Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mr. Positive

((Note, posting early this week as internet access could be an issue on Sunday... Yikes!))

In what could be considered a really ironic twist, I have been getting beat up lately for being too positive. It’s funny because I used to be seriously negative, but I guess time and circumstance has mellowed me. The latest dust up is when I talked about the fact that most people at last week’s industry get together were trying to stay positive. I was taken to task by a few folks because they said it’s basically not true, the majority of our industry is not seeing what I am seeing and so on. And while I think I am more positive than most and am looking for bright spots I am not alone. This week a few items came riding to my rescue. First off on the residential side of things the CEO of Toll Brothers, a major US homebuilder said he “sees improvement everywhere” and on the always excellent WDWeekly, Senior Editor Christina Lewellen had a great piece about the housing industry showing signs of life. Lastly, the AIA ABI continued in positive territory for the 4th straight month. These are just a few of the factors I believe are part of bigger push forward. So I think my optimism is in the right place. And I am not overboard like the people I had talked about a few weeks ago here (“the economy roaring back post”) but I am staying on that positive side of the street.


-- Major omission from my BEC post and that was getting to see the best barrister in the entire land, Mr. Kim Mann. He looks so much calmer now that he doesn’t have to worry about what I may say or do!

-- Really interesting read with the owner of the Empire State Building here. His stance on LEED is absolutely refreshing and in my opinion completely correct.

-- You may have seen the interesting story about the lawsuit involving Apple and the person who walked into the glass wall. Well thanks to the awesome Katy Devlin (she does more than write and sing, she finds great stories too!) we have this great piece on the history of people suing after they run into walls. Amazing.

-- Several weeks ago I asked for Twitter recommendations and I have gathered a few and next week, we’ll share with all, so if you have any that should be added to the list, feel free to drop me a line.

-- Baseball starts up in full this week… and so I’ll go on record with my official (wrong) pick. I think the Battling Bucs will win it all…. Go Pirates… oh wait that is an April Fools Day joke (a dream though really). We’ll go Yanks over an upstart Washington Nationals team in the World Series.

-- Last this week, yet another link… but very appropriate for the audience. This time a video… Guardian Industries was featured in a very nice piece about “Made in Michigan” on a local TV station here in Michigan. Was very cool to see it and was fun to hear people talking about glass the next day while I was out and about. Here’s the piece, excellent stuff…


To be added when I get internet access, hopefully Monday.


Good friend and industry consultant extraordinaire Rich Porayko was involved in this video that seriously went viral. Almost a million views and will be seen soon on the Travel Channel. Great stuff Rich… beware the nasty Llama chasing your pals away.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

BEC Recap

Well last week was the annual GANA BEC conference and as I have done for many years, below is a recap of who was there and how it went and so on. Overall it was good to see some tremendous industry people in attendance. I think everyone there was keeping positive attitudes as it relates to the economy and pushing forward to keep their operations in a good place. So for the most part below is a very BEC and people-centric post, much more “Page 6” like than normal as I used to do multiple posts for this event, but now only doing one.

Before I jump into the BEC recap and sightings a few quick thoughts…

One I am so proud to be an Ohio University graduate. What an effort by the Bobcats in this tournament. Team played with heart and grit and represented the university nicely!

Also the video I ran last week on my blog of Emmanuel Kelly elicited more positive response than any video I have ever posted. If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check it out here. Amazing story.

Ok on to BEC….

-- Before we talk people, two comments on the conference. First off Keith Boswell of SOM was a part of a panel on Tuesday morning. His presentation was pretty intense, insightful, and relevant. One of the best pieces I have ever seen. On the flip side, there was a speaker on Monday that could’ve been the worst I have ever experienced. First off his speech was supposed to be about “How to position your business for the upcoming recovery” and it was nothing close. It was more “how can I drop bizarre clichés and use other people’s words to make a few bucks in front of you folks.” It was disappointing because that title was as misleading as it comes. Put simply, think of a really bad Saturday Night Live sketch of a “motivational” speaker and that’s what you had here. I am still blown away at that catastrophe. He should be sent to interrogate war prisoners, after an hour of that, they’d give up the goods.

