Monday, December 22, 2008

Look Back Look Ahead

Not the normal post with the holiday just ahead…

Hopefully 2009 will bring us better results than I think most are expecting. The reports are not favorable but you never know. 2009 will be a crucial year in the history of our industry as more consolidation will take place, new ownerships will step up and some will be leaving us all together. It really will be interesting to see whose models work the best and who is still battling one year from now. We’ll also get to see the beginnings of the end of the Titanic and maybe see some movement on the Buy American Act in hopes of keeping the communist Chinese at home. In the real world it will be interesting to see how many American car manufacturers are left and if they go what effect that will actually have. Not to mention having a new President as well! 2009 really will be a wild ride…


I want to be able to thank everyone who reads this blog and comments either in person, via e-mail, by phone or even on the message board. 2008 was an amazing year of growth and the format that we have here really works. I appreciate all the insight and discussion points that have come through and all of the support when I do things that can be detrimental to my health! Special thanks to the folks at USGlass who just link to this blog, but have no editorial push, but they do it because they feel its news and interesting to their readers. A weaker group would’ve cut me out a long long ago. Also thanks to everyone who sends in links- especially the now legendary “link chick” aka BGO- you are awesome. And top those people like Janet and Jennifer at Ryan Public Relations (the best PR firm around) for always mentioning that they’ve checked the latest post out- I really do appreciate and am honored that such high powered folks read this. Anyway to all of the above and to all of you out there.. here is to a happy holiday season and most importantly a HEALTHY and SUCCESSFUL 2009!

To the Links...

-- Only 1 link this week… as some of you know one of my all time favorite movies is “It’s a Wonderful Life”- See I loved.. I mean seriously loved Donna Reed in that movie. Simply the perfect babe in my opinion. Anyway the New York Times had a pretty interesting take on my favorite movie and it basically makes you REALLY think about it. So if you are a fan of the movie, you should check out this link.

Video of the week…

-- And speaking of favorites I am big fan of Family Guy and this Christmas video is a classic… So sit back and enjoy…

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Will the new guy be better?

So we finally have a name for the new Secretary of Energy. President Elect Obama has nominated Steven Chu for the position. Now the next step will be if Mr. Chu chooses to make up his own mind and truly look at what is front of him or if he will take the word of the bureaucrats that are frozen in their tracks at DOE. If he decides to get some fresh and unbiased insight he will find some amazing products and developments. If he chooses to go down the path of previous then we’ll be all wasting our time since the current crop of DOE folks who deal with the commercial industry sadly have no clue on what is truly happening. So let’s hope that the whole “change” theme trickles down to the DOE too and the incoming Secretary can give a fresh perspective to an office and group that sorely needs it.


-- Last week’s post really brought out the people. One of the most popular posts I have ever had and easily the best commented on one. Man if all I had to do was prop Ron McCann I woulda done that 2 years ago! But seriously the post brought up several angles. Commercial vs Residential. Policing. Education. Who does what and where… I mean it opened up some serious angles and I would assume the fine folks at USGlass are probably already on it as the 15 comments alone probably would give them several very good and pertinent article ideas.
On education a late comment came in on Weds of this week saying we really don’t need it and gave some reasoning why. (and a rebuutal to that one late Weds night) The best point of the comment was that we are always trying to educate the architects but because of other factors messages just don’t get through. So that’s why in my opinion a strong and focused DOE could’ve been the difference. Instead of wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars on a group like NFRC, the DOE could’ve been working to push the right products into place. As for a “policing” angle it would be better if not so many strings (read- extra dollars for interested parties) were attached. I look at it this way, if a cop had to go through the amount of hoops that a glazier would have to go through to use NFRC, no one would ever get arrested. Regardless great comments and they are always welcomed either there or on my e-mail.

-- The Republic saga continued with the filing of bankruptcy. At the same time it was reported that Echo Window started a 2nd shift. It’s amazing that Bank of America took a ton of heat here and more amazing that they did not fight back at all. Meanwhile the folks that used to work in Chicago are trying to organize where they can re-open the plant, and sadly there’s no way that will happen. Last on this I can’t wait to see the bankruptcy totals come out. Would love to see how much money they floated among certain people but most curious for me- the charge to the Bellagio.

-- Megan Headley had a great blog post previewing her Industry Forecast issue. One item she brought up was the cost of being “green” and if that could continue. It’s a great question and one that I think would be answered with a good solid “maybe”… Some areas of building will undoubtedly head that way- there’s too much push and focus to stop it. However I think the private commercial building that at one time wanted to “go all the way” will now ask its designers to hit more of the spirit of the rule instead of the whole magilah.

-- And your friendly reminder on Glassweek/BEC. It is the event of the year and I know budgets are tight but I believe this to be a "budget buster" as for the good of your business you will want to be there. Just way too much education, information and crucial networking to miss. Plus sign up now and I'll send you an 8 x 10 glossy of GANA Tech Legend Greg Carney... autographed. (Currently woth big $$ on EBay) Operators are standing by.

Off to the Links…

The Link Chick was on a roll this week.. as all of these are hers… thanks BGO!

-- China bans some food additives… you know like yummy stuff like Boric Acid.. yeesh.

-- And the China bashing continues (wow the Link Chick getting on the Anti China Train!) with this story on Chinese computers exploiting holes in Internet Explorer.

-- In case you heard the rumor… yes it is true, my brother Steve was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates. After all he has the same experience as these two guys they just signed off of a reality show. Wow it’s tough being a fan of the Battlin Buccos.
By the way my bro has a nasty curve and can throw the knuckler.

Video of the Week

Keeping on the sports theme-thanks to Larry Carlson for this one… the Gatorade HS football player of the year Garrett Gilbert. He actually comes from Larry’s high school and where its neat is he is the first ever player from Texas to win this award. That amazes me since Texas (along with Florida & California) are the kings of great HS players. Anyway check him out… next year he’ll be wearing the burnt orange of the Texas Longhorns.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Inc hits it on the head

Well a blogger (not me)from Inc. Magazine brought the heat to the real story on Republic. You can click HERE. The real heavy stuff is half way down after the banking babble.

And this amazing line from another news story:

During negotiations, Republic majority owner Richard Gillman initially demanded that he and other company executives receive money, participants said. Gillman wanted 8 weeks of his $225,000-per-year salary, plus additional money for payments on a Mercedes and Land Rover, Gutierrez said.


By the way the full weekly post is below with a ton of comments including an awesome one at the bottom. Great stuff all around.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Incredible Story

No doubt the Republic Window “Sit in” after its closing has become the “Story of the year” in our industry. The coverage of this story has been amazing and as of this morning a quick Google search of the story brought up a staggering 3,380 stories.
But to me there’s one part of the story not getting the coverage it deserves and that is the whole Echo Window angle. Echo is the company that members of the family that own Republic have and they just bought TRACO’s plant in Iowa. USGNN broke the story and several news organizations have mentioned it but no one has dared to step into the deeper meaning. Workers have been quoted saying they would come in and equipment would be gone from the floor. Where did that equipment go? Workers have been quoted saying they heard that they would be “moving”- what does that mean? Hmmmm. So much attention is being paid to Bank of America and their possible responsibility on this issue that the underlying issue here- the possibility of the plant being closed and the work moved somewhere else (Echo) is not being raised or at least covered.. enough.

As for the Bank of America angle, I’d love to debate how this is their fault? Yes they got a bailout and many angles of said bail out infuriate me (more on that below). But there really seems to be a lot more to this story than what is being said. It’s a “Sexy” news story right now… an old fashioned “sit in” complete with politicians (including ones now in deep trouble like the Gov of Illinois) and the holiday angle with the mean old big bank as the bad guy. (Heck you expect Mr Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life to make an appearance) Eventually this will hash out and I believe more info will come out and that will be very interesting.


-- Speaking of the bailout… where I get mad… CitiBank gets a bailout and is in deep trouble yet somehow can still pay the New York Mets 20 million a year for the naming rights to their new stadium. To me that is freakin disgusting. Or how about our friends at AIG getting millions in bonus money? WHY? My gosh some things make no sense.

-- I got this from Jim K in Texas- a LINK to the actual bailout form. This is probably it given the looseness that this program is showing. Pretty comical.

-- Slow. That is the word I am hearing a ton right now. Whether it’s the folks in our industry or outside of it- so many people are slower than they’d like. But the real interesting comment was how it happened. I’ve heard many different versions but basically the comment has been:
“Everything was going fine and the BAM it just stopped. I have never gone from busy to slow so fast”
Just got to ride the storm out but as been noted here before the herd will be getting thinner for sure.

