomes a lab version of Casper, and now Marvelous Marv packs it in and despite being a past chair gets the Hoffa treatment. )

Well anyway I really expect this meeting to be uneventful. Many of the regular travel clubbers won't be there because theres been tons of meetings in the last 3 weeks and I guess a lot of these folks actually had to work this week.

Another fun day at the ranch....

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

BEC Recap and Transparency

Well I know its been a few days but I have been in Las Vegas at the GANA BEC show. The BEC, thanks to the efforts of many people (GANA staff, programming committee and most importantly 420 interested attendees) came off wonderfully.

Sometimes when you pump up an event a lot, you are destined for a let down, but not with this one. So if you could not make it this year, you really want to plan on being with us next year.

Of course one of the items that came up was the NFRC and I think we made significant strides in explaining our side of the issue and getting the glazing community energized and interested in the process.

Speaking of the NFRC, another one of their "communiques" came out on Saturday. Comical as always, they talk about being transparent, then they go into details from a PRIVATE board meeting... A meeting that the membership was promised in Santa Fe that they would be informed of an agenda. Yep its as transparent as brick.

Anyway, the missive was simply "perfume on a pig" as Potomac Communications tried to spin that all of sudden the NFRC has this great election process. Yeah. Let's see the "Inspection Agency" is still a part of the Fenestration division. The reason... "they do a majority of their work with the fenestration oriented companies" But don't the test labs do the same? With that bit of spin, doesn't EVERYONE involved in NFRC has significant interest in FENESTRATION!
So why am I mad, because the NFRC and their 6-5-1 election set up is adversely affected when you have people in the wrong spot. See to meet their "special" 501c3 designation, they have to be slanted on the side of the public. That's fine. So 6 board members should be General, 5 Fenestration and 1 lab. But by allowing IA's in the Fenestration, they take away the ability of the fenestration division to truly represent.
What they also fail, on purpose I am sure, to tell the PUBLIC THE SUPPOSEDLY serve, is that each Board slot has a specific designation, so that waters it down even more.
Moral of the story, nothing is changing quick.

But that will not deter us. Every day I get more determined and after listening to the glaziers who came to the BEC, I KNOW WE ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING by challenging and forcing the NFRC to be more transparent and include us.

More to come.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


The GANA BEC conference is coming up starting Sunday. With over 400 people attending it is possibly the largest "seminar" like conference in the US. Its not a trade show and its not a "National" or "Annual" meeting. It is a solid day and half of pertinent subjects presented by the top people in their fields.

Plus the mix is unbeatable as you have primary glass mfg's, fabricators, aluminum mfg's, spacer and sealant suppliers, industry tech consultants and of course glaziers. No where and in no meeting, guaranteed, can you get that mix.

It is truly the meeting to attend, and more so now that it is surrounded by meetings from AAMA, IGMA and NFRC. Some folks have to attend all four! Meaning they could be away from home for 2 solid weeks- then again for some folks in the "Travel club" they live for this stretch. The shame is more business will get accomplished and more education will take place in 2 days of BEC than 12 days of the other guys.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

CSI Show

I will continue my breakdown of the latest "news" from NFRC with the CEC (which should just be considered a subsidiary of NFRC anyway) later- now I want to point out an interesting item- the CSI show.

Years ago this trade show had everything and everyone, but over the last 4 years, unorganization and blatant arrogance really took the shine off and now, with the CSI coming up at the end of March the only commercial oriented division 8 suppliers/providers showing are PPG and Tubelite. That's it. No Viracon, Oldcastle, ACI, AFG or Arch. No YKK, Vistawall, US Aluminum, or Kawneer.

To me that is simply amazing that the CSI membership would stand for this, but then again I think they may have their own problems. There's tons of debate and rumors of strife among the CSI elite, so maybe that's why no one is aware that this phenomenon is taking place.

Oh by the way, the NFRC IS having a booth there. Surely so they can tell everyone how great they will make the architects and specifiers lives with all of this extra testing... they'll of course "forget" to tell them that all of these wonderful new services will cost THOUSANDS of dollars.

So it should work into NFRC's hands- unless PPG and Tubelite want to explain to specifiers that the NFRC and their key members are just interested in shaking them down, I am sure the story will not be challenged.