-- People wise…. Time to name drop… Always nice to see Henry Taylor of Kawneer, he puts his heart into this event and I am proud of him. Also chatted with the cool and crisp Jay Phillips of Guardian who happens to be the incoming GANA President. Was thrilled to get a hug from one of my all time favorites, PPG legend Jan Rogan. Happy to see Stanley Yee of the Façade Group back at this event for the first time in a while. Stanley is a classy and eloquent voice that this industry is VERY lucky to have. I always wonder why he even associates with me!

-- Got a few seconds with Greg Carney who is ALWAYS in demand. He really is the cream of the crop in the consulting world. Neat seeing Aimee Davis of Solutia, the fact she jammed in a trip here with her crazy schedule was nice. Making her first appearance at BEC was PR guru Heather West, getting to catch up with her was a pure honor. Conversed with guys who are not only great at what they do but also respect and understand the rigors of blogging… Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning and Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP. Was great to meet in person for the first time a couple of guys I have respected from afar, Oliver Stepe of YKK, and John Wheaton of Wheaton Sprague.

-- And more… first time in a while seeing Alex Kastaniuk and Joe Carlos of TriView. Alex sports a very cool Fu Manchu mustache and both guys were pretty stoked about their business these days. Happy for em! Didn’t get to talk to Courtney Little of Ace Glass but his presentational work was strong and impressive. Got to spend a few minutes with Mark Spencer of Sapa and he looked like he could suit up for Army football right now. Fun to see George Petzen of LinEl. No one gets more out of these conferences than George. Plus he was showing some really cool BIPV images on his Ipad that were impressive.

-- The Viracon contingent for some reason still puts up with me- good to see the tweeting Seth Madole in person, as well the fashion model Cameron Scripture. I did see Garret Henson for a second but now he’s a powerful VP, he really can’t be seen in the company of a guy like me.

-- A major congrats to Mike Stroupe of DM Products- he had a hole in one while out in Vegas, but rumors are it was an 85 yard hole and he used a 3 wood…. Can that be? LOL. Rich Porayko was also on hand, glad he could take a moment away from doing insanely good promotion for Hartung/Agalite to visit.

-- And last but certainly not least; the spacer world was well represented with guys like Joe Erb of Quanex, Mike Gainey of Azon, and Mark Silverberg from Technoform. When I saw Mark he was talking with Stan Yee and it was a reminder that we have great minds working for us in our world.

-- So that was it- I was bummed that I missed a few people- according to the roster Julie Schimmelpenningh was supposed to be there but if she was, she did a great job ducking me.

Next week, the post will return to normal and I have a bunch of items already lined up.


-- Why Arena Football shouldn’t be considered a sport… this team owner fires his whole team while at a pre game dinner… at the Olive Garden…

-- You will read this story and just shake your head. A 13-year-old girl, MySpace, older guys, lack of parental supervision and more. Unreal.

-- I have been saying we live in a lottery society, and this article backs that up big time.


Thank you to Rod Van Buskirk via his Dad actually. A wild illusion video featuring a window. The comments at youtube try to blow it up, but still a wild watch none the less. Thank you Rod!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Clean Up

I can’t remember the last time I sat at the computer and didn’t have a lead story for this blog. Well this week I have a combination of writers block and lack of story inspiration leading the way. The lack of stories is a good thing; we’ve had more than our fair share of drama lately, so I am not complaining. But the lack of action is bad from a writing standpoint. So because of my conundrum I have decided to clear off my desk and just hit you with a bunch of quick comments and tidbits, so here goes:

-- Congrats to Bernard Lax at Pulp Studios- he had a good week, announces the acquisition of California Glass Bending and launches a redesigned website. Bernard is truly a visionary.

