Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Glass Industry Draft

This past week was the NFL draft.  As a little kid I seriously LIVED for this event.  It used to be held on a Tuesday morning and I would beg to stay home from school, but my parents were on to my ways, so no fake sickness was going to work that particular day.  Anyway, this year’s edition got me thinking…  One, can you imagine if our industry had a draft?  The ability to bring in fresh talent to fortify our teams would be amazing right?  Especially if it came right to you, like it works in the football process.  Sadly the lack of new talent is a serious issue for our industry.  As I travel the country I hear about the needs of companies to add to their operational and technical folks (seems like sales is not an issue in comparison) and that finding those candidates is difficult.  There are great opportunities on that side of the industry and companies that find good ones are locking them down, because replacing them is an epic chore.  At the end of the day, we can never have a “draft” so we have to find our way.  One approach is growing folks from within, getting them involved in trade organizations and loading up on the great educational opportunities like the Glass Management Institute.  That’s at least a start for sure and part of something that we have to continue to explore to keep advancing our industry.


Because it was a painfully slow news week, just quick hit thoughts…

--  Was it me or was the weather much worse in April than it was in February and March?

--  Congrats to Joe Shultheis on his new gig at Lin El.  Great addition to a very good group of folks!

--  In case you missed it the excellent Matt Johnson penned a fantastic article for Glass Magazine on Social Media and the risks and rewards of on line communication.  Worth a read right here.

-- Was I the only one who did a double take last week seeing news stories featuring “Mestek” and “Meshtec” what are the chances with names so close they end up making news literally the same day?

--  For those of you interested, my daughters fool proof guaranteed pick to win the Kentucky Derby will be on line at my blog later this week- probably Friday night.  I love the Derby- some day I will make it there for it.

--  I guess Boston and Chicago won’t be meeting in the Cup eh?  And my reverse jinxing didn’t work because the Canucks and Pens also went out.  The NHL playoffs… pure craziness.

--  Last this week, I got to observe an “Ask the Expert” radio show in Norfolk, Virginia where glass and glazing were the topics.  It was a great experience to hear the public call in and get a flavor for what THEY are looking for.  Fascinating since what we consider important surely wasn’t the same as what the audience wanted, at least in this small sample.


--  Interesting piece on how we’ve moved from actual conversation… lots of food for thought on this one.

--  Folks in Norway know how to get to someone.  They are singing a song, loudly to the mass killer from last summer.  And he hates that song…. Yes unique torture!

--  I don’t read this name like the people who rejected did. 


You know the scene from “Singing in the Rain” where Gene Kelly grabs and swings around a pole?  Well from this video it looked like a pedestrian was about to do the same… until…. And by the way, Gene Kelly went to my high school, albeit a few years before I did…

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The trend is still our friend

It’s hard not to get excited over the latest numbers from the Architectural Billings Index.  We are now surely past fluke territory and onto a full-blown trend.   The ABI has now stayed positive for the 5th straight month and I am not about to throw cold water on it.  Positive, no matter how small, is still a step in the right direction.  If there is any worry at all it’s the ABI may not be the best or most accurate indicator of success.  Because the effect does not hit our industry for 9+ months and when it does it does not hit all at once, it really is hard for us to quantify.  But in any case news like this needs to be savored as we move from darker days forward.


--  Bob Leyland of Kawneer announced his retirement last week and it bummed me out.  Another true gentleman and class act leaving our ranks.  He will be a tough act to follow that is for sure and I wish for only the best for Bob in his next phase of life.

--  Lost in my excitement and glee over my alma mater making the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament was I never gave proper love to the University of Kentucky.  Big Blue did a great job in dominating the tourney and I had a few of my industry pals, gently remind me that I missed in honoring them.  So congrats to UK and their fans, enjoy the title!

--  An interesting list via the always-informative twitter feed of Heather West.  This one is the top 10 Cities with Energy Star certified buildings.

10. Boston (161)
9.  Riverside, Ca. (164)
8.  Dallas-Fort Worth (178)
7.  Houston (231)
6.  New York (261)
5.  San Francisco (270)
4.  Chicago (294)
3.  Atlanta (359)
2.  Washington, D.C. (404)
1.  Los Angeles (659 buildings)

The interesting angle for me is seeing Atlanta on there- obviously when that area was booming (seems like eons ago right?) they built the buildings right. 

