Thursday, December 23, 2010

2010 Year in Review

Amazing how many e mails I got asking me where the “Year in Review” is… well folks strap in, because it’s here… pretty much all below appeared in a regular blog post along the way…


The news about Zeledyne exiting the commercial glass industry came out. Very sad then and very sad now… plus to make matters worse some of their best people have yet to hook on with anyone yet. The end of an era for sure… Meanwhile, PPG won Product of the Year for their Blue Glass…. California announced a new building code which goes into effect 1/1/11…. “24” returned for its last season (still bummed it’s gone)… Winter was battering Minnesota and Washington DC… and somewhere a moronic analyst was being employed to make incoherent and irrelevant comments in a classic piece of ambush journalism… (not me, I am a moronic blogger, not analyst!)


A great blog started called the “” but it sadly it soon disappeared. Shame because it had serious potential…. We had a hero in our world when Robin DeHaven of Binswanger Glass in Austin, TX rushed into a building that was hit by a plane to save several people... and oh a certain company emerged from Bankruptcy with a ton less fanfare from when they entered it…. And that emergence made every so called “expert” look really stupid as their predictions were blatantly wrong.


“Cash for Caulkers” gets announced…Greg Carney’s new career as a consultant started to take off… and seriously there are not many people in this world in the awesome class that Greg is in… The ABI went up and everyone figured here comes the positive trend… nope…. Vitro made the first of many incredible hires in Cathy Finney (yes look back to the blog post, I made that comment before I was biased!) and Guardian did the same with Jay Phillips…. Friend of the Blog, Deron Patterson of PPG made news getting his LEED AP… good guy Deron is… The Mighty Ohio Bobcats beat Georgetown!...and BEC/Glassweek was held and despite the economy people there were staying positive…


General Glass announced the start of a architecture and design department… brilliant move that was copied by a few… China Southern Glass sponsored a NFRC meeting, matching two of the most annoying items in my life…. The first news of the push for ASHRAE to have a negative approach on our industry popped up… Brad Austin takes the reins as President of Harmon… the NFRC continued to astound and annoy (no surprise there) and a certain blogger found a new home…


Went into the woods at 4th grade camp… and survived… my daughter picked the Triple Crown starting with the Derby… awesome… brilliant move by Solutia with their World of Color award program launch… Les George retires after many great years in the industry… and the biggest story, Leon Silverstein left Arch ushering in the start of a very tumultuous summer and fall…


Alcoa “buys” TRACO…. (still odd to see the new TRACO look within the Kawneer world.) Bill Cully, founder of United Plate Glass passed… a price increase hit the streets and while some people tried very hard to keep it, I would say 6 months later it was not a success…. Hartung Glass and the very shrewd Nick Sciola acquired Holcam Sales… Hartung and Nick had a very active year actually- good publicity all around with smart decisions and promotions…. AIA was a dud in Miami (with the exception of Earnest Thompson and Guardian’s awesome “ePod” educational setup) and now is under new management for this year’s show in New Orleans… GANA had a very successful Solar Symposium… and the ABI went down badly… ugh…


NFRC announced it was waiving fees to get people involved in their programs.. they offered lots of incentives like that all year long… wonder why… LOL! Guardian, PPG and Pilkington all had very big solar related news, showing that segment is alive and well… Cap and Trade died for the first time… and my life changed… on July 9th I got the boot… and soon after scores of people at Arch either left or got terminated as the winds of change blew in. For me 5 months later it’s a major blessing and I should’ve known that… as July 9th was also the date I asked my wife to marry me, so the karma was actually good. As the talent drained at Arch, other companies like Oldcastle, Vitro, UGC, RIG, and GGI swooped in and added great people.


The ABI still was scuffling along… the GANA Fall Conference took place and was headlined by the continued amazing work of Dr. Tom Culp. Our industry is really, really lucky to have him. Arch got a new CEO, a marketing guy of all things… all the while firing people using lines from the movie “Up in the Air” and offering bogus 2 week severance packages… yep class acts there… Dems and the GOP were on pace to spend a BILLION dollars on the November election… sick. Guardian hit a PR home run with their announcement on their BIM program… Vitro makes a slick move in acquiring Desert Glass in Vegas.


GlassBuild America was held in Vegas.. solid show overall and some positive feelings… PPG starts a fashion trend with the zip up vests… Leon resurfaces along with brother Rick and former Archie and the incredibly talented Manny Valladares in the purchase of SMI in Florida. Someday I think Rick will write a book on his journey from the last days of Arch that will be riveting…. The freakin idiot Bobcat mascot tried to attack the Buckeye.. sad… and most importantly I ended up at a tremendous company with fantastic people at Vitro. No doubt prayers answered and each day is awesome. Just blown away at what I have joined into here… still.


The ASHRAE moves go down… major props to Dr. Culp along with people like Helen Sanders of SAGE and Stanley Yee of The Façade Group (among others) who led the fight so beautifully. The UGC closes Mid Ohio Tempering… that one still smarts. Infinite Edge Technologies, a company founded by Glass Hall of Famer Eric Rapp and his sons makes a major splash at glasstec… The USGBC gets sued and that action will have repercussions for years to come…Donald Trump acted like a putz with his Chinese window debacle… and “Death Ray” glass put our industry in the mainstream media…


People started to question if the economy was coming back this year, the next or 2013… SAGE gets a massive boost in the way of an 80 million dollar strategic investment by St. Gobain… a huge move that gives credence to everything the gang at SAGE has worked for… Also justifies that segment of the business and shows we do have more technology here than people give us credit for. Greenbuild had a solid show in Chicago in a tight, smallish room…. The ABI sucked again… the NFRC tried to entice people again… Viracon buys Glassec in Brazil… Kid Rock’s new CD comes out making my wife oh so very happy.


Suresh Kumar, let go as COO of Arch… that was an epic 4 month run.... The theme of bad customer service took hold thanks to a great piece in the NYT. US Aluminum got hammered in a newspaper piece… the roof of the Metrodome collapsed making a great video…


Well it was the classic “Best of times, worst of times” year. But the key was the worst of times were early in the year and now we move forward on a great high. Plus I am so happy for so many folks who found new places to work this year… ultra talented people like Steve Martin, John Dubose, Rob Taliani, Terry Hessom and many many more found new homes that will truly respect and appreciate their abilities. Not to mention my brother who landed with the great folks at GGI- a great match for both sides indeed. In addition I have had the honor of meeting and working with people that I have a ton of respect for and that’s been unreal. Industry wise, we continue to battle… the NGA and GANA are doing their thing in protecting us… the NFRC continues to astound… and more and more people are just getting more aware of how our world is working.
2011 should be a very interesting year… some will win and gain and we’re probably going to lose some folks along the way as well. No matter what I look forward to covering it here….

And on that note.. a sincere thank you to everyone who stops by and reads this blog. When it started in 2005, it was a chance for therapy and still is, but now, for good or bad, my therapy is pretty public! Anyway I am grateful to all of you who read and take time to communicate with me on what happens here.

To everyone out there in the industry, wishing you and your families only the best this holiday season and a happy and healthy (both physically and business wise) 2011!

Monday, December 20, 2010


For those of you who look here first on Sunday/Monday... the new post is coming sometime this week... sorry for the delay...

I am actually writing this from way up in the air thanks to the Wi Fi here on the plane and my luck of an exit row set (legroom!!)

Anyway.. 2010 in review is in the works and will be up sometime this week....

Hope everyone is well...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yep it happens here too...

Last week’s customer service piece brought a ton of reaction my way. But really none better than the folks who informed/reminded me of the fact this “bullying” tactic happens in our industry all the time. Now it’s nowhere near the personal vile that the NYT piece presented but there’s a few manufacturers/fabricators that have used the bully tactic- basically threatening that if you use someone else, you’ll never get to use their company again and you will be ruined. Now most people would normally ignore such a threat, especially when you are in our world right now of tons of supply, low low prices and weak demand. But incredibly, there are people who actually buy into this- including one account who I persobally know of who literally believed if they gave work to other fabricators they would be doomed. So moral to the story is I guess the negative and bully approach has its merits, even our little piece of the world.


-- Has ever the line “The weather outside is frightful” been more accurate than this weekend for the folks in the Midwest? What a miserable storm… and how about the roof of the Metrodome in Minnesota ripping apart? The video from Fox showing the tear and the water streaming in was amazing. (The footage of the collapse is our Video of the Week)

-- I am patiently waiting in the next batch of leaks from Wikileaks the inside story of the NFRC. You know that has to be in there right?

