Saturday, February 28, 2009

Thank you!

Well folks time to say THANKS! As the February totals are in and it was the 2nd biggest month of visits and hits in the history of the site!! Obviously the coverage of Glassweek and BEC drove it and I am glad so many people followed along on here.
Now sadly we have the NFRC meetings which usually drives my viewers away in droves!

Anyway thank you to everyone who stops by and moreso everyone who has this site bookmarked or hooked into things like Google reader. I appreciate you taking the few minutes out of your week to check out what's happening here!

Thanks again!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Could this be an Oscar worthy film?

The on-going saga of the Republic/Echo Windows adventure continued this week when it was announced that Echo was closing down. The news came as a major shock since it’s pretty rare for a business to be bought and closed so quickly. Echo came about just a few months ago and supposedly had some work in house. So who knows what went down… The bottom line is that this story… from the plant takeover and all of the other fixings was pretty interesting and probably not even close to being told in its entirety. I guess we’ll have to wait for the movie of the week for that one…


-- Next week the NFRC meetings… yee ha. I guess we’ll see if any company is "special" enough to sponsor that event. And speaking of NFRC they sent out the propaganda newsletter recently and it had once again classic unintentional comedy throughout. But the unfunny and galling item was the fact that NFRC is looking for a firm to “promote participation in the CMA program”…. Unreal. So let’s see… let’s bring upon the public a wasteful and unasked for (and un-needed) program and then let’s then hire someone to promote it because quite frankly no one wants it in the first place. BRILLIANT! So yes more money will be spent to promote the Titanic and that means more costs to the people who will be forced to use this program. I still think the Titanic will sink, if only because bad logic and planning just can’t survive no matter how many clueless people from DOE support it.

-- Saw the blurb on Sage getting a 20 million dollar investment via USGNN. Congrats to them… a great company with a great product- those investors made the right call that is for sure.

-- After my Glassweek columns I was sent an e mail asking why I did not mention Arch or any Arch people. (and no it was not sent by an Arch person!). Well as I replied to the person I write this piece as a independent guy- not an Arch guy. The reply back was telling “then that’s all the more reason you SHOULD mention Arch people etc…” And with that I was speechless. I guess it’s because the people I work with know how much I respect them and appreciate them- because I tell that to their face. They get to suffer with me daily while the rest of you just suffer once a week! Anyway I am proud and honored to work along side some of the best people in our industry and my not mentioning of them should not be taken as lack of appreciation.

-- If you are not watching the videos and newscasts from USGNN you really are missing out. Megan Headley and Drew Vass are doing some real tremendous work. As a former producer, I am jealous of all of the bells and whistles Drew has at his fingertips. Good stuff and worth your time.

-- Now that Glassweek is over the next big events are the Glass Fab and Educational conference in Cincy in April, then AIA in San Fran. Along the way there’s also a BIPV conference in San Diego too. Outside of that though it looks to be pretty quiet nationally… and this is fine by me. I think time being spent focusing on our cores is the only play right now.

-- Guilty Pleasure alert- If you have Sirius XM radio… on Sunday’s on channel 8.. they play old America’s Top 40’s with Casey Kasem… and it’s the exact show from some random weekend in the 80’s. This past Sunday I heard a show from 1980 and it was awesome.. the long distance dedication and the wild mix of music… (#18 was Pink Floyd… #17 was the Spinners….) Driving around and running errands made so much more enjoyable. Dang just writing that paragraph made me feel old.

Off the the LINKS!

-- The Link Chick had the week off last week thanks to BEC but now she is back to normal. Plus amazingly I even found a few links too… so here is a great potpourri of links sponsored by …… whomever sponsors the NFRC meeting because they have money to burn…

-- A blog post on the world’s “dumbest” LEED buildings. Some of these are legit- others not so much.

-- Speaking of Green… the Wall Street Journal had a great piece on the fact that Green jobs may not be the be-all, end-all that so many people think they will be. Great read here.

-- I don’t know if this is true or not but “Solar Powered” batteries? Like the ones you put in your remote? If this is true…. Wow…

-- Awesome story on sportsmanship…. Especially in light of the 100-0 diasater- this was cool

Was the coverage of the stimulus done correctly? Interesting piece breaking down the TV coverage!

Funny Joke/Story of the week:
From Stu (Thanks!!)

