Sunday, May 27, 2012

New Report, Good News

Lost in the shuffle and recap of AIA was the announcement of a new construction economic report for us to follow and see if it provides any more insight into our future.  The Dodge Momentum Index is a 12-month leading indicator of construction spending for non-residential buildings.  In it’s first ever release the news was positive, with a rating of 94.7.  That evidently is a good score.  The problem with reports like this and the Architectural Billings Index is who really knows what’s good, bad, ugly, helpful, positive, legitimate, fairy tale etc.  I am hopeful that since this is an indicator based on spending at the building level it’s more accurate than a pre bank loan report via the ABI.  At the end of the day all I can do is grab on to the positivity and hold it tight so if the new report is showing that we are moving in the right direction, count me in.  No matter what the key here is if these pieces keep showing positive but the industry lags, they lose all legitimacy.  We’re already expecting good things late in 2012 and early 2013 based on the ABI, so eventually proof is going to be in the pudding.


--  Leftover items missed from my AIA recap last week.  It was very nice to see the gang from Walker.  Still dressing better than most of mankind.  Always nice to see the classy Tom Herron of NFRC.  And yes it is comical for me to write nice things about NFRC, but Tom deserves them and quite frankly, my battles there have been done for a very long time. 

--  I know other bloggers have hit this, and I often do to, but when someone can explain to me how the gas and oil companies get away with the shenanigans they do, that would be great.  I watched gas go up 14 cents a gallon ahead of the Memorial Day holiday despite falling oil prices.  Simply amazing.

--  The initial line-up for the Glazing Executive Forum (GEF) was just announced and looks absolutely fantastic.  Great speakers and subjects, this will be one not to be missed.  What a few days in September that will be between GlassBuild America and GEF.  Really excited for it.  More obviously on both as we get closer.

-- had two reports this week that were positive and interesting with one calling for a big jump for “Smart Glass” and one for Security Glass.   On the “Smart Glass” one I was confused on which glass styles are considered for it- that surely didn’t seem clear to me.  (I guess I am too dumb to figure out Smart Glass)

--  Also seen on the site was the news of a tariff on Chinese Solar Panels.  While this will be helpful to the cause of the domestic providers, it’s pretty late in coming.

--  By the way, please keep in mind to visit during the week for the latest info and breaking events.  A copy of my blog is there along with other blogs, articles and more.  Good stuff.

--  Last this week, I hope everyone is having or had a good Memorial Day.  Hopefully you are taking or took time to remember and honor those who fought for our freedoms.  And while doing so, send positive thoughts our to the brave men and women protecting us today and beyond.

LINKS of the WEEK:

This is a classic columnist trick, try to gin up the readers for a reaction.  The story and effect are interesting and as patriotic as I am, I actually don’t have a problem with this tradition. 

Outdoor hotel suites?  No thank you. 

See typos do happen!  I am not the only one who makes em.


Seriously a waste of investigating time… our tax dollars at work…yeesh!

VIDEO of the WEEK:

Great video this week, a wedding in Kansas with a Tornado in the background.  Also great choice of music after the ceremony in the underrated Tracy Byrd.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Gigantic AIA Recap

The 2012 American Institute of Architects (AIA) show is in the books and there’s no doubt that the vibe was a positive one on the show floor.  This is the first show in a long time where I heard from people a true sense of enthusiasm towards the economy and our markets- at least related to sales/growth.  I think for many companies the last years were so rough that seeing some light these days was reason to celebrate some.  No doubt we are no where near out of the woods and still so much can change, but the attitude of the majority of the folks I talked to was on the extreme positive side.  In fact morale was so good, the typical trade show talk about competition destroying markets, cash flow issues, rumors and such were not prominent like in this past.  Oh it was still there because that’s a staple of our world, like it or not, but in the end it was pretty minimal compared to the commiseration of the past. 

DC did not disappoint, the show did have a steady flow.  It did have some dead pockets, but not like AIA’s the past 2 years.  I will say that I wouldn’t want to live in DC, the traffic and layout of the city and streets were mind numbing.

Just a note…. this blog is dedicated to the AIA show, we’ll be back next week with other industry stuff like the ABI, McGraw Hill’s new report, Adele vs. Katy, and the start of hurricane season.

Other show musings…

--  As always getting to see some of the great people of our industry is the best for me, and this year was no different.  Among those I was lucky enough to run into…  the amazingly talented Wendy Zhou of Guardian.  She’s an all time favorite of mine, and now probably an all time favorite of every Architect that met her on the floor.  Brian Leizerowicz of EFCO always welcoming of me though I am sure he’d prefer to run the other way when he sees me approaching!  Great to catch up with Glenn Miner at PPG looking dapper in the latest greatest Rob Struble trade show clothing collection a lightweight stylish windjacket.    Plus nice to see Mike Rupert of PPG for the first time in a while too, and I did get a picture with the legendary P. BEAR of PPG Starphire fame.  (Great interest generator by the way- kudos Mr. Struble)

--  Some great new booths making debuts included a sharp set up from Viracon.  It was really eye catching.  Also a show-stopping debut from GGI, an area laid out with a ton of great looking glass that you could flip on through.  Pilkington looked to be in a new structure (at least to me) with the rest of the NSG group and it was fantastic.  Fun for me too because they had several pictures of jobs I once had a part in, good memory lane stuff.  AGNORA from Canada showed off a massive lite of glass along with some excellent looking deco pieces for their maiden voyage in the show.