-- Can this weather really be true? What a bizarre and mellow winter. I still think an ice storm for Easter is coming, but regardless this winter has been an amazing event and one that the folks who are on the global warming train will be pointing to. (And the last time I wrote on global warming a year or two ago, I got a ton of comments- just making an observation here, not an opinion)

-- However, these crazy conditions have had its rough moments…. So best wishes go out to the fine folks at Quanex and their TruSeal factory in Kentucky after they were roughed up by the severe weather that ran through their area last week. I think we all thought we dodged the weather bullet in our industry, but evidently not. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for all!

-- As many of you know I am a fan of LinkedIn. When used correctly it’s a great source. Anyway, my friends from Thermal Windows had a great link on their Twitter feed about how LinkedIn is a hackers dream. Check it out here.

-- OHIO! LOVING the Ohio Bobcats. First, My Alma mater did me proud with the stunning upset win over Michigan. It was made even better because I was at a hockey tournament with my son, watching the hockey while all of the parents were checking their phones for the scores. Me being the only Ohio fan in a Michigan crowd, stood out like a sore thumb because I was getting fired up when everyone else was depressed. Anyway, a great win… but then winning Sunday night and making the SWEET 16 is beyond explanation. This is just too cool. Ohio vs North Carolina...Friday night in the Sweet 16, it's like a dream....

-- Saw that the end of the printed encyclopedia has come… at least from one major supplier. That is sad but correct. Now when can we tall the architectural community that the time and need for binders have passed?

-- Thanks to the awesome Steve O’Hollaren of ICD for a great link about a losing coach going all “Mike Tyson” in a fight. I put this one up here instead of in the links because its just too comical not to share- plus it was an honor that Mr. O’Hollaren took the time to drop it to me!

-- OK, the desk is still a mess, but a little more clear… I am sure next week we’ll be all be back to normal and with a quick visit to BEC, I will surely have some news I hope!


Because I had two very good links up top… only one link here this week… we’ll return to normal next week. Yes I know my linkaholic fans are devastated… but I promise I will make it up to you!

-- My marketing pals will enjoy this link but I think it has mass appeal… “Retail Fails” as some really poor sign positioning in the stores get caught and shown here.


It took me a while, but I finally saw this incredible video shared via my brother. It’s from the Australian X Factor show and its 6 really inspirational and exceptional minutes of video.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Roaring Back! Really?

As many of you know, I have become a very positive person on this blog. I am always trumpeting good news or positive reports and I have tried to focus on the good instead of the bad. However this week I was thrown by something more “positive” than what I would bring. On Friday morning, I heard a news reporter actually say the following: “And signs that the economy are roaring back are more prominent than ever…” Now that throws me. Economy improving? Yes. Economy stabilizing and showing points of hope? Sure! (though these pesky gas prices may beg to differ) But “roaring” back? No. And no for the world we all play in. We have a lot of optimistic plays going on, but there’s still ways to go. So it really makes me wonder, do you see the economy “roaring back” and it’s just my old self-creeping back or was this just a case of an overly hyped newsperson? Hey I would LOVE for her to be dead on by the way….


-- Another negative point against the “roaring” economy? The New York Times here pointing out a massive spike in food prices coming our way. In fact, I think that is already happening, the last time to the super market blew me away when I saw the new pricing.

-- OK enough of the negative… some positive and interesting news… the gang at Viracon are teasing via social media an announcement of some new products. That should be very interesting to see what comes out. Plus I like the effective use of the medium too. The announcement is due sometime this week…

-- Speaking of social media, I have written about the folks I like to follow on Twitter, but I should be asking all of you, who you like to follow, so please e-mail or comment here on anyone I should be following along with. I’ll be sure to check out and share.

-- Fun offer that was sent to me by one of my clients… It was an offer via one of those on line deal websites that with your windshield replacement you’ll get two $10 coupons for a local spaghetti restaurant. Love that incentive of food for glass. Considering the way the windshield world works that could be the clincher for some people in choosing one group over the next.

-- A major Mahalo nui loa to a good friend of mine who recently sent me some very high quality chocolate from the great state of Hawaii. He was moved to do it because of my frequent mentions of M&M’s on here. All I can say is for an M&M fiend like me, moving up to the good stuff was like going from ground chuck to kobe beef.

