Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Plain, Simple and Direct

Wow. When I read Margaret Webb’s incredible commentary on the NFRC, (Tuesday’s USGNN) I was really left in awe. She was able in 4 paragraphs to breakdown the on-going adventures better than I have in years of ranting and raving. The question is… will it matter? Sadly, it won’t. The NFRC and the people, who blindly support it, will ignore or avoid the incredibly persuasive and intelligent arguments and points that Marg brings forth. The thing that will make the difference is the basic possibility/probability that the program as it heads down the path right now will fail in spectacular fashion. The angst comes from the fact that the NFRC will steam ahead and the rest of us will have to deal with an epic mess… one that many people did all they could to avoid… but were ignored….

And one more note… until someone can explain to me how the NFRC adding an IG Certification program and having a major player and board member of NFRC to benefit greatly from such an un-necessary program is not the least bit squirrelly, then I won’t shut up… I mean.. c’mon…. As a co-worker always says about NFRC… “follow the money….”


-- A shorter than normal post this week… I actually have to attend to the day job… and yes I still have one…

-- The most recent GANA Event in Las Vegas- combined Glass Fab and Glazing Contractor Education Conference went off well… once again you get reminded of the talent in the room… for me this trip it was the folks on the spacer side… Warm Edge spacer is the revolution and people from that side of the business were out in full force. Folks like Tracy Rogers from Edgetech, Mike Gainey from Azon and fresh back in North America, Milind Jhaveri of Technoform were front and center. There is no doubt in this age of energy efficiency and need, that the spacer specs will be going more and more warm edge… gee its amazing, we as industry are improving products all the time without prompting… but don’t worry “public” the NFRC will make sure your protected…

-- Speaking of that conference… a thumbs up to Beth Hockett from Trainor Glass in Denver for a tremendous presentation on Green and LEED. Many of us commented afterwards that it was the first presentation on that subject that gave real glazing examples and details… and not info on waterless urinals and bike racks… Between Beth and Henry Taylor of Kawneer, we had some serious “green” brains in that room.

-- Did you read the latest USGlass on BIM? Great stuff. Let’s see… value to architect and public… BIM… a ton…. NFRC…. Yeah won’t go there… BIM is still very new overall and has its detractors but it’s still a real valuable tool…

-- Man I gotta cut back on the caffeine and M&M’s… I get too NFRC crazy.

To the LINKS we go…

-- Oil Prices to double by 2012? Article is here for your depression… meanwhile did you see the profits the Oil companies are reporting? Gas going up everyday… $4 nationally this summer and some reports about $10 gas… Uh isn’t that craziness? Seriously is every ambulance chaser in the US working on the Glass industry and none are available to take these folks on? Nice to see every politician is in the pocket of big oil. Good work guys.

-- If you have an extra 5 minutes… check out this incredible news video story from Utah on professional panhandlers… the girl they followed was making $50 per HOUR! Its unreal… now this is an area where NFRC could protect the public.. start certifying these people!

-- An NYT article on the recession diet unless of course you’re a panhandler…

I am skipping the video of the week, but if you haven’t seen the videos on USGNN, check em out. It’s a great addition to the site and it really does add another great dimension.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


No doubt the big news of the past week was the announcement that AGC.. formerly known as AFG, was re-structuring… plants will be closed and sold, and the industry will go through a major change. Sarcastically my reaction was… I guess the “snazzy” logo and name change did not cure all ills eh? But seriously this announcement brought a lot of thoughts to the forefront. First up… I guess this is even MORE proof that the frivolous copy cat lawsuits that are out there are baseless. Something tells me if AGC was “raking in the cash” domestically this would not be happening. Also I wonder what former AFG chief John Litzinger is thinking these days. He had a lot of ideas and moves he reportedly wanted to implement and never got the chance… maybe… just maybe… if he had the right backing, this does not happen. In addition… maybe if AFG/AGC would’ve attended the industries best conference (BEC) the last 2 years, they would’ve understood the industry better. Yes I know that last comment was a low blow… but it’s the truth… every major player in our industry was there…. And they weren’t… maybe that shows they were out of touch… and I know it has nothing to do with the current situation…. Just could not resist. All in all I feel bad about the employees who will lose their jobs and those around the country who now wait to see what or if any new owner jumps for their various branch. Not a good time right now for sure.

Bottom line… this is probably the first of many shoes to drop in our industry… like I said before… hold on.. its gonna be a bumpy ride….