--  Their booth wasn’t new as it debuted in the fall at Greenbuild but SAGE had a lot of buzz around their snazzy set up.  Their new parent St Gobain had a massive “Scoreboard” that stood above their booth, it was pretty mesmerizing.  Guardian was busy the entire show with all of their new product launches as Earnest Thompson designed a pretty awesome booth space, you saw a lot of stuff in a very clean and sharp way.  I also liked their sample setup for their new InGlass program.  Lots of buzz too around the Panda Windows exhibit, as their door systems were leaving architects in awe.  Because of the steady traffic I never could get into Berkowitz, Cristacurva, Pulp Studio, or Dlubak’s exhibits, they were all small but very effective.

--  The biggest buzz pre show and then during was YKK.  As I mentioned last week, they were promoting an announcement that would be unlike anything the industry has ever seen before.  They did a great job of building the suspense, then had a great show put on to launch their new high performance unitized curtain wall.  I can say the presentation surely was like nothing I had ever seen before!  Kudos to Oliver Stepe, Mike Turner and company.

Random and wrap up....

--  Interesting that at the 7/11 next to my hotel they charged me .05 for a bag.  Unless I have been missing something that had to be the first time I was hit with a bag surcharge…. At the same convention center as AIA was the US Counter Terrorism Show… Architects and Spies in the same place, could you get more different?  Also it was the first major trade show I have seen to go with a badge that was without a plastic sleeve.  It was just slick, thicker piece of material that seemed durable enough.  I assume this could be a trend, though I wonder how much more expensive it is compared to what shows normally use.

--  In the end, DC proved to be a solid venue as it expected.  Next year AIA is in Denver, and even though I like that area, there’s no way the show will be as good from a traffic standpoint.   So now we move next to GlassBuild America in the fall.  The floor is filling up and nice buzz has begun.  You’ll be hearing a ton more from me on this as it gets closer, but needless to say it’s a must attend event especially if you want to stay on top of the trends and industry.

LINKS of the WEEK:

--  Anxiety and not depression is the most common psychological issue among college students- which is interesting on a ton of levels.  This story scratches some surface, but needs more depth.  (Ironically the Glass industry can promote anxiety and depression!)

--  Simply insane here, being sold the wrong house… now THIS is a valid case for a lawsuit if the realtor doesn’t step up.

--  I kinda want to buy this to show my kids what it used to be like… then again I could go to a garage sale and get a real old fashioned one for nothing.


Cool video of the largest wave ever surfed.  Very scary.  Thanks to Scott Hoover (who I saw for about a second at AIA) for the link!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Preakness Picks

Ok Natalie's Preakness choices are in:

For the win: Went the Day Well

For the place: Bodemeister

For the show: Creative Cause

So not Triple Crown according to her.

I'm rolling with a long shot in Teeth of the Dog.

Post  time is less than an hour away!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

A truly "Dynamic" week

Last week was huge for the growth and acceptance of Dynamic Glass.  Within a span of 24 hours, this industry segment took massive steps forward and increased their legitimacy dramatically.  First off SAGE announced that St. Gobain was purchasing them whole.  I am very happy for John Van Dine, Dr. Helen Sanders and the folks there.  The combination with a giant force like St. Gobain will surely pay some dividends.  The next day come the news about Guardian teaming up with Soladigm.  That just continues the push into the mainstream, and with the excellence of Earnest Thompson pulling the marketing levers it will be exciting to see what comes out of this process. (More on that below) Add these in to previous announcements like Pleotint’s arrangement with PPG and RavenBrick’s continued advancements with their patented thermochromic technology and you do have an industry segment that is maturing right in front of our eyes.

If there’s a downside it will be price points and education, both of which are a challenge in any emerging area, but especially so in our industry which is never been known to enjoy expensive tastes or adapt quickly.

And yes, in full disclosure I do consult for the talented folks at RavenBrick, but as you can see from the above, I promote and remain positive about the entire dynamic glass space.


--  The American Institute of Architects show is this week in Washington, DC.  The past few AIA shows have not been the best, but I think this year has potential to change that trend.  First off, the location is super- DC is a great area to attract a ton of traffic, and like I noted here previously, there’s a significant thirst for information and education that quality trade shows bring.  So we will see what happens and have the official “who’s who” at the show posted next Sunday on my blog as always.

--  Speaking of AIA, very curious to see what YKK has up their sleeve… they are promising something unlike anything ever seen on a building products trade show floor.  Looking forward to it!  Plus as teased above Earnest Thompson is at it again building excitement for the show using Youtube to preview their efforts with a 3 video series.  You can find part one right here and keep an eye out for the next two posted ahead of the show.

