Monday, June 28, 2010

Now this is a BIG DEAL

Well just when you thought we were in a quiet news cycle, Alcoa goes out and buys TRACO. Well that spices things up! This is a very interesting deal on many levels. Alcoa which owns the Kawneer powerhouse now has added a very prominent piece to their puzzle. This without question makes an already very good company, better and raises the stakes on the rest of the industry to see who does what next. Plus it also shows that even though the economy is tight that negotiations are going on and deals are being worked on. The other angle is now Kawneer gets to inherit the home of one of the main people who helped push the NFRC debacle on us. I wonder how that position will be going forward, though the damage from the NFRC side is pretty much done. End of the day though this is a huge deal and maybe the start of many others to follow…


-- I did take last week off… the first time that I can remember since starting this blog adventure that I skipped a weekly update. Thanks to all that wrote or called to see if I was still alive. The comical part is last Tuesday my phone went on the blink and if you called me you couldn’t even leave a message… so I had an air of mystery about me… no blog… no phone… etc. Anyway I am here still plugging away…

-- Did you happen to catch the depressing news on the ABI? A brutal May total has many scratching their heads… I think the interesting thing is to see if June bounces back or not… it’s a wait and see. Or maybe every architect just read Paul Krugman’s piece in the NYT that stated a third depression is imminent. Either way it’s one to watch.

-- Both PPG and Guardian both had announcements on their various Solar Mirror programs. To me that is a great sign that the solar side continues to move forward. Like everything in our world, things come out with a massive flash (Solar and BIM as great examples) and then they settle down quite a bit. But eventually if they are worthwhile efforts they bubble back to the top. We are seeing it with BIM and with last week’s dueling announcements I think we are seeing the start of it with Solar.

-- Speaking of Solar I wish I could be at the GANA Solar Symposium this week but I have jury duty… seriously… I wish I could get on a trial where some third party group is being accused of ripping off a manufacturer… anyway I am looking forward to doing my civic duty.

-- TV Alert- ESPN has this wonderful documentary series called “30 for 30” celebrating their 30th anniversary with 30 documentaries on subjects that happened in the last 30 years. The last two have been UNREAL. “June 17, 1994” and “The Two Escobars” are absolute much watches. You may be able to buy them from Amazon or rent from Netflix if you can’t find them coming up- but they are simply television at its best.

-- Lost in the shuffle of my week “off” was the announcement of the changes at the top of AGC here in America. I wonder what major changes will happen and how the culture will be affected. Also what effects to the product lines or fabrication side are in store? And how quickly will any changes happen? Hopefully one change is not yanking their folks from working with the industry trades.... It was nice to finally have some AGC representation at BEC this year.

-- Overdue congrats to two very talented gentlemen in our industry…. Kirk Johnson (now with Vitro) and Steve Martin (now with OldcastleBE) both have new gigs and both are tremendously talented guys whose new companies should be commended for adding them. Props to all involved and best of luck at your new gigs!

-- My daughter with her France pick in the World Cup proves that she needs to stick with horses… my gosh France was so bad you woulda though that I picked them!

-- Last, Happy Independence Day to all… and try during this holiday to send positive thoughts and prayers to those brave men and women fighting to protect our freedoms all over the world.

Let’s go to the links….

-- The Paul Krugman depression story… read this only if you want to be VERY depressed about the economy.

-- Interesting story on insider stock picking with Lenny Dykstra and Jim Cramer of CNBC

Video of the Week:

After reading the depressing Krugman piece we have to lighten it up and we’ll do so with this crazy video from some random Home Shopping network and watching a demo go sooooo wrong…. Let’s keep this guy away from all XYZ cutters too…

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kinda OK at AIA

AIA was last week and the reaction was that it was a solid show but not spectacular. Traffic on the floor from what I was told by several people was spotty to slow, but the quantity vs quality effect was in play. In most cases quality visits for a trade show a much more appreciated than a booth that is packed with students and other vendors. In any case this show had a lot of things working against it- slower economy, tough location and terrible calendar date, so for any positivity to come out of it, well you can count that as a win. Now the focus switches in our world to GlassBuild and I expect that show to do better than people expect. Vegas always attracts and I think the timing works too. In addition check out the line up for the Glass Executive Forum which is becoming a must attend event with the focus they are putting out. For more info on Glassbuild and all the good stuff, click HERE.


-- The April housing info came out with a ranking of the top 361… these were cities that were ranked based on the number of housing permits issued… Jacksonville, NC ranked #1 followed by Auburn, AL and Gulfport, MS (obviously everyone wanting to live near Greg Carney). The bottom 3 was Danville, IL, Wheeling, WV and Sandusky, OH. Now if you recognize Sandusky, that’s where the amusement park Cedar Point is… great park, but evidently not great enough to build a house near by.

-- The World Cup has been interesting… from those horns that make it sound like you are watching the game from inside a giant bees nest; to all of the pageantry it’s been cool. Though I have to wonder what hockey players think when they watch soccer. Afterall a hockey player will lose 7 teeth and still play through it, where a soccer player gets tackled and they writhe in pain like they’ve been shot. Still I guess that’s the charm eh?

-- Last week in the links I had the story on Washington State and the fact the builders are fighting the new green laws. Well amazingly the Governor of the state agreed with the builders and oh boy did that fire up the opposition. Check this out for the comments at the bottom… Worst part is all that will happen is that this will make the Seattle and Washington folks who abuse us nationally even madder…

-- And speaking of things that originate in the state of Washington… Major props to Nick Sciola and the gang from Hartung Glass after their latest maneuver - acquiring Holcam Sales. It’s a great move to allow an already very solid organization get that much deeper and better.