-- Congrats to Tom Lee and the folks at Lee & Cates Glass for being named NGA’s member of the month for March. I have had a few conversations with Tom and he’s always been an absolute gentleman to me. I’m happy he and his team are getting positive recognition.

-- Last this week… March Madness is upon us! All I can say is O-H-I-O! Very cool that the alma mater of yours truly and AGC’s Rodger Ruff is in the field and ready to go. I can't believe they drew Michigan though... wow, what a tough break. And I now live squarely in enemy territory! Anyway, as for the brackets, I think Kentucky got no breaks with their tough region, but they will still win it all. That team is just too good.


-- And speaking of the great Ohio U, it also made the news when it made a student remove a hit tub from his dorm room. Wow. When I was there my room was so small I could barely fit in it, let alone a hot tub!

-- Awesome link that fits the theme of this week’s blog… how what you can do on social media can have major effects… quickly.

-- Yet another area to worry about with your identity or that of your company. Yikes.


Well we have had a pretty strong social media flavor to this entire post, so why not finish with a video that came via the social media world. Found this awesome video via Guardian Industries Facebook page. (I am not a Facebook guy at all, but I like what Guardian is doing on their page) It is ironically a video from another “Guardian” this one being the journalistic outfit in the UK. A classic and well-done ad that is truly brilliant in my opinion. Check it out.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Some positivity amongst the worry

Thankfully this was a quieter week after the adventures of the past few. Honestly I think we all needed to catch our breath. While there’s unfortunately a few more dominos to fall, hopefully some stability can start to seep back into our world. With that the latest Architectural Billings Index came in positive for the third consecutive month and the analysts are trumpeting it as more positive than past upturns. The problem is this uptick may be coming way too late for a lot of folks, so while its exciting that good things seem to be on the horizon, we still have bumpy roads to navigate.


-- And on those bumpy roads it’s going to cost a lot more to drive. The doom and gloom on the ever-rising gas price debate is close to hitting fever pitch. Stories this week had the price of gas going anywhere from $6 to $8 a gallon! I have to think if the circumstances reach that conclusion all bets are off on any positivity in our industry.

-- Does anyone wear a watch anymore? Reason I ask is I don’t and I always use my phone for the time. But this week, I left my phone in the car by accident and had the amazing adventure of asking folks “what time is it” and being shocked at how many didn’t know because they wore no watch or had to fumble for their phone to tell me.

-- Reminder on the awesome Glass Magazine Awards. The nominations are due April 16th, so plenty of time, but picking the winners with the amazing talent out there will be wild. Especially in “Best Salesperson” and “Best Installer”- just so many deserving candidates…

-- Speaking of someone who ranks as the “best” in a field, easily one of the best writers in glass media is Katy Devlin. She is also an incredible musician who is continuing to build a great career on that side of the world. Her voice on her latest tune “Boy in 4G” is really amazing. Seriously check out her stuff at – I have always said it and will continue to do so, we’ll all be watching her at the Grammy’s someday soon.

-- My thoughts and prayers out to everyone caught in the horrid weather of the past week. This winter has been bizarre for its lack of snow and cold, but the trade off of severe storms is not a welcome one. Hope everyone is staying safe and Mother Nature will cut some breaks on the tornado outbreaks.

-- Last this week, nice announcement on a partnership with Dorma and Brivo Systems on a new line of electronic access control systems. Pretty slick stuff and with our world needing that bigger dose of security and protection, these guys really positioned themselves well.


What type of wrath will this guy face for scamming Nuns? Would not want to be him.

When is an advertisement “too sexy”? At least one expert has an issue with one featuring supermodel Kate Upton eating a hamburger…

This is a really interesting story on TV’s failing after a short period of time and the lawsuits that come with it. For how good technology is right now, some items just are not made as well as they used to be.

VIDEO of the WEEK:

Here is the best of February “Fails” from our society. Some real amazing ones- especially around the 1:10 mark. I guess we love to take part in others pratfalls… I know I do, because if video followed me all day, I’d be in these videos monthly!