Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy New Year but with a sad note

Hope everyone is well... tons to actually go over, but we'll save that for the 1st post of the new year... but a quick note... a sad time right now, as Randy Johnson, of Johnson Sales passed away earlier this week.

I will have more on this as well, since I don't have any of the details or info, but suffice to say, Randy was legend in Minnesota and will be sorely missed by all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Year in Review Part 2

Before I get to part 2 of the year in review…. Tuesday’s USGNN had a piece on a suit filed against four primary glass manufacturers. I read the entire piece and obviously I am not a lawyer, but my goodness if this is not an absolute ambulance chase, I do not what is. Trying to piggyback what happened in Europe with what’s happening here makes no sense and the examples did not scream out fixing to me. Hey our industry has its ills, and I know there’s plenty of people unhappy over this and that, but I gotta tell you, this effort does not pass muster and I really see it as frivolous. Plus how do you leave out ½ of the people that supply unless your just chasing what happened in Europe… the irony being the same people from Europe were listed in this suit, ignoring the guys that supply in the states only. Anyway, this screams of a Lionel Hutz… Simpsons episode. But that said I am not a lawyer, so who knows….


A quick congrats to Don Pyatt at Viracon for winning the USGlass award for CEO of the year. Don is a class act all the way around and very deserving of this award. USGlass and the voters really got it right on that pick.

Now on to Part 2 of the Year in Review on the Blog


-- ISO takes a jab at NFRC announces that they will have a program to rate systems and says it will take less then the 15 years NFRC has had. Comically we’ve never heard another word from ISO on this again.

-- NFRC has its PR agency, Potomac do one of the most comical case studies ever. Asking code officials about the proposed commercial program. In Potomac’s brilliance, 2 of the 3 people they interview come from towns that have one horse or less. Amazing what a 6 figure gig gets you these days eh?

-- Rumors start to heat up about the next big acquisition in our industry


-- All month the blog is all over the impending EFCO-Pella deal. Traffic is through the roof, and I hear from many EFCO employees that my blog keeps them updated on the process. By the 29th, the deal is done. By the way, still to this day, there are people who this site by typing “Efco-Pella Sale” or something like that. Its unreal.

-- The Say NO To China pin is released and sent throughout the country. It will debut at the glass show. Of course the glass show’s official magazine mocks the pin, but it was there in force.


-- The Industry Superstar list is released and good, deserving people get much due credit.

-- Glassbuild takes place, it’s a mixed review of goods and bads, but plenty of our friends from China on hand to try and take pictures and look to reverse engineer.

-- Guardian’s Showerguard is featured on the TV Show “Designing Spaces”- notable because its great positive pub for the industry and for a good product, as well as the great looking gal who hosted the show- she surely captured a ton of attention.


-- Alecia Ward, never a fan of our industry, loses her bid to be re-elected to the NFRC Board in a huge upset. Tony Rygg keeps his seat but only because “Unopposed” could only muster 25% of the vote.

-- The debut of the Advanced Building Coalition with a meeting in Chicago. A tremendous concept of bringing all of the parties on every side of the energy issue together for meaningful and constructive discussions. Brilliant.

-- Jack Deyo of Mid Ohio Tempering announces his retirement. A tough departure for the industry, but good for him since he gets away from all these adventures and enjoys life.

-- The Blog turns 2… and the terrible two’s begin… nah, it would be hard to be worse than 1 was in the first 2 years….


-- The NFRC has its meeting in Arizona and the CMA is now forever known…in my mind for sure.. as the “Titanic”… abandon ship… whooomp… whooomp.

-- I get stalked at the meeting, probably by Potomac, (trying to earn the obscene amount of money they get for whatever they do) but to no avail. Keep trying guys.

-- The NGA jumps into the fray of the NFRC issue, really taking NFRC to task… now the next question is… will they keep at it?

-- Ohio State beats Michigan again… damn… but at least my pizza will arrive warm from whichever Buckeye is working at Hungry Howies tonight.

-- We say goodbye to an industry pioneer in Don Vild


So that brings us to the present… I’ll probably have a few more posts until the end of the year, but I wanted to wish all that were reading now, a happy and healthy holiday season and 2008. The next year will be quite interesting… we’ll still be dealing with the communists, and the NFRC… but also watching the economy… will residential start to uptick? Will commercial falter? Who is next to be bought and sold? What else in the world can go “green” and basically anything that goes on in our industry we’ll cover here… so thank you again for reading and supporting!

The Video of the 2nd half of the year (and maybe the year really) was Miss Teen USA showing that beauty sometimes does not come with brains. I love when the question is being asked… as soon as the person says “map” Miss South Carolina’s face falls… and then she answers amazingly…. Seriously it is the most incredible 48 second trainwreck.. ever.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The quick weekend post

Quick one with a few great links...

China... remember them....

Click Here for a great article that my brother found this morning.... its called "Offshoring Santa" and it even features this great line:

Glass and electronics are two other industries that have moved overseas, shifting jobs from the U.S. to India and Asia.

See keep on supporting them... and say bye bye.... and yes this does include glaziers- I know its nuts, but there's already more than a handful of projects that have come from communist China already glazed, meaning direct sells and finding craftsman and not glaziers to set into place. Believe me if the mirror side of the business has taught us anything, going direct is always the goal.

Then this great one... people in China.. DON'T WANT TO BUY toys MADE THERE!!!!

Click Here!

Its a hoot... so we get stuck with leaded up Dora the Explorer and they are smart enough to avoid it!

Last- the best movie of the season and one of the best ever made was on last night... "Its a Wonderful Life"

That movie rules and I swear, Donna Reed is the just the ultimate woman... and yes my wife knows I feel that way.. I may be the only human in the world with a crush on a movie character from 1946.... you can keep Jessica Alba and the rest, I'm down with my babe from 46....

Amazingly I have the DVD thanks to my sister, but yet I chose to sit through all of the commercials and watch it on regular TV... and yes I have issues...

Have a good rest of the weekend... and for those of you getting crushed by this winter storm.. stay warm and safe!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Look back before looking forward

It’s time for part 1 of the Year in Review on the blog, but before we get to that, I think some focus has to be paid to what’s going on in the financial and banking markets. The looming threat of a recession is growing every day. In fact, the Wall Street Journal convened experts to discuss and predicts and its gory details are HERE. Anyway you slice it, 2008 will be a tougher year than 2007. I feel for the folks who may have went overboard equipment or space wise, because the pressure will be intense with a slower market. I just hope the commercial side does not hit the depths that the residential side is seeing… but I have a feeling… we will.

Further more the bigwigs at St. Gobain feel the same way. Click HERE. Though they do see 09 coming back. Best line in the article is:

"There can thus be acquisition opportunities to seize," he said.

Hmmmmmm…. I wonder who they could be talking about….. hmmmmmmm…

Anyway to take minds off what could be a cloudy future, let’s look back at the past.

2007, FTF Year in Review


-- AFG changes its name to AGC… which leads me to be very snarky about it. Has the name changed worked?