Oh well- we'll keep trucking along.

Friday, February 17, 2006

So much for being quiet

Well I know Marcia and Jim and Gary all read this but I did not think they would jump into action to create some news! A couple days after my posting about the calm, we get the classic Potomac Communications PR piece about the California Energy Commision's "need" for NFRC. Here is the link from USGNN

Now its a classic Potomac piece, you know, "forgetting" to mention that the California Energy Commision has a current board member with NFRC (Elaine Hebert), and a board ex officio and past president (Tony Rygg). This time Potomac though decided not to use a fluff quote from Rygg like they did in US Glass a few months ago, no this time they trot out Nelson Pena since he's not actually on the board.

You know I started this blog to talk all about glass and the industry and ut has gone down as pretty much an exclusive NFRC blog, but you know what, when there is so much smoke.... its easy.

So back to the piece- first the title:

NFRC Agrees to Complete its Component Modeling Program In Response to Request from the California Energy Commission

Wow they make a resquest and BAM NFRC is all over it. Maybe we can ask the CEC to request all of the items that GANA has asked for the last 15 months and been blown off on.

Then this:

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) Board of Directors has directed the organization to move forward with its Component Modeling Program with the goal of meeting the schedule and needs of the California Energy Commission (CEC). The Board reached its decision at a meeting held February 9-10, 2006 .

Gee a meeting on 2/9 and 2/10... OH yeah a CLOSED meeting! Yes gotta love that transparency. Yep I know they are a 501 c 3- they can do whatever they want. Oh but didn't the board say at the Santa Fe meeting that they would post the agendas... maybe they did but I sure as heck did not see...

There's more, much more- and I will keep breaking it down on another post- because I can only handle so much of this at a time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Been awfully quiet

Sorry I have been off for a few days, after the glow and glory of the SuperBowl, I have had a bunch of other adventures going on. In the meantime, our pals at the NFRC have been awfully quiet. Not a peep recently... maybe they owe Potomac Communications too much money!

Anyway it's been odd, but obviously more will start to break before they have their next meeting in San Diego. Yes San Diego, the first semi- normal locale for a meeting in a while.

We'll keep plugging away, there's no way we are going to go away, not with the obvious money grab they are trying to thrust upon the "public" they serve.

Speaking of that, I'd love to see the magazines look into the whole"third party" certification angle. In some instances I am sure it makes sense, but when it comes to NFRC and Commercial building it surely does not.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Glassweek Recap

Glassweek is over, and while my body is back on the east coast, I think my brain is still in California.

Great week and tremendous effort by the GANA staff. One thing jumped out though... do you realize the powerhouse of technical minds that came together in the divisional technical meetings?

Led by one of the best technical whiz's in our industries history, Greg Carney we had an all star line up of technical people in town.

Also big was the speakers this year- very easy going, humorous, insightful and interesting.

All in all a good conference...

Now its almost BEC time- which should be top notch as well.

Superbowl Sunday... getting worried that Seattle and Shaun Alexander are not getting any love. He could do some serious damage!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Glassweek, NFRC and SuperBowl

Glassweek is underway in California... so far so good, the fun stuff really gets going on Monday including a squaretable session that will have a 30 minute talk about my good friends from the NFRC.
Also China and the World Economy is on the docket.

Also in case you missed it, USGNN ran a great piece on Cliff Monroe and his attempt to find out the truth behind that classifications that the NFRC arranged for the past election.

Here is the link:

Comical.. as stated here many times, the NFRC board will do whatever they want. It is sad really.

One item not noted previous. The fee structure that NFRC has is to soak the manufacturers and glaziers badly, while charging a flat fee to labs and inspection agencies. So in the Fenestration category that Marcia Falke won (despite Jim Benney's lame argument) while not meeting the "criteria" she only pays $400 for her membership... while everyone who should be eligible in that category pay ALOT more (up to $17,500! per year)

Someday the light will shine bright enough on this...........

By the way, as a guy living in Detroit but growing up in Pittsburgh, this coming Sunday will be a truly amazing time... the Steelers are in town (Did you know Jerome Bettis was from Detroit? ha ha) and the game is in my new home town. While I will not be going to the game (leaving that honor to my brother and his family) it will truly be awesome.