Having already downed a few power drinks, she turned around, faced him, looked him straight in the eye and said, 'Listen here good looking, I screw anybody, any time, anywhere, your place, my place, in the car, front door, back door, on the ground, standing up, sitting down, naked or with clothes on, dirty, clean . . . it doesn't matter to me. I've been doing it ever since I got out of college and I just love it.' Eyes now wide with interest, he responded,'No kidding. I'm a lawyer too. What firm are you with?

And most of you know my feelings on lawyers… I love this story!

Video of the week:

Thanks to Zone for this one… those Baby E Trade commercials have been popular- now check out the outtakes. Great stuff especially on the economy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

BEC Wrap

BEC 2009 is in the books and I really believe the show was everything that it was promoted to be. The networking was top notch. Just look around the room and you saw business in motion. The education and information delivered as well. All in all it was a tremendous experience and if you chose not to come you really missed out. As I told the attendees at the start of the show- I really believe that the smartest companies in the industry were in the audience because they were the ones to recognize the value. And in a tough economy people that take the time to work the angles, network and educate will be the ones that win in the end.

More BEC recap..

-- Good parts were: The hotel from the point of ease of getting to your room without having to take a cab… the scenery.. . Especially if you were a guy… the speakers… Dick Vermeil delivered an excellent keynote speech. He also was also classy enough to hang around and take pictures and give autographs. Russ Huffer of Apogee gave a presentation that everyone raved about afterwards… Henry Taylor continued to be the “King of LEED” with his timely update, while Julie Schimmelpennigh educated the crowd on some very cool new window technology and also got people clapping in some sort of rhythm. Also the presentation by Culp and Carney gave people more insight to what could be nightmarish times ahead. Last, as USGNN covered Russ Ebeid’s speech was deep and insightful and created a buzz that will be felt for quite a while.

Other BEC/GANA thoughts…

-- Brad Austin of Viracon deserves props for his leadership at the head of GANA in 2008. He did a tremendous job positioning the group and keeping good things on track. I fully expect his successor, Mike Ondrus of Glasstech to carry it on and forward.

-- Megan and Drew from USGNN were everywhere. I do think it is just a matter of time before Drew gets his satellite uplink and we’re doing live shots from these events….

-- Next GANA Event is April with the Glass Fabrication and Educational conference. Again a good one if you want to learn and network.

-- A huge thanks to GANA staff… Brian Pittman- the AV Mastermind, was in his glory at 5AM on Monday morning as 8 worker bees took direction from him as he set up the video and audio. Ashley Charest who somehow keeps everything organized and flowing despite attempts from certain people (ummm wonder who that is) to throw her off. Sara Neiswanger was hustling all over directing people to the right places…. Urmilla and Greg were those calm beacons that always greeted me with a smile, and Bill Yanek now through 2 BEC’s, he’s old hat- plus he delivered an eye opening piece on GANA and energy. In fact any presentation that shows a picture of Jack Lambert is awesome in my book. Last Thanks goes to Carol Land. She always takes care of me and does all she can for the other 500+ people. I just love having her on my side!

Now to the “Page 6” portion…

-- Man it was great to see the folks I saw…. Got to talk briefly with Ron McCann of Viracon and told him all I have to do is mention is name and BAM I get like 1000 extra hits. Also Alice Dickerson of Vitro America introduced herself to me, she mentioned she reads some of these blogs and considering my past I can understand why its only “some”…. The crew from Technoform were there en masse but I had a moment of missing my main man Milind! Speaking of missing, Jim Stathopoulos from Ajay was supposed to be in but had something come up… your presence was missed no doubt! And Bruce Mikels of BDM also missed because he would rather go to the Glass show in Atlanta (commence abuse) Caught up with John Dwyer of Syracuse Glass, John was one of those guys who led GANA to this spot with his past involvements….without his efforts we don't have what we have.... Always nice to see Mike Rupert of PPG, now the crew there can flip from abusing Kevin Brooks about his appearance on this blog to Mike. Seeing Chris Knitter of Central Pacific Glass is awesome… I appreciate so much that Chris and his company support BEC every year like they do. .. Brian Craft of Guardian has always been one of my guys and now he added a pretty cool goatee to his look… I think he could double as a spy in Bond flick…. At the airport it was like a BEC after party… amazing to see all of the players still milling about. I ended up on a plane with Joe Staffileno of Zeledyne (AKA the King of West Virginia) along with Mike Krasula and Rachel Hepner of Pilkington NA. Actually had the supreme honor of sitting next to Rachel and watched in utter amazement as she figured out some complex puzzle in like 30 seconds… look for her on the game show circuit- girl has skillz.