-- Very sad news for the industry this weekend as well as George Sutorka passed away. George was a laminated guy through and through and a true pleasure to work with. He had a gruff persona but had a huge heart. The guy was a champ. Plus you could always get on his good side talking about the Pittsburgh Steelers… In any case, George will be missed.

-- Hey Tuesday was “Earth Day!” Go Earth! Beat Jupiter. Or Saturn… or that nasty squad from Mars. Amazing how Earth Day has become so commercial… I have a feeling the gang who created this in 1970 did not see it turning into a marketing opportunity that’s for sure. By the way… From The Fabricator is the Official Glass Industry Blog of Earth Day.

-- Speaking of Earth… Time Magazine had a special “Green” issue this past week… and they talked about how they too will try and adhere to more “green” practices… I guess one of those practices WON’T be the stuffing of every magazine with several postcards begging you to subscribe.. since my issue had a boatload of them… Yep LOVE the hypocrisy there… ((Do people actually fill those out still? Seriously?))

-- Got a few questions on Zeledyne and whether or not they’ll change the products names too… my gosh lets hope not! Bad enough that when the company was Visteon they jettisoned the BEST PRODUCT name in the history of the industry… JADE ICE…. For guys in this industry they could use the name JADE ICE and their wives would not know if it was a stripper in Dallas or a glass product…. They could call from the bar and say with a straight face “I’m in the middle of dealing some Jade Ice issues” and not be lying.

To the LINKS we go….

-- Get ready for All Green TV… oh joy… I live the stuff daily… why do I have to have a channel for it? The only thing I’d watch is a green version of “24” where Jack tracks down people who lie on their LEED submittals….

-- Last week I noted the Northwest-Delta merger…. Today this article where Delta said they’ll have to raise rates 15-20% just to break even this summer…. Yep and people complain about our industry….

-- Click here as CNN’s Jack Cafferty is in the middle of a firestorm with communist China I actually am not a fan of Cafferty normally but on this subject… he is very, very right.

Video of the week… in honor of George Sutorka… a look at the Steel Curtain.. and the best Pittsburgh Steelers ever…

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Great FTF Quiz Question

OK we like to have fun here at the FTF Blog and today I start with a quiz… get the right answer and win a great prize of knowledge…. Just one question… What is (a) Zeledyne?

Is it:

A: The hottest new cholesterol drug on the market today

B: The name of the new bad guy in the next James Bond Movie

C: A great Soccer player from France who just retired

D: A part deep within a tempering oven that can only be found in Jeff Wareham’s basement.

E: None of the Above

Ok… what do you think…. I mean I think A makes sense… it just sounds pharmaceutical… B could work, even if you don’t care for a blonde James Bond… C… didn’t he head-butt that Stafileno guy from Team Italy in the last World Cup? D… I am afraid what may be stocked in that basement… so we’ll go with…E…

Yes.. as you know since you probably read USGNN the last few days, Zeledyne is the new name for the newly formed company that has taken over the previous Ford Glass/Visteon/ACH group. While the name baffles me, I am thrilled for all of the great people at the new Zeledyne who have left the limbo world and jumped into what looks like a solid operation. The old company was known for its colors and excellent customer service and attitude and I would expect that to stay the same as it did through every name and owner they had. Here’s wishing them great success….


-- The great “CrystalGrey” debate is finally over and can you believe the effect it had on Apogee stock? The stock went up like $4 per share based solely on this blog!! Man Jim Cramer and the street love me! And don’t even try and bring that whole “earnings” argument to me… people in the mix know that a mention on here is MUCH more important than some earnings announcement….

-- Got a heads up this week that the city of Dallas is going “green”… that’s not a huge surprise… Texas is a huge “green” area overall (and don’t you find that odd that a very conservative state like Texas is so on the bandwagon of an environmental issue… I mean I’m just saying.. isn’t green associated with the flower children and so on? ) and this just goes with that flow. It again though raises the question of going green for “green sake” or are we truly putting in the right products to meet the energy needs of this country?

-- Northwest and Delta are merging which is miserable news for me being a Northwest flier… but the reason I write is that it is a major consolidation and its something that could never happen in our industry. It would be like Kawneer buying YKK… that humongous. That said, even with the down economy, I am still hearing about a lot of negotiations out there.. though many are running into hang ups thanks to skittish bankers and investors. Still that said, I expect a few deals to finally hit by summer time… will we have a blockbuster like the 2 we had last summer… my bet is yes… but it won’t be as big as the Northwest/Delta deal that’s for sure.