-- This week’s rant about air travel… it’s the pet peeve of not putting your smaller item under the seat in front of you. The overhead bins are tight enough as it is, but last week I watched person after person put their briefcase, laptop bag, purse etc up top. Just makes me nuts. Cmon folks common courtesy would be nice.

-- Interesting to see how the case between AGC and the City of Marshall, Michigan plays out. Mashall gave AGC tax breaks for their plant there but when AGC shuttered the location, it made the town want to get the lost tax money back- or “clawback” as the article stated. I see both sides here- a deal is a deal and AGC was within their rights to do what they did- heck they stayed their longer than most people would’ve given how bad the economy was. But the city has some angles here too with the commitments and length of the deal. Regardless this sort of thing is going to show up more in more because happy days are surely not here yet and municipalities are really hurting. They simple can’t afford the old Dire Straits theme- “Money for Nothing”

-- Meanwhile US Aluminum took some heat from this wild newspaper article HERE. What I don’t get is how does a newspaper write something so enflaming and NOT get a quote from the company its hammering?

-- Last this week a heads up… the next two weeks will be the 2010 year in review parts 1 and 2…. 2010 was probably the most bizarre year I have ever experienced, so going back through will surely be interesting. I may have to finish it from a psych ward, but it will be done. For those of you bugging out after this week… have a super holiday season and a healthy, happy and prosperous 2011!


-- A warning to those of you who travel… beware the “free” Wi-Fi offers… it could be a scam…

-- Simply a stunning link and pictures… the third most awesome island in the world is in the Arctic Circle. Seriously. Not a typo. Now I am not going there anytime soon but my gosh, it sure looks incredible.

-- And speaking of incredible photos… this one from a story about birds and their predators. Crazy.


As noted above-the collapse of the Minnesota Metrodome roof… just mind blowing watching it happen. Thank goodness no one was in there at the time!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

When bad customer service is good

Customer service and doing it well is something that gets pushed into all of us every day. You learn from early on in your career that the better you treat the customer, the better chance you have to be successful. Plus there’s even a cottage industry of speakers, classes, and consultants to talk, teach and drive good customer service. But this past week I read the most amazing story on going “opposite” of customer service- by bullying and abusing your customer to build your online base upon negative comments. (truly an effect of working in the internet world with page views and ranks) It’s simply mind blowing and the article can be found HERE. It’s quite the read and simply amazing that this “opposite” approach could actually work if dialed down just a bit. Treating your customers badly and it working? Talk about putting the world you know on its ear!

-- Last week’s ABI column brought a lot of good feedback- one angle that was brought up by someone much more astute than me was the fact these are “billings” and as we all are experiencing contraction of available business (and stupidity) is driving prices down- so billings are probably less as well. I mean you have to figure architects are working off of smaller margins too right?

-- Thoughts going out to a former co worker of mine Dan Luna. Heard he is battling a significant health issue. Mr. Luna is a tremendous guy who I know can overcome anything in his path…. The guy has the ability to build nuclear reactors (probably the only guy in our industry who can) so I know he’ll get through this. Thoughts and prayers to him and his family during this time.

-- Lots of LEED news this past week. Glass Magazine linked to an interesting article that talked about the growth of the green building segment- though I swear any future prediction by McGraw Hill has to be taken with many grains of salt. Also in a very interesting article HERE on passive homes, LEED takes a shot to the chin too. In any case green no matter how you slice it continues to drive conversation.

-- Pretty bummed that the US lost its bid for the World Cup in 2022. What a cool event and it would’ve been a neat experience for the States. The US lost to the country of Qatar. Not sure how the whole Qatar thing will work out but considering their approach to human rights and their hatred of Israel (if you have a stamp from Israel on your passport, they won’t allow you in) I am not real positive.

This week we dedicate the links to our friends across the pond… all three come from the British.

-- What brought the Dinosaurs to us? Yep it had to be Global Warming.

-- It’s funny I see this a ton nowadays… Teachers sending out reports with spelling and grammar errors.

-- And this may be the worst soccer team in the history of the world. I’m guessing none of these guys will see the World Cup…

Simply crazy finish to a High School football game… very rare that these plays work, but this one did… the 2nd angle about ½ way through the video is better to watch by the way.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why the ABI may matter

After reading last week’s ABI (Architectural Billings Index) I had a nagging feeling that I needed to see how accurate that whole process is/was. So during the holiday weekend I decided to go back into the archives of Glass Magazine to investigate. What I found was somewhat telling, a 4 part series (great job by Katy Devlin) from late 2007 that predicted the slow down to come. Back then you could see some signs on the horizon, but most of the world was blind (or better yet fat and happy), but yet the ABI started to decrease and the warning signs went up. Now there is no doubt the ABI is not perfect and they had plenty of stops and starts in the past, but they did probably do the most accurate accounting of the commercial side, so the numbers that come out from them in next few months should be taken seriously and hopefully they are better than in the past.


-- Hope everyone had a great holiday… I am still full…

-- Now before we blink its Hanukah, then Christmas and New Years… man time is flying.

-- More good news from the area of glass industry and technological advancements… The folks at Soladigm just picked up a tremendous honor and award from GE. Soladigm was chosen to be a part of GE’s 200 million dollar ecomagination challenge. GE picked 12 companies total to be a part of this incredible opportunity. More info is HERE. End of the day this yet ANOTHER great announcement of news showing that our industry is advanced, we are creating cutting edge materials and we are not the stick in the mud that some like to make us out to be. Congrats to the gang at Soladigm on this great news!

-- Speaking of great news, I am sure the folks at Viracon are still pretty pumped over their acquisition of Glasstec in Brazil. While so many in the industry thought Viracon would expand domestically, if you listened to the quarterly calls, the focus always has been on growing internationally and this was a great first step. Now how long before Dr. Don McCann is as big of a legend in Brazil as Ronaldo, Kaka, and Ronaldinho?

-- How about the article on the Harmon Hotel in Vegas possibly being imploded? My gosh that would just add to one of the wildest construction stories ever. Seriously some great writer needs to jump on the entire story of CityCenter… from the birth and concept to the crazy construction stories to the “death rays” to this. It seriously could be an epic read.

-- I am bummed Boise State lost. Then again the only Idaho football team I root for is Idaho State since I know a hall of famer from that institution.

-- One last note from Greenbuild 2010… next year that show is in Toronto and it will be very interesting to see how that effects the attendance. I think it will actually do more than 30,000 but the breakdown will be severely weighted down from the northeast and Canada overall. If I do that show though I will go to Montreal first and get clothing advice from the Walker guys because otherwise my Midwest duds will not play.

-- Last, if you want to see a brainless, gory, but actually somewhat enjoyable movie go check out “Faster” staring “The Rock” Dwayne Johnson. It won’t win any awards but for 90 minutes you surely forgot about ABI’s and certifications and China and so on, and to me that is worth it.


-- Cracking me up here…. the conundrum of the “green” parking garage.

-- As a big time dog lover, I dig this idea… a restaurant for dogs…

-- Headshaker story of the week… guy gets arrested for DWI three times… IN ONE WEEK!! This is surely a case of a guy that should never be allowed anything with motor again.


Sorry this one has to be a fake or a fix. A cat staring down 2 alligators while people just stand casually by? Too bizarre but worth the watch…

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Greenbuild Review and More

In addition to the coverage of Greenbuild that Katy Devlin and the team from Glass Magazine provided, I offer you my own special take. Overall the show continues to generate tremendous buzz and is still pretty much dominated by a much younger crowd than AIA. After a slow start, with what most people I talked to said was the worst first day of any show, ever, the rest of the time did improve enough for many folks to consider it a winner. So while the whole “green” push may be mellowing some and finding a fair and rightful place in our world (far from the over the top greenwashing from the early days)there’s no doubt that segment still has sizzle.


As is my tradition… seen and heard from the trade show floor…

-- The style of the show was copycat… several exhibitors copied the incredibly cool vest style created by Rob Struble at PPG. Even the folks at PPG noticed it. It was everywhere. Anyway I think Rob being the trendsetter he is, now has a knack for fashion, wonder how long before Ralph Lauren comes after him to design the 2011 line?
SAGE, fresh off their incredible news was swamped each and every time I walked by… I am very happy for them that’s for sure…. It was wild to see TRACO incorporated in the Kawneer booth, I had to do a double take… Dlubak and Pilkington were across the aisle from each other with Doralco, Berkowitz, and Edgetech all around the corner, so that was actually one part of the show floor that had some flow. It was good to see all of those guys… yes even Bob Price. Viracon was as busy as normal… I joked with them that they should just retire the booth and set up a white sheet with their logo on it because people were coming to see the folks working and not the stuff behind them… I guess the Starship Enterprise has been put out of service as OldcastleBE again went with the wide open “White Album/Siegfried & Roy” look.