-- I will probably do a “normal” blog post later in the week depending on how the digging out of my life goes after 6 days in Vegas.

-- Anyway I would like to thank everyone who attended and everyone who took the time to visit with me and catch up. It truly was enjoyable. And a special thanks to everyone who’s following along on the blog and end up taking heat from their co-workers because of my mentions. (I think Jay Phillips was hid from me on purpose for that reason… I mean I saw him for a split second and then BAM he was gone.) I really appreciate it.

-- Last the BEC is a fantastic event and GANA a great group and only good things are coming. Henry Taylor of Kawneer takes over and will do a fantastic job and I look forward to sitting in the crowd and rooting him on!


At the start of Russ Ebeid's presentation he showed an awesome video and many people wanted it for themselves... well here you go... very cool video!!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Glassweek Update

Well we are halfway through Glassweek and speeding towards BEC… some quick thoughts…

-- The first ever Energy Committee meeting, highlighted by a talk from Cheryl Kennedy of NREL and Tex Wilkins from DOE was fantastic. A packed room held on to every word those two said. Possibly the only scary thing was I think both made Solar sound very “easy” to get into- which quite frankly it is not. It may seem so, but I think people will find the barriers are not as achievable as it looks. Still a super turnout.

-- The attitude here overall has been solid- very little doomsday and mostly people trying to ride this storm out. That is a good sign since panic is obviously not the best approach for anyone.

-- By the way GANA has a very cool website for Energy news… you can access it HERE.

-- And speaking of GANA, once again the work by folks like Brian Pittman, Ashley Charest and Carol Land has been tremendous. Good people who deserve props.

-- In case you were wondering… the Walker Glass fashion plates did not disappoint. I came here for 6 days all packed in a carry on. They came for 2 nights and packed a suitcase each that could house a small family. I guess style has its pains eh?

Now time for who I saw…. Like Page 6 for the glass industry….

-- I got to see Ren Bartoe dressed to the nines for the formal dinner… but even with that he sported a gold tie in honor of the Super Bowl champs… saw Mike Nicklas and some other guy from Berkowitz. It’s tough on poor Mike that he has to do all the talking for that group. He needs to have that other fellow come out of his shell…. Got to hang out with Joe Erb from Edgetech during the Energy meetings… he suffered through all of my whines and moans as the Solar Panel made getting into solar sound as easy as buying a cup of coffee…. Speaking of solar I got to talk to Kevin Brooks of PPG… he is their market development person for that stuff and they really have the right guy there… good man and he’ll have some serious success at getting PPG deep into that market… had the pleasure of talking to one of my favorite people. Dr. Helen Sanders of Sage. As everyone knows Sage is a big time favorite product of mine (I really believe it will be a dominant force out there) and so it’s always great to chat with Helen. Though I was bummed that her compatriot Maure Creager did not make the trip… Always great to see Henry Gorry from Guardian.. he is truly a CLASS guy.... Margaret Webb of IGMA was here and it’s amazing how many meetings that she has to attend- especially recently… I have to wonder if she can remember what city she is in sometimes with all the travel… Nils Petermann of the Alliance to Save Energy(and NFRC Board member) was in attendance… I have always found Nils to be friendly, thoughtful and intelligent and this time was no different… which makes me wonder- he along with a couple of other NFRC board members are like that (Kerry Haglund comes to mind in the same vein) yet somehow that Board makes the most illogical calls… I guess somehow they all follow people like Jeff Baker… shame.

-- Last a major thanks to the Vockler family and ICD (and for those of you who somehow don’t know ICD IS OPACI-COAT Spandrel among other great products. They took me (probably as a charitable donation thing- they get a tax break for it under the new stimulus plan) to the Elton John show at Caesars Palace. Simply incredible… Elton still has it… but the videos he plays while he sings are so bizarre that the word “bizarre” is just not strong enough. Still a great show- despite the stunning omission of “Crocodile Rock” from the playlist. Thank you Larry, Trish and Kris- I am grateful.