-- 21 the movie was solid… but sadly did not stay close enough to the book for my liking. I guess they had to make it “Hollywood friendly”…. Still the movie was worth seeing. I just don’t get creative license… when someone does a book about my life, I get this feeling they’ll do something really crazy like make me a supporter of NFRC just because it “would make a good plot”

Off to the LINKS for the week…

-- Will the scientists be right this time? They are calling for another BUSY hurricane season…. Click here for the story… keep your fingers crossed if you need the business…

-- Will the Democratic convention get ugly? Here’s quick interesting story about when it once did….

-- Scary story about the popular drug Heparin and the fact its made in China and being recalled… yep that will be my luck.. that’s how I would go… with tainted communist Chinese drugs….

Last… its not so much Video of the week but great audio… the best hockey play by play guy… EVER… is Mike Lange of the Pittsburgh Penguins… below is one of his calls from their playoff series vs Ottawa The guy is tremendous…. Anyway it reminds me I did not pick my hockey champs… so even though I am a bit late… here it is… I like Washington in the East because Ovechkin is insanely good…. And out West, I liked the Ducks but after watching them get rolled by the Stars… no way I can go there… I think the Sharks recover vs Calgary and win the West with the Sharks taking it all…. And now you can guarantee the Sharks and Caps will both lose in the first round….

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Great CrystalGrey Debate

As seen on USGNN Monday… The Star Tribune of Minneapolis ran a piece that was picked up on USGNN and Google Alerted all over the world about Viracon’s new product… CrystalGrey. Except they left out a huge part of the story… Viracon does not manufacture CrystalGrey, Guardian Industries does. The story was a baffling and misleading one to people who know our industry, as according to the article, somehow Viracon used 24 engineers to design a product that Guardian actually designed and created…. Hmm… 24 engineers? It also took those 24 engineers, according to the article, 5 years to produce this product for Viracon that was actually created and manufactured by Guardian… Man if I have stock in Apogee I am not happy that 24 engineers worked on a product that wasn’t even produced by their own company. Is that really efficient? OK, yes I am being sarcastic and catty, but my goodness this article was horrid. Whether it was a clueless writer or someone leading her astray, it was still very un-kosher. Viracon has a ton to be proud of… unlike some companies who bang their chest and place a press release every time they complete a job with less than a 6 figure back charge, Viracon actually can place a release everyday on something new, different and amazing. (Not to mention their cool new Google Map feature) I’ve even complimented them here many times and will continue to do so when applicable, but there was no way I could let this one pass- a story this misleading… no way. Funny thing is… pre-USGNN… no one outside the Twin Cities sees this… now the world does… meaning you have to keep that in mind… always.

By the way, I thought Guardian did a nice job and took the high road by issuing a basic and informative press release the next day on CrystalGrey. They could’ve noted what I did above about the misleading nature of the article but they did not. And granted they worked/consulted with Viracon to create this product and I am sure Viracon is a good customer for them, but no one woulda blamed them if they would’ve slapped back.

By the way I am going to call that writer from the Star Tribune and tell her I am aglow over my new invention…. The Blog. Yep, it’s like an on line diary that will change everything you do. I am really excited about it. I’ve had 30 software guys working round the clock to create this whole Blog thingee. It’s awesome.


-- So how many of you thought I’d be among the protesters who were trying (and sometimes succeeding) to put out the Olympic torch? Yes because of the policies of the oppressive Communist Chinese government, many more people are now more engaged in the ever growing problem with that country. And yes I know the Olympics are about the games and sportsmanship, but it’s pretty pathetic that people are trying to paint a cheery picture in the name of sport. Here’s hoping that the protests continue and maybe some meaningful action will take place.

-- Great news from the NFRC front… a note on their website states that John Hogan is no longer the Chair of the Certification Policy Committee.. meaning he is gone from the Board Ex Officio’s as well. Replacing him is Roland Temple of AZS Consulting. Hogan is a guy that always treated the commercial industry with disdain, believes that vinyl can be used in skyscrapers and somehow parlayed a gig for the City of Seattle into taking trips all over the world to promote stuff like NFRC… that last part still baffles me… In any case his departure is a good thing, add it with the voting out of Alecia Ward in the last election and two very anti-commercial glass industry people are gone. In Roland I think we will have someone who will at least listen and be fair. After all he works with Arlene Stewart and she is one of the few who disagree with people like me, but have at least taken the time to learn about what we do and keep lines of communication open to reach workable, logical conclusions. So maybe, this is another good step. Then again, it’s still the NFRC… and the CMA still looks everyday like the Titanic… so his addition may be too late to stop the ship before it hits the iceberg.

