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.