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…

Monday, August 09, 2010

No post this week

Taking the week off... Have great stuff lined up for next week though... In the meantime be sure to check out the very interesting blog post by Sahely on renewable energy....

Hope everyone is well.... Have a great week!!

Monday, August 02, 2010

And a Marketing guy shall lead them

So as the news trickled out that Arch Aluminum hired a new CEO, my e mail box filled with questions on how I felt about it and so on. Basically I had one feeling and that was one of bemusement since they hired a strategic marketing guy. It’s “inside baseball” stuff but trust me I chuckled heartily when I saw it was marketing exec as CEO. Outside of that, I really had no other thoughts aside from what I noted a few weeks ago about Arch and AGC both having new management teams in place. It should be a very interesting process to look back on and see what worked and what didn’t.


-- And yet a few more management members at Arch were let go with the news that CIO Kevin Aubuchon and the VP of Materials Management Donna Aubuchon were out. Again from experience these two were tremendous, and amazingly the work Donna was doing in controlling inventory was rough and unpopular, so that’s a massive shame she couldn’t see it all through. But like everyone else, I am confident that they will end up in a better place.

-- Another comical note this week… the DOE asked the NFRC for more research and testing on long term energy performance and so on. And the sad story continues with the DOE enabling the NFRC…. The reason it’s sad/comical is the guy from DOE who specifically requested this was Marc LaFrance. And Marc usually talks a big game about keeping the NFRC and their powers in check, but when push comes to shove, he buckles under. So much so that I have noted here in the past, when Marc “rages” at the board for their mis-steps (you know like ignoring consensus etc) they just totally tune him out. Oh well, the beat goes on.

-- You have a couple more weeks to get your entries in for the Solutia World of Color Awards… Click HERE for the website and more information. What an awesome c0ntest.

-- Do you realize this past weekend was the last weekend free of Football until November? My gosh time is flying by. Anyway 6 Sundays until the real stuff starts in the NFL.

-- Last this week, PPG came out with a white paper on their Clarvista ™ Shower Glass line and I have to say if I ever need a white paper about my life, I’m begging Rob Struble and his crew at PPG as they have a knack for those things. And if this white paper is even half as successful as the SB 70 one they did a few years ago, look out.


Two great reads for you…

-- First up, the glass industry is filled with family businesses and when I saw this article linked by Tony Leto on my LinkedIn site, I knew I had to put it up here. Great read about the whole family business dynamic.

-- Super read on the “new” economy of America where even when you are broke, you still pony up the money to buy an IPad. This article gives tons of examples that make you just scratch your head.


This is just an awesome Sports related video… a great mix of music and words and just all of the pop sports action of the past few years. I am amazed at the ability some people have to put this stuff together. Good stuff.