-- Saw a blurb from Ron McCann of Viracon online that was spot on. He basically said that he’d love to see the industry work on trying to cut out the supply of non coated glass and push people to the solar control stuff. AMEN! Ron is one of the more talented folks that work our industry and his comments hopefully will get people talking again. That issue has been one that several people including myself and Paul Bieber have been yapping about. See while the DOE and Marc LaFrance sleep soundly at the wheel, the push should’ve been on promoting solar control instead of trying to empower a money hungry group like the NFRC to create a “Titanic” of an un-needed police action. Maybe if the DOE would include people like Ron in discussions instead of listening to the know-nothings that they currently listen to we’d have a good start.

Off to the LINKS!

-- Yet another surcharge… this one is a classic and one that I would never, ever have to pay… it’s a charge for leftover food!

-- I have always wanted to put ads on the inside of IG units… but never thought there was an audience. Anyway the Link Chick found this one where a teacher is putting ads on his tests!

Yep the poor White House is really struggling- they just sent out Chanukah invitations with Christmas wreaths and pictures all over it. Yikes.

Video of the Week

I am not a big fan of CNN’s Campbell Brown… but this commentary is pretty awesome. She rips the CEO of Merrill Lynch for asking for a bonus! Maybe she should take on CitiBank next.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

An idea to help California

Everyone needs a bailout these days and that seems to include the state of California. Basically according to published reports the state could be out of money by February. Well I have one area that Governor Schwarzenegger should look to cut to save money. How about the part of the California Energy Commission that does nothing except to try and promote unwieldy and costly programs that will drive business from the state? See the CEC has become a huge part of NFRC, but the question is why? Why does the State of California need to spend its now extremely valuable resources (cash) on a group that has to send a few members to 12 days of NFRC borefests per year- not including various board meetings and retreats. Shouldn’t this group be more interested in promoting alternative uses of building materials instead of trying to create ways to drown various industries with rules that make no sense? So when I look at California’s issues and then I see the amount of time and money that a group charged with “energy” spends on things like the “Titanic” I can only wonder how much more fat is looming in that budget. The good ole bailout- screw up, run wild, get fat and some one will save you.

Seriously if I was the Governor I would have my team look at every line item including this. What reason would the CEC have for being so involved in a “rating system” for fenestration? Shouldn’t they be more interested in creating systems that can help ease the energy load? Yes I am sure they have a code responsibility somewhere down the line- but I sincerely doubt the various code orgs need their help. Bottom line is this was a pet project for various members of the CEC- they got to travel the world and feel like big shots. They got to bail the NFRC out when they had run out of fake reasons on why they needed the CMA (remember the proven wrong excuse about the Congressional Mandate? That was a hoot! Or the classic- “its in the codes” Wrong again) The CEC by asking the NFRC to create this monstrosity gave a reason for this to continue and now looking back, you wonder how much money was probably frittered on an issue they had no right to involve themselves into.


-- And as always I must say I am not against full system calculations or a program that can develop them. I am against big money making efforts to cash in on such and also doing it as a monopoly like the NFRC is. Shameful.

-- From the good news side… the NGA and GANA came to an agreement to work together on the NGA’s MyGlassClass programs. This is groundbreaking as it brings together education and the critical mass of the industry. In a slowing economy one of the things that is important to remember is getting ahead via knowledge and now this angle will take that on. I am sure you will see and hear much more on this in the future, but for now I really believe it is a tremendous opportunity for NGA, GANA and the industry as a whole.

-- As some of you know, my 8 year old son is a huge professional wrestling fan. I think the dialogue though is going to his head as last night he tells me:
“Dad, you just talk business… I MEAN business!”
Yep look out 3rd graders here comes Triple Z. And wait til he grows up and takes on China and so on….

-- Speaking of China- how about this sign at a restaurant in Pittsburgh… very crude.. but people are passionate on this.. more than just me thats for sure... thanks to Scott for sending it!

-- I can not believe it’s December… simply insane how fast this year has gone. In fact I had to make my plans for the Builders Show in January- heck it will be here before you know it. This should be a VERY interesting one to experience.

-- Last week when I wrote about 3 more window companies shutting down, I got a bunch of e-mails asking me if it was this one or that one. I guess there’s a lot of people knocking on deaths door these days- which is depressing to a point. But I also believe the herd must be thinned. Then again let’s bail em out! Not.

-- And the problems with residential claimed another victim with PPG announcing they are closing up their PRC sealant division. It’s a tough one for me personally as the PRC sealants were all I have ever known and people like Chad Simkins (who is now at AGC I believe) were great people to work with.

On to the LINKS!

-- Can you believe that loopholes in New York are so big that the New York Daily News basically stole the Empire State Building? Yep they are… and they did it in 90 minutes!

-- From the link chick on how hard it is these days to buy 100% American. Folks I’ll be thrilled with 50% including all glazing…

-- Did you know there’s a genetic test to see if your kid is going to be a good athlete? The New York Times story here got a ton of play this week.

Video of the Week:

I was going to put up the Sean Avery video that got him suspended by the NHL but decided it would be too crude- even for me… (especially the sign above) if you want that, drop me a note or just go Google… anyway in its place, an amazing last minute College Basketball shot… I love these things!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Early Thanksgiving Post

Happy Thanksgiving! An early blog post in honor of the holiday. Thanksgiving really is the best holiday of the year. Seriously I know that most people would pick Christmas/Chanukah, but Turkey day is the call. The fact that you celebrate with family, food and football is almost impossible to top. All my life I have felt that way too. Man I was an odd kid. Then again everyone who reads this every week already knows that. Anyway, to all of you out there… even the communist Chinese, the ambulance chasing lawyers and of course my pals at the NFRC, may you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!


-- Shorter than normal post this week, but tons of cool links for you to peruse when you have time… in the “links” section of course….

-- Mixed bag week economically. You had the GreenBuild show that everyone raved about and if the attendance figures were true, then the show was a blockbuster. Something tells me if the gang at Viracon was passing out beer, the probably needed it by the truckload. On the downside, 3 more window operations closed up. The residential world is a massive mess right now and it really does not look like it will get better quick.

-- Speaking of GreenBuild have I ever said how frustrating it is to have a program that pays so little attention to glazing? Oh yeah I have. Sorry. Just had to get that in there one more time. Comical that NFRC pays TOO much attention and these guys too little. Man a little in the middle would be great....

-- Have you made your Glassweek/BEC plans yet? If not, beat the rush and check out the website HERE and sign on up. This will be the event of the year and with the economy staggering, this is the one place that you NEED to be. So keep that in mind when doing the whole 09 budget adventure.

-- I bitched all summer long when gas was 4.15 per gallon and now I am just stunned to silence that its 1.68 at my nearest station. My gosh that is unreal. But does it really make any sense at all? This could be the only thing with less logic behind it than the NFRC CMA/Titanic.

Off the LINKS.. JUMBO edition

-- Well the “Link Chick” was en fuego this week on the link beat… but up first is one I found..
Did you know there was a “World Toilet Day” and it was at the World Toilet Summit where they talked about an end to “flushing toilets” Oh dear.

-- Huge controversy this week when a Super Model was shown and she had no belly button… no she’s not an alien, but it is a pretty wild thing… no innie or outie… I guess I’d trade my belly button to be a Super Model…

-- Interesting story- does a bad economy cause the crime rate to raise? I’d think so, but others disagree.

-- Who steals more info from US Governmental computers? Russia- Nope.. Iran… Nope.,.. our pals in communist China… yep keep buying their stuff folks.

-- Germany is running out of a crucial item this holiday season… Santa’s…

Saving best for last… you think we have economic issues here? Well in Russia they are struggling so bad that sales of Vodka are way off… seriously…

Video of the week

This one has swear words galore in it- so beware. It’s a classic of TV anchors and reporters messing up and just freaking… and as a guy who used to work in this world- I have been there!! Thanks to my sis for the link!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Buying Right

Building off of one the theme’s from last week… and that’s buying material domestically. In fact, look for a serious strengthening of the “Buy American” act by the next administration. Allowing projects that have public money in them (Raleigh Airport, Sprint Center etc) to have foreign material in it is insane. With this country in a bit of a struggle and jobs being one of the priorities going forward, having a strong system in place is a must. So I think before that P.O. is placed with the Chinese or the Columbians you may want to think twice. Regardless of when the teeth get back in the “act” I can tell you when people get slow they have time on their hands to take these things on. And no way will a major project with municipal money on it go without someone questioning the product supply chain.


