Saturday, February 26, 2011

Beware the Mohave Ground Squirrel!

As many people know I really have a strong interest in Solar. I believe in its potential to help the world. However I am amazed daily over the obstacles this technology faces and this week yet another amazing story came out. A solar install in California that could power more than TWO MILLION homes was called off because of concerns about the impact on the Mohave ground squirrel. Now I don’t know about you, but I never ever heard of this specific style of squirrel and quite frankly I am pretty bummed that said squirrel is standing in the way of tremendous progress. The whole solar movement is caught in a major contradiction. The people who want to live green and wean our reliance of oil and coal, love solar… but if it hurts a squirrel or a turtle, well then no way. So getting it straight, let’s settle for things that may be harmful for humans but protect the wildlife.

And trust me- I have come to love animals. My wife brings another one home each week I am gone. But you can’t tell me in our incredible world of minds we can’t figure out a way to use land in the Mohave Desert and find homes for these various species. No way. We sent men to the moon and we now talk on iPhones that can start your car from thousands of miles away- we can do this- why we don’t- is befuddling and will hurt all of us in the long run.


-- Gas will go to $5 per gallon. I know I say this every year, but it’s happening here and now. Believe me if we can’t figure out how to save a turtle, we surely can’t help but watch Gas prices go through the roof.

-- We are now a month from Glassweek and BEC. Are you going? If you are on the fence, let me give you yet another reason to get there. Courtney Little of Ace Glass in Arkansas is doing a presentation called “Good Business Practices: Knowing the Cost of Doing Business” and it should be a dandy. Ace has done some amazing projects in the past and this presentation based on some of those experiences should be some must see stuff.

-- The ABI slipped some in January but was still in positive territory. The folks at AIA are still “cautiously optimistic” going forward but the cold hard truth will start to bear its head next month. If it stays above water, the index could be right on track for what many of us expect- an improvement in the economy at the end of the year. If it slips, the signals for a more protracted downturn will be very clear.

-- If you somehow missed the blog by Nicole Harris last week, you really need to take a minute to read it. It was an awesome take on an important subject and done without bias. Really well done.

-- It was reported last week that PPG showed requests for LEED documentation was up 300% from 2007. No doubt LEED is a monster. But I am betting PPG picked up at least 100%+ based on my interview with their green guru James Bogdan!Ha Ha Seriously though, it is amazing how LEED has become a part of our lives and all the more reason to see how the current legal activities against the USGBC (the group behind LEED) play out.

-- Was thrilled I wasn’t the only one last week who was bummed Eminem didn’t win the Grammy he should’ve. But on a related Grammy note- I just hope when Glass Magazine’s own incredibly talented Katy Devlin wins hers, she remembers us little folks in the glass industry.


-- Read this story and tell me how this guy shouldn’t go to jail for the rest of his life. Just sick and sad.

-- One of the coolest and wildest pieces of architecture I have ever seen… awesome.

-- When I used to drink soda, my favorite was Diet Dr. Pepper… well those folks are now creating a Dr. Pepper for men only yep this has the fingerprints of a very bored marketing guy all over it!

Bonus Link:

-- Getting arrested after attacking your roommate over her Girl Scout Cookies! Now attacking a roommate over Pizza or M&M’s are fine…. But sorry Girl Scout Cookies are not in that class.


And in case you missed it from the Grammy’s here is Eminem’s performance…. Featuring Dr. Dre, Rihanna and the incredible Skylar Grey.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Remembering Frank Archinaco

No doubt a very sad week when the news broke that Frank Archinaco had passed away. Frank was the first “big time” executive I had ever met in the industry and my few instances with him have stuck with me my entire life. So please indulge me as I have to share the best and craziest memory I have of Frank. It was when he had my brother Steven and I out to golf at the legendary Laurel Highlands Golf Club. This was a club that Arnold Palmer built and there was just a major tourney there the week before. I had only been in the industry a short time- I really shouldn’t have been there but my brother was nice enough to take me instead of more deserving folks. Frank met us along with another PPG executive (the also unfortunately no longer with us Richard Leggett- also a sad passing for me) and before we started broke out shirts for us to wear. Custom shirts with a monogram making light of a supplier/competitor we both had major issues with at the time. As we put on our shirts, Frank realized his was mis-sized- but being a good sport he squeezed into it. I was amazed. This is a guy who was a major bigwig in the PPG hierarchy and he’s playing along like any other regular joe.