-- The last (for now) stand alone Glassweek is held in Sarasota- still an amazing event technically. Really the best around for that angle, but the days of socializing and doing deals are done.

-- I put out my top 10 issues to look for in 2007 and #1 was China…. And I have a feeling when the 2008 list comes out in a few weeks, they may be defending their title. Though our pals at NFRC could be challenging them.


-- I predict that the Colts will beat the Bears 30-16 and the final was 29-17… my last and only good prediction of the sporting year.

--An Architect is voted off the show “Survivor” and somewhere a manufacturer is getting ignored and abused because of it.

-- The International Builders Show is held in Orlando amid confidence that the housing situation will improve. As we know now, it did not… and this year’s show should be pretty interesting.


-- The best BEC to date is held in front of a packed Vegas house. Truly a tremendous event….

--The first annual From The Fabricator Power List came out… USGBC was top, followed by AIA, NFRC, GANA, IECC and AEC. I am sure they’ll be some movement and changes on this years edition.

--The Kansas City Star runs a feature on the new Arena in KC featuring all communist Chinese glass. And hopefully because of that they never get an NBA or NHL team. (Thankfully the Penguins stayed home!)


-- NGA announces at the upcoming GlassBuild show that they’ll be a pavilion for “Glass Containers” Sadly and comically, no bottles or jars showed up on the floor when the show was held a few months later. Darn… so much blog material ruined.

--ACH enters into a MOU to be sold to private investors. I would think that deal would be done soon but who knows.

-- Researchers call for “active” Hurricane season. If by “active” they meant, “How much exercise does Max get while watching football on Sundays” then they were right (answer is less than zero). Not a good prediction by the hurricane guys.


-- AIA show is held in San Antonio. Rumor has it some exhibitors are still trying to find their booths. The bizarre mazelike layout will be remembered for years…. Especially by the unlucky exhibitors stuck in the back rooms.

-- Cardinal sues Oldcastle over 6 different issues. And then nothing was ever heard again. Spooky.

-- USGNN first reports that Vistawall maybe sold to Oldcastle. A huge breaking news scoop.


-- NFRC sends one of their classic vague letters (never using any words associated with costs) to the AIA about the upcoming CMA system. Letter most likely has already been recycled and is now a part of a pizza box in Brooklyn.

-- NFRC also announces the proposed fee structure for the CMA… now known as the Titanic. Structure is panned by the industry and by the organizations who represent and protect the industry.

-- The world worst kept secret comes public as Oldcastle officially buys Vistawall.

So there you have it… Part 1 of the Year in Review. And to end it, the most popular video of the 1st half the year… the Beauty pageant contestant falling hard but getting right back up…

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

End of the Year

As we roll to the year end, everyone is hustling to get jobs wrapped up, holiday cards sent and basically preparing for 2008. Anyway speaking of next year, I am still curious to see if the commercial sides business holds up. Those ominous Architectural Billing Index totals will be put to the test and we’ll see how legit they really are. My personal take is that things will be a bit worse than predicted by the ABI, which would also mean that business will be at least level with 2007. I guess we will see. Also a programming note- here at the blog, I will have my “Year in Review” next week, that should be a fun run down memory lane. In addition, the 2nd annual “Power Poll” is coming too. So there’s some good stuff coming.


-- Ok the green effort has gone WAY TOO FAR. Now in Israel they are promoting a “Green” Hunnukah… which means lighting one less candle… see the article HERE… unreal… somewhere Judah Maccabee is really bummed out…

-- I saw where the scammers are at again… it really is amazing that people do these sorts of things. It really is a shame because like I have said before, business these days is hard enough without adding stuff like this. Stay on your toes folks. And by the way, as I have mentioned before, please be aware when you get a call from a magazine you have never heard of, offering to do a spotlight piece on you and your company, out of the blue. These magazines are basically built upon having you find advertisers for them for the “honor” of appearing. When you don’t come through with the goods, they leave you. So just stay away- it’s just not worth it.

-- Lots of articles recently on the on going corruption in China… most have been subscription only, but this one HERE is available for the masses and really interesting. Why oh why do people still fall for these guys? And yes I know it’s everywhere but can’t our industry be a little smarter?

-- Great website of the month? I have mentioned before… a long time ago… but is very good. You can hit that link or CLICK HERE. Anyway it’s a nice comprehensive listing of every player out there. Plus its simple to navigate and that is a major plus, because some sites have become maddening to get through.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Tough Loss for the Industry

Normally I start with the big story of the week and go from there, but this time it’s a different tact. I am truly saddened after hearing about the passing of Don Vild. The word “legend” is sometime tossed loosely- heck I use it all the time on the guys from Walker Glass, but in reality, a true legend was a guy like Don. He knew glass and its usage like no one else and handled himself with class every time. Last year when I was rolling along here on the blog and with my columns, I got a nice note from Don, via “Snail mail” telling me to keep it up (on the NFRC adventure) and giving me some insights I had never thought of. I was honored that he read my stuff and took the time. He will be missed and today our industry is surely weaker without his presence. My condolences to his family and in case you missed it, info on his memorial can be found HERE.


-- The stunning price fixing case from the European Commission was released today. Big dollars that’s for sure. But the shock was the fact Guardian was in the ruling. As of last Friday Forbes reported that the sanctions were coming and that the spotlight was on St Gobain, Asahi and NSG. No mention of Guardian in the report at all. Then today, the ruling comes out and Guardian gets the worst of it. I’ll be real curious to see how this transpires because I can’t imagine them taking this sitting down. Just curious, what happens to that fine money? Does it get sent back to customers? Does it go to the EU? Who gets what?

-- Was sent a disgusting item on our “friends” from communist China during the holiday break. If you want the gory details, CLICK HERE, but in short its about old condoms and hair bands… not good reading around meals. Thanks to Bob for the lead and for always reading.

-- Speaking of China… I was asked how come I don’t profile all of the projects that have issues when they use communist Chinese material. Well I am not a journalist, and when “real” journalists have jumped on this, people who had LEGITIMATE and MAJOR issues with Chinese materials, they found no one who would speak on the record about their experiences. Why? Because they are embarrassed… simple. Basically there are issues out there but unless someone wants to fall on the sword, it’ll be a while before someone comes out and admits they fell for the rue. Plus I can’t wait til there are issues on some of these high profile Chinese jobs and watch some of those people squirm- that will be fun.

-- Is it me or has LEED taken over the Earth? I still worry that products are being used for “point” purpose (not so much glass & alum though) and not for overall performance or need. Still that trend amazes me more and more every day.

-- Your reminder on the BEC meeting- Las Vegas- February. Seriously the place to be. Spots are filling up nicely, so you probably want to jump in- more so get your flight arrangements since pricing seemed pretty decent when I booked mine. By the way, one of the speakers at BEC, Rick Kalson, has really become a solid source legally for our industry and now is penning some articles for USGlass. His presentations are worth the trip alone.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Official Thanksgiving Post

Since it is Thanksgiving- why not have a post to list all I am “thankful” for. Somehow I have a feeling that some of the things I am thankful for won’t be greatly appreciated by all. But here goes…

-- I am thankful for the incredible technology that continues to come out in and around our industry. Whether it’s the unbelievable Low E’s, the new cutting edge spacers or state of the art decorative glass options, (to name just 3) our industry continues to pound out new and better materials. Yes, amazingly, despite what some may think we are a progressive industry.