OK now onto non Greenbuild stuff…

-- The ABI went down, which was disappointing but not all that unexpected. New project inquiries were still in decent shape, but the bugaboo is the financing, and quite frankly until some loosening there happens, I think this report will continue to be about the same monthly.

-- Hey, interesting offer from NFRC as they are pushing a special introductory rate to join. Basically ½ price for year one… which is interesting to me on a bunch of levels- with times so tough, it’s a shame that existing members aren’t getting a break and really comical the membership push has come to this. And by the way, your vote wasn’t worth anything at full price- it surely won’t be listened to at half price either.

-- Congrats to Tracy and Ellen Rogers on the birth of their son Rylan George. Cool name that is. Considering how well the Mom writes and how great the Dad speaks, that kid is going to be a heck of media threat when he grows up!

-- Finally this week… those of you who know me know that my favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Always has been and despite what seemingly always happens to me lately around this holiday, always will be. It’s the perfect mix of family, food and football and a time to cherish for sure. So from me and my family to you and yours- Happy Thanksgiving!!

LINKS of the WEEK!

-- Simply a crazy story on a school principal going to the home of students who were called in sick and trying to force them to go to school. Seriously nutty here.

-- I hate flying but I am not sure I follow this story too well… people refusing to get off a plane… man I don’t care where I land, get me off that thing whenever I can!

-- Why I hate Facebook... It just spawns crud like this guy and why people post stuff that may be inappropriate is beyond me.

VIDEO of the WEEK!

Still working off my backlog of videos… thanks for sending… this one is crazy… and I think it had to be fixed… a gal gets the answer on Wheel of Fortune waaaaaay too quick. The only person I know that could do this would probably be Scott Surma… seriously watch this and tell me if this could really happen…

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Grenbuild on tap

The big show this week is Greenbuild 2010 in Chicago. This show has grown dramatically over the years and is now becoming a place for people to roll out new products, mostly because the media still finds being “green” very sexy. In any case like all other shows, the key to me is measuring the attitude of where our economy is going and getting a feel for morale. In addition with this show specifically it will be fun to see if the average age of the attendees goes beyond the mid 20’s. The floor traffic at the last few Greenbuild shows have been dominated by that age group and that is probably one drawback to this event is that you sometimes don’t reach the level of decision maker that you crave. So we’ll be there for one day and I’ll report back next week…


-- Speaking of Greenbuild 2010, SAGE Electrochromics will be there and they’ll have more bounce in their step than normal. As you may have seen, SAGE had huge news last week when it announced that Saint-Gobain had made an 80 million dollar strategic investment into their company. That news is simply GIGANTIC. It absolutely tells the world that what SAGE has been doing is for real and that the entire dynamic glass segment is here to stay and will be a major part of our world going forward. I am thrilled for the fine folks at SAGE and pumped from an industry standpoint because as I have harped many, many times here- new technology is the key for us advancing and thriving as an industry.

-- My thoughts are with the folks from Emerald Art Glass out of Pittsburgh after a fire at their warehouse last week. Emerald was one of the first real customers I got to deal with when I was starting out and the owners Bob and Kim Zielinski always treated me and my family extremely well. They have done some amazing work in their years and if anyone can come back even better after an event like this, it’s them.

-- Lots of discussion from last week’s story on the economy coming back in 2011 vs. 2013…. Most folks think it will be back later this year, so basically let’s hope if they are right- because I am one to say if it doesn’t come back in 2011, something tells me that original wild 2013 prediction may be true. Yikes.

-- Big week in my household ahead as on the 16th (today if you are reading via EWeekly) Kid Rock’s new CD comes out and for my wife, it’s like a holiday. It will be fun to see if she is the oldest person in line at Best Buy that day.

-- It’s an end of a marketing era as General Motors has decided to retire the whole “Mr. Goodwrench” program, deciding to go with the more staid and corporate “Certified” angle. It’s a sad day as yet another icon of the past goes away but something tells me that this theme will come back again someday.

-- Last this week… the NFRC had a meeting last week and nothing exciting happened but from their wonderful blog coverage (and no sarcasm there actually, they do cover it pretty well) came this absolutely hilarious quote:
NFRC’s Membership Manager, Anita Marsh, echoed Hanlon’s comments, pointing out that one of the most valuable aspects of NFRC membership is that it provides a voice and a vote. Marsh said other membership benefits include access to inside information, networking opportunities, and the chance to build consumer trust in the marketplace.
“Our members lead change, and making the most of your membership helps NFRC serve the public good,” Marsh concluded. “The transformation of our industry starts with you.”

WOW…. I can see many of the people I used to attend meetings with absolutely doubling over when they read that the membership provides a voice and a vote…. The only voice you have is if it agrees with the board… because end of the day, the board makes all the calls there and as for votes… big deal because even when you have margins like 45-6, if the board disagrees, that vote doesn’t matter. But hey a new sucker is born every minute right?


-- Great read here on where the “best looking” people in America live. The winner was Charleston, SC, while the last place finisher was Memphis, TN…. Now since I am pretty much a Memphis guy now I take serious offense to this- there’s some great looking folks in my new town and believe me I have been to many, many uglier places… (and yes this poll happened before I got there- which makes the challenge of Memphis digging out of the basement even tougher now! Sorry gang)

-- How to get out of jury duty… mentioning your pal the serial killer…

-- Living underground in Vegas... Very sad and disturbing story for sure.


I actually now have a pretty solid backlog of videos- thank you to all who are sharing- and please keep em coming!!
Anyway this video should’ve run last week with Veteran’s Day and all but here it is- it’s about an incredible soldier, a real life “Rambo” as I was told. This piece is slightly different than the one I was sent (couldn’t get the original to work on here) but it tells a great story about a man who didn’t get the recognition he deserved for all he did for our country. Sadly, the subject of this story passed away this past February. Watch it and give props to one of the toughest men ever to walk the earth.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Will it be 2011 or... 2013?

Almost a year ago I wrote about a story where analysts felt the return of better times in the commercial glass industry would not start to pick up until 2013. I noted then that it boggled my mind because most analysts predicted a return by the end of 2010. Well here we are at the end of 2010 and those analysts were pretty wrong. Now those same analysts are predicting a slight increase in 2011 on the commercial side. Can they be right this time? It will be interesting to see that is for sure…. And I wonder if these guys will get terminated if they are wrong again or is forecasting the economy for our industry like doing the weather on TV? No weatherman ever gets fired for missing that big storm prediction…


-- Well the election is over… and after the lame duck session it will be time to get to work. Hopefully the focus will be in the right place, the rhetoric will be put away in favor action that helps the country advance forward.

-- I saw legendary gold medalist Michael Phelps in the airport last week. Pretty cool sighting. A buddy of mine asked me if I went up to him to get a picture or autograph… I didn’t because I always remember Greg Carney telling me how he hates getting mobbed in airports and all…. so out respect for his personal space I left him alone… now if it was someone that my kids would’ve gotten a charge of (Wrestlers, Sid Crosby or Taylor Swift) then I’d have to waive that rule in order to be a good dad.

-- Saw IronMan 2 last week as well and like the Spiderman movies, what a great movie to promote the beauty of tempered glass…. Tons of tempered used throughout… I think the supplier should get a note during the films credits….cause to a glass geek like me the glass had a starring role.

-- Missed this last week, but E Weekly ran the note on Columbus, Ohio being the on top of the list for metro areas adding construction jobs. Made me and many others think back to the news of Mid Ohio closing… so Columbus is growing and the branch closes? Yep, looks like if the rumored guy from out west opens there he’ll be stepping into a nice spot. (and that guy seemingly ALWAYS steps in to nice spots!)

-- Though the flip side is the overall 17.3 unemployment rate on the construction side. Ugly stuff folks… man I hope that analyst from above is right this time…

-- Amazingly quiet this week was the announcement of the NFRC election results. A few years ago that event was huge- lots of interest and candidates (including good friend Cliff Monroe who ran a spirited campaign) and there was a buzz. But when the establishment not only won, but kept ignoring a major part of the participants, people stopped caring. It didn’t matter anymore because they were going to do what they wanted. Sad….