-- BEC gets going with an 8AM Sunday Technical meeting- then the cocktail party later that night, then the fun goes all day Monday and Tuesday… should be an interesting time.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

All Stars and More

As I sit on the plane headed to Vegas for Glassweek and BEC it dawns on me that this event is more like an All Star game then an industry gathering. When I review the attendance list and I see some of the names I am simply blown away that the talent in the room is the best there is. Looking at the names you have your industry “Superstars” (as I called them back a few years back) like Julie Schimmelpenningh, Greg Carney, Mike Gainey, Christine Shaffer and Scott Surma. Then you have the folks that kick butt day in and day out like Jay Phillips, Garret Henson, Tom Culp, Kris Vockler, Matt Sampsel, Chris McMahon and so on. Plus you have the best glazing contractors in the country represented. People like Walters & Wolf, Trainor. Harmon, Ajay, Chicago Heights, United Glass and Panel, DM Products, Admiral, CGI and the list goes on and on and on. And while we’re at it, no meeting would be complete without the Haber’s and W&W. In addition there’s the people and companies I’ve never met that I am hoping to say hi to like the folks from APG, Glass Systems, and Cheviot. And finally to top it off you get the rock star quotient covered too with the appearance and speech by Guardian’s Russ Ebeid. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I could go on and on. Heck I may even ask for autographs this year! (That is of course from the people who DON’T have restraining orders against me….which at this point are most of the people listed above.)


-- Obviously the tone at Glassweek and BEC should be pretty interesting. Is it as bad in our industry as it seems it is in the “real world”? Should make for some fun discussions between customers and suppliers.

-- The technical schedules of course are full and that’s where the serious work gets done. This is what makes Glassweek great and GANA unique.

-- Oh and the Walker Glass guys will be here and the joy in that is seeing their outfits. No one, and I mean no one can do fashion like Danik, Marc and Rocco. Aside from making some awesome glass, these guys can really dress. Someday I need to go to Montreal and go shopping with them- it would be like “Extreme Makeover” glass edition.

-- The latest issue of USGlass has another tremendous Deb Levy interview this time with Leon Silverstein. Deb has really taken these interviews to a tremendous level and each one is better than the last. I can’t wait to see who she has lined up next.

-- And in that interview, Leon made a comment on the NFRC and I believe that many people will get a huge kick out of it. Basically the comment was that Arch as a company would have no issues with the NFRC or their plans but we know it’s bad for our customers and the industry. That’s been the fight all along. I have always said that I welcome a full system calculation plan but the NFRC attempt lacks so much logic it’s painful and really that’s why I believe it will be DOA. The current economic crisis will only accelerate the sinking of this ship and I believe in the end all of us who fought will be proven correct.

-- USGNN had an update on the awful and bogus lawsuits that are happening right now with the float guys. And once again I have to clarify that the Perilstein Glass that is listed has nothing to do with me, my brother, sister or family. It sucks that we have the same last name because this whole shenanigan makes me ill actually.

-- Last I’ll try and post more while I am out here to get a flavor for what is happening. Friday is the first ever GANA Energy committee meeting and there’s also a pretty solid panel involved in that too. It should be very interesting. Stanley Yee, (another one of those industry stars) is heading up this committee so I can pretty much guarantee some very good insight to be forthcoming.

Off to the Links!

So I know many of you are breathlessly following the adventures of the “Link Chick”- she is still weighing the offer to do the Cuba thing but she has still found time to send in some of the coolest and interesting links out on the web today. I think the “Link Chick” should take the Cuba gig as this blog gets hits every week from Finland, Germany, Israel, China (yikes), Japan, UAE, and England so I would love to add Cuba to that list!

-- Could your marriage survive a year of total, brutal honesty? Hmmmm.

-- A forgotten subway from 1844 under Brooklyn. Interesting story and somehow I bet Jim Fairley has been in this or around it.

-- Heads up, your Girl Scout cookies contain less cookies then in the past… oh man that’s actually good news, won’t feel as bad when you finish off a box real quick!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Quick Saturday Post

2 quick items...

1. The Stimulus plan... evidently, according to Bloomberg, one of the items taken out of the stimulus plan was the following:

The Senate agreement pared from the bill $20 billion for school construction, $2 billion to expand broadband access in rural areas, $3.5 billion to make federal buildings more energy efficient and $200 million for NASA.

Yes you have to love it... so while there can be TONS of things removed porkwise from this bill, one of the things is energy efficiency? Wow... they must've asked Marc LaFrance for his opinion and he probably is still waiting for a call back from Garrett Stone to give it. (Sorry- insider reference).
Seriously this one is comical... personally I think they should make sure if they are giving any money or support to the NFRC that needs to go bye bye.