-- I am thankful for any company that does not cooperate with the Communist Chinese. So that would mean not on that list is PPG since they are continually sleeping with the enemy (Classic Article HERE) and now are working with the Jing Jing Group. Seriously. And the best part, on their website, translated into English (CLICK HERE) is this amazing line:

Our company can manufacture temperable and high-grade coated glass with the introduction of a set of technology and equipments from international glass tycoon- PPG in US. and the adoption of matured technical operation standard.

Great. Love that the "international glass tycoon" is so helpful. So reading that makes me want to truly thank the companies that DON’T give the technology and ability to a group of people who’s only mission is to destroy us.

-- I am thankful for Pella… because the purchase of EFCO did wonders for my traffic here and gave me tons of stuff to talk about.

-- I am thankful for the fact blogs have been around now 10 years. This article (CLICK HERE) talks about the history. I am honored I was first to the party on the glass and aluminum side.

-- I am thankful that I am not alone in my frustrations with the NFRC. It would be one thing to be a raving lunatic (and on the issue of NFRC, I am pretty much there.) and be alone. It’s another to know that people are behind you (and not stalking you like NFRC did to me in Phoenix) all the way. The Titanic… errrrrr CMA program may not be abandoned like the NGA has requested, but it is sinking, and no matter what happens, the efforts of those folks on the ground have made a huge huge difference. Believe me, whatever comes out of this program will be a BILLION times better than what would’ve come out if people like Greg Carney, Marg Webb and Tom Culp were not looking out for your interests.

-- I am thankful for those 3 people above- their knowledge, combined with their passion to truly defend their memberships is appreciated. If you are a member of GANA, IGMA or AEC, you should be very pleased that your organization works for you… and works hard. Plus I drive each them nuts I am sure, and they all can still somewhat stomach me.

-- I am thankful for USGlass and the fine folks there. They work hard and every other month must make one of my 700 word disasters into something readable!

-- I am thankful for USGNN, without the daily e-mail blast of news, we’d be in an info vacuum. That e-mail truly fills a need- nicely.

-- I am thankful for another good year- 2007- for our industry. Is it too much to ask for one in 08? Yep, if you follow this blog, you know I have worries on that, but maybe we can stave off the downslide.

-- I am thankful that I am not in the residential window business right now. I feel for those folks, holy moses, it is terrible there. Hopefully it will start turning around sooner than later.

-- I am thankful for Green and its offshoots. If done correctly, it truly is a GREAT thing for our world. Let’s keep the focus on the development of products and components and not on ways to make money by certifying and testing and all will be well. Bottom line is Green is good, so let’s keep it going.

-- I am thankful that Michigan lets Ohio State win every year, otherwise my pizza would be delivered late and cold by various, upset OSU grads. Yep low blow. Congrats to Ohio State… still can not believe Michigan lost again….

-- I am thankful for the many people who read this blog and REALLY thankful for those who take the time to write and call. It has been great therapy for me to do this and I have enjoyed the fact so many people are following along. I am continually stunned when I get my traffic reports, so thank you or thanks to my mom, who must be hitting “refresh” on her browser a couple of thousand times to pump up my numbers….

So there you have it… kinda like a year worth of ranting wrapped in one post… anyway, if you have your family and you have your health, you have a TON to be thankful for. Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Saturday Update

A few quick ones for a Saturday…

-- Great comment on the last post about the new window cleaning technology. I had studied this a while back and really liked but did not break it out here on the blog because we had so many other issues going- both outside the window cleaning issue and within. In any case, check out this system CLICK HERE. I had a few questions afterward, but all in all its good to see an effort to upgrade not only the technology but keeping the “green” theme in mind. And I know of at least 2 major window cleaner advocates that I am sure have studied this machine intently, so curious to see what that reaction will be.

-- On the NFRC beat, it’s been pretty wild. A lot of E-mail correspondence both pro and con on my efforts and stand. For example on the negative side, one person asked me if I cared that I come off as the town “idiot” because of my position. Basically they went on to say I was doing a dis-service to the industry and I was an embarrassment and so on. My comments back were pretty simple- I may be the one doing a lot of the talking but I am not alone. I may be over the top with my emotions, but believe me I have company on the side of this effort is misguided. And as for an embarrassment, I think creating a useless, unworkable program that has had 5+ years of debate (because its useless and unworkable among many other warts)- well that’s as embarrassing as you can get don’t ya think? Keep it coming folks.

-- Today is the annual and huge Ohio State-Michigan college football game. If you have not see the HBO special on this rivalry, you need to find it and see it. It is 60 minutes of fascinating TV- and even if you are not a fan of either school (and I have talked to a few people who have seen who are not) it is still worth it- just a fantastic documentary.

-- Anyway, I have friends and business associates on both sides of this issue. Anyone who knows me knows that Ihateohiostate. All one word. See I went to Ohio’s first and real university… Ohio University. Add in moving to the great state of Michigan in 1997 and that’s a recipe for Buckeye dislike. Anyway, two of my friends have asked me to facilitate a bet between them on this annual game, so in this spot on Weds during my regularly scheduled post, either the Ohio State fan (DFW) or the Michigan fan (Jon Johnson) will get their say….

-- Last, at the end of that great documentary, they were sharing jokes about the schools… my 2 favorites (and equal time applies)

Q- How do you make Michigan Cookies

A- Put them in a bowl and beat for 3 hours


Q- How do you get the Ohio State grad off of your porch

A- Pay him for the pizza

(and that second one I have heard for many schools…. But I must say without Ohio State degrees the fast food industry would suffer mightily! Ha ha)

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Green is for real.. not that you didn't know it....

As followers of this blog know, I am a fan of things “green” and have brought the different “green” angles to light as they have come up. Well without question, last week, the whole “green” movement went speeding into the mainstream. This no longer is a movement promoted by hippies and geeks… it is EVERYWHERE. Case in point, NBC dedicated an entire week to it. Promoted being “green” during all of their programming and even had special episodes of shows like ER and Las Vegas with major “green” themes running through them. By doing that, NBC easily raised awareness of this effort incredibly. Between changing their logo for the week to an all green hue, to having public service announcements in virtually every show, to even trying to conserve energy during their football pre game show, NBC made an effort. Now granted, they’ll now cut down a huge tree to use for thousands of electric sapping Christmas lights, but at least last week they got it. What does this mean for us? More LEED and GBI submittals, more effort to get products that both meet these standards AND (most importantly) provide energy efficiency on to jobs. There is no doubt that we are in the early days of a pretty interesting movement. Now maybe I can convince the wife to get the waterless urinal….