-- Last… later this week we observe Veterans Day… and that day does mean something to many people and it is more than just a day without banks or mail. (Well it is my Mom’s birthday- so that’s extremely important) We are honoring the folks who were willing and sometimes gave the ultimate sacrifice. They put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. So if you know a vet, take em to lunch, call and thank them, send them best wishes, or any sort of positive karma because one holiday is not enough to thank them for what they did for us. End of the day this is a celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.


-- As some of you know I am less and less a fan of air travel. One angle is I am frustrated with the security- while measures are needed, I think what we do in American airports is a hot mess of inefficiencies and overkills. And I’m not alone…

-- This story will turn your stomach.. sorry… its about a 10 year old giving birth… ugh.

-- Could there be a Ghostbusters 3? Noooooooooo. Don’t do it!


Nike recently did a LeBron James commercial to try and rebuild his image…. It was good… BUT this response from Cleveland was MUCH BETTER… someone there decided to re-do the commercial with folks from Cleveland answering his question of “What should I do?” Brilliant rebuttal folks!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The battles will continue

The IECC hearings were held last week in Charlotte and as an industry we did get a couple of “wins” but overall we are still chasing our tails. Codes and code implementation and enforcement are usually positive things from a business sense, but not when they are illogical or impossible to produce with some sort of efficiency. The ironic thing in these fights is usually most of the manufacturers are one side and the consultants and advocacy group are on the other. Why we can’t ever take the best of both (like Dr. Tom Culp always tries to push) is beyond me. As an example, I truly believe the manufacturer side is not B-S’ing you when they talk about structural integrity. Believe me they know and work with the products- have installed it etc. So when a consultant or politico breaks into a speech that a Vinyl curtainwall can go 20 floors in the sky and hold up the same as metal or steel… well sorry, not in my world. Anyway, bottom line is the fight goes on.


-- I have to say that no other cause has ever done a better job of being commercially active than Breast Cancer Awareness. The folks behind that effort in getting the pink involved EVERYWHERE should be commended for their efforts. It’s all over the place- in magazines, TV, Football players, hockey players using pink sticks and so on. It’s absolutely amazing. Hopefully all of this will lead to the advancements needed to strike down this and other related diseases.

-- Last week’s note on USGBC raised several comments to me personally and one on the post itself. The issue that some people have is the program is just not realistic in some levels. People will use products to get “points” or “credits” and they may not be the best products for the long term life of the structure. It becomes a game in a way. And quite frankly the fact that glass doesn’t count as recycled material or powdercoat and liquid paint count the same are among other issues. I don’t deny that it has made people aware of green building and it does do some good things- but the issues that Henry Gifford and other naysayers have are legitimate.

-- I missed making my NBA picks last week… so here they are… take em to the bank… in the East… no doubt despite having no other players the Miami Heat will win. LeBron is just a beast and once these guys figure out how to play 3 on 5 every night…look out. In the West… hard to argue with the Lakers- just too much talent there… funny that Kobe is now more popular than LeBron. And in the finals I like the Lakers to repeat…

-- The PPG story on the supply of the WTC glass at least is happier than it was a few months ago. It’s a shame the glass will be fabricated in China though, but I guess it’s still a win. Kudos to PPG for staying on it like they did as the initial reaction on all parties was that this deal was done and there was no turning back. Kind of proves that some things are not over until they are over.

-- Last, this election day is huge as you may know. This really will be fascinating to see what happens but end of the day, let’s hope that the folks we are sending to Washington start working for US and doing what needs to be done to advance this country.


Thanks to the many incredible and aware technology savvy people who sent me how to do the links popping up in a new window. Trying it today- let’s hope I don’t screw it up. Anyway THANK YOU all for the help!

-- It’s funny I have my daughter helping me with some on line stuff… but not as intense as FireFox hiring a 12 year old boy to search for bugs in their system. There’s actually good money in finding “bugs” so my friends who helped me with these links, you all should look into that!

-- Moral of this story, never trust your buddy to get you a tattoo… because you may not like that lewd image on your back…

-- This guy caught a HUUUUGE fish in the Hudson River… scary man, scary.


The trend of animating scandals has been growing… there was Tiger Woods and others but now the craft folks have done an animated video of what went down with Charlie Sheen last week. It is quite comical I must say. Almost feels like you were there…

Sunday, October 24, 2010

USGBC in the crosshairs

For years I have been blogging about the NFRC and along the way I had more than a few people tell me I was missing the boat. That while the NFRC had issues, my sights should’ve been on the USGBC and their LEED program. I understood their angst but I never really dug into it. Well I guess now I don’t have to as a class action lawsuit against the USGBC has been filed and this one should be very fascinating to follow. The suit was filed by a gentleman named Henry Gifford who for years has been outspoken about the USGBC and LEED programs. Gifford basically alleges everything and more that the anti-USGBC crowd has been crowing about for years. After the suit was filed the blogosphere blew up with articles and comments about this issue as it will be a hot one. Right now the USGBC OWNS the green building world. Many others have come in and tried (Spirit, Green Globes, SEED, etc) and never came close to getting the footing that USGBC and LEED enjoy.
Great reading HERE for the actual complaint and HERE for an opinion piece comparing Gifford to Rosa Parks. Check out the comments below on the 2nd link as some interesting takes including Gifford himself with a quick comment. As one poster there said perfectly it’s like “as the Green Building Turns”
H/T to the Green Building Law Blog for great coverage.


-- Somewhere I think the Phillies and Yankees lost because I predicted them in the World Series… anyway I look forward to a Giant-Ranger tilt… love the stories behind the Rangers… but this will surely be a series of great pitching (Giants) vs. hitting (Rangers)…. Surely not as sexy of a match up (like Yanks-Phils_ but should be very good.

-- The good news that the overall Architectural Billings Index breaking the magical 50 mark for the first time in almost 3 years is probably tempered some by the regionality of the scores. The scores for the Northeast and Midwest surely skewed the score as the West and South are still showing very meager results. Still though, positive news is awesome. If the momentum continues it would jive with the predictions that the comeback will hit our industry in the 2nd half of 2011. Still a long way away but at least possibly light at the end of the tunnel. To read the official report on the ABI, click HERE.

-- And speaking of the links, I have been trying to get them to pop up in their own windows but I am inept at making that work. No clue why it won’t work for me, so until I figure it out (or someone smarter walks me though) I apologize for making you click forward and back.

-- Back to the good news economy wise… you have to assume PPG having a record 3rd quarter earnings wise is also good news for the overall state of business. Though I am sure that the PPG sales guys probably hate when announcements like that come out for the obvious reasons…

-- I was in Vegas last week and every 2nd commercial was for a personal injury lawyer… that’s what the world has come to out there- which is sad. Best tag line from one of these classic ambulance chasers was: “In a wreck… Get a check”…. Yeesh…


We already hit a few links above… but a couple more industry related ones actually…

-- First a quick slideshow on fraudulent construction products and how close they look to real…

-- Cool video story of a new “liquid” curtainwall. Very interesting concept but is it realistic?


Saturday Night Live took on the latest Brett Favre controversy with a classic approach… making fun of his Wrangler Jean ads… classic!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Big News!

Update 10/18 -6:30AM

As you will read more in EWeekly, our industry has won a pretty significant victory in the code world as the ASHRAE appeals panel has OVERTURNED the two most controversial and possibly damaging code items from ASHRAE 90.1-2010. Folks, plain and simple this is a great moment for us as an industry. The plan for reduction of the window to wall ratio and the new minimums for Visible Light/Solar Heat Gain have been rebuffed. The excitement is because our industry worked together with a common goal and for the first time since we started this concerted process (I started in 2004) we have a victory. (We've even lost when we won votes at NFRC 49-6... so believe me to get a win like this is huge) The bottom line is we are stronger as an organized group than we are as individuals and quite frankly we are only trying to do what's sensible. No one is against energy efficiency- quite the opposite really, but we want to do it logically without destroying our industry. This announcement surely starts that process. Congrats to Dr. Culp and the Aluminum Extruder Council, Urmilla Sowell and Bill Yanek of GANA, Marg Webb and IGMA, Guardian, AGC, and Pilkington for filing the appeals and fighting it to the end. Truly monumental!


-- I was completely bummed to miss Solar Power International last week in LA. When I went last year it was an amazing show and people were so incredibly hopeful. So to those of you who went, any insight on the mood there would be great. Something tells me it wasn’t as cheery as last year but probably still better than most shows have been.

