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….