-- Two views on the economy… the New York Times, who have been on both sides, here says “its not as bad as you think”- (CLICK HERE)

But the guy who predicted the Tech Bubble burst among other dead on predictions says “Its gonna be ugly… for a while…” (CLICK HERE)

I want to be an optimist… I really do… but this economy does scare the you know what out of me! By the way I think the 2nd article (bad news) is actually the more convincing piece.

-- Best wishes for a quick recovery to Julie Ruth. Julie fell ill a week or so ago and is off the job. If you do not know her, Julie is one of the industry’s most respected code consultants currently working with AAMA. She also writes a monthly piece in one of the trades. In any case, thoughts and prayers with Julie and her family. Get well soon!

-- I have followed the EE Global Forum that Megan Headley has headlined in the last two days of USGNN. Today’s post featured Chris Mathis. Chris is one of the folks that really wanted the Titanic… errrr the CMA program from NFRC. (you know to police us unsophisticated folk) Anyway, his take in the article today was interesting as he talked about how there is a “resistance to change” and so on. NO CHRIS… there is a resistance to people like you and groups like the NFRC who want to profit unduly on the backs of legitmate businesses. See quite simply, there's not many sane people in this world who would not want to push value added energy efficient products, but not be FORCED into it and have to follow an insane, complex and expensive plan to do so. That’s why there’s resistance. It's like I was told by the DOE once.. "you guys don't like making Low E because it's too hard" That is/was such a crock it hurts. Commercial people want to sell the good stuff, if they don't they're crazy. So no resistance here my man...

-- And as for the code guys, no doubt enforcement is the key, but so is education. But unfortunately that gets left to the side because of the agenda of others and that is too bad. You know like the NFRC giving “someone” 60K to do the education when they are a board member of yours… and he’s educating who on what? (the wrong people on a program years away from existing) Then again the NFRC educating a code official on a commercial product would be a disaster.. and hilarious since they'd have to actually learn the commercial business....(Sorry guys, much different than res windows!) By the way, the one thing Chris said and I agree with, and many people miss, is what do we do about the millions of sq ft of existing properties that have the worst possible building products in them? Now THAT is a huge and legit problem. I wish he’d spend his ample time on that one, instead of trying to develop police actions on legit professional industries.

-- NFRC overall… nah I leave it at the above.. I am still OD’ing on them right now. Though my traffic, e mail and phone calls would disagree.

-- Football pick- a “push” last week with the Dolphins. This week… take the up and down Lions to bounce back at home vs the Giants.

Video of the week, is a quick football flavor. When Indianapolis missed a field goal at the end of the game last week… listen to the hometown call (over the video) I just love the play by play guys reaction…. And I too thought it was good- so can’t blame him.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Saturday Sleepless Post

Could not sleep last night… so I had to make notes….and here goes…

First, if you missed it, on one of the previous posts, someone either from NFRC staff or someone else involved with the process decided to tail me and try and figure out what I was doing at the meeting this past week. It was an act of pure desperation from an organization trying to push a program that will be DOA. It was a pathetic attempt at trying to quiet a critic who basically has this group pegged. Last, it was a classic NFRC move, half truths and diversionary.

The questions was where was I…. well on Monday afternoon, when I was criticized for not being there, I was actually in a pretty good meeting from the Alliance to Save Energy. On Tuesday I attended what needed to be attended that affects our industry or my company. Just because some people view this as a few trip on their company or non profit, I do not. When I am not in there, I actually work. And my schedule Wednesday, I admitted in the post was disappointing because my schedule forced me to leave.

As for my not going to the mic etc… two angles there… one I have done the mic thing on several past occasions- including meetings like the 10/05 Atlanta task group where I think I lived there. But more importantly, my thoughts and views get represented by the incredible industry groups that my company is a member. GANA, AEC, IGMA…. The reason I am a member of those groups is they are top notch professional organizations and they are PROTECTING my (and their industry’s) interests. And they can keep their emotions in check too… which I would have trouble with.

Last on this, since my anonymous poster was so concerned with my appearance… tell me… where was Gary Curtis- after all he was one of the people behind the Titanic, or Alecia Ward, or Chris Mathis, or Frank Fisher- I think Frank was there but he never said a peep… Tell us how many times the test labs like QTI came to the mic because they saw a chance they’d lose work? C’mon break it all down for us!!

I’ve spent enough on this already… and again I think it’s great (but ultimately pretty pathetic) that someone is so concerned with me that they’d do this…. Desperate people attempting to save a failure of a program…

Speaking of failures and programs….

Unfortunately the NGA was unable to attend the meeting but they did send a pretty strongly written letter. You can view the whole text HERE. But this paragraph was pretty cool:

The National Glass Association advises the National Fenestration Rating Council Board to abandon its efforts to create and enact an NFRC Commercial Fenestration Site-Built Program with Computer Modeling Approach, Certification & Labeling Program with Related Fee Structure. Should the NFRC attempt to place such a system into building codes and specifications, the NGA will oppose those efforts on behalf of the American fenestration industry and the American public.

Yep the Titanic is taking on water… for years the groups mentioned above (GANA, AEC, IGMA and AAMA) have tried to work within NFRC to create a workable solution but because NFRC is absolutely unwilling to understand the commercial industry (because the profit of so many members would be affected) I think abandonment is the way to go…. Do it now guys before you ruin all you have built up... the Golden Goose is gonna be on life support if you're not careful....

There is a reason this has been going on 5 years+…. IT MAKES NO SENSE- but NFRC is too arrogant to cut their losses and concentrate on what they do well. Oh well, we’ll keep banging our heads against the wall….

More on this later in the week…. But it’s Saturday and quite frankly, I am NFRC’d out….

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The normal weekly post

If you are coming here direct from the USGNN link, and have not been here all week, please scroll below as I have 3 days of NFRC coverage covered. Then again if the initials NFRC make you break out into a cold sweat, feel free to skip it… but I must say its compelling stuff and it brought in more reaction than I have gotten in a long time on the subject.


NFRC did wrap up today, but I was not there and there’s been no reports yet, so until that happens no comments… I do have a few e-mails to share on this subject including one that absolutely blasts me, and will do that after the press stories come out.

Elsewhere this week…

-- GreenBuild is going on in Chicago and right now everyone is glowing over it. While I am thrilled that the focus on “green” is growing. My fear is that too many times projects are being designed with only the goal of being “green” and not what the products can/will do. And sometimes the effects of that type of planning could cause monumental problems. Plus I believe that the true experts in the field of energy efficiency are not real thrilled with LEED as an example because that exact fact. When projects are built on the premise of “use whatever products get us credit” instead of “use whatever products truly work and save energy” you have problems. This is truly something to watch as more and more buildings go “green”….

-- Just curious which name came first- GreenBuild or GlassBuild?

-- The “exploding” glass table adventures are back in the news again. Earlier this year it was in DC, now it’s in Texas… and same scenarios… and same culprit… our friends in Communist China. I have been off the China beat for a few weeks while the NFRC Titanic discussions overtook the blog, but it’s still an issue- and still should be a major concern. Plus the Communist government knows that they have issues all over because they are “cracking down” on poor quality… yep, buyer beware…

-- Thanks to all who commented on the websites I featured here the last few weeks, which makes me think I should look into making it a monthly feature. So I am wide open- if there’s an industry site that you think deserves some props on the most read industry blog, drop me a note.