-- Saw the Glass Expo Midwest has Steve Fronek from Wausau has one of its keynote speakers. Steve is a very good guy and his speech on “Solar Powered Opportunities” is reason enough to attend. Not sure how she does it but every year Deb Levy and company get solid people to present and having Steve this year carries that tradition on. For more info on this show- CLICK HERE

-- The “scammers” that USGlass has written about a few times in the last few months are back with a new approach. These folks now are approaching glass shops and the like with the cover of being a charity. (Insert NFRC joke here) They are contacting shops and saying they are doing building work for the charity and getting people to try and put their guard down. It’s an amazing how creative crooks can get eh? Add on to that, the new e-mail edition of the scam features requests from Rabbi’s and Priests! So if you get a request for 1000 pieces of glass from a Priest and he is asking for payment terms etc (all the classic scam elements) beware…

-- My Birthday was this past Saturday… so I am sleeping in… all is well… and my dog (70 lbs of a Standard Poodle) jumps up on the bed… I think to myself that he wants to wish me a happy birthday right? Well he does… He lifts his leg and pees on me! Oh Happy Birthday indeed…. So it begs to question… having your dog pee on you, on your birthday morning, is that any way a good omen? And also since when did my dog become a fan of the NFRC, China or lawyers? Since all of those folks would probably have loved to done the deed… oh well… gotta be a good omen right?

-- Note all lawyers except Kim Mann of course.

-- Saw USGBC approved LEED 2009…. Man and I just figured out 1.0. But seriously it will be interesting to see if the new release will be any more user friendly. We still know that glass and aluminum take a short shrift there… some day that hopefully will change.

-- Last on the glass shortage... its funny that some believe it does not exist... you know why you don't feel it? Because incredible purchasing people (like a certain VP of Supply Chain that I respect immensely, Mr. Dan Wagner) work with their teams and with the manufacturers to make it as painless to the buyers as possible. Believe me, if you saw what goes on at various purchasing sites and the manuevers that these fine folks have to make, just to make sure the glass is still flowing, you would be blown away. I just wish for the heck of it that the manufacturers and fabricators would slack off on this effort so people that believe this is all "made up" would get to experience it. Oh well. Bottom line is it nice to see talented people doing all they can to keep things rolling- you kinda wish these were the type of people in governmental positions....

From the LINKS…

-- From the “Sucker born every minute file” this lady fell for those Nigerian “get rich” e-mails. Its stunning really… everyone gets them and its been on the news but yet daily people fall for it. This story is especially sad because of how much she spent. By the way, the comments on the story are almost as bizarre as the story itself.

-- Fantastic Op Ed from Mitt Romney on letting the Big 3 go down… no bail out.

And by the way, got an e-mail today on a poll that was done about the window industry and whether or not the window industry needed a bailout… 51% said no bail out is needed… but then you had 36% that said yes we need it and we need to lobby and another 14% that said we need it but not worth a lobby effort… so half of the window industry needs a bailout? Wow something tells me a lot of people are in deep trouble there. (I guess that was obvious eh?)

-- The “Link Chick” checks in with this one… a new poll shows ½ of the primary care doctors in the United States would quit if they had an alternative… wow..

-- And my man W. Cash checks in with this link… Guns, guns and more guns… found in SCHOOLS! Unreal… to borrow his line… we need a gun shortage not a glass shortage.,0,7032242.story

Video of the week…

JACK’S BACK!! Yes 24 is back this Sunday with a 2 hour movie that will catch us all up and prepare for the new season in January… and to get you pumped, here’s a preview….

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Beware cutting the middle

A hot subject on the USGNN message board has been the whole fabricator selling direct to the contractor issue. The whole concept of selling direct- whether it’s that scenario or the manufacturer selling direct to the glazier is one that truly rankles and upsets many people. In the industry there’s a natural order of things that actually makes sense and is amazingly efficient. Turning on that would cause chaos, and that’s why everyone is so protective. However, sadly, with an economy that looks very shaky, situations like this could happen more and more. I know that folks in Las Vegas are furious that this situation has happened between a fabricator and contractor and I really believe that grew from the fact it got slow out there. So once it slows up elsewhere, people trying to cut the steps will probably be more prevalent. Keep in mind though it’s the classic “cutting your nose to spite your face” maneuver. It may work in the short term but will destroy in the long term.


-- Can the economic news just get a little more depressing? Yeesh.

-- On the whole bailout brigade… I suffer on that… being in Michigan I have been witness to the Big 3 squandering the good times, being enormously fat and really turning its back on technology and trends while the Japanese at their lunch. However the trickle effect of the Big 3 failing would be beyond belief as there’s so many businesses connected both directly and indirectly to them. Overall I think any support or money given must come with serious restrictions and oversight. Amazing since everyone knows how much I LOVE oversight!

-- Saw that Steve Rosenstock quit the Board of NFRC. He will be best known for his epic upset of Alecia Ward in last year’s election. The NFRC named Roland Temple to replace him, which is a good move (a rare NFRC compliment!) and hopefully will add some logic to a Board that completely lacks it.

-- The mail flew in this week at every level. Man it is exciting how many people are reading and communicating… some insights…

---- On the removal of “Say No to China” and the appearance of the support the US/Canada button on the top right of the page… It was time to be positive and I think that needs to be the message going forward. With a rough time ahead, supporting our brothers in the US and Canada is crucial. The work needs to stay here and hopefully people grasp that.

---- On my hammering of the DOE’s Marc LaFrance. The concern was that he may try and “get back” at the commercial industry. My reply has been, how can he treat us worse? Unless Garrett Stone tells him to treat us better, he’ll keep following that lead. Regardless the guy should be more furious at the NFRC than me… all I do is point out that he is ignored… they are the ones actually IGNORING him.

---- On the NFRC as a whole. Most people are just so fed up. But more than that people are freaked out by the costs and time involved. Best thing possible folks… when you bid and you have an NFRC requirement make sure that cost is a separate line item on your quote (or no quote that portion like several aluminum Mfg’s are doing out west) This way the contractor will see how much more cash this amazingly inept police action will cost.

To the LINKS!

-- This link was actually sent to me by SEVERAL people… thank you.. an amazing story of uselessness. If an Airline screws up and you are stuck on the runway for hours and hours… the airline is NOT required to help you… insane…

-- People taking college football way too seriously… leading to a double murder… thanks to W. Cash for the link! I love the Steelers as an example but there is no way I love them this much…

-- The “Link Chick” sent this one to me… imagine being 7 feet tall… then imagine being that tall at 12 years old! Yes this kid is… wow.

Video of the week:

Well when I talked about “restrictions” on the bailouts… how about starting with AIG… they once again were out spending cash on a junket… great investigative story from a Phoenix TV station. Simply amazing wastes of money!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday NFRC Extravaganza!

Its NFRC time kids… let’s take a look at one of my favorite subjects… this is long too.. sorry.

((BEFORE I START- Since I wrote the below on the plane yesterday… PLEASE NOTE… just because the NFRC is pushing this thing along does not mean it will work or be accepted. Just because the State of California will implement does not mean that it will work in the short or long term or anywhere else. So while the process continues the facts are still the same, the NFRC and its money making labs and IA’s still have no clue on how the commercial world works….)))

-- I enjoyed the NFRC blog especially since it seemed like it felt that were writing it just for me! Thanks guys…

-- Attendance on the blog was noted at 99… up from the 79 pre registered folks… you can assume that a handful of the 20 extras were board types, so still not a great showing… I bet they probably had to get temporary staffing to handle that mob since 11 staff members were probably overwhelmed!

-- The election still smells… some thoughts..

-- The Tony Rygg part is sad- he had no business running and it really is a blatant conflict of interest- one that will be ignored of course. Still it’s funny that the folks at NFRC are so scared that they had to prop up the Admiral to run.

-- Jim Benney was so proud that the turnout was better than last year… however was it better? See when you read between the lines (and that’s what I do here because you learn that they are never straight over there) that this year you had 114 voters out of 209 for 54%. Last year they noted that they had 121 voters BUT that was only 51%... so wouldn’t that mean that the NFRC went from 238 members to 209? And they had 7 less people vote to boot… nice work with percentages guys! And yet there are still people who think the CMA is gonna work… Ha ha ha.

