Saturday, August 25, 2012

Seriously Conflicted

Instead of starting with industry related stuff this week; I’m leading off with the Lance Armstrong story.  I am seriously conflicted here.  On one hand it could be he’s a fraud because of doping, but on the other hand, I do feel he is the victim of witch-hunt, that he did a ton for cancer research, and maybe he is truly innocent but just giving up the fight.  I also cannot stand that our government wastes so much money chasing the Armstrong’s and Clemens of the world.  I think we have bigger problems than athletes taking performance-enhancing drugs.  As for Armstrong, something just isn’t right here.  He passed test after test for YEARS.  He is being hung out to dry with no real proof.  How is this right?  Where is the smoking gun?  Then again why did he give up?  In any case, this is a tough one, because he has worked hard on behalf of cancer research and other charitable causes but if he did cheat, how can you admire that?


--  News this week from the folks at Southern Aluminum Finishing (SAF) on their succession planning… Just smart business from really smart and classy people.  I am big fan of the McClatchey family and they do things the right way in my opinion.  This approach is just another example of such.

--  Also great news about one of my favorite people in the industry Cameron Scripture of Viracon.  I noticed he picked up a new gig within the company as Western Region Architectural Manager… Very cool, he will do quite well in that role as long as he doesn’t get cast in some blockbuster picture with those movie star good looks!

--  Well the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) got better but still was underwater for July.  I’d like to be done paying attention to these things, but I just can’t break my habit.  I just hope they are wrong!

--  The weekly GlassBuild update… the show is coming up quick.  The rush to register is on... in the past several weeks I have hit on all the reasons why it is a must to attend, so I won’t belabor the point other than to say, it is a flat out MUST if you want to network and grow yourself and your business.  Plain and simple.  There’s still time, flights and hotels still affordable.  See you there…

--  Great article here on one of the major solar heavyweights starting to run into some serious trouble.  The solar sector still has its positives (obviously what Guardian and Pythagoras are doing counts in that category) but there’s some dark clouds too.

-- As I write this, Hurricane Isaac is bearing down on Florida and moving north.  Hope everyone stays safe!!

--  So it is smack dab into Fantasy Football draft season… this week people will be doing it up… I know my pal Scott Surma has done a bunch of drafts already and I am still waiting on my buddy Cash to invite me to play again.  And this year is the first one I can remember where 3 different guys could be #1 with Aaron Rodgers, Arian Foster, and LeSean McCoy all going atop the drafts.  Last year I took the year off from Fantasy… this year I am back…


--  Just an awesome page here, the 33 best “GIFS” of the Olympics including the McKayla Moroney vault. 

--  Not a story you’ll see every day- woman falls out of a window from her shower.  Huh?

--  Very clever tip jar idea.  Very clever.


Saddened by the passing of Neil Armstrong at age 82.  Here is a video obit.  It is also interesting that with his passing brings the conspiracy theories that he never actually walked on the moon.  RIP Neil.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The jobs are out there

Lots of people movement announced in the industry last week (Scott Hoover, John Rovi, Chris Grillot to name three) and that is always exciting.  But the real interesting thing is the amount of sales management related jobs that seem to be popping open.  A quick look on LinkedIn or the National Glass Associations website and there’s quite a few ads for companies looking for some high-end sales professionals.  The issue though is relocation… there’s jobs but NOT where people are living right now.  That has become a real tough one, because here are companies looking for the upgrade or expanding, but they just can’t or won’t go through the hassle/expense of the whole re-location gambit.  And even if they want to, because of the economy, people are stuck upside down in their current homes.  So while it is great to see the movement that hit the news last week, there’s still a lot more that can happen if a few things would give…  And if you are looking and not using LinkedIn or the NGA’s website- you need to.


--  And speaking of new jobs… great news last week that Marc LaFrance of the DOE has a new one… far far far away in Paris at the International Energy Agency.  Now those of you who know me, know I am not exactly a fan of how Marc conducted business at DOE (personally I like him… professionally, not so much) so the reason I am thrilled is maybe a new face and voice in the DOE will be a boost. (I’m lighting a candle for it as I type this) Simple as that- fresh blood hopefully will do us all good.  And for Marc, a new post, and new challenges hopefully will be good too. 