-- I got a note from a person who asked what the big deal about BEC is. Plain and simple it’s the ultimate industry event. It is the only event where you get all facets of the industry in one place for two days. Plus good speakers, affordable location and great networking make it a serious winner. I can tell you that the trip would be worth it to see Shep Hyken and Mike Eruzione alone…

-- On the football side, my Minnesota pick turned out nicely, and while New England won, they barely missed the cover… this week, I am taking Miami to break into the win column vs Buffalo… and at worse cover…

The video of the week is a nasty tease… it’s the preview for the new season of 24… season looks awesome! But note that unless the writers strike ends, 24 will be postponed… and unless this strike ends, General Hospital will go into re-runs and my wife into cardiac arrest….

(Note it starts after the commercial)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NFRC Day 3 update

Yes this is quick, as I know most people have not even had the chance to read the Day 2 piece yet... so please go ahead and scroll below.

Why do I have time for this? Well in what I am told was an unusual situation, the morning meeting today ended at 10:42... and according to bi-laws could not start the next meeting until 1:30... So may as well strike while the iron is hot...

((I swear what a gig- we met for a whole 2:42- and then got a 3:30 break.... once again I am in the wrong business- but again I am told this is the exception not the rule))

Today it was VERY clear the division and opinions on this whole issue. The debate that it raged around was not a crucial piece but the sides that were taken basically PROVES my point that the this whole debacle comes down to money.

Without getting technical the situation was surrounding a "Default" table from NFRC on the frame groups.

The manufacturers and trades all wanted to keep the defaults in the NFRC frame process because it does allow the manufacturers to not have test their products if they do not want to.

The test labs obviously want EVERYTHING tested, so they along with Cardinal Glass (who I wonder, out loud, do they sell glass as a priority or are they just a test lab/legislation party that happens in passing to sell glass) pushed to have the defaults eliminated.

So the room voted and the manufacturers outnumbered the labs 32-16. But before the debate was done, it was announced that this issue should be sent up to the board for their "direction"

That brought an intense response from Marc LaFrance of DOE, who noted this is insane, that there is no reason for the default to be removed, and after discussing this for 2 years, we need to move on.

Greg Carney followed with a note, that once again it looks like it does not matter that the group has voted a certain way because the Board will continue to make its own calls.

Anyway, after a short break, it was announced that the Board is "willing" to consider the defaults, so for now.. that's still alive. But will it last?

My answer: No. Why- because looking around the room, many of the 16 votes against the default were Board members... but with some of the changes on the board, there is hope, but the big players on the board like Marcia Falke and Tony Rygg voted against- so something tells me this too... like Tom Culp's extremely reasonable proposal from last meeting (that was voted through overwhelmingly) will get shot down.

The comical part was that a comment was made that the NFRC is "membership driven" but counts on the board to make sure they stay on message. That basically does not mesh from everything we have told over the years.

NFRC is a 501c3 and their responsibility is to the public, not the members. Groups like GANA have to listen to the members, NFRC does not. So for NFRC to all of a sudden announce its a "membership driven" group is pure folly.

Last there is one other thing at play here. If the commercial folks are successful in limiting or reducing the unnecessary testing, steps and complexity, that will trickle over to the residential side.. and golden gooses will be dying all over the world.

Thanks again to everyone who has read and chimed in- I appreciate that. And I must apologize, because unfortunately I will not be here tomorrow for the juiciest part of the meeting, which will be the Public Board meeting. But next time I'll re-arrange and be there and I am hopeful that USGNN will have an indepth piece that will allow me to make comment.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

NFRC Day 2

Day 2… I gotta say this is the first time I am writing Blog posts and then seeing all the people that read them in the same room… kinda special in a way…

Like yesterday, a compliment to start off.. you know for all of the hammering I do at NFRC, I have to give them credit that they don’t strangle me on sight. Actually the opposite, the staff at NFRC have been nothing but nice and respectful. Hopefully they realize that my approach is nothing personal on their efforts but on a program that has major issues. Also the efforts being made by a few software folks have been legitimate for sure. I have gotten e-mails today on the CMA software and other softwares so obviously I appreciate that- because there's effort there to educate and inform.

Ok now back at it…

-- If you did not see it, there was a great comment left after the Day 1 post. Please scroll down and check that out after you read this.

-- I did get a lot of feedback, more than I expected honestly, so it’s good that people are following along via this forum. Thank you to all who chimed in. Many asked some interesting questions, which I will address both below and in future posts.

-- The big items from today were presentations by Potomac Communications (NFRC’s well paid PR firm) and some presentations by both the US DOE and their Canadian equal.

-- In the Potomac presentation it hit me again that for the residential market, NFRC does play an important role… all the more reason they are so miscast in the commercial world. They are good at what they do for the homeowner, they have it down to a science. But it still has not sunk in that COMMERCIAL is DIFFERENT than RESIDENTIAL. ((I am thinking bold and all caps may work to drive that home))

-- It’s a shame because for the NFRC the golden goose is residential and what could kill that golden goose is the SS Titanic itself… the CMA…

-- All in all Potomac’s piece was a self congratulatory fluff piece. They talked about all of the places that NFRC appeared (though they never did mention blogs… darn) and how they even are showing up on TV! So with so much work to be done here, this was a huge waste of people’s time. So great work guys, you rep a group that has a monopoly- man that has to be a bear to represent someone who has no competition…. If you pick up the IRS, you'll have the only 2 entities around that have such advantages.... I am simply in the wrong business…

Anyway on to the important stuff…

-- The DOE piece was mostly on the forthcoming updates to Energy Star on the residential side. It’s a very interesting process and one that will be very closely watched that’s for sure.
In the Q&A after that piece, Tom Culp of AEC asked about Energy Star for commercial since there’s confusion when it relates to high rise apartments etc. The DOE responded that “there is no such animal as Energy Star for commercial” and that they are looking at some commercial programs that could work but its not that simple, there’s a lot involved.

HALLELUJAH! Amen brother. Wow.

Then in his presentation the Canadian counterpart to DOE also backed up that point!


He noted that they have to be careful in dealing with commercial because there’s so much out there.

So there you go… the US DOE and the Canadian equivalent in the time span of approximately 30 minutes were able to back up what so many in our industry have been saying all along…


Wow that felt good. Just wish that message could sink in… but it doesn’t. Heck you have people in the room who believe that Vinyl should be used in skyscrapers, so for them this went in one ear…..

All right on to some questions from the e-mails-

You mention that 2 suppliers see NFRC Certification as a profit center, who are they?

You know I need to amend that- at least 1 is, 1 other lower level aluminum supplier wants NFRC badly because they believe it will legitimatize their product line. And people who are in the know, understand who these players are. The bottom line is there are people who see this as a service that they’ll charge and pass on.