-- Going to see “21” this week… according to my mom, who sees every movie that comes out… it’s outstanding… BUT… she did not read the book and the big key is how true to the book it stays because “Bringing Down the House” is easily one of my Top 5 books of all time.

-- Sorry E on UNC…. Great title game though… Congrats to Kansas… I know Carol Land of GANA was pretty pleased, her e-mail now has a very happy Jayhawk logo adorned to it!

From the LINKS this week

-- Had this discussion at lunch… if the Democrats go to convention still in “toss up” mode, will their be a surprise in having Al Gore get the nom… well this link looks at the possibility… one I think could really happen

-- Speaking of Mr. Gore… is Global Warming on hold? See this article… and again this is similar to a link I had awhile back about Global Cooling…

Last- in case you did not stay up to watch “One Shining Moment” after the game Monday… here it is… well worth the watch if you are a hoop fan… and anytime you can get Bill Raftery saying “Onions!” in a video… its damn well worth it!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My 3 "favorite" things

I hate being a one trick pony… so I went from just blogging on NFRC to railing on China. Now to make it a hat trick on subjects I obsess about, I add the whole lawsuit stuff that’s going on with the primary manufacturers. Its funny I have heard from folks who have been approached to file a suit or join in or so on. The whole thing is shady. Its so blatant its disgusting really. But the kicker is this… say that the primaries fight this to the end and win, and they will if it goes that far, then who do they go back on? Who can they go after to re-coup their legal costs? No one. Oh wait… no… yeah, see after they fight this absolutely insane and unnecessary fight (again with no evidence in North America mind you) then it’s a lock that our prices will go up to help defray the damage. So basically, lawyers will make lots of money and we’ll be left holding a higher price as a thank you.

And by the way, the lawyers on this will make the money- not the “stand in” people they got to place the suits- if you think that the folks that these lawyers found to be the trigger are gonna make money, then I have some great oceanfront property in Kansas to sell you. Believe me, no matter how this process goes, the lawyers are the ones walking away with big checks… and so even if you despise everything about our industry and you think these suits are justified, at the end of the day you’ll gain nothing but the satisfaction of knowing that several lawyers can now buy that 2nd home in Vail.


-- Hmmm let’s see if a communist Chinese lawyer who loves the NFRC ever sees me in person I am guessing I am in big trouble. Oh well…

-- Again I wonder… if there are lawyers that can sue about the above, why aren’t there lawyers suing over the insane gas prices? Seriously… I mean Exxon and BP and so on make tons and tons of money… and yet they get away with this stuff. At least congress is trying to get on them… but like in the past, they’ll rebuff it. Hell as a business man gas prices makes me madder then most things these days…

-- When I read on USGNN about the falling glass in NY, I thought for sure it would another heat soak/communist China issue.. but it looked to be a rough install… regardless the stories of cheap glass from China causing problems continue to be out there… the only thing that keeps them for really hitting mainstream is the fact people are so embarrassed they move heaven and earth to not admit anything… and that includes the architects who knowingly sign off on communist products but then run as fast as they can when the trouble hits…

Now to lighten the mood.. let’s go to the LINKS

-- Click here to read about a very dumb guy. If you don’t want to click… its about a guy who buys a $12,000 engagement ring and then comes up with probably the dumbest way to try and incorporate it into his proposal. Amazing.

-- Interesting one here.. the top 10 jobs that are “going away”…. And no, “marketing guy who annoys with a mediocre blog” is not on the list… but radio/TV announcer is actually…

-- This one is about a guy who gets robbed, but is able to get his stuff back by doing some serious cyber sleuthing… and he also gets help from people all over the world thanks to the power of the web.

Last… I hold to my North Carolina pick to win it all… sorry E… and now that baseball has started, time for my fearless predictions… in the NL… I like the Mets, Cubs, Dodgers and D backs… with the Dodgers winning… while in the AL… the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians (oww even typing that hurt my fingers) and Angels with the Yanks going… setting up a Joe Torre vs his old team in the World Series and the Yankees taking it… closing old Yankee Stadium with a flourish…

Video of the week.. this tennis player… about 30 seconds in takes his frustrations out.. on himself!!!