-- Best line of the week… the guy who said the housing market forecast was in various “shades of lousy”… oh man that line just hit it on the head. So if the housing market is “shades of lousy” the commercial building market must be shades of words that can’t be typed on a family blog eh?

-- Is there anything more frustrating than flying? Seriously? Last week I saw TSA make a big issue out of an IPAD. The TSA agent said the IPAD either had to ride alone in a bin OR stay in the guys briefcase. Umm, I don’t get that logic- do you? Well when the guy complained off to extra screening he went.

-- Then on the plane- the packed, steamy hot plane… two rows ahead me (and shockingly not my row) a young lady boarded late holding a child that had to be at least 1. She only had one seat. A middle seat. And so that row, even though the child was small, it sure wasn’t a “baby” in my mind had 4 people jammed in for 3 hours. Miserable. The thing I thought was that baby is bigger than a lap top, yet you can’t hold a lap top on your lap for takeoff or touchdown….

-- Look out Ashley Elementary, my son was passed the activist gene… young Zach was elected to student council… I can’t wait til he starts a blog railing about the new evil lunch procedure and how the lunch ladies just mark in lockstep with the paraprofessionals working the floor.


-- Every so often someone comes out raging about the LEED program. Add this Toronto professor to the list- great arguments here.

-- A bizarre experiment with a Happy Meal… what will it look like 180 days after buying it…


Folks this story is 7 minutes long but simply amazing. Its about a soldier that was impaled by a live rocket propelled grenade. Simply stirring and interesting and props to good friend Greg Carney for sharing it. Check it out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

End of era

Up and down news week for me…. First on the down side, the depressing news about the closing of Mid Ohio Tempering by the UGC… It really is very sad and upsetting news…. aside from folks losing their jobs (which is very depressing obviously and the most important) there’s a historical piece here as the original founder of this company, Jack Deyo, is another one of those guys (like I noted Eric Rapp to be last week) that would be first ballot industry hall of famers (in my opinion). Seeing his place go down in this manner, with him helpless to do anything (UGC and Jack parted a few years ago) had to be pure misery. The facility, which possibly could’ve had a buyer (especially with rumors of a west coast guy opening up in Columbus) will be remembered in my mind for its commitment to quality and customers. I guess stripping the facility and sending equipment elsewhere was the better deal in their minds. My thoughts go out to all of the folks affected by this news and I hope they can land somewhere good. (And if the rumor of someone opening in C-Bus is true, the new company has ready-made and motivated workforce)


-- Now on the upside, the UGC location in Pittsburgh made a great hire of Rob Taliani formerly of Arch. Great guy and yes I am biased as Rob is a very close friend. But still he will do extremely well for that group, especially now that he won’t have the worries of competing with his fabricators or having to go after general contractors like leadership from his old company has been quoted on. (Yep I know I am beating that dead horse... but those interviews were blog material gold!)

-- Ok, enough bad news for now… a major congrats to Darand Davies of Dallas Glass (Salem, OR) for winning the Hartung/Guardian “Beat the Heat” competition. Darand is a tremendous guy and operator and it is very nice to see people like that get some great publicity.

-- Usually on line discussions in or about our industry aren’t very popular. Don’t get me wrong, there’s tons of opinions out there shared privately everyday but putting yourself out there is rare. Well recently a phenomenon of sorts took place over at business social media site LinkedIn when they question was asked “do we have a dearth of qualified people in the façade industry?” This discussion brought tons of replies and really is an interesting question overall. We as an industry do have some holes, especially in attracting new/young/fresh talent… though we also sometimes mis-use or miss flat out quality talent as well. End of the day though I found it interesting that there was a pretty good on line discussion of an issue that will have ramifications somewhere down the line.

-- Last week while in one of my hotel stays I came across the movie “Taken” starring Liam Neeson. This is one of those movies that I just love to watch… he’s like Jack Bauer, so that’s big, I love the action, and quite frankly is my daughter ever got in trouble (like his in the movie) I wish I could morph into that character. Simply awesome.

-- By the way I did not make a post season pick last week for baseball because my choices back in April- Yanks vs Phillies is still alive. I do though want the Rangers to make it, as I love that line up and the storylines with the Rangers are amazing. (Josh Hamilton’s comeback, Ron Washington’s issues, Ian Kinsler being the rare Jewish baseball stud and so on)


-- I have had some cool structures featured here… and you can add this one to the list… the balancing barn!

-- Thanks to an old pal, AKA “The Freight Train” for this one.. a great story on Barry Sanders Jr. as he is headed towards some of the same greatness his father showed. Something tells me Lions fans are hoping that he can come to Detroit!

-- The newest disease for the tech world… “Toasted Skin Syndrome” for when you work too long with your lap top... on your lap…


From a friend of the blog in New York… just an awesome shootout style of goal in Hockey… kids name is Kaspars Daugavin and I have a feeling you may be seeing his name more often in the future.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Mid Term Test

We are just a few short weeks away from a moment that could have a massive effect on our business lives. Like no other time in my life, the mid-term elections are something to follow and hope that whatever the outcome, positive movement for business happens. It’s seemingly every month that the ABI totals mention the icy cold credit markets, which is pretty much hampering a large part of our industry. Will the outcomes in November be able to get things to thaw? I hope so. Regardless and sadly we are headed for a very cold winter that’s for sure. I do look forward to what the analysts and experts in our industry predict for 2011 and I’d expect to start seeing some of those comments soon.


-- Hey did you see that construction spending went up 0.4% in August? Break out the champagne! The increase was led by government projects… you know like there’s anything but government projects these days…

-- One of these years I’m gonna have to get to glasstec. Just reading all of the coverage makes it sound so unreal.

-- Saw at glasstec the announcement of a new warm edge spacer technology. The material from Infinite Edge Technologies was founded by Eric Rapp and I think it’s just tremendous to have Eric and family back in the day to day grind of our industry. I’m a big fan of the Rapp clan and quite frankly when the Glass Hall of Fame opens; Eric Rapp needs to be a charter member. Best of luck guys!

-- We had winners in Solutia’s awesome World of Color Awards. The winners were very cool, so unreal uses of color and style. To view the winners and some awesome runners up, you can click HERE. Kudos again to Solutia for a great concept.

-- The whole “Death Ray” glass theme that played all over the network morning shows was comical to me. Everyone I know outside of the industry sent me a link to it, asking me about it etc. Only in our industry can we get the oddest publicity ever. I do have to say though having been at many Vegas pools during the summer, that if it was even hotter than normal, it must’ve been insane.

-- The inane Donald Trump window order debacle is sad and infuriating. There is no doubt several people could’ve supplied windows for his building instead of going to China, but at the end price won out and he played the supply card. It’s the same thing that happened on the bottom floors of the new WTC when the Port Authority took the money and ran, then made a ton of excuses to cover their behinds.

-- Hockey starts this week!! And I am so looking forward to it… and I am sure you are looking forward to my picks to win it all… I think the West will come down to Vancouver and the Red Wings, with Detroit going back to the Cup yet again. In the East, it really is time for Ovechkin and company to take it and they’ll get there with an epic 7 game win over the Pens. (It hurts to even type that) And the Cup will go to DC, with the Caps winning in 6. And yes I’d be thrilled to be wrong.


-- Funny link… Top 10 songs that make men cry…. And I have to disagree with some of these but fun none the less. I cry at the end of movie's like Rocky or The Natural... not at songs.

-- This is awesome… ever see the commercials with the “Most Interesting Man in the World”? It’s for the beer Dos Equis and the commercials have reached cult status… well this link introduces you to the actor who plays the role and his background just cracked me up!

-- Remember that crazy US Open Tennis video from a few weeks ago with the fight in the stands? Well the young guy who was in the middle of it, just got in trouble again.


You may have seen this, but it’s from Australia’s Top Model and the announcement of the winner goes woefully wrong. The big question is do you think this was an honest mistake or a plan… because the coverage they are getting from this screwed up announcement is bigger than ever. (At about 50 seconds in you see the host change the decision. It’s like trainwreck)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What can be said...