There is no way they can be so clueless on the non res side. No way.

The people making the decisions and controlling the situation are. They ignore and have ignored so many items and angles- from AIA Boiler plate agreements to the usefulness of AAMA 507 to the tried and true legal process, they just do not want to hear about it. Their attitude is: We created a great system for residential dammit- and we’ll get one that works for commercial and we don’t care what has to happen to get there!

I am in California, and I can tell you the backlog will be insane. Do they realize this? Do they care?

I honestly think that some do care. I really do. But at the end of the day, the majority of the decision makers care more about Independence and Integrity than efficiency…. Oh wait, that’s almost an exact quote from NFRC Chair Marcia Falke…. Understand that the labs and IA’s do not care that there is or could be massive backlogs, as long as they protect their piece of the pie, they are dandy. Hey you can be independent and have integrity with a proposal like the one OVERWHELMINGLY approved at the last meeting (which was allowing manufacturers the ability to earn trust) but that situation would cut the profit out of the people who are in business solely to make money off of the programs they create.

These are people trying to make a living just like you. You really need to get off of your high horse and be real.

I don’t have a high horse and with as much weight as I have gained (even Bipin Shah commented that he did not recognize me because of my weight and sadly he’s right) I’d need a Clydesdale. And as for making a living? My job… is to sell glass and aluminum. The job of the labs and others is to inspect, validate etc. However they are the ones pushing to make rules that FORCE business their way (via the monopoly that is NFRC) and that’s where we differ. You may not agree with that, but at the end of the day, it is what it is.

(from same e-mail as the question right above) I just don’t see why you are so dead against a program that will reduce our energy consumption. Whether you like it or not, that’s where the world is going!

I am not against any program that reduces energy consumption. Heck I want it as bad as anyone. So does my company, so does GANA, IGMA, AEC and virtually everyone else. Plus I do see value in the software that is being done and have always said a way to rate whole systems is crucial. What I am against, and always have been against, is the money. Plain and simple. There is no excuse that a certification program in a professional industry should have so many steps and so much complexity- which equals- MONEY. I am against a group that has little to no understanding of an industry being the monopoly that could rule it. I am against people who say that the manufacturers are rich enough that we can foot the bill for this and I am against this underlying tone that we’re not smart enough people to be able to provide specified products on jobs with out tons of check and balances. And I am against a lot of other stuff, but I’ll stop there.

I want to promote energy efficient products. I want to develop them. I love products from Sage, Technoform, and Azon (as examples) that are cutting edge and great products to help in this process. But I fear that because we have to waste time, energy and resources in order to protect some notion of “independence” these advances will be lost in the shuffle.

All right, that’s the day- so much more out there but I’ll save for another time, like tomorrow.

Monday, November 05, 2007

NFRC Meeting Day 1

Well its day 1 of the NFRC meetings in Arizona… and it has surely been an interesting start…. This is a long post, and several of my regulars will prefer to skip it… but its entertaining this NFRC stuff, so give it a shot…

-- First off I have to get a compliment out… the set up of the meeting and meeting room itself is the best I have ever been in- every chair in the room is the “nice office” chair variety and not the stiff, miserable banquet chair… A major plus.

Anyway on to the meeting and my thoughts…

-- Its funny the word “simple” gets thrown around a lot in the meetings, but really nothing here is or will be…

-- Once again it’s amazing that this group is creating a certification for the commercial industry with very little to no commercial folks and even less understanding. These folks understand residential, they just can’t/won’t grasp commercial.

-- Remember NFRC was launched to protect people on the residential side.

-- Marcie Falke, Chair of NFRC had a small speech before lunch where she noted that the plan to have the manufacturer to have all 100% of their calcs reviewed would stand for the time being. This despite the fact it makes no real logical sense except to protect the money making side of the NFRC.

Why I can say that? Because a compromise that allowed manufacturers to earn trust to be able to do this without un-necessary oversight was presented and has the support of membership, yet the Board denies its need because:

They just don’t have enough info yet, so as Marcia stated:

“I’d take independence and integrity over efficiency.”

And that also means that all the IA’s etc take the profits too…

-- Independence is the big new term for them because that’s what separates them from AAMA… they are going to bang the word “Independence” so many times, you’re gonna think its 1776 all over again… See because without “Independence” you can not be trusted… its amazing to me that people really fall for this stuff… in a professional industry?

-- And by the way, I assume that Labs/IA/ACE’s etc are perfect all the time- you mean they can be trusted implicitly but manufacturers can’t? There’s never been a dirty one huh? But it doesn’t matter because the key is Independence!

-- See that’s my issue- NFRC is acting like its protecting the homeowner here… they are not- these are professionals dealing with professionals every step of the way. Assuming that manufacturers are incapable of running legitimate numbers is wrong. Not understanding how projects get specified (and seriously most do not, including many of the software people) not understanding the role of the curtainwall consultant or the fact that AAMA 507 has been accepted and used without issue for years….

Ah but AAMA is not independent… so it can’t be trusted!!! Damn thieves!

Marcia did state she wants this program to be “easy and user friendly” but she never talked about that little thing called…. “cost” More on that below…

-- Then Jim Benney was supposed to show the CMA software to the group… he noted that it’s a “tool” and great for “bidding”- funny that’s how we felt this program could be all along, without the expensive stuff like the labels, certifications, validations, un-needed testing and inspection… funny he left those last items out.

Anyway, as we waited, Jim announced he was not going to show the CMA software, even though everyone expected it… I asked him afterwards why and he said it was because he did not feel the majority of the audience would be into it… my god the majority of the audience wouldn’t know a piece of SN 68 if it hit them in the head- you’re caring now that the commercial issue is not in their interest grasp?

So Jim announced its available for 30 days test periods… for which I did ask for… and so did GANA….

-- So when Jim finished, Marcia had one more note.
She said that the board would meet tonight, but not “officially” to discuss the CMA program… for which I think I will now refer to as the “SS Titanic” because this ship is going down… Anyway, when Greg “LT” Carney asked if the meeting was open to the public, Marcia replied that unfortunately in this day and age everything you say is out there and will be on the internet tomorrow….

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia…. C’mon I am better than that, it’s on the internet today!!

Anyway, its funny the NFRC now blaming technology on its pathetic lack of transparency. That’s a new one… and the answer was an obvious No… but you had to ask… but they could say that 2 years ago they'd never even announce a secret board meeting, so small steps...

-- Finally for today, Greg Carney, who without Marg Webb of IGMA here (could not attend- but is dearly missed) had to carry the industry burden by making an impassioned plea to Marcia, the board and everyone in the audience.

Greg explained that if the Benefit of the SS Titanic (that’s me, he called it the CMA) did not outweigh the costs, it would not work. He pressed that simplification should rule over complexity, because complexity and layers (staples of NFRC) add costs.

Greg noted that the words “cost effective” were not uttered and that to him is a big key. So plain and simple… the Benefit must be greater than the Cost to equal success.

So what reply did Greg get after that plea….