-- Congrats to the Chicago Blackhawks for winning the Cup… enjoy it but prepare for a return of the Pens next year!

-- And kudos to the gang at RavenBrick for making the pages of the New York Times! If you missed it the article on their windows can be found HERE.


EricStangel- If you want pure quick Twitter sports related comedy, this is it. Stangel is the Head Writer/Exec Producer for David Letterman so you know he has the skills and his tweets are usually hilarious. Most have a sports theme to them but he does veer off to pop culture. Anyway it’s a great diversion from our normal lives…

BOOK of the WEEK

The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. This is a great, fast read on the history and start up of Facebook. Mezrich has written some of my favorite books, most notably “Bringing Down the House” and he delivers here again. Basically the insight on how Facebook went from being a lark to an extremely gigantic force is covered in pretty colorful detail with enough twists and turns to be soap opera like too.


This one sent to me by Greg Carney and it’s fantastic, it shows the building of a Southwest Airlines jet in rapid motion. (2:30 from start to finish!) Just an awesome view of how the whole thing comes together. Thanks for the video Greg!

Monday, June 07, 2010

A monumental moment

Well folks there’s a price increase on the streets which begs the question of… Will it stick? Will this much needed maneuver be properly accepted, passed on and built in to the crumbling pricing structure of our industry or will it be like so many others that came before it, ignored, bargained away or abused? So many times you’d hear the line “it’s just not the right time for an increase” and you’d see people buying into that theory. Well I gotta say if there was ever a “time” for one, it’s now. But the problem is it’s not as simple and clean as people want it to be. Competition is nightmarishly tough. Every job is a battle whether you are the biggest on the block or a Mom & Pop shop. So when this increase starts to trickle down, the paranoid mindset will be in full bloom. Thoughts like “hmm I wonder if my competitor is pricing this job with the increase” and so on will penetrate every bid. And in every market, every segment, every industry there’s always that “guy/company” that goes against the grain and does what they think is best and if that includes absorbing double digit pricing increases then so be it. This increase will be one too look back at when the end of 2010 hits. If it sticks and is successful this moment could be the start of the renewal. If it fails, this is the moment people will point to about when the dysfunction and inability to help ourselves did us in.


-- I was very saddened to hear of the Saturday passing of Bill Cully. Bill was the President of United Plate Glass in Butler, PA and helped drive that business to its current incredible heights. My condolences go to Bill’s sons Mike and Bart and daughter in law Joyce- All of who are first class and incredible people. No doubt they will continue doing tremendous work in honor of Bill. The glass industry just lost yet another great founder and my thoughts go out to all in the UPG family.

-- AIA show is this week in steamy Miami… will be interesting to see how the turn out is, and what the attitude is… the architects are supposedly busier, so this will be the first test of it. Though Miami in June may scare some people away and give off a false impression.

-- If you missed it… my daughter (post before this) made her Belmont picks Friday night… she liked “First Dude” but she also really liked “Drosslemeyer” and so I noted it…. And lo and behold the 13-1 shot Drosslemeyer came in (with First Dude finishing 3rd) Yep I think she is ready for a career at the track….

-- We’ll see if she can pick the World Cup like she does the horses… she is going with France to win it. Now if she pulls this off we are moving to Vegas. ASAP. And as for the World Cup- it starts Friday and should be a ton of fun… England and the US on Saturday is a pretty cool way to get things moving that’s for sure!

-- The GlassBlog entry from last week with Jim Benney as the guest writer was pretty interesting and brought a few decent comments. Though I did crack up that one comment was from NFRC’s PR agency… I guess for an easy 6 figure deal the least you can do is leave a comment eh?

-- The GANA Solar symposium looks to be a must attend if you have an interest in getting into that business. George Petzen is one of the speakers and I know he has a tremendous grasp of how that whole industry works and its integration inside the traditional glass world- so hearing him would be worth the trip. Good guy as well…

TWEET of the WEEK:

Shep Hyken

/Hyken or click here for Shep Hyken’s Twitter page. Shep spoke at BEC a few years ago and was easily one of our best speakers. (ever) The guy is just fantastic and now with Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, you can get plenty more of Shep outside of his excellent books. Basically now is the time to take customer service to the next level and Shep is amazing in getting you and your people there. In any case there’s a reason thousands of people follow this guy…

LINKS of the WEEK:

-- Funny one.. the Top 10 Things your airline baggage handlers WON’T say….

-- Quick and interesting article on the fact that beer sales are dropping but other spirits growing among other liquor related stats…

-- Builders are suing to stop the new Green Building law in Washington state… umm guys, Washington state is the home to John Hogan and the birthplace of all illogical evilness as it regards to construction… you won’t win… anyway the comments at the bottom of this story is what makes it…

VIDEO of the WEEK:

Thanks to my sister Marcie (who still actually reads this blog despite the fact she is now living very large at her awesome new gig) for this week’s video… you’ll only need to watch for a few seconds but its mesmerizing… a 4 year old kid playing the drums like no one could believe… this could be the next Neil Peart… (AKA the awesome drummer of RUSH)

Friday, June 04, 2010

Nat's Belmont Pick(s)

Will my daughter pick the Triple Crown?

For the Belmont, she is going with "First Dude" to win... but she was hesitant... she also likes "Drosselmeyer" so we will see if either comes in... but her official pick is "First Dude"

By the way, her Nana is also 2 for 2 in Triple Crown picks, but I won't be able to post those here as she doesn't make her picks until before post time... she has to look at the horses to get a flavor....

Have a good weekend everyone!