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!