Well I’m sure people aren’t clicking here this week to get my feelings on the new cast of Dancing with the Stars. No I’d bet (and I know because of e mail traffic to me) that because of my past associations that they want to know how feel on the return of Leon to the glass business. Well I am going to possibly disappoint because I am taking a different tact. Everyone and their mother (including mine, she’s feisty about this issue!) has an opinion on Leon himself, but for me there’s 2 other parts to this deal. Rick Silverstein and Manny Valladares are partners in this thing and that’s the huge key. Rick (or it “Richard” now? I’ve known the guy 10 years never once heard him called “Richard”) is very well known and connected with the customer base in South Florida, while Manny is easily one of the most talented guys I have ever had the honor of working with. So while the publicity comes from one side, the real meat comes from these guys. Now there is no doubt there are tons of other issues that will be at work here and this will be something to watch/monitor/comment on, but I think for now it will be interesting to sit back and see what tone is set and how the overall acceptance or possible lack thereof plays out.


-- Last week E Weekly did a great poll asking if respondents saw the economy in the commercial glass industry as Good, Average, Weak or Very Weak. When I last checked the results 83% said they saw it as either weak or very weak. 13% saw it as average and 3% saw it as good. Um can the 3% who saw it as “good” give me a call? I’ve got glass and metal that I’d love to sell you! Seriously though I’d love to know where those folks are and/or what business they are in, because I think even in the best regions and best industry segments, being “average” is probably the tops.

-- Congrats to Mike Nicklas for his return to JE Berkowitz. Good guy who’s return to JEB is a win-win for all parties. Plus it really wasn’t the same for me seeing Bob Price at the show sans Mike. Certain combos in my life are a must…. like me and Peanut M&M’s, Russ and Jim on Apogee Quarterly calls, and guys from Walker Textures in really amazing suits. And so this too gets back to normal and order returns to my life.

-- Heard from Henry Taylor on the BEC show and love the direction that he and Brian Pitman and the gang at GANA are planning for this year’s event. There’s no doubt with times different (at least for 97% of us-see above) that the BEC must evolve and improve and that’s what’s happening. Henry is reaching out all over and I expect the results to be outstanding. We’ll surely have more on this as it gets closer, but I’m very excited about the initial planning.

-- Coldwell Banker just came out where the cheapest and most expensive homes are in the US, and the results while not surprising are disappointing to me for sure. The most expensive homes are in the following cities:
1. Newport Beach, CA (Obviously where the 3% live!)
2. Palo Alto, CA
3. Rye, NY
4. San Francisco, CA
5. La Jolla, CA
Well I guess the California cost of living is a little crazy eh?
On the flip side… your cheapest homes can be found in…
1. DETROIT, MI (yippee…we won something! Oh no… this is not a good one to win… especially with a house that will be for sale… I think I am going to throw up now)
2. Grayling, MI
3. Sioux City, IA
4. Cleveland, OH
5. Muncie, IN

-- Last, we are about to enter a really awesome time of year… great holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas) Sports! (Football, Hockey and Hoops stare, World Series baseball) and fall weather that can be very nice to many parts of the country. The next 3 months are usually wonderful from a social standpoint and surely something to look forward to.


-- What to do if a Bear attacks? Use a zucchini from your garden. This woman did and it worked!

-- One of the great shows this summer was Hard Knocks on HBO. It was inside access to the NY Jets. Now HBO is bringing that format to hockey for the Pens-Capitals Winter Classic game. Oh boy, the DVR will be tuned up for this one!

-- Just a bizarre story from Wisconsin about “Sexting” and a District Attorney. You just read and shake your head.


Of all the videos I have posted over the years, none had the traffic that last week’s Bobcat Mascot had. Crazy…. Only my school… Anyway this week, a great goal from a soccer game with just a very excited play by play guy. (actually worth it for the play by play guy!) It’s not Mascot on Mascot crime, but it is good!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Looking back and looking ahead

Well another GlassBuild is in the books. Overall I thought the show was very positive. The vibe there did fall on the side of hopeful and the buzz about the future was encouraging. Yes there were some rough parts, like some slow and spotty crowds and some key people missing, but considering the climate we are in, I would easily deem the show a success. The people that came and walked the show gained from the new and exciting things they saw, and for the most part the exhibitors should have gained from a focused attendee base, not just people using the show as an excuse to be in Vegas. The hope here is when we meet back up in Atlanta next year that we’re talking about how much better things are then now.


-- One theme that I spent time on was the fact that back in 2005 when things were rolling, did any of us sit back and say “wow this is great!” Chances are you didn’t, so I think when times change again we’ll be able to appreciate them more.

-- Vegas itself really is an amazing place… from the awesome architecture and design (and my goodness the interiors of the CityCenter were incredible) to just the cheese factor that is Vegas. Like hundreds of people watching the show out outside of Treasure Island. Lip synched songs and fire I guess attracts em in. But the other wild thing is getting up at 4AM to catch the 6AM flight and seeing the hotel lobby and casino packed. That can only happen in Vegas.

-- Also from last week… the worst cab ride ever… so I get in the cab at 4:15AM for the airport… the driver tells me that she can take me through the city, it will be quicker and cheaper than the highway. I tell her that’s great, I just want to get there as quick as I can because you never know about the airport. She then proceeds to drive the slowest I have ever seen someone drive a cab in Vegas. There were drunk partiers moving faster than us! Then as we approach a stoplight and with her almost all the way through, the light turns yellow and she JAMS on her brake and reverses the car. I was freaking out and she says “Can’t be running lights in Vegas”… Arghh… so As we keep floating along she says “what time is your flight?” and I say “6” for which she replied “Wow you sure are cutting it close!”…. Yep thanks to you I am! Anyway I made it but that was one cab trip to forget…

-- Great to see Henry Gorry of Guardian at the airport… a true gentleman and class act in this world of ours.

-- Speaking of Henry we talked about the codes coming down the pike for a bit. Plus in talking with other folks too, I don’t want to misconstrue where I sit or where many of our bretheren in our industry sit. We are not in any way, shape or form against energy efficiency. When we battle on the codes it’s because of the way they are laid out, plan to be implemented or logic behind them. Believe me we all want the same stuff.

-- Also a funny aside… people forgetting how the NFRC came to be… many folks now think that the NFRC was created solely to be proponent of energy efficiency on the residential side. Pushing for better windows, but in reality their creation was in part due to bad characters on the residential window side who were making windows with false performance claims attached to them (like single pane windows promoted as “Double Low E and Double Argon”). One of my angles all along with NFRC has been they were needed on the residential side because of the end user being an amateur in the game, but they’re not providing the value on the commercial end because we are professionals. Anyway I found it interesting that history is sometime forgotten.


-- Now that I have a Kindle, this is a great idea to put all the books I have laying around to good use.

-- How about this… older men stay attractive for a decade longer than they used to… meaning a 55 year old man is still desirable according to the story. Best part of the story is baldness is no longer a stigma! Yee ha.

-- If you stole towels from the Hilton last week in Vegas, better hope you don’t get caught… this person got 3 months in jail… and really does anyone take towels anymore?


Low moment in my alumni life.. As a proud Ohio U graduate I knew beating Ohio State was a long shot… but worse yet, the video below. The Ohio mascot decided to attack the Ohio State mascot… and it was pathetic… and embarrassing… and just plain sad. Bobcats bow their heads all over the world on this display of stupidity. (watch bottom right of screen)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

GlassBuild America Day 2

Day 2 of GlassBuild came through with bigger crowds and more enthusiasm. I felt day 2 was going to be the make or break of the show and personally the crowds being stronger puts this show in the “make” category. Now obviously this is not a show to compare with the good ole days of 2005, but for the timing and place we are in the economy, it really was a positive showing.

Now on to what was seen and heard…

-- Always a great thrill to see Raj Goyal, now doing consulting for Technoform. A major class act and a credit to our industry for sure. And Technoform’s booth for the 2nd day in a row was jumping… those guys are probably thrilled with the show so far.

-- Heard from many people that the GEF (Glazing Executive Forum) was super. Major kudos to Matt Rumbaugh and his team for the success.

-- I attended the GlassBuild reception for the very first time… this is my 15th show and I never made it to a reception until now… It was jam packed and great food on hand. Man I blew it missing the past 14.

-- Cool as cucumber Jay Phillips of Guardian was everywhere on the floor. Guardian may not have had a booth but Jay covered the real estate on the floor like he was riding one of those Segway motor scooters. He was everywhere.

-- Very thrilled to meet in person Newton Little of Ace Glass in Arkansas. Good man who donates a ton of time for the betterment of our industry.

-- Best business cards… Tom O’Malley of Doralco… just the coolest layout and very eye catching… I think I may have to ask him if I can borrow his design. These cards were the same width as a normal card but slightly shorter height- but the key was the font and design of the card was dynamic.