Wait for it…

Here it comes…

Um… really nothing… a shaken head and a thank you… no reply.. no rebuttal, no push back… basically it was like they had their Ipods on and when they saw Greg’s lips stop, they figured he was done… his plea fell on basically deaf ears…

-- So it goes… I was kicking myself when I did not go to the mic… but after watching Greg lay it out and get no response whatsoever, it would not have mattered.

Here’s the bottom line of day 1…

* The Board and a majority of this group still does not get the commercial industry.

* The software did not make its debut in front of an audience for whatever reason.

* The Internet causes major transparency issues.. that and an insane blogger that stalks NFRC

* The SS Titanic is moving full speed ahead and the iceberg is looming.

The new logo... like it? And something tells me end of day, this Titanic will end up costing the same as the movie did....

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Horrors on the Residential Side

How bad is the residential world right now? Its funny in January, I was at the Builders Show and everyone was playing off this fake confidence that things are fine and so on. Now 11 months later, the truth is that it’s an absolute mess. MI Window announced its closing its Georgia facility hot off the news that PGT is “restructuring” its work force. And more dominos will fall. Heck why do you think Pella was so happy to get EFCO, because their core business was going to be affected, and as of now, that is surely the case. I guess we all have to hold on and roll with this, but judging from the statistics that keep coming out, this is not going to be a short run. Worst part? If cycles hold true, commercial always follows residential in the cycle, so will it be a matter of time before that happens?


-- Starting Monday is the NFRC meetings and I will be there. Should be interesting, as the heat is coming from every direction on the CMA program and its trappings. Jim Benney by the way has an article coming out in one of the trades where once again he (or whomever writes their happy fluffy stuff) talks about the need for NFRC. This time they focus on “Positioning your business for the future” because you’ll need NFRC because of all of the energy related pushes. So that may be the new approach, instead of taking the past inconsistent comments like “congress mandated it” or “it’s in the codes,” now, at least in this article, NFRC is appealing to the business sense. What they fail to mention is they want to keep their monopoly and have yet to show they want to produce a program that will work and be beneficial for all stakeholders. And folks I can not stress how hard your trade organizations IGMA, GANA, AEC and AAMA are working to protect your interests here. Anyway, I really believe now that the NFRC has to be realizing that this CMA issue could drag them into a place that they really don’t want to go… but if they do, I am excited for the ride….

-- Last week I propped the Guardian website and I know several people went right from here to there. Well this week I have to engage in some semi self promotion. And believe me I never do this; you can look through two years of posts for proof, but for this I have to because quite frankly I am proud of the effort and outcome. Earlier this week, the new Arch Deco Glass website launched. (Click Here). It’s really a spectacular site and many people led by Scott Cook and the designers at JAMAR Park and Fargo Design did a super job.

-- Our friends at Sage got plenty of good press this week… I am happy for them, good people and a great product- truly one that makes sense in an energy conscience world.

-- By the way is it just me or is every architect trying to draw glass bigger and bigger and bigger… what an amazing and scary trend… I love the look, but all of the other angles about it (handling, distortion etc) make it less appetizing. If anything it does force the fabricator to be better.

-- I think I should stop picking Football games…. Especially since I am in true “Mush” mode losing 2 of my last 3… but we’ll get back on the winning track this week with the Vikings +7 at home… and a bonus pick, in the “Game of the Century” I’m taking New England to win and cover… just too good of a team.

-- Last, is it Thanksgiving yet? That is one holiday that can not get here soon enough in certain regions… I wrote about the miserable duo of months we are in a few weeks ago and even one customer who reads this blog, fell right into the trap- he was being pressured by his GC which in turn forced him to pressure us… he even noted to me that it was comical that right after I mentioned these happenings he was involved… well thankfully all I think turned out well.. thanks for reading Jeff and making my blog predictions happen….

Video of the week is a cheerleader making the dire mistake of trying to fix a sign before a team full of players run through it…. Brutal…

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Saturday with Green Issues and NFRC comments

A few loose ends to cover….

-- Green building as great as everyone thinks? According to this article (CLICK HERE) the answer is a resounding NO. Its an interesting piece and it shows that some people are so determined to be in the “in crowd” by building green that they don’t understand what they get… and then others expect miraculous transformations from their new facilities because of all of the good green products. Regardless I think that was the first article that I have read that brought up the pratfalls of going green….

-- Wall Street Journal had one of those sobering pieces on the awful home market… if you missed it… CLICK HERE…. I am feeling sorry for the residential side more and more because its ugly and we’re still a while a way from the uptick….

-- No way could I let the recent NFRC election results go without a comment. I wrote on this on the blog back in September:

In addition a vote for Steven Rosenstock of the Edison Electric Institute would be good too since a win for him would remove Alecia Ward from the Board as she has never been, in my opinion, fair or open to anyone or anything from our industry. Sadly, the chances of her losing are 10,000-1, but a guy can dream right?

Well folks I am also the Mush of picking NFRC races (as well as football) as Rosenstock won in what I would call an Appalachian State like upset. Unreal. Now as I was reminded a few times yesterday, there’s no guarantee that Mr Rosenstock will be any more open to our industry than Ms Ward, but we can hope. And as for Alecia Ward, I can guarantee you that she’ll be back… the NFRC will find a place for her, and as soon as something opens again, it’ll be a mortal lock that she’ll be back on board.

-- Meanwhile the NFRC board did get a major upgrade with Steve Farrar from Guardian, as his level of professionalism and expertise will surely help bring our industry concerns at least to the table. As for the other new members... hopefully Joe Hayden of Pella will keep an eye open to the fact that he has a real commercial operation in the family now with EFCO. Tony Rygg is this terms annual California representative… must be a little known by-law that someone from the CEC must hold a board spot at NFRC. Comically Rygg ran against unopposed and he could only muster 75% of the vote… 31 out of 121 people were telling a story by NOT voting for the only person on the ballot. Shame that we couldn’t find someone from the other 49 states to put in against him because they probably woulda won.

-- I will be at the NFRC meetings starting November 5.. and of course I’ll have the details here on the blog.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend….

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Seriously Interesting Coalition

On Wednesday I sat in on an open forum meeting of the Advanced Building Coalition. It was an amazingly diverse group of people. You had of course protectors of the industry there (GANA) along with primary glass manufacturers and 2/3rds of the top fabricators. Then you had code officials, government officials (DOE and HUD), and plenty of energy related groups. Plus you had non glazing folks too so it really made for an interesting meeting. The theme of the meeting was how to approach the governments plan to reduce energy in buildings by 30% by 2010 and 50% by 2020. 11 people representing every background imaginable gave short presentations and thoughts on what could/may/possibly happen when this 30% goal becomes law/code.

To me the most interesting take came from Todd Taylor of the Professional Northwest National Laboratory. He noted that getting to 30% is not as simple as people think because there are so many factors that need to be addressed. He noted regional differences, building differences, fuel types and non code regulated items among the many reasons on why this effort will take time to muster. But that said, the DOE representative on the panel was pretty focused on the fact that this will happen and according to a surprising Memo of Understanding that was released today from 4 organizations (ICC, AIA, Alliance to Save Energy and ASHRAE) the drive to get it done could be there. Long way to go, but energy focus and code advancements are surely coming, so get ready. I’m going to write more on this meeting either later this week or next.