-- Man I wish Jim Benney was grading my papers in High School if he thinks that was a good turnout…

-- On the election site, you could make comments and Frank Fisher of Arcadia who is virtually alone in his commercial love of the NFRC made a hilarious comment. Basically he wrote that the NFRC should alert the media that no one from the commercial side stepped up to be involved in this election… wow.. ok let me at it.

-- First the commercial guys are a lot smarter than people give us credit for. All of the major players know that they’ll be pummeled on the board like Mike Mantegi has been. Mike has tried for years but gets minimized at all turns. Anyway, smart folks know that a board slot means nothing especially when the board is skewed the way it is. No matter what we do, the commercial side will never have the juice to get things done- it is set up that way… you know because they are a 501c3 and so they can basically do whatever they feel.

-- Hey Frank, do you know who won the spot 3 years ago for “Commercial Interests”.. none other than Marcia Falke… yep thanks to the way NFRC does stuff, an IA can run in the same category as a commercial manufacturer. Uh Huh.. that makes sense.. a person who can profit like crazy representing the lemmings she’ll be charging someday.

-- Second, the commercial guys are in a severe minority because the NFRC, if you have not paid attention, is a residential group and one that is dominated by money making anti commercial concerns. Any commercial guy running has no chance. Like I said we’re not stupid.
Face it Frank.. aside from you and TRACO, the entire industry is against this… I am baffled on how that is a missed point. And as for the “getting ivolved” angle.. the NFRC fed that line to David Walker of the NGA at the Chicago meeting and it’s a bunch of hooey. And even before that, that was the line thrown at many people… well guess what it wouldn’t matter… (hell I even tried to get people there once!) one example…32 people were involved a year ago to vote by a large margin (doubled) to accept defaults… and a year later the Board did what they do and proceeded HOW THEY WANTED… and that is the RULE not the exception. So believe me the whole “getting involved” stuff is a joke.

-- Last, even if a commercial guy ran, the NFRC had their guys lined up… the Larsens, Rygg’s etc. Please don’t tell me you are that naive. But keep drinking the Kool Aid and if this thing somehow works and glaziers are getting crushed with unnecessary costs and jobs are running late and people are mad… we’ll make sure they all know who was all for it…. Trust me I’ll even take out an ad to thank you guys.

As for the meeting… wow so much to say…

-- It was sad that Glass Magazine could not have anyone cover the event (Though with a major auto glass show I can understand)… which makes me wonder, why even write about it if all you are going to do is repeat the propaganda that was on the NFRC blog? Hell gang, no quotes from me? Damn. Maybe call Marg Webb or someone else to get you the “other side” of the story? Then again with a writer as good as Katy Devlin, sending her to this would be akin to having Bob Woodward cover a student council election at Peabody High.

-- Oh and as for blogs the only people from Glass Mag that read mine are the lazy ad execs (and not all of them- you know who you are) who try to use what I write to get accounts and new ads… Shame they can’t get sales on their own and need to use this forum as fuel. C’mon you got good writers there, get your business the old fashioned way… earn it.

-- Back to NFRC… unless you read USGNN you did not know that several people from the opposing side of the current NFRC adventure were not there in Jacksonville. Good for GANA, IGMA, AAMA and NGA as they all have much more important business in protecting and working for their membership instead of wasting 4 days to watch a bunch of people summarily ignore them and claim “consensus” because they were physically in attendance. It’s funny, I think those groups did all they could to help the NFRC avoid failure but they were ignored thus it will be a painful lesson that we’ll get a kick out of someday.

-- I also got a kick out of the headline over “applause” all around after the Titanic moved up the ladder… yep guys that ovation is well deserved… let’s see it only took years and years and thousands of dollars and wasted hours to develop a program that has little hope, no consensus and will have no acceptance in our industry. Jolly Good Show!

-- I still look back to the first meeting I ever went to… poor Larry Livermore and Greg McKenna were at the front of the room and they looked totally shellshocked as the input flowed in… they knew then and I’m sure would admit under oath now, that this program was going downhill because the board was determined to do their own thing.

-- I saw that Joe Hayden had homework again and asked for people to list the “Barriers to Success for NFRC” and the blog dutifully listed a bunch of them even ones that were sort of negative, but they “forgot” to list the best one and the one listed 1st on the picture board I saw..
Amen to whomever wrote this… Yep the beat goes on but I am thrilled that was there for everyone in black and white to see.. and hopefully in Braille for Marc LaFrance to read. So Joe go ahead and address this.. or have Potomac (damn they have been quiet lately) do up the typical BS PR but facts are facts and the board in its ability hide under their charity tax ruling can veto any and everything if they choose. That said, quit saying you have a consensus because you ignore most of the ones you have ever had.

-- The NFRC announced they are going down to 2 meetings a year… it’s a good news/bad news thing… I mean 3 times a year I get a treasure trove of fun stuff to mock.. now I’ll only have 2. Damn. But seriously you wonder why it took them this long, except for this has always been what one observer called a “travel club”… see before I got going on this blog, the NFRC was great at having their meetings at plenty of expensive (Hawaii, Quebec) and out of the way (Santa Fe) locales. Then hammering started and we got sensible locations that were actually accessible by non stop flights. Fiscal responsibility! But seriously the conspiracy theorist in me has another thought… I wonder if going down to 2 meetings is because they know when the Titanic hits the iceberg, that’s one less 4 day stretch of abuse…

-- Last… you know my blog accepts comments and my e-mail is on the site for everyone to use (and they do- believe me!) But NFRC has a “blog” but yet does not allow comments… which kinda makes it more like a revolving press release and not a blog… but any way good try guys and thanks for keeping us all up to date.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Still trying to get a feel for 2009

This week I was in Las Vegas and I was curious on how the economy would weigh on people’s minds. What is in store for us in 09? As expected it was a mixed bag… the good news was the many General Contractors I met with were confident that 09 was going to be OK. The majority of them felt that 09 would be lighter on the commercial side but not deathly. And all felt that the heavy load of institutional work will help carry us through. Still everyone had an example of banks hurting their business because projects had been postponed thanks to the recent crisis. But amazingly the attitude this week was brighter than it was a month ago at GlassBuild- so that was encouraging. The bad news was from the manufacturing side. Many major players were pushing doomsday scenarios. In fact one major player on the glass side started cutting its sales workforce in efforts to reduce it by 17%.... (I know who, but waiting for the glass media to catch it before I comment- I have had enough trouble for this week!) So while some see the glass half full many others see it half empty. As I have said many times before, I think it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.


-- No NFRC on this post (hooray’s come from the masses) but I’ll have a full NFRC post for the end of the week… (because without it so many would be lost and the NFRC would not know what to respond to…)

-- As I have written here before- flying has become no fun at all. On the flight now and I am crammed into the smallest seat possible. The guy in front of me has his seat reclined all the way back and then every few seconds repositions himself to make the chair push into my knees even further. On the window side, the gal sitting there will not put the shade down, so the sun is streaming in and of course making this hot plane even hotter. And of course she is asleep! And my lap top is half open with keyboard on my stomach and my hands uncomfortably trying to type. Pure misery.

-- Happy Birthday to blog reader and friend Matt Ferguson of AGC… worked with Matt years ago and heard he’ll be 49 this weekend.. 49? Man I can not believe it. Anyway a happy and healthy one bro.

-- From the trends… Solar continues to every day make news, but lets not forget about the previous hot topic.. BIM… slowly but surely there’s new BIM folks popping up on every street corner. You gotta love how the me-too trends work in our world huh?

-- One trend that I think will have good growth is the blast and security side. Starting to see and hear more of that on a daily basis.

-- For those of you smarter than me (yes I know that would be... everyone)… saw an ad for plastic that has Low E values. How does that happen? Do they coat it like the glass guys do? How good can it perform? Any insight would be great… just seems very odd to me.. You know since I am anti plastic and vinyl and all.

To the Links…

-- This article says it does not matter who is president, that the stock market will recover… you know I have no clue what makes that market tick- never had and probably never will.

-- Great article (thanks to the link chick!) about Green Prisons… yep even your inmates can be green but what’s funny on this one is the talk to a guy who is in for Murder but the prison is “Minimum Security” – how in the heck? Then again the prison is in Washington state… and Washington state is home to one John Hogan who believes that skyscrapers can be made from Vinyl. So why not.