Saturday, January 21, 2006


There's a survey from the Department of Energy now out about the services that they fund. Hopefully it will not get filtered and contaminated by the NFRC and people will be able to give their true feelings on what is happening with that organization and the charade of servicing "the public"

If you are an NFRC member you can fill it out by going through their site and I would assume you could do the same by going through AAMA as well.

With all that is good that is provided by the DOE (LBNL especially) we can only hope that they step up and put their fingers, hands and arms around the NFRC and Potomac Communications as they do all they can make a living off of the public....

Monday, January 16, 2006


24 is easily the best show on TV today... how about yesterday, with great football games topped off by the season starter of 24.

Anyway, even as good as Jack Bauer is, he probably could not infiltrate that iron clad containment around the NFRC! I mean after all they are 501C3!

Anway, this week is the Glass Expo Rocky Mountain and its expected to be a strong show. Like mentioned here previous the Colorado Glass Association does a nice job in organizing events and with good market like Denver, this one should be good.

The BEC show, coming round the corner in afew weeks should also be a show stopper!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

NFRC "Communique"

Last night NFRC Board members got a "communique" from Jim Benney- basically Jim defended their election process and had some other classic Potomac Communications talking points.

However, one passage caught my eye....

Fenestration Industry - Five (5) representatives who are employed or affiliated with Members involved in manufacturing fenestration products or components or with Members who are trade associations or other organizations formed to represent such manufacturers. Of those five positions, at least three (3) shall be filled by one individual from each of the following categories: (i) a primary glass manufacturer; (ii) a manufacturer that sells the majority of its fenestration products for use in non-residential construction; and (iii) a manufacturer that sells the majority of its fenestration products for use in residential construction.

Can someone explain to me how Marcia Falke, as a owner of an inspection agency, fits in ANY of the above. Does she manufacture? NO Does she represent? NO

Yet she probably pays her dues to that category... another classic NFRC maneuver to allow them to do whatever they please.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Sleeping with the enemy

This was posted a while back on another website, but it really did not get the play it deserved. I am amazed at the people who give this a "free pass"- Anyway this article was in China Daily and it talks about PPG helping the Chinese get into the float glass operations... not as a joint venture, but as consultants. I really don't need to say any more...