-- Got to see the gang from the Glass Association of North America. Brian, Urmilla and Sara all doing well… Brian very pumped with the new headquarters that also features a video room. My gosh giving him more tools is scary good. And speaking of GANA a belated congrats to Ashley Charest on the birth of her 2nd child.

-- Running into Patrick Muessig and Dave Mills of Azon is always a treat and I always, always learn something good from those guys.

-- Standard Bent had some outstanding stuff in their booth, including a cool Pittsburgh Penguin logo that my soon would drool for.

-- There was an Elvis impersonator on the floor… even got a picture with him (if they send it, I’ll post it) but the problem was it was the skinny Elvis… I wanted a picture with Fat Elvis… would make me long for my old co worker #28 Roger Collette.

-- Awesome display of Shower Door greatness in the Alumax booth… it was like a forest of shower doors, so many neat and different styles put me into creativity overload. Just great stuff.

-- Supposedly Dr. Tom Culp was on the floor but never saw him.

-- Also I had heard that Christine Shaffer of Viracon was not coming but you can always hope that she'll show right? Seriously though you know you are a superstar when people know you are not coming but still hope that you somehow show up. Believe me I wasn’t the only one bummed on that absence.

-- And same goes for Scott Surma… shocked he didn’t sneak on out but considering Scott already goes hog wild for 24 hours a day, not sure how he woulda crammed this in…

So one more day and I still have a ton to see- plus my daughter demanded I bring her “free” stuff from the floor, so I’ll have to go Pen hunting. Next week on my normal post we’ll wrap up the show.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 1 at GlassBuild America

Day 1 on the show floor was surely a fun one for me. I hadn’t been to a GlassBuild for 2 years so this was great to be back among the action. Overall I thought the day was solid, the crowd came in waves and I saw some booths swamped with people. That said I know some folks may have commented that it was slow or light but I think for a first day when all was said and done it was better than you think.

Seen and heard and experienced on the show floor…. Larry King or Page 6 style…

-- Before hitting the floor I ran into Rick Friel of Cardinal… he was looking great proving west coast living must agree with him…

-- Best look of the day… the gang from PPG looking nattily clad in their very cool vests… yes the great Rob Struble strikes again with that idea. I need to beg him for one of those!

-- Loved the GGI wide open booth… went over to say hi to my brother but he was always entertaining someone…

-- No Starship Enterprise booth this year as no Oldcastle showing. Dang.

-- Speaking of OC, neat to be on the same team now as former OC’er Cathy Finney. After years of competing at our old places it’s great to be on the same page at Vitro America.

-- And on the note of my new company, I got to meet many of my co workers for the first time and it was very nice, just love the energy they are putting out right now. Though I think they all look at me and wonder what planet I’m from.

-- Best giveaway so far… the cool hats from Glassopolis… those guys raise the bar every time they leave the house.

-- Great to run into blog reader and friend Paul DeGray… and it was pointed out to me and I agree that he is a dead ringer for Billy Joel…

-- Saw Greg Carney which is always a highlite…looking good too.

-- Speaking of looking good, usually Danik of Walker Glass takes the title, but on day 1, his boss Ross Christie broke out the A game with the best outfit. So the title stays in the Walker family as they continue to be the best dressed guys in our industry… by far.

-- Off the beaten path on the show floor was a cool booth of switchable interior stuff by Polytronics. If you are walking the show on day 2 or 3, worth the visit.

-- The top mind and quite frankly most talented person in our industry Julie Schimmelpenningh of Solutia was working and walking the floor… always a pleasure to see her and the fact she even is OK with being seen with me is an honor.

-- Hearing that Jeff Leone of Arch won’t be here… and that’s OK since he obviously knows our industry so well because he knows not to "compete with his fabricators" and that he also needs to work closer with General Contractors… so you see he has it all figured out!

-- CRL’s booth was packed as usual… unreal what they do.

-- Last, the amazing Edgetech booth… no one brings it at this show like these folks. This year had a cool racing theme and a stocked bar… needless to say every time I went down there to say hi to guys I know the place was a madhouse.

On Day 2, I plan on walking the show more, getting to hopefully spend some time at Technoform (who looked very busy today) and also searching out some new products too. Plus a report on the reception too. Check back on Thursday for that update!

Monday, September 06, 2010

One week away!

The big GlassBuild America show is next week and my plan is to do a “live” blog at least 2 of the days. For those of you new to this blog, when I go to shows I make observations and also cover it in a “Page 6” style. I am excited for the show and believe it will be a good one as the people attending are serious about business/education/networking etc. Plus I haven’t been to a show in 2 years, so to get to catch up with so many people across the industry will be a treat.


-- Well last week started a new adventure in my life. Getting going at Vitro was fantastic and I can’t help but being excited about the future there. People who read this blog weekly have followed my range of emotions from the good, bad and ugly- and there’s been way too much of the last two… so it’s really refreshing for some good. Now hopefully the economy will also pitch in and we can start getting some good news there too. In any case I am pumped to be where I am at and I am really looking forward to getting to know the people here.

-- The downside of the past week was the unemployment numbers. The construction industry has a 17% unemployment rate which is vicious. That is just really concerning and those numbers were added to after scores of firings from Arch Aluminum. More excellent people were let go throughout the week. Other companies in our industry will surely benefit from the talent that is now out there. Between some of the fantastic people still available from Zeledyne, to these new Arch releases, the opportunity to add talent is pitch perfect. (and yes I know the business environment is not conducive to adding people, but I’d think you have to look down the line some)

-- Back to the show stuff… The best part for me is the ability to be a part of the live hurricane test demonstration that happens to be sponsored by Vitro. (kudos to Alice Dickerson for that coup) If you have never seen hurricane impact material tested in person, it really is a treat. There’s I think 5 different chances to check it out, so make plans to do so. Seeing the glass and aluminum hold up drives home the point of how great the impact material is during a storm and the tremendous advancement we have made as an industry.

-- Also I’m hoping also to get to the Decorative Glass seminar as a chance to see guys like Bernard Lax (Pulp Studios) and Ed Trainor (Trainor Glass) in action is a treat. Plus Decorative is a great industry segment.

-- Cool effort from YKK in announcing a video contest to promote green building. I like the idea and concept and will be interested in seeing how it plays out. Very creative approach to get folks interested and involved.

-- A few weeks ago I talked about the packaging of products and how the packages are getting smaller but the price stays the same… and yesterday I got an update. Went to buy dog food again and the bag on sale was now 38.5 pounds and the label on the bag said “Now 10% more free!”… yet it was the same price as it was when the bag was 40 pounds just a few months ago. Just amazing how this works…

-- Pro Football kicks off this week and here’s my fearless predictions… some years I’m dead on… but most I am way off.. so take em with a grain of salt… Super Bowl this year will be New England (behind a truly healthy Tom Brady) against Green Bay. And I like, the Pats to win it. Now as a Steeler fan I have to admit that I am hoping I am wrong and I’m jinxing New England, but they do scare me because they are flying a bit under the radar.

Links of the WEEK!

-- This guy called off his wedding when he found out his fiancé owed a ton of cash for her college studies. Amazingly shallow relationship eh?

-- 99 day cross country trip on a lawnmower. Yep what a world we live in… and the trip actually had sponsors!

-- Now this is a wild story… heavy drinkers tend to outlive those who don’t drink alcohol. Man science is special.

Video of the WEEK!

You may have seen this video already, it’s from the US Open and it’s a fight in the stands there… normally this stuff doesn’t appeal to me, but this was like watching a car wreck happen… it just boils over and the reactions are wild. By the way I’d love to know what you could be arguing about at a tennis match….

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Green Hype

***** My normal weekly post is below... I updated before the news on my new job broke. For more on that check out the story on E weekly above and please feel free to check out this week's post below.

One of my favorite reads each week is from Glass Magazine’s sister publication WDweekly. This past week John Swanson had an interesting piece on whether the marketing boom of being “green” had run its course and it’s truly a great question. Two years ago you could attach the word green to anything and bam you had an instant marketing piece. But there is no doubt that now other priorities, along with tightened budgets have changed that. Plus do not discount the fact that enough people reacted negatively to folks who “greenwashed” and that too has lessened the push. Green is a lifestyle that will persevere for years and years, but for now the marketing sparkle has surely dimmed. And maybe that’s a good thing in the way that people will actually try to be green before they promote it. Anyway this Wednesday, John will have a follow up on his question, and if you are not getting WDweekly, you can click here to sign up. Surely worth it.