No video of the week- I may put one on the forthcoming NFRC extravaganza post…

Monday, November 03, 2008

What a surprise... NOT

Well the election results are out for NFRC.... amazingly every "pro" NFRC person won! Wow.. I guess the upset of Alecia Ward last year was an aberration. You know this stuff is actually getting so pathetic that even I may tire of it... nah... why let them get away with it!

Seriously though lets look at it...

Jim Larsen from Cardinal is back on the board... yep the more things change the more they stay the same. If the NFRC was running the Presidential Election tomorrow they'd somehow find away to re elect George W Bush.

The amazing part for me was somehow the Admiral Tony Rygg won a seat. Here's how this is amazing..
-- Last year he had the lowest vote total of anyone when he ran unopposed.
-- He was running against 2 totally professional people- one of whom, Roland Temple, would've been a massive step up for this organization.
-- He is listed as an "independent consultant" for election purposes but in all the registration material and basically forever he is a part of the California Energy Commission.

Why does that last point matter? Well Rygg's little buddy Nelson Pena also has a board spot- in essence giving California 2 voting spots... I guess that's not illegal in the NFRC world since at one time I think Cardinal had 2 or 3 people wrapped up.

But it is amazing that all of a sudden he gets propped up to run for that spot and he wins.

It figures California should have the power since after all they are the Guinea pig for the maiden Titanic voyage. Hopefully they have seasick bags left from that great Site Built success!

Am I questioning the election? Sure I am. I wouldn't trust the NFRC as far as I could throw em. Please independent voting group aside, the whole thing smells.. including the amazing last minute turnout... Is ACORN signing up NFRC voters too?

Anyway more of the same... more ignorance and arrogance towards the commercial industry but continued cluelessness will be the downfall... as someone told me over the weekend- its like they DON'T want a program that works...

Last I do follow the NFRC blog- I still get a kick out of the fact that this medium that Marcia Falke cooly dismissed in Arizona a year ago is so big for them now. Anyway its a kick trying to follow their spin.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturday on NFRC

Well folks they did it.... yep they showed their true colors.... this item came out yesterday:

Generic/default framing values: The NFRC Board of Directors directed the Technical Committee to remove any reference to default frames in NFRC 100 and 200 documents at this time, and to also direct the Technical Committee to continue to work on proper calculation techniques and that they study the results against real CMA data during a maximum of the first two years of the program.

And this... this is what I wrote after one of the meetings in November of 2007 (and its in the archives here if you want to see it whole):

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.

I CALLED IT!! A year ago!

This group is simply freakin disgusting.

Its funny this also proves that when I made the crack about the Board ignoring Marc LaFrance because he sounds like a teacher from Charlie Brown I was right! Amazing.. the DOE along with a majority of people see whats right... but MONEY MONEY MONEY over rules.

This program is absolutely headed down- with decisions like this, it is so obvious that they have no idea what they are getting into.

Simply amazing... bottom line is the next time these people call themselves a "consensus" then this blog post should be used as example A.

And by the way, after the last meeting David Walker of NGA wrote a great piece and he urged people to get involved. I wrote him after and said that it does not matter because the NFRC will do whatever they want... well this surely proves it... does not matter if everyone in the industry votes... 3000- 16... as long as the NFRC and the labs want to make money... they'll go against the majority... and the "consensus"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Great Stuff

Technology is an amazing thing… mixing new technology within our industry is even better. Today I had the honor of touring an incredible plant that features the sort of technology that is needed to help solve some of our energy woes. As many of you know I am a fan of Sage EC and today I got to see in person why I like what they do and what they stand for. Their plant was incredible, with the most striking angle being cleanliness. I have never seen a glass plant even close to being as spotless as this location. The layout and focus were top notch and then when you get into the products they make, it all comes together nicely. Someday I believe people will look back and say “Remember when these guys just started…” because the sky is the limit. And no for those sarcastic folks (my co workers) they did not pay me to say this- I have been pretty consistent on my appreciation for what they do and really believe in the product. If you have not seen or heard of them- click HERE for their website.


-- Did you see Super Bowl tickets will have a face value of $1000 this year? I love sports… love them like crazy, but there is no way in the world I would ever pay that much to attend a game. That is just insane. I really don’t know how an average person can do it.

-- The latest ABI is out and it’s as depressing as expected. It fell to 41… to put in perspective scores at 50 and better are considered good, so we are going the wrong way. And to add fuel to the fire, this quote… and it’s something that I know a lot of readers on this board have experienced first hand:
"Many architects are reporting that clients are delaying or canceling projects as a result of problems with project financing," AIA chief economist Kermit Baker said. "Conditions are likely to get worse before they get better."
Worse before better- where have we heard that before…

-- On the NFRC beat- the latest NFRC newsletter had Q&A’s with the candidates… Fred Higgins put it out there with this line on the CMA: "…I would argue the program costs I’ve seen are well above what the rebounding manufacturer is going to want to bear."
At least Fred would talk costs… and realizes that’s part of the problem with this “Titanic” like effort. Elsewhere there was a ton of other comedy- like basically everything that the Tony Rygg mouthpiece, aka Nelson Pena said and nothing new. By the way Pena will win a seat since he is running against no one and if Rygg wins, he’ll basically have 2 seats since I am sure Nelson will do whatever the Admiral wishes. Yep gotta love this group. If you have not voted yet here is who I am endorsing:
Darrell Smith

Steve Harp

Roland Temple

Unopposed (instead of Pena)

Nils Peterman

The big key though is that between Rygg and Jim Larsen they don’t return to the board- if they do, it will be even uglier for the commercial sector (if that is even possible.)
You know it’s really sad that this group (NFRC) can’t even find candidates to run… let alone get their members to vote. Yet they are in a position to make policy. Sickening.

-- Last, this blog has now turned 3! Thank you to everyone who has supported it with reading, posting and sending e-mails my way. Plus a major thanks to the many folks who supply me with links and info- like BGO, Larry Carlson, Davey G, Dave S, Jim F, Bob Lang, Scott Surma and so on. We’ll keep this ball a rollin’ so thanks again for supporting it- I appreciate it greatly!

Off to the LINKS…

And as mentioned above, I’d be lost with BGO’s help and thanks to her for these links since I had no time and did not run into any I liked this week!

-- Is 2009 going to be like 1929… meaning Great Depression II?

-- Gas is getting more manageable these days but what about food? I really don’t like paying through the nose for my M&M’s… C’mon $1.49… I mean that’s highway robbery!

Video of the week:

If you haven’t seen it… the SNL skit with Sarah Palin was entertaining… The thing that sticks out for me is Amy Poehler is very talented that’s for sure…

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What and Who is really influential?

The wildly popular USGlass Influential issue is out and it has led to a tremendous amount of feedback. The folks that made the list are hearing from friends all over about their achievements. The folks that somehow missed this year’s list are scratching their heads and hoping the next time is the charm. And then there are the folks, or in this case, the person who made the list that has led to the most feedback and controversy. When I read through the list the first time, I did not really catch this, but soon my inbox filled up with people bringing the same person up to me. That person? None other than NFRC Poobah Jim Benney. The most consistent comment about Jim was that how could he be considered “influential” in our industry given his organizations lack of care about our interests. Actually this was a tough one for me. In one light, Jim should be on the list as his organization could have a tremendous effect on how we do business in the future. Obviously that position brings influence. But on the other hand I do see where people are coming from and to have Jim share a list with folks like Russ Ebeid, well that’s like having me on a list with Denzel Washington. Either way you see it, the issue was tremendous and it surely paid proper props to some seriously deserving folks and got people talking. And isn’t that what publications should do?


-- I flew to Oklahoma this week on a small plane.. and the pilot looked like he was 12. My gosh what an adventure!

-- More feedback from the glass show… got this e-mail:

On your blog you mentioned Technoform and Azon but somehow missed Edgetech. Do you hate them or do you only pimp for other folks?

Was Edgetech at the show? Really? Ha ha… They were there… and had their normal gigantic booth and presence but I did not get over to their place at all. I just wish I had their marketing budget. My gosh a small country could be supported by it. Anyway, the intent wasn’t to “pimp” people but to give my insights. And I am just not a big booth guy afterall.

-- Next week I get the honor of speaking at the 2008 Midwest Glass Conference sponsored by the Minnesota Glass Association. Obviously the fine folks at the MGA rent through 3 rolodexes before settling on me to speak, but we’ll try and have fun anyway… especially since I have a face and body for blogging that’s for sure. Seriously the MGA, (Along with the Colorado Glazing Association and Rebecca Kaspari) is one of the best operations at that level anywhere. Mike Schmaltz works tirelessly for the membership and they really benefit from that organization. So all in all should be a fun week. Plus I plan on working the nightshift at Viracon so that will be fun too.