--  With some high rise condos in Toronto going to a “protective mesh” to protect against fall out of broken tempered, how long before a push for all balcony glass to be laminated takes place?

--  Last this week.  The Glass Management Institute is coming back and kicks back off on June 5th.  Yours truly is actually teaching one of the courses, but before you dismiss it because of that, please take a look at the rest of the schedule.  All joking aside, this is surely a worthwhile piece of education.  If you and your company want to get ahead, getting the extra education insights and advancements via GMI will advance the push.  Anyway this is my third stint teaching the marketing course and I’m humbled and honored to be involved again.  Plus NGA has a tremendous new education facilitator in Lilly Grossman, and her addition will surely be a major positive for all involved.


--  The story and the comments are great on this one… what happens when a guy hooks up with a gal and she wants more love than he can handle?  Run to the balcony!

--  And once again an effort to limit freedom on the Internet is afoot.  Here’s the details, wonder how long it will take the main media to cover this.

--  The most honest Obit you will ever see.  That had to be a very wild funeral.


I love Bacon… as I think everything goes better with it (Any “Man vs. Food” fan knows that) but now Burger King has come out with a Bacon Sundae.  Yep Bacon and Ice Cream- here’s a quick review of it from a very quirky guy.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Time flies

Humor me this week please, as I start off with a quick reflection… It was an e-mail conversation I was having with Rodger Ruff of AGC that hit home for me this week.  I made a comment that we are living in a crazy world and he replied along the lines of that his Dad just shakes his head all of time anymore at the antics and goings on in our society.  At that point it made me think, as I often do, of my own father, who now has been gone for 11 years, the anniversary of his passing actually this week.  My Dad would’ve never jumped on the computer to read this blog, I am sure my Sister would’ve been printing it out every week, and faxing it to him so he could read it the way he wanted to.  My Dad would’ve also been amazed but actually not surprised at the adventures in the industry.  As many old timers could tell you, a lot of what we have seen these last few years is a repeat of the past.  My Dad would be beaming with pride over the way his oldest son (my brother Steve) had survived frustrating times to land beautifully on his feet.  He would be tickled but still in awe over the fact that after many years in the glass business my sister would actually find her true calling on the floor at Nordstrom.  And obviously he’d would be shaking his head all of the time at my antics… and if he was around today and reading this post, he’d tell me to quit it, so I’ll move on, but know this I miss the man pretty badly.  He left this crazy world way too soon.


This past week there was a regional glass show in Texas and I stopped on through.  A few comments… 

--  One of the main speakers was from the National Association of Home Builders and he was very interesting.  He did note that many of the economic indicators are moving in the right direction, just not anywhere near where they have to be.  The most fascinating stat was how they track the housing markets.  6 months ago, only 12 of these areas were positive in three main economic indicators they use.  Today 101 are positive in all 3.  Again a long way to go since that’s only a third of the areas in the study, but that is improvement…

--  Also got to see and hear the fiery & passionate Deron Patterson of PPG.  That is one dude that can bring it.  Jeremy Kaeding of SAGE was impressive in his presentation as well.  While there it was great to run into old friends Greg Oehlers and Jack Wickstrom, looking dapper in their Tri Star Glass gear.  As I noted last week about Bob Larson joining Premier Glass Products and the great team they have, I was able to see a lot of that team, including for the first time in a quite a while the always classy Larry Long.  Nice to run into Bob Cummings of Trulite.  Have not seen him in a while, and he continues to be the most optimistic and friendly guy around.  Even to me!  Last it was great to see Bob Lawrence in person.  I get to e-mail him from time to time, but nothing beats seeing such a good person face to face.

-- I finished the Steve Jobs autobiography this week on the planes (2 planes NO INTERNET.  Ouch!) and it was solid though not spectacular.  If the book could’ve just been a case study of his business life it would’ve been perfect. 

--  Last this week, a neat stat on candy… Highest volume candy sales in the US in 2011.  Snickers 470M, followed by M&M’s 383M and Reese’s at 343M.  Wow, just imagine what those M&M numbers could’ve been if I wasn’t on a diet first 6 months of the year!  But seriously, those are some mind numbing numbers.