So we hit the course and set teams. It would be Richard and Steve against me and Frank. Now anyone who knows me knows I get a little shook when I am with people I respect or am in awe of. Frank was both. So I was a nervous wreck. Add to it I was not a good golfer and there weren’t enough M&M’s in the world to calm me down. So we went at it and basically Frank carried me for 16 holes. He played amazing. We got to 17 with a chance to actually win. And I have to tell you Frank WANTED to win. It was a par 3 and after Frank’s shot went awry, it was on me. I was DYING inside and I think for sure he figured we were sunk. But somehow I hit the best shot of my life- a 180 yard par 3 that nuzzled within 3 feet of the hole. Frank had me sink the putt (which I did while about to pass out) and we won. For me it was unreal- but I got a kick out of Frank- he looked like he won the Masters. It was just such a cool scene. The PPG star and the industry newbie- you just couldn’t get an odder couple.

Anyway as the years went on I would see Frank at Glassweek- where he would abuse me about my golf game but always was genuine to me and my family. The guy was a prince to us without a doubt. My deepest condolences go to his family and all who had the honor of working with him and knowing him. Rest in Peace Frank and I know you and your presence will truly be missed.


-- A few years ago Bruce Mikels of BDM left the UGC to go to Arch and when I wrote about it, well it touched off a kerfuffle of sorts. Now Bruce is reversing course- going back to UGC and it is a coup of epic proportions for the guys at UGC. Bruce is one of the best (if not the best) manufacturers rep in our industry. UGC just got a ton better that’s for sure.

-- Congrats also out to David Ozment of Binswanger Glass for winning the Houston Area Glass Association’s Glass Professional of the Year award for 2010. That is an awesome honor.

-- The dynamic glass world continues to make waves. Soladigm just picked up another 10 million in financing. I’m telling you now the dynamic products will take off and there’s some seriously wonderful players all pushing that process in the right direction.

-- I was bummed to see Eminem not win the Grammy for best Record. No matter what you think of his lyrics (and yes they are vulgar in some cases) the guy is insanely talented music wise. And the song he did with Dr. Dre and the smoking hot Skylar Grey on the show was simply fantastic.


-- Jewelry store owner takes some justice in his own hands GOOD FOR HIM!

-- An insanely sad story about a Mom duct-taping her child down…. I am always so bothered by these stories… simply horrible.

-- And while we are at it... another parent who shouldn’t have or be around kids. So amazing to me.


Very cool and futuristic video from Corning that shows all the possibilities of where glass could go. Also check on some of the comments- some are really hilarious.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Wicked Winter!

Last week I had a quick note on the weather but that was before yet another huge storm paralyzed major parts of the country. There’s no doubt the improvement in our economic sector is taking a beating thanks to the nasty whims of Mother Nature. The big issue is all of this time is truly lost- just a killer as businesses try and keep moving forward. Now this week a warming trend is coming which means flooding and messy, wet, and uninhabitable jobsites. After that it will be hurricane season before you know it. I wonder if all of the analysts take into account the negative effect the weather has on our world and if this uneven start to 2011 will delay the great prosperity that so many (including me) see for the year end.


-- Another offshoot of the weather…. I now actually watch and enjoy The Weather Channel in the morning. I am becoming a weather geek… but seriously its good mindless stuff to start the day instead of the traditional morning fare.

-- Recently Guardian launched a new version of the corporate website and I must say they hit a home run with the makeover. Great use of “mega” drop down boxes and just a great choice in images on the landing page. Kudos to the gang there for a job well done! Also I am hearing they will add a blog to that site as well that will make it even more a must visit type of site.

-- Found it hilarious that the NFRC blog is now accepting comments on their site. Just a few years ago when I was hammering away at them weekly, I was vilified for my medium. Now NFRC not only does meetings on line, but keeps a blog and now finally is offering a forum. So while I was unable to stop them from pushing a terrible program down our throats, I believe I did force them into the new century media wise.

-- Saw that Jed Bush will be the keynote speaker during the Spring meeting for the Aluminum Association and the Aluminum Extruders Council. Hey maybe they can enlist Jed to keep the vinyl people at bay and get aluminum more accepted amongst the green world… well then again wrong political party for all that. Still a great get for those guys. And I wonder if Jed Bush will be as in awe of Dr. Tom Culp as I am.

-- Congrats to PPG for getting a 3 million dollar grant for their Solar program. Proves solar is not dead and actually far from it. And it’s been a big week for PPG, a grant and a mention from President Obama. But obviously getting pub on this blog is the biggest thrill…ha ha ha

-- So which Super Bowl commercial did you like? I loved the Dorito dog commercial and enjoyed the Pepsi Max jogger one too. I also thought the Eminem one for Detroit/Chrysler was strong. But probably the best for me was the Car Max one that showed an old fashioned gas station with all of the attendants working the car and the terrified driver crying “I’m being carjacked!” Classic. (And it is the video of the week too so see or click below) All in all though I probably didn’t enjoy the commercials as much since I was so into the game…


-- This is wild technology… a text message that self destructs after a certain amount of time… and named after the one guy who really could’ve used it… Tiger Woods…

-- You know all of those “cash for guns” or “gifts for guns” promotions out there so less guns will be on the streets and in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them? Well this promotion surely takes the cake… speechless.