-- Is there anything more maddening the stock market these days? Worse though is check out the prediction graph using the past as a guide. Turn away if you just ate.
Because its kinda small.. basically this says we are heading down to the depression era type numbers... Lets hope that instead of starting a downward slope that it maybe meanders flat for a while?

Off to the LINKS…

-- If you think it’s bad here… Iceland is melting.. financially that is…. Thanks to BGO for the link!

-- An almost hijacking overseas. The passengers came through though. They are lucky they did not have Doogie Howser as their pilot like I did- he coulda thrown his retainer at em.

Video of the Week:

In honor of Halloween… an amazing window and sound display… I swear people think I have too much time on my hands… no way.. not compared to people like this!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Not looking fine in '09

There’s no doubt that the biggest story on the floor of Glassbuild was what will 2009 bring us. As of 5 or 6 weeks ago many people felt 09 would be fine but the worry would be 2010. Then the Wall Street shenanigans went into high gear and 2009 was back in play- in a bad way. And while most people feel like we just have to ride this storm out, the one worry I think everyone has is the length that this will last. Projects getting scrapped or postponed because of financing can’t last forever- business has to keep going and soon you would think the bargain hunters will step in and start leveling things out. But until that happens, what looked like a solid year ahead, surely does not look that way any longer.


-- By the way, Greg Carney not being at the show… it was nothing underhanded and he’s not being held captive anywhere… he’s actually swamped (as always) finishing up some very important GANA and industry business. No doubt he was missed. By the way a few of the items Greg and company are working on are the new Sealant and Glazing manuals… both a tremendous and must have resources for the industry.

-- One last show note, It’s amazing how the Decorative Glass segment of our industry has grown. A few years ago it would take up a small part of the show- this year, it was a solid #2 behind equipment on the floor.

-- Onto the NFRC… it is election time as most of you know… and last week I wrote about who shouldn’t get voted in… this week it’s who should. Darrell Smith of the Internation Window Film Association deserves a spot- while he is not a “commercial” guy, he is fair and he is more importantly not tainted by years of NFRC debacles. Meanwhile I also endorse Roland Temple… and that’s because I have the highest respect for the company he works for and his boss, Arlene Stewart. Arlene and I disagree a ton, but she has always been fair and open towards me and I believe Roland would further the need for inclusion and transparency.

-- I write this as I am jammed into my seat on Northwest Airlines. I really do know how a sardine feels. This is insane.

-- Last week I asked about Bronze and if anyone uses it… well guess what people do… Chris McMahon from Technoform made sure to tell me about a nice project they are working with none other than Bronze…. I guess its death is exaggerated eh? But seriously do you ever wonder why there’s all of these different shades of Green, blue and grey but only one of bronze?

-- Last, I have been hearing about a return to prominence by heat mirror… to me that is amazing… we have unbelievable products available right now… proven, performers, with track records above reproach and yet some people (the folks that have no clue on how the commercial industry works) think that heat mirror is the be all, end all. It’s incredible isn’t it?

To the LINKS

-- Starbucks is wasting tons of water… maybe that’s why that cup of coffee is 4 bucks- to cover the water bill?

-- My friend BGO sent me this one.. a family pet goes missing… except it’s a Siberian Wildcat… Umm you gotta love what people keep as pets!

Video of the week

Scott sent me this one… classic advertisement… and this is how I act when my fantasy players do well in football!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Glassbuild Day 2

Day 2 is in the books...

Traffic decent in the AM but really let up in the afternoon. Still most exhibitors felt the day and 1/2 of good made it worthwhile overall... most are expecting day 3 to be a deserted wasteland...

I think people even found the USGlass booth too.... though when they saw me standing in it they strangely ran away... hmmmm

Hot Booth's on day 2... two spacer guys- Technoform and Azon both were busy and presented their materials well. Warm edge technology baby, so crucial to the good of the environment and performance overall... sadly it gets lost in the whole LEED runaround. Arizona Shower Door also had some solid traffic rolling through as well... and they deserve it as they are a well run company for sure. And speaking of shower doors, no show would be the same without Alumax now known as SAPA... their booth was looking good as always.

Seen on the floor... got to see the legendary Raj Goyal.. working at the ATI booth... always nice to see Raj that is for sure. Visited with Matt Rumbaugh and Alyssa Kirkman of the NGA.. these two work their tails off (as I am sure many others at NGA do for the show) but I give them special props because they put up with me throughout the year!

Missing in action.. I heard Marg Webb from IGMA was there but never saw her... (She was probably avoiding me- who could blame her...) Also aside from Mitch Edwards and the fine Guardian tech guys, I did not see any Guardian folks on the floor.. though I am sure they are preparing for the Glasstec show in a few weeks- since thats where they really show off.

All in all people are grinding it out but the fear of what 2009 is going to bring was on everyone's mind. With Wall Street dropping numbers like wildfire, the worry is real. Heard about several projects that were basically scrapped recently because of finance issues. Very scary and something we have to deal with.

I won't be on the floor for Day 3... so you'll have to survive without that update...

Next year this show is back to Atlanta, and by then whatever doom and gloom we are expecting will either have come and gone or be in full bloom... let's seriously hope for the best.

And by the way using Greg Carney's identity has been amazing... man that guy gets some perks!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Day 1 at Glassbuild

Well day 1 at Glassbuild in Las Vegas is in the books and here's my rundown...

-- Solid crowd... busier than most expected- especially in the AM. The million dollar question everyone had was... will it be busy on Tuesday or was this an aftershock from people coming to Vegas for the weekend, doing the show on Monday and then leaving. I think Tuesday will be decent, but I get a feeling that Weds could be ugly. Still I think the exhibitors will be happy based on today.

-- I know people take tons of time to set up booths but this show should really be 2 days instead of 3.

-- On the odd side, the registration for the show was INSIDE the hall.. set up down the middle. Obviously a major exhibitor had to pull out to give a massive amount of floor space up like this. What was comical was that I walked right in- no badge- no security- and did not get stopped until I hit the center of the floor. I don't think I have even seen a show with its registration inside- but hey if you have the space- use it.

-- Not there... no Starship Enterprise from Oldcastle. Damn that is one that never fails to amaze. Also no Greg Carney (GANA) or Joe Staffileno (Zeledyne)- shocking absences really. But I have been using Greg's identity throughout Vegas and will be at the hottest clubs tonight thanks to his name...

-- Hot Spots... the Viracon booth was swamped- to get in to say Hi I had to go through one of those Disneyworld ques. Hopefully all of those customers are buying that gang the beer tonight.
The Diptech booth had a lot of buzz around it... if that process works it could be pretty interesting. Scott Surma holding court everywhere... though he brought no pictures of his newest baby- so he should lose points for that. And last Walker Glass had people coming through all day- though I really believe if those guys get out of the glass business they could be high end fashion advisors.

-- Tough spots- If you are at the show, please try and go visit USGlass... I believe their booth is out near the Grand Canyon. I think its a different time zone there too.

-- The communist Chinese were everywhere... my favorite was a company that had an americanized name (not going to give them pub) but then had the Chinese flag EVERYWHERE all over the booth... amazing. But don't worry when they screw up your order, they'll suddenly not be too American.

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Are you goin' to the show?

Next week is the annual national glass show (GlassBuild) held this year in Las Vegas. It should be very interesting to gauge the turnout and how much business is going on. Attendance still may be decent given the Vegas factor and shockingly cheap hotel rates. Yes for the first time for a long time, you can really get some good room deals in Sin City. That and the fact that some people probably made plans for this long in advance. Still the mood will be interesting and getting insight from those on the floor will really show what we may be up against in 2009 and beyond. I’ll have blog posts Monday and Tuesday from Vegas, with details.


-- Speaking of Vegas… do not forget as you are budgeting 2009 to make sure you are set to come to BEC 2009. This year’s edition is at the Palms Hotel and the event will be staged inside the Pearl Theater. (Damn couldn’t it be spelled “Peril”?) I can tell you after viewing this area that this event will top all others. Plus it’s my last one as host and MC… so for all of those who hate me, you only have one more show to suffer through…. Regardless, this event is not to be missed.

-- By the way, thankfully the show is next week as the week after the cab drivers in Vegas may go on strike. And if that happens… that would be wild.