--  Crazy and idiotic… ignoring no trespassing signs and urban exploring doesn't end well.

--  Check out this one, a woman is mad when she is told she has to pay for a ticket for her 10 WEEK old baby at the movies.  So many issues here, but check out the pictures, that kid looks older than 10 weeks to me and a movie ticket still cheaper than a babysitter…

--  Even as a proud Ohio Bobcat, I would never approach a REAL bobcat… yet this woman did and paid the price… and honestly she deserved it.  Never understand why people don’t listen…


You may have heard about the glass that fell on a player at the end of an NHL Playoff game… here is the video evidence!  Wild.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Are we wasting more $$$

So last week I defended my positivity, amazingly this week I start off with a little bit of a negative edge. There are just some items that set me off and this is truly one of them. Readers of this blog know that I have never really been a fan of the Department of Energy. I have found them weak, feckless, and usually smitten with one side of the story with no desire whatsoever to learn the other. Lately the DOE has been in the news thanks to adventures in the solar world and loan guarantees gone bad, and this week, they yet again made the wrong kind of news. Evidently the DOE started a contest for “app” developers to create programs for consumers to measure how much energy they use. This contest offers over 100K in cash prizes available. The problem? There’s no need for the contest! There are already several apps out there! In addition, do we really need to spend 100K on something so frivolous? It just boggles the mind. Meanwhile the DOE blows off legitimate products that could use a bump of cash and support, but a contest to create something already created makes the cut. Unreal.


-- A pretty wild story this week on Serious Energy and the adventures that may or may not be happening over there. Here’s the link, an interesting piece to say the least and with a title like “Serious Energy in Serious Trouble” yeah I think that may be worth a read.

 -- A few major personnel moves from this week… Dan Plotnick has joined Guardian in the Asia Pacific region. A great grab for the guys at Guardian, Dan is a super talented guy and he’s one person brave enough to read my stuff in China. Bob Larsen has hooked on at Premier Glass Products. A good group just got better. I have known Bob a long time dating back to us sharing a board of director assignment together and they just don’t make em much better than him.

 -- Also Consolidated Glass Holding Group named its CEO with the announcement of Tom Ryan. Welcome to the wild and wooly glass and glazing industry Mr. Ryan. -- If you missed it last week Rod Van Buskirk had his debut blog and I have to say it was a great maiden effort. Rod’s work looks to be a “must read” every time out and considering it will only come quarterly, there’s surely no excuse to miss it.

-- And speaking of “missing it” if you haven’t checked out the latest issue of Glass Magazine, you need to. Seriously one of the best all around issues I have seen. From cover to cover, great articles, information and advertisements. Congrats to Jenni Chase and the team at Glass Magazine on a job well done.

-- A job well done to the folks at Technical Glass Products- they launched a new website and it is simply super. Clean, sharp and tons of info. Plus it looks to feature a great social concept including a blog from Jeff Razwick that I am holding out high hopes for.

-- Last this week… NHL hockey hits playoff season… I have been warned I am not allowed to pick the Canucks, Capitals or Penguins. Fans of those teams have demanded I don’t jinx them. Sadly (especially being a Pens fan) I wasn't picking those teams anyway as I am going with a Cup Final of Chicago vs. Boston… for the Hawks I think Patrick Kane carries this team and Bruins are a solid, well coached team and I think they are going to repeat and hoist the Cup again.


-- The date on this one should be April 1, because it reads like a joke. A 28 year old college student sues her school because they won’t allow her to keep a guinea pig as a pet in the dorm. My goodness.

-- An awesome, awesome link… if Twitter was invented in the 80’s. Someone very creative with A LOT of time on their hands created this masterpiece.

 -- This article is mind blowing for the story and the writing. The story is crazy and the writing makes my blog look like a Pulitzer winner.


One of the best parts of the just passed NCAA Basketball tournament is the showing of “One Shining Moment” after the final. But because the game runs so late, many people don’t get to see it. However in case you missed it, I grabbed it for your enjoyment. And yes, the mighty, mighty Bobcats make 3 appearances in the video.