-- Tiny office cubicles… not fun… plus I sure hope this isn’t the “remodeling” growth we are looking for.


The commercial I thought was best at the Super Bowl from Car Max….

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Major news week...

What a wild week. We had major deal break Tuesday and a Presidential mandate at the end of the week. So let’s break it down. On the deal… Quanex Building Corp acquired Edgetech IG. I believe that deal caught everyone napping. In any case the deal still needs to be approved by the FTC, but once it passes that hurdle, the interesting thing will be how the market accepts it. Edgetech was a very visible entity in our world, very large presence at places like GlassBuild and Glass Magazine and also extremely active at the trade group level as well, so how will the change affect those things and more importantly their ability to continue to service and work with their customers. Also does this deal open the door for smaller and hungrier manufacturers to jump into areas that may be vacated by Edgetech? It really will be a fascinating angle to watch for sure. And yes I know that in the initial releases everyone said all will be well, but that’s what every release like this always says.

Later in the week President Obama announced his “Better Building Initiative” and the news did surely send a jolt of energy through the industry. I have talked for years about the European Energy Passport program and how it would be awesome to have here and this surely is a start in that direction. This program if it doesn’t get mushed up by special interests along the way has the potential for amazing things for our industry including the ability for us to show off our newest technologies and prove to the world we are not the weak link some people say we are. In any case I remain optimistic but again I have to stress let’s hope that this process can be implemented fast and without detriments that serve the wrong people.
And on that note, if you missed The National Glass Associations take on the initiative- it’s here and it is worth the read.


-- Guess what’s back? Yep I have to mention the good ole NFRC… Jim Benney had a blog here last week and Greg Carney offered a wonderful comment on it. Greg’s comment:

As you consider the issue of a National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) daylighting rating and respond to the National Glass Association (NGA) weekly survey, please keep in mind that every NFRC rating and/or certification adds cost to the fenestration contract. I can't help but wonder if the money would be better spent on today's product technology in the form of advanced low-emissivity coatings, dynamic glazing, and warm-edge spacers in lieu of the bureaucracy of NFRC?

Bravo Greg. Folks seriously, the CMA adventure was one thing but if you let this organization to get deeper into our world, you will regret it.

-- And one last code sort of item. Don’t forget Glassweek and BEC are coming… I looked at the BEC agenda and saw some really interesting pieces. To me anytime you can hear Dr. Tom Culp speak, you need to be there. The guy knows his stuff and truly has his finger on the pulse of the code world. And like I have noted many times, Dr. Culp is respected by all sides in these issues because he’s tremendously fair. So for that alone, you want to be there. I’ll have more tidbits on BEC as it gets closer and I plan on doing the same to get you ready for the Glazing Executive Forum and GlassBuild coming in September. These are all events that you should be looking too and they are spread out enough that you can swing it.

-- Health update… A few months back I wrote about a friend and co worker Dan Luna as he battled some serious health issues. Well I am absolutely thrilled to say that Mr. Luna is feeling better and on the positive road to recovery. I’m very happy for Dan, his family, friends and co workers. Keep staying healthy my friend!

-- The weather… I swear I write about the weather every year but this year does have to be the worst yet doesn’t it?

-- OK, and finally this week… the Super Bowl (and I will cover the best and worst commercials next week)… well it figures that my ability to “mush” the picks ends with the biggest game of the year. A major congrats to the Packer fans out there… many of whom I am good friends with. I am happy for you, but also sad for the Steeler fans in my life (and bummed personally too actually) and since I am now out of my mother’s good graces, anyone who wants to adopt me, I am available. Seriously though enjoy it Wisconsin! (On the plus side, I have spending money waiting for me for BEC- still doesn’t feel good)
Oh and a terrible night too for Christina Aguilera as she flubbed the national anthem… I’m sure that will be everywhere this week.


-- A quick but wild story on how a text message killed a suicide bomber…

-- Just a very neat story and concept here about how tools and materials from our past don’t just disappear. And the comments below are really strong too.

-- Just an awesome link… 10 foods you can make in a coffee maker! I love it.


Now that Football season is over… one last video… this one from legend and retired (brilliant move) friend Pat Pickrell. His hometown of Ada, Ohio is the home of where all NFL football’s are made and here’s a cool video showing the process. Goodbye football season… see you in the fall (at least for college… who knows about the pros at this point)