-- Part of John’s piece that I was discussing above was the news that UL (Underwriters Laboratory) is getting into the green standards game. I’ll reserve total comment for now, but I can tell you from folks who have had to work with UL on the solar side, this is not the greatest of news. But we will see…

-- I hated missing the GANA Fall Conference last week, from the e mails I got from attendees it sounded like a fantastic event. Plus some interesting rumors popping up too that were surprising. But the big stuff was that as advertised I heard the speakers were strong and that especially Tom Culp’s piece on the energy codes was very informative. (I think if you asked Tom for directions to the corner store, he’d make those incredibly informative. The guy just has the goods) Anyway one of the main takeaways was the changes are still afoot, Tom and the industry are still doing everything possible to protect the industry, and the more you know, the better off you will be. This is a story that won’t go away soon.

-- Only one more week of pre season football… ahhh can’t wait for the real stuff…

-- Curious what everyone’s thoughts are on the new skyscraper that is being proposed to be built near the Empire State Building. Obviously the owner of the Empire State Building is not happy because it will not only make his building smaller, it will affect views and add a ton of competition for the same renters/lessees etc. And considering the amount of cash the owner of the Empire State Building is dishing out to remodel his building, I can understand the angst. That said, I am all for the building under one condition… it has to look good. The skyline there is iconic and this building has to meet those standards. Then again I am not a New York guy, so I am sure others who love and love in the city will have their own thoughts. Still a great conversation starter. The story on this deal can be found HERE.

-- Sick stat of the week… did you know that combined… the Democrats and Republicans have raised almost 1 billion dollars for the upcoming mid term elections? What is wrong with this picture? That means they have picked up a billion dollars in donations that go towards awful mudslinging tv ads and robocalls. It’s just crazy to me the money that is spent in an election cycle….

Links of the WEEK

-- Last week the China traffic jam popped everywhere… and ready for this, as fast as the news spread about the jam, the traffic disappeared… yep according to this story the jam just "vanished"

-- Interesting stuff from baseball last week when several teams had their financial records leaked to the web. One was the Florida Marlins and the backlash has been severe.

-- Wild story about losing millions in the market as a day trader but yet owing the IRS 172 million! And the guy who lost it, didn’t even know who the IRS is…

Video of the WEEK

The video quality is not great, but worth the 30 seconds when you see an epic fail at trying to score a goal in soccer. Believe me, if this was me, I woulda whiffed completely, but this one is almost as bad… yeesh.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Rough Waters

Two forecasts came out last week with frustrating results. The monthly ABI was up 2 points but still weak and the analysts there continue to worry about the volatility in the marketplace. The other forecast I saw was the Producer Price Index and that was pretty depressing. The numbers of course were low, but the commentary was downright frightening. Check out this line:

"Public construction, once the bright spot of the industry, is petering out and we are hopeful that the stimulus money allotted by congress for infrastructure will be spent soon and help stem the tide. Virtually all of the sectors of commercial construction are down, and represent a cumulative 15% decrease. "

Ouch. That is simply not fun. The “stimulus” money is supposedly still out there and I know a lot of folks hanging their hats on that to help ride this out. In any case, and no matter the report you read, these are challenging times and the companies that handle these times the best, will be the horses when it turns... and I still believe the turn is coming....


-- Yesterday I came across these amazing inserts from Glass Magazine that were focused on the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s in the glass industry. Really cool stuff… hopefully there are plans to do a 2000’s to add to the collection. In any case if you have these inserts they are awesome.

-- Man I hate missing another GANA event. I am sure Brian Pitman and the gang will be tweeting from the Fall Conference and I will follow along that way.

-- BIM’s popularity is not just in my head… McGraw Hill just reported that BIM usage went up 40% from 2008 to 2009. There is no question that with everyone striving for efficiencies, that BIM usage will continue to grow.

-- Being out of work gives you time to notice things you usually don’t pay attention to. This week I noticed that while buying Dog Food, the bag was now 35 pounds instead of 40… but the price was the same! So I started to really take a look at things and saw in a bunch of cases that food and other items were priced the same but came in smaller packages or quantities. I guess that’s a sneaky way at getting a price increase…. Obviously in our industry that’s not something we can do, unless it’s scrimping on dessicant or sealant, but if you do that, you’ll pay in the end.

-- I also noticed that at the book store there were like 30 different magazines dedicated to Quilting. Never knew how popular Quilting could be! By the way there were only 10 magazines dedicated to Fantasy Football… so obviously the Quilting world is bigger than football.

-- Funny NFRC stuff last week when they accidently sent out a note about Benson Industries becoming an “independent” ACE organization (Approved Calculation Entity)….. by the time that most of conspiracy theorists got done reading and tried to understand how a manufacturer could be “independent” the NFRC corrected the error with a new e mail. Sometime I think they do that on purpose to see if I am still paying attention.

-- Last, congrats to friend of the blog Steve O’Hollaren of ICD for winning an IPAD from GANA. Use it well my friend and feel free to connect to the blog from it!

Links of the WEEK!

-- Classic here… only in China can you have a 62 mile long traffic jam that has lasted 9 days! Worth the click but like a friend noted to me, “how can this happen?” Crazy stuff and I though traffic in Chicago and Dallas were bad.

-- Interesting study in Europe for how long we wait in lines for stuff like the Post office and grocery store. I wonder if anyone ever did one of these here in North America. Maybe that can be my next gig?

-- An awesome Glass house… I am sure someone in our industry supplied tons of stuff here…

Video of the WEEK!

Great video putting some style and music to the whole Brett Favre “indecision” situation…. I love how folks have the time and patience to put some of this stuff together…

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A really big show

We are now just a month away from GlassBuild America in Las Vegas and I have been amazed at the momentum the show is gaining. Maybe it’s because I am in a different position in life (and industry) but the buzz for this show is gaining. Yes I think tight budgets probably will keep some folks away, but I am also hearing from so many that are going for the need to network, diversify, and stay ahead of the masses. I think the interesting angle here will be the actual buzz on the floor- especially regarding the way the industry and economy are headed. Shows like this and the BEC are great bellwethers for what’s to come.


-- The world of BIM continues to get that traction everyone was expecting a few years ago. The latest smart move came from Guardian Industries with their PR on their BIM Design support and program for the architectural community. BIM is growing and when an industry horse like Guardian steps up and into the fray like they have, it only bodes well for the future of the platform.

-- As many of you know I am a solar junkie, so I got a kick out of some of the news items at Glass Magazine last week. On one day there was a headline: “Solar Industry Growth Slower Than Expected” and then 2 days later another story that was titled “BIPV Market Gaining Traction”…. so continues that world of half the people seeing the glass full and the other half seeing it empty.

-- Still loving the fact that football season is here… hating that it means summer is basically over…

-- Next week is the GANA Fall Conference and that is always a super event. I hate the fact I’ll miss it, and the big thing I am bummed about missing is the energy codes update from Dr. Tom Culp. Those codes are going to be major players in our life and getting into the crux of them is a must. And no one can break things down like Dr. Culp. In addition, my good friend Helen Sanders of SAGE will have a presentation as will two guys I really like in Joe Erb of Edgetech and Chris McMahon of Technoform. Add that and the tech info and it’s a winner of a few days.

-- And no I am not sucking up to Helen, Joe and Chris and as I don’t think any of them read this weekly therapy session… but still they are super people with great presentations on tap for sure.

-- Is the BP Oil spill done? Cleaned up? Plugged? Funny how that story dominated for so long and then bam it just goes quietly away.

-- I am not a big golf fan, but the end of the PGA Tournament with Dustin Johnson getting a penalty after the round was pretty unreal. Goes to show that you always have to be thinking, especially if it’s the 72nd hole of a major tourney….

Links of the WEEK

-- This guy would fake seizures to get out of paying his restaurant bill… wow… simply amazing world we live in eh?

-- If you know me, you know I love Disney… so this story pains me some… a woman is suing the park because Donald Duck “groped” her… I mean seriously? I guess it could happen but knowing and seeing the characters like I do- there just doesn't seem to be any way this can happen.

Video of the WEEK

Classic Fantasy Football commercial from ESPN… and so true… though the player, Chris Johnson, was a dream last year… so I don’t think anyone got mad at him… but the first game where he doesn’t score a TD or run for 100yards or more and all heck will break loose…