-- The NFRC came out with their slate of candidates for their Board of Directors. Amazingly Tony Rygg, aka “The Admiral” is running again but this time as a “consultant” after for years having a seat in the state sponsored category. Last year, Rygg almost lost to the all famous “uncontested” when he ran to finish a term. Yep almost lost to no one.. hopefully the membership, given a choice this year will vote the other way. Also running again is Jim Larsen of that well known commercial powerhouse Cardinal. He is another long time NFRC guy set in his ways and completely negative to the commercial industry and our needs. Again hopefully membership will choose to get fresh blood on the board like they did last year when the stunningly sent Alecia Ward packing. The bottom line- hopefully fresh blood will take its place but sadly there’s still plenty of the jaded, set in the way people still involved and thus you can expect a continuation of the ignorance and arrogance that is the NFRC.

-- Congrats to PPG for the “Cradle to Cradle” certification. USGNN had the story earlier this week. It’s a good move by them and will help in the LEED process… especially since, as I have noted here before, glass is not the recycled product we all think it is.

-- The next issue of USGlass will feature the 50 most influential people in the industry. I can tell you that there are some folks on there who are finally getting the props they deserve. It’s a great issue too.

-- Does anyone see Bronze glass specified for anything anymore? Just curious… That color really has become the proverbial ugly stepchild.

To the LINKS!

-- What towns are hit hardest by this financial “crisis” we are in? here’s the list… note that Michigan is not on there because we’ve been in a financial muck for a few years now.

-- Is it the weather? Yet another teacher in Florida fired after some questionable behavior with students. This time it was massages…. Unreal. Heck growing up I woulda been scared to death to touch any of my teachers…

-- Also in Florida, a man tried to kill his roommate over Fantasy Football! Yep just a matter of time.. see I have some buddies that would probably try and kill too… actually for Fantasy Baseball and especially when you are in a league with a guy who only plays his relief pitchers….and he wins it all. (long and inside story there... but those involved know who they are!)

Video Rental of the Week

Saw Vantage Point with Dennis Quaid. 90 minutes fly by… while the plot is somewhat easy to figure, the presentation was pretty cool. A worthwhile rental. Here’s the trailer.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A wild wild week

Wow, a wild week… Wall Street continues to drive everyone crazy, the residential meltdown continues, another primary glass manufacturer changes course, and my two “favorite” subjects in the world actually hook up. First up the bankruptcy of the parent company of Hurd Windows. The residential side is getting battered and for some folks, it’s not a sad thing. See the residential manufacturers held a major hold on the primary glass guys for years. The primaries gave in to the temptation and made sick deal, sometimes long term, even to the detriment of the rest of the industry. So now that the tide has turned, I think more than a few people are sitting back and enjoying the loss of power, even if it has a negative effect on their business.


-- The more you follow the whole Wall Street bailout stuff the more frustrated/upset/blown away you get. I am of the school that if the Govt bails these guys out, they better not be taking home 35 million dollar bonuses. And quite frankly some of those sick bonus checks should be looked at. What a mess. Still the whole thing is scary as heck… and they are talking “Depression” and that is wild… everytime that word comes up I think of the movie "Cinderella Man" and it just shakes me. Let’s just hope we get through this.

-- The offshoot of the credit crisis continues to be the postponement of projects. Backlogs are taking a hit all over thanks to this mess and until comfort returns it could be a very squeamish time.

-- You may have seen the PPG announcement and if taken the wrong way, you would assume they are taking significant capacity out of an already tight market. In reality they are closing auto glass tanks and will soon re-fire a couple of massive floats. So as long as we don’t have any more floods or hurricanes, we should not see a decrease in availability. That said, we are still in a shortage, especially on some products (Clear for sure), and that will continue to hang over us for a while.

-- What are my two “favorite” (sarcastic) things? Well most who know me would guess NFRC and China. Well how about this… the NFRC thanks to a grant from the US State Department will be doing work with China. Unreal. What work will they do? Well as their release cryptically explained the NFRC will work with three Chinese building energy organizations along with some American entities to develop a building certification program. TREMENDOUS! Let’s see you have failed miserably including and working with the industries in the States but you are ready to take on China. Plus I love that our tax dollars go to this… between the bailouts above and the wasted money that DOE and the State Department give out, it makes you nuts. Amazing… I wonder how many meetings a year the Chinese have? I wonder if anyone falls asleep during those meetings like they do here… I just think its comical and China and the NFRC are made for each other as neither listen to their constituents… As always I could go on and on but I won’t…

-- Oh except for one thing, the sign off of the NFRC release stated: “We make it easy to choose Green!” Um isn’t this greenwashing? Can I call the FTC? How exactly do they make it easier to choose “green?” Anyway you slice it, it’s obvious that this is their overpaid useless PR agency at work… “Hey guys, let’s promote that we are “green” that works for everybody!”

-- Just curious do you get bizarre chain e mails telling you if you do something that Microsoft or AOL or Applebees will give you money? I still do and it just makes me question my friends that actually may think this stuff is true. And when you see the chain of people, these e-mails are everywhere… oh by the way, copy and paste this blog and e-mail it to all your friends and you’ll get $20 from JC Penney.*

Off to the links…..

-- Vegas starting to feel the economic pain. A lot of people expected this to happen eventually, well it looks like it’s here.

-- What if the Presidential election ends in an Electoral College tie? This is a fantastic piece explaining how it could happen and what the nightmare scenarios are if it does… worth the read.

-- Do you hate the surcharge? Well guess what, even drug dealers are adding it on to their deals. Seriously.

Video of the week

Cool Movie alert… October 3rd, “Flash of Genius” comes out and looks to be very interesting… True Story too… the trailer is our video of the week…

* not true

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The after effects of Ike

No doubt a tough weekend in Texas and our thoughts are with everyone still battling to get back to some semblance of “normal.” Anyway if this storm proved anything it’s that there is no doubt that the need for Hurricane Impact systems is a must. I cannot imagine the Insurance companies sitting this battle out especially when you see the success of the product vs. a Hurricane of Ike’s strength. So the time is here… but even if they can get these coded, the next step will be to get the codes enforced… and since this is a safety issue it should take precedence. But sadly that is an area that has been lacking, like in South Carolina where some people turn the other cheek and don’t put the right material in and no one is holding them accountable. And of course this is yet another reason why I am not for the NFRC way of doing things. The NFRC will end up monopolizing time from code officials that need to be used on safety issues like this… not the un-necessary police action that they are attempting to get by.


-- Yes it is amazing that I can incorporate NFRC into almost anything huh?

-- Also on Ike… the remnants did damage everywhere it went including far away (from Texas) places like Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh. That was an epic storm.

-- Would’ve liked to have seen the networks grab a guy like Greg Carney and have him explain why if the JP Morgan Chase Building had hurricane systems in it that the glass would not be 3 feet deep all over the street. Then again if Greg goes on TV, he’ll become a star and leave us to work with Letterman and Leno…

-- The other disaster of the week was the stock market. When someone posted about Lehman Brothers on my blog last week, I don’t think I or anyone else realized that other shoe was in the process of falling. The market is scary, and the bail outs from the Feds are not the greatest medicine either. I am bothered by so much of this- these guys conducted business terribly- their greed got the best of them and in the end we all will be paying for this. Not only that, but as the poster noted, this does give the bad guys an angle. If United Airlines stock could drop like a rock based on a rumor, it is truly scary how fragile our markets really are. Basically we have to all hold on as this will really be a bumpy ride.

-- Hey maybe now some of these CEO’s won’t take 75 million dollar bonus checks eh? Insane.
The other effect of the banks and credit crisis is the fact it will hurt the deal making and acquisitions in our industry. Some companies may go under and some deals may not get done. It will be very interesting to see who becomes collateral damage thanks to this.

-- And while I am ranting- how is Oil priced at $92 per barrel but gas prices are still atrocious? Yes I know a major portion of our supply shutdown for Ike, but the Oil prices have been dropping for a while before that and the price going down was surely not matching the pace of when it went up… Seriously as frustrated as people may get on pricing on our industry, it really is a walk in the park compared to gas prices.

-- Hey does anyone know when the 24 hour all Sarah Palin network starts? This way instead of every channel running a special on her, all can go on one station.

Off to the LINKS…

-- Lindsay Lohan hates Sarah Palin. How come I have a feeling when the Obama folks see this they say to themselves “yeesh- we really don’t need your help!”
((UPDATE-9/17 Obama actually comes out and says "No Thanks! This is comical!)