But on the flip side- I would've loved to have see how the energy efficiencies were going to take place. Were they going to add Solar Panels, Electrochomic Glazing and high performance Low E? If thats the case then it really is a huge loss. But the comedy of it is the total lack of care for energy efficiency- all the way at the top.

2. California is now so broke that state agencies are cutting work hours. Add this to the delay in refunds and the state is hurting for cash flow bad. So hopefully the Gov will start slashing at the CEC- especially when he see's how much of California's resources have been squandered by chasing illogical NFRC style programs.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Being stimulated to buy American

Obviously the top story this week should be that great Steeler win in the Super Bowl, but I’ll cover that below. For all of us the big story is the on-going debate on the “Stimulus” and the parts and pieces that make it up. One part that is starting get some play was a “Buy American” provision that pretty much sounds exactly like the Buy American act that is currently on the books. Except this one brings a little more teeth to the proceedings. Unfortunately the EU did not like it very much and as of early Wednesday, President Obama was backtracking some. But the bottom line is some sort of protection needs to be built in, promoted and ENFORCED. The communist Chinese and now more intensely the Colombians are dumping material in this country when quite frankly many people need all of the business they can get. And yes I know I am being ultra protectionist here, but when it comes to glass and glazing there is nothing more galling than seeing a public building (like an airport) that features material that could’ve been manufactured and fabricated here in the US. Add to it that in 90% of the situations the traditional glazier gets cut out too and you have the recipe for disaster. So in between all of the fights on where this stimulus ends, here’s hoping that the Buy American angles are not just forgotten.


-- Speaking of the Stimulus- click here for a list of some of the “Wishes” that state and local folks want… some are verrrrrry ugly.

-- Super Bowl XLIII was fantastic and as a Steeler fan it was over the top. Somewhere my fellow Steeler fans like Ren Bartoe and Bob Lang must be in major celebratory mode. Now unlike the Seahawks from a few years ago who had fans (most notably Jerry Razwick) is anyone really a fan of the Cardinals? Anyone out there crushed by their loss? I have a feeling not.

-- The commercials by the way for the game were the worst I have ever seen. Between people trying to cut budgets and trying to be as “PC” as possible, the commercials are the biggest waste of time and money around. Aside from the Dorito’s pieces (which were written by non commercial writers by the way) the rest of the lot was terrible.

-- Did you catch the Atlantic Arena glass debacle story from USGNN earlier in the week? Evidently bullet resistant glass for a structure that large does not come cheap. It’s funny that they are more worried about the drive by’s than a possible bomb. Very rare trade off there that’s for sure.

-- I have written a few times on the following including a piece for USGlass on the scam of “magazines” calling and offering to write a “free” article about your company. The catch is that someone- either you or your customers or suppliers will have to “sponsor” it. So it’s not free. Plus these magazine do not appear anywhere- you won’t find them on a newsstand or on line- they are pretty much custom made for the suckers that fall for this scam. They have names like “Green Building News and Views” or “Executive Excellence” and it amazes me that literally everyday I get a call from either a customer of ours who got hooked on one of these or from the fake magazine themselves. Today’s call the gal told me that since 80% of companies have a rule against supplying their customers names or suppliers names (80% - boy the other 20% are dumber than sticks) that we could just “sponsor” the article ourselves! Wow isn’t that precious! Seriously folks this falls into the “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” category… and if you want pub… do it the right and old fashioned way- call up a legit magazine (like USGlass as an example) and work a deal with them.
Like the above story the scams come in all shapes and sizes- its just a shame that some people just want to steal- instead of earn.

Off to the LINKS!

The link chick has hammered me with some great ones again… I guess she has time before she starts her gig in Cuba. By the way, I heard the first thing she wants to bring to Cuba is some sort of game night dating plan… go Link Chick Go!

-- Another story on a plane that just sits on the frozen runway… how in the world have not figured this issue out yet? Every year it happens multiple times… why?

-- In China the financial crisis is driving some people to… jokes?

-- Long and odd piece on 2009 being the “Year of Panic” and just think if this guy had ever heard of the NFRC...

-- Best for last... a tremendous piece on an athlete who lost her memory during an accident but yet still soldiers on.

Video of the week:

Got to be the best commercial of the Super Bowl… shame that the competition was only between 2 spots… c’mon Hollywood let’s get creative eh! Regardless I got a kick out of this piece!