-- Also from the meeting, the DOE rep, a pretty engaging guy Ron Majette, had few fascinating comments- but the best was:

“You are the experts, you are the pulse in the field….” Yes we are, can you pass that on to the fine folks at the NFRC…. They’ll ignore you, but it sure would be nice if someone from DOE would tell them that instead of listening to NFRC tell you how we’re all evil greedy manufacturers who hate things like Low E.

-- Mr. Majette and many others also talked about how costs will go up in order to meet the energy goals… because of higher end, better products…. So again that brings me to our pals at NFRC… if their program is expensive, and you know it will be, how will that impact the goals of the government? You know its one thing to pay more for product, its surely another to have to pay a ransom to have a professionally produced product tested, re-tested and vetted, so some people can make profit. Now more than ever, with this on the horizon, I believe that NFRC’s CMA effort will fail miserably unless it becomes a ton more user friendly, less invasive and surely less expensive.

-- While I am on subjects that make me nuts… did you see that China led the world in exporting glass…. 1 BILLION worth…. For which they probably sold on the market for 400 million…. Or less. But the article on USGNN (CLICK HERE) has some great points, especially made by Russ Ebeid of Guardian.

-- Speaking of Guardian… if you have not seen their new Sun Guard website (CLICK HERE) then you are missing out. Fantastic site, extremely informative and detailed. And yes while I’ll be accused of drinking the Guardian Kool Aid, I have to compliment because if you have worked on a website, you know it’s A LOT harder than it looks, so I have to give proper kudos to the folks behind it, because it’s simply tremendous. Congrats guys.

-- And no, I am not on their payroll.

-- Football picks have been ugly.. like I warned at the start of the season… that’s why they call me MUSH…. This week… I’m going with a favorite for the first time in a while.. Tampa Bay by 4 over a Jacksonville team starting a horrible QB…. So let’s see if I can right the ship.

Video of the week… Bowling with a football flair…

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Best and Worst months of the year.

You know I both love and hate this time of year. I love the season, fall, cooler weather, leaves changing, Halloween candy- leading into Thanksgiving (best holiday IMO) and the great month of November. But the hatred comes from how these two months are for our industry. It is simply the worst 2 months we have. Everyone is swamped. Everyone is pressured. Plus it has been a while since that relaxing summer vacation and the Christmas holidays are way too off in the distance, so everyone is a bit more on edge. And of course, everyone needs their product YESTERDAY. Especially in any region where there is snow, the October/November runs are all extra pressured because everyone wants their buildings closed in before the “snow flies.” Customers and suppliers who get along great for 10 months of the year are at each others throats in these two months and its like this EVERY YEAR and it sucks. Anyway I am counting down the days til December while trying to enjoy the best/worst 2 months of the year.

Elsewhere this week….

-- So the Architectural Billings Index went down again eh? While it’s still above water, the downward trend should be a worry. Now keep in mind this is for projects going 9 to 12 months from now, so it’s a while away, BUT, its also about that time… end of 08, early 09 that the experts were calling for tough times. Next months ABI will be very telling.

-- Big retirement news in the industry as Jack Deyo, President of Mid Ohio Tempering and last I knew President of the UGC East Coast announced his retirement to his folks last week. Obviously I have some history working with Jack and even though the UGC period for me is darker than the color black, I always respected Jack and the way he did things. In addition the way he ran his business was top notch, he treated his folks well and built a company that developed a great reputation in the marketplace. I wish Jack and his family the best of luck and health, we as an industry will be weaker without a guy like that around.

-- Great article on the Silicon Valley boom re-birth. Is it really the “dot com” explosion part 2- well according to this article (click here) it is. It’s a great read and it’s pretty unreal that people can make a ton of money still in the internet world without delivering results. It makes you ask why we are in this business sometimes.

-- Speaking of Silicon Valley, if you are a fan of Apple- makers of the great IPOD and new IPHONE there’s a great book out there on its co-founder Steve Jobs. It’s called I CON and it’s by Jeffery Young and William Simon. It’s a great look at the guy, his history and so on. The man has had his ups and downs, but unlike some of the lucky ducks that you’ll read about in that column above, I believe Steve Jobs has earned every penny of his fortune. Good book if you want to read more.

-- Got an e-mail this week on the fact that the BEC conference is already 10% full- and we are 4 months away! That is incredible. So I would say if you want to be there, and if you have any connection to our industry, YOU WANT TO BE THERE, then you need to get registered.

-- Yes terrible week for predictions.. My D Backs are done (that’s what happens when you mess with the green movement, keeping AC on in 111 degree heat with the roof open) and the football pick of the week failed too. Oh well, lets get back on the horse, for football, New Orleans is favored by 8-1/2 over Atlanta… something is wrong here, as I know New Orleans is better but they’ve only played 1 good game this year, and while Atlanta stinks, I gotta go with the Falcons to cover.

Video of the week- from Saturday Night Live this week making fun of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the fact that NBC is their network… good stuff… (unless you are an ND fan and then this whole season has been a nightmare)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday with More and new Chinese Toy

Got a bunch of e-mails after the last post that brought up some great issues...

A reader reminded me about the last NFRC "outreach" it was was $30,000 grant to Board member Gary Curtis,for his organization to educate architects on this new program.... So SEE they have been trying... but remember they only try by giving money to one of their own...

Another reader pleaded with me to not "give in" on the need if this issue. I am not giving up, but there are certain things that can be done and others that can't. Plus with how big of a mess this is, it may blow up all by itself.

I did get one dissenting opinion, stating that there is a serious need for what NFRC brings... and to that I say... the only people who would benefit from the way the system is set up now and the way the Board truly wants to set it up are:

1. People who see NFRC Cert as a "revenue stream" and yes there is at least 2 folks out there who can't wait for it to happen, because they think they can make money from it
2. People who think that NFRC cert will legitimize their products that either don't deserve it or have bad reputations.

That's it. Because how the NFRC Board wants it, no normal industry stakeholder will see any value or need.
And of course I need to always add this....
I have no problems with a program to rate whole system calculations. And I don't have a problems with a certification program that could work with it. The problems will always lie in the inane and overwrought oversight and the lack of care/knowledge from the people attempting to implement it. Plus competition would be nice eh? I mean don't you and I have competition? Why does the NFRC have the same rights as the IRS?

Last- I also had 1 call and 1 e-mail to please not forget about China... and trust me I won't. The China issue is 1000 times worse than the NFRC. While the NFRC could ultimately destroy themselves, the Communist Chinese won't and vigilance is a must.

More proof... despite all the recalls, the exports still keep coming and it WILL GET WORSE! Especially in our industry. Click HERE for the story.

And from a reader (Thanks David!) this great picture of the latest toy recall from China... CLASSIC!