Sleeping with the enemy
DAI YAN2005-08-22 07:26

SHANGHAI: "We are businessmen," says James C. Diggs, senior vice president of PPG Industries, when asked how the company manages to co-operate with its Chinese rivals.
As a major flat glass producer in the United States, PPG was among three US companies to launch an anti-dumping lawsuit against several Chinese windshield manufacturers in 2001. PPG Canada Inc later initiated a similar case against Chinese imports.
The US Department of Commerce started imposing punitive tariffs of 3.71 per cent to 124.5 per cent on Chinese-made replacement windshields in 2002.
The trade battle became something of a legend in Chinese business circles after several domestic windshield producers pioneered an expensive fight against anti-dumping charges.
The results were not in PPG's favour and the Chinese companies emerged relatively unscathed. Xinyi Automotive Glass was slapped with low tariffs of 3.71 per cent, Shenzhen Benxun Automotive Glass Co Ltd was hit with 9.84 per cent in penalties and the largest company, Fuyao Group, received a punitive tariff rate of 11.8. Subsequent appeals brought Fuyao's tariffs down to zero.
"We were angry and upset. We were concerned about the implications," says Diggs. "Then we decided to have to find a way to address these concerns."
PPG now actively co-operates with many Chinese glass manufacturers, ranging from contractual arrangements to technology licencing.
"We give orders to Chinese companies and then we supply them in the United States or we license our technology to local companies to help them develop better glass," Diggs says.
Fuyao Group collaborated with its former foreign nemesis to launch three new float glass production lines in June, which is expected to boost the nation's lagging float glass production technology. Float glass is clear and flat, making it ideal as a major raw material for producing automobile glass.
Fuyao has spent 1.7 billion yuan (US$210 million) on the development of the enhanced production capability. The company has installed the world's most advanced float glass equipment and technology.
Cho Tak-wong, Fuyao's chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), says the joint effort with PPG, the world's industry leader, has created a firm technological base for Fuyao's future development.
"We are businessmen and we have the role to turn a good business," Diggs says.
"Now we've reached an appropriate middle ground, which is in both the interests of Chinese companies and PPG. That's the best way to do it."
The foreign manufacturer sold its flat glass manufacturing facilities in China to sharpen its competitive edge.
"In the flat glass business, we do not have the scale to compete effectively in China. We will focus on coating and fibre glass," Diggs says.
Besides flat glass, the Pennsylvania-based PPG is also a global leader in timber, automotive parts, aerospace technology, and industrial and packaging coatings. It is also a leading North American producer of architectural coatings. PPG also manufactures fabricated glass, continuous-strand fibreglass and chemicals. Sales hit US$9.5 billion in 2004.
China holds huge growth potential for PPG.
"We are excited about the market. It is big and we have to move aggressively to achieve the market position we have in other countries," Diggs says.
PPG started to invest in China in the late-1980s; its first project was supplying auto coatings for Beijing Jeep Company. Then it extended its scope, providing products such as industrial coatings, auto refinishing paint, packaging coatings, astronautics coatings and glass fibre products.
PPG has already established plants in Tianjin, Suzhou and Kushan, and business offices, labs and training departments in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Nanjing.
Its Asia-Pacific headquarters were moved from Malaysia to Shanghai last March, and it shifted its strategic emphasis from Chinese multinational auto manufacturers to both domestic and overseas auto makers.
"China plays a significant role in the overall growth of our company and we have targeted the country as a key region for investment and an important area for producing a range of products," he says.
Diggs says PPG is looking at expanding its coating and fibreglass business in China. The company and its joint venture partner, Nan Ya Plastics Group, started to build a second fibreglass manufacturing furnace at their Kunshan facility last year.
The additional furnace, with 38,000 metric tons of annual capacity, will serve the expanding electronics and thermoplastics industries. The new furnace is scheduled to begin operations in the first quarter of 2006.
The plant opened in September 2003 with one 30,000-metric-ton fibreglass furnace. The Kunshan plant can accommodate up to four furnaces, capable of collectively producing more than 120,000 metric tons.
This rapid plant expansion symbolizes PPG's ambition to be a leader in the Chinese market and meet the growing demand for fibreglass in Asia.
"We have already invested tens of millions of US dollars and we will invest even more in the second phase. It is our major commitment," Diggs says.
The company is also seeking to merge with domestic counterparts in order to expand more quickly. PPG faces several strong competitors in China, including BASF, Dupont, Kansai Paint and Nippon Paint.
"We are looking at the possibilities for mergers and acquisitions in China, with partners who can match our unique customer profile and share similar cultural values," Diggs says.
PPG recently expanded its Asia business by acquiring Crown Coating Industries of Singapore, a privately held manufacturer of specialty wood coatings. Incorporated in 1991, Crown Coating leads the Asian flooring industry in radiation-cured coatings. Crown operates facilities in Singapore and Shanghai.
"We have many choices, ranging from greenfield investments to mergers and acquisitions. We want to grow organically in China," Diggs says.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Another interesting sideline of the whole NFRC debacle is the manipulation of the energy codes by special interests. Amazing that it will come down to whomever has more money and time to affect the process.

One interesting example is that John Hogan, one of the founding fathers of the NFRC, is a chairman on a code committee with ASHRAE 90.1 He is personally pushing for changes to the U-Factor to basically encourage the outlawing of aluminum windows. You wonder why a guy like John Hogan, who works for the city of Seattle, is so determined to do such... Plus you wonder why a guy who works for the city of Seattle wields so much power... and how a guy who works for the city of Seattle can afford to be at all of these meetings all over the place... Including one in India... and it goes on. Hey the guy is dedicated to his cause, just wonder how the City of Seattle or its taxpayers could benefit from it...

Anyway, moral of the story is in the past special interests have had free reign- well now is the time to get more in tune on what could happen.

Also on the code horizon, a push for more visible light... While the "Green" folks like this and it has some merit- it does not work nationwide and building with high natural light in Vegas or Phoenix would suffer and thus any gains from an energy standpoint would be frittered away.

All I ask for is common sense....