--  Friend of the blog, Joe Carlos of Tri View Glass in California sent a really positive and exciting link HERE from the LA Times about the need for apartments driving commercial construction.  Obviously welcomed news!

--  Saw an interesting tweet/video via Ted Bleecker this week about the trend of “re-shoring” which means jobs coming BACK to the US from abroad.  My problem is they’ll be no one here who wants to do them.  Still a worthwhile watch of 1:50.

--  And yes I may as well load you up with yet ANOTHER link to read. (Print these out, save them for another time.. or a plane trip) This one is great about the debacle of building a new corporate campus for  I know many companies in our industry use that program/service- but after reading this you just shake your head.  A great inside story of money, planning and calamities all around.

--  I love the artist Adele… her voice and music are epic.  The song “Set Fire to the Rain” is fantastic and I love the way she says “Fire”

--  Last I am very excited to see Lilly Grossman join the blogging world with posts on Glassblog.  Her addition to the educational push at the National Glass Association was super and everyone who will be attending any of the future education events will appreciate her efforts.  Welcome to the blog world and the industry Lilly!


--  A long and intense read on discipline in our schools and how one district is improving on typical records.

--  To me this is a classic “make the mountain out of the mole hill” story.  A “party” bus instead of a “school” bus.

--  I’m not a fan of the online site of Groupon, and neither are these folks after this bizarre story.  Wild.


So if you haven’t heard the Adele song I mentioned above… here it is… so much talent.  And again the way she says “fire” is so cool. 

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Wasting Talent

Last week I had one of those moments that make you think “wow if they used their skills for good and not evil, where would we be as a world and society?”   The backstory is that I went to use my credit card Sunday at an office supply store and it was rejected.  When I called, I was shocked to learn my credit card had been cloned and someone 3000 miles away was using it.  And crazier yet, they were using an actual card and swiping, this wasn’t some online purchase.  Thankfully my card company shut this scheme down quick, but it just amazes me how incredibly intelligent people use their skills for criminal activities.  Evidently when I was at a gas station in Mississippi, my swipe was intercepted.  The code then was copied and laid on a card.  And within a day, it was in circulation.  It’s incredible that this happens and that no matter how many precautions you take, you are always vulnerable.  Somewhere truly brilliant people are working to game the system, and rip off innocent people and companies and it’s a shame of the largest measure.


--  This past week had the always-solid Glass Expo from the Mid Atlantic Glass Association.  I was unable to attend but heard from many who did that it was a very good event.  I like that there’s a heavy thirst for shows, as it proves that people in our industry value the education, information, and networking that these events bring.  Keep in mind; the biggest and best of all of these comes up September 12-14 in Las Vegas.  It is shaping up very nicely and if you are not planning on being there, you should really start thinking about it.

--  After a quiet several weeks, last week the drumbeat of rumors of branch closures and equipment being moved overseas started up again.  While this could be more smoke than fire, the fact that the tide of bad news is returning does lead me to believe that the “quiet” I was mentioning was a temporary respite from the volatility we are facing.

--  If you ever find yourself in Dearborn, Michigan, do yourself a favor and take in the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.  Simply awesome slice of American history on display at both and for the summer a stunning “Titanic” exhibit is on hand.  I went last weekend and it was mind blowing.

--  Just got my most recent issue of Glass Magazine and it was very strong again.  Loved the decorative focus.  Many standout pieces but my personal favorites were the products by Jockimo and M3.  Really well done by those companies and everyone who submitted- make sure you check it out!

--  Construction spending was up, albeit slight, but up nonetheless.  Small victories are nothing to sneeze at in a challenging world.

--  From a personal note, I was very excited to see Charles Witherington joining the team at Binswanger Glass.  I am happy to see Charles back in the industry; his knowledge and experience will be put to great use.  No doubt the folks at Binswanger are lucky to have him.

--  Last this week… My daughter’s Derby choices were a mixed bag.  Her winner faded badly down the stretch but her choice for 2nd actually did finish 3rd.  She vows better results at the Preakness.

LINKS of the WEEK:

Newark Airport unfortunately is one of the most frustrating places to fly in and out of.  And this past week a bizarre security glitch made it even worse!

This is for my friends who were using Klout for a while before they realized it was a waste of time.  Great idea here.

Looks like the end of the “kids meal” is getting closer.  Personally, it never made sense to me.  Then again nothing makes sense to me!

VIDEO of the WEEK:

A pretty cool movie from a few years ago is coming out with a sequel.  “The Expendables” now has a #2… and here’s the preview for it.  I love Sly Stallone and Jason Statham… good stuff.

Friday, May 04, 2012

The Derby Picks

My daughter has spoken...

For the Derby this weekend... she is going with the #15 horse "Gemologist" for the win.  She likes the 5 horse "Dullahan" to be the runner up.  So she's going with the 15-5 play.

Not that it matters but I am going with #4 Union Rags.

A cool link by the way HERE on the Derby....

We will see what happens... enjoy the race!!!