-- A new poll shows a good amount of men love their Blackberry more than their wives. As for me… um… well you know I love my wife, but man without my little buddy… wow.. tough call… (Thankfully my wife does not read this blog!)

-- For those folks who fly all over like me.. the dread of charging for baggage is taking effect with overhead bin issues now. I think seriously the next move for the airlines is to charge for your carry-ons too. I mean it really is the next frontier if you ask me.

Video of the Week

Not the normally funny or happy video this week….
Not sure if you are following the tragic case of Caylee Anthony. She is the 3 year old girl who disappeared and many folks are pointing the finger at her mother. Anyway this story is tragic enough but then you see the circus out front of the Anthony house- it’s like a scene from Spinger. Very sad. A toddler is probably dead and man oh man people just go nutty.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Seriously I am not nuts.

Well am I crazy? Wait don’t answer that because I know the answer already. I am sitting on the plane returning from the GANA meeting from Dallas pondering that question as it regards to the glass shortage. I am convinced we are in one, but a prominent player in our industry stated publicly he didn’t see it that way. So am I nuts or are the instincts and info I have and know correct? At the GANA Fall Conference (more below by the way) keynote speaker Russ Huffer of Apogee stated that he believed there was sufficient capacity available. During the Q&A of his speech (which was excellent by the way) I asked him to clarify and he did. Basically at this point he doesn’t see what I see. So what is right and what is wrong? All I can say is my intel and research shows a significant tightening of supply with the shortage on docket. I talk to a lot of people and I can do the math too, and I just feel pretty strong that my opinion is right. But after Mr. Huffer’s speech, I was perplexed. Am I being scammed or played? Are people of all walks of life lying to me? Is this all Sarah Palin’s fault? What in the world is going on? All I can say is at the end of the day, I truly believe that I am right- all signs, details and evidence point to the shortage. This is not propaganda. But so help me, if I find I have been played… well look out… nothing is worse than a bitter blogger… heck ask the NFRC.


-- I was at the GANA Fall Conference for 2 days… another first class and excellent event. Once again great insights and education going on. Dialogues that were built to inform and protect the industry and of course top notch networking. With tightening budgets, the one expense that should NOT come out is attendance at these events- way too much value there.

-- The rest of Russ Huffer’s speech as I noted above was excellent and is available via podcast from GANA. He hit some very interesting points on coated glass usage, markets, imports and solar. The speech is about 30 minutes long and not a waste of time if you're interested.

-- Another item that came out of these meetings was the importance of getting involved in the code process since it will truly affect all of us. The best and easiest way you can have a voice and stay in the loop is to join the GICC- Glazing Industry Code Committee. It is an inexpensive and intelligent way to get up to speed and PROTECT your company. Seriously if you are not a member- go to this website and check out. It is truly worthwhile.

-- From the bad news side- condolences go out to the friends and family of Ed Coleman. Ed was an architectural guru for LOF for many many years and major player in the Southeast. While I did not know Mr. Coleman those that did spoke glowingly of him and he will obviously be missed.
-- From the good news side… Congratulations to the Surma family as Scott and wife Anj welcomed their newest addition on Monday night- baby boy Cooper. As far as I know everyone is doing well and I am very happy for the ever expanded Surma clan. Meanwhile, there is probably no truth to the rumor that little Cooper Surma already has a line of binky’s and diapers and has been setting contacts with all of the other babies in the nursery. Man if the son has the dad’s energy- look out.

-- By the way, check the comment left on last week’s post about the Lehman Brothers debacle. I will cover in more detail next week- but it’s a great “food for thought” comment and more proof that we are vulnerable in so many areas and in so many ways.

-- I am truly humbled when I meet people who have been reading the blog and mention it to me in person. I ran into one of them at the show- Michael Burriss of Cytec- nice meeting you and thanks again for reading. Of course I was also fortunate enough to run into one of my favorite people Stanley Yee as well there- along with so many other good folks who follow along with my “therapy” on line here. August by the way I had my best traffic of 08- not sure why- possibly the fun and frivolity of the NFRC meeting, but in any case- thank you

Off to the LINKS….

I had terrible internet access in Dallas for some reason, so I am way behind, but thanks to my good friend BGO- I have links to share. So thanks again Brigid!

-- Green is everywhere and now we have the Top 5 “Green” Cities… check em out here.

-- Can you believe a hockey game ended with a score of 82-0? Well one did… I am amazed, I mean after a while wouldn’t it just get old scoring like crazy? Shouldn’t there be a mercy rule?

Video of the Week:

And yet another kudo to BGO- you may have heard about all of the parachuting screw ups in College football recently… well captured on video is this classic from Cincinnati… big time ooops…

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Why its not propoganda and more

USGNN on Wednesday ran a piece on whether the contract glazier thought a glass shortage was happening and quite frankly the answers in there did not surprise me. I did not expect anyone to take it seriously, even though it should be taken as such. But the amazing thing is some of the comments that were made by one of the interviewed parties.

A breakdown of the quotes:

"Raw materials are becoming more expensive, not in less supply.

Really? How exactly do you know that? Are you tapped into the Soda Ash issue that is hampering the float guys right now? It’s an amazing comment. What do you know that we don’t?
“The construction market may be sluggish for a while, which will be good for keeping material costs down, but as the market picks up I see manufacturers charging more for product and using energy costs as a umbrella”

Using energy costs as an umbrella? You mean the fact diesel, natural and automobile gasoline are at insane levels right now- so that’s just an absorbable crutch? You mean in your everyday business you’re not paying more for energy?

"I believe that talk of a glass shortage is more propaganda by manufacturers than an actual problem we would face."

Most people think this way but it’s because they ignore the facts. Let’s review some of them shall we…

1. You have had major float plants down for repairs. Now when a float goes down for repairs it’s not down for 24 hours, its down for weeks and months. Floats are not exactly the simplest to operate. This is without the catastrophic shutdown at PPG’s plant in Texas damaged by the flood- that affects a tremendous amount of capacity.

2. AGC pulled a ton of capacity out of the market when they closed some facilities. The market is not as depressed as some people think (or are experiencing) so people are still buying glass at solid levels.

3. Solar. The need for the solar industry glass wise is huge. Solar projects literally eat glass. As that segment continues growth that too takes capacity away.

As I have noted here and in my upcoming column for USGlass, if I truly believed this was manufacturer BS, I would call it. Believe me; I have never been shy that way. (Ask any of the primaries that know me) At the end of the day, the reason that so many glaziers are not feeling the tightening effects are because the fabricators (and their stellar purchasing people- like the folks I am honored to work with) do amazing things to ensure their branches stay on top the products they need. Someday though, even their best efforts may not be able to get glass when everyone has been so accustomed to getting it.


-- One last comment on the above- so if you realize that raw materials are more expensive, then there should be no problem with price increases right? Somehow I bet there’s a litany of reasons ready for why those aren't necessary either.

-- Hey did you hear John McCain picked the Governor of Alaska as his running mate? Not sure if you heard that, media has been pretty quiet on that angle.

-- Exxon Mobil is running a commercial now touting its efforts in trying to create materials that will wean our need for gas/oil. How come I have hard time believing that is actually happening? It just comes off as a backroom deal of: “Guys let’s do a commercial that we’re working on clean energy advancements- that’ll make the public forget all the BS we hamper them with!”

-- Man I am in a bitter mood.

-- Thankfully Hurricane Gustav did not do the damage that it could of. But now we have 3 more hurricanes to watch and once again we have to keep our fingers crossed that these guys peter out or avoid doing the damage that they could.

-- On the Hurricane coverage side, is it me or does no one pay attention to Mississippi? I realize that New Orleans suffered incredibly with Katrina and it’s still vulnerable. But Mississippi was not spared then and is battling to get back themselves. So the next storm that heads to the Gulf, let’s keep the fine folks of Mississippi in mind.

To the Links…..

-- Is there such a thing as a “Monogamy” gene? Evidently there may be one… so people all over the world now can point to this as an excuse!

-- An elephant scored an 87 on a math exam. I wonder what he thinks of the glass shortage.

-- From my friend BGO… Sumo Wrestlers are in a drug scandal.. but not steroids…

Video of the week:

Don LaFontaine passed away this week. Who is Don LaFontaine? He was one of the most famous voice over guys ever. Known for being the voice of movie trailers and more, his recognizable voice will be missed. Here is a quick interview he gave and you can see the personality and hear the voice.