--  GlassBuild now really close… I have been THRILLED in recent days hearing from so many coming to the show.  The excitement is there and that just makes my day.  Why?  Because the exhibitors this year are off the hook (good every year I know) and they have so much to show and we all have so much to gain from.  The innovation and diverse products that will be on display is going to rule the day!

--  I’m also very pumped about the Glazing Executive Forum, when you have amazing industry people like Oliver Stepe (YKK AP), Garret Henson (Viracon), David Balik (GGI), Scott Clymire (United Architectural), Jon Kimberlain (Dow Corning) and Helen Sanders (SAGE) among many other wonderful folks involved you know it is going to worthwhile!

--  Saw the movie “Step Up Revolution” last week (my daughter is a dancer, so this is a must) and the best part was glass had a big role in the opening scene of the movie… we got a glass truck and several lites of heavy glass being painted during a performance scene… It was very cool… while everyone was watching the dancing I was mesmerized by the glass.  Man I am an odd bird.

--  Last this week, College Football had the initial rankings released with USC as the preseason #1.  I am not a fan of the Trojans but that team is stacked.  Alabama is #2 and LSU #3, Meanwhile Michigan checked in at #8 but with a lone first place vote, which means Earnest Thompson of Guardian now must have a ballot in that poll!  For my money, I like Wisconsin to win it all…. And yes now all of my Badgers friends have groaned that I put the kiss of death on them!


--  Were any of you like me and my family… frustrated by NBC’s closing ceremony debacle with leaving at the Who?

--  And yet another reason to shake your head when it comes to China.

-- Former NBA player Dan Roundfield dies while saving his wife… good man, remembered as ahero.


Want to see what happens if your rush up to Lady Gaga and ask for her autograph?  Not pretty… but in this say and age the bodyguard did what he was paid to do…

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Change of heart?

((Note- I am trying out a new template for the blog- have had only 2 styles since 2005... so needed a refresher- still a work in progress))

You know it was like it was meant to be… just last week I mentioned that I was turning pessimistic to all of these forecasts promoting improvements in our sector of the world.  So what happens this week?  The Associated General Contractors of America announce that things are now growing consistently and they just noted the best month in 2-1/2 years.  You know I have always been good at NOT picking sports teams (though my baseball picks for this year are looking good) maybe I need to use the same theory with these construction forecasts and reports?  Maybe just keep taking he opposite? In any case, it is welcome news, but we’re still a week away from the next ABI that I have a feeling will be down again….


--  I have noted Bill Coady of Guardian on the blog here before for being an excellent man.  Well I guess I am not alone as Bill just was honored as the “Product Representative of the Year” by the Seattle chapter of CSI.  Congrats Bill, that is an honor that is surely deserved!

--  The weekly reminder on GlassBuild… coming back this year is the “Best in Show” award where the best exhibits will be recognized!   Winners leave with knowledge that their efforts were appreciated and they get an awesome glass plaque from M3 Glass Technologies.  Like last year, the judges are the attendees, so those of you going (which should be everyone who reads this blog!) keep your eyes peeled for the best booths and enter your ballot.  Random judges (you) will be eligible to win prizes too. 

--  Did anyone happen to see the Washington Post continuing coverage of the Solyndra mess?  Am I the only one wondering why there hasn’t been a full scale clean up of the DOE?  I guess some people/organizations just keep falling “upwards” no matter what. 

--  I just recently checked out the schedule of events for the IGMA meeting that will be held in Las Vegas at virtually the same time as GlassBuild- so coming out there you can continue to add even more value to your trip.  This is truly a heavy duty technical seminar.   The meeting agenda looks fantastic.  Anytime you can see Dr. Tom Culp talking on codes, you NEED to do it.  Plus I met Bill Briese of GED last year at GlassBuild and he was extremely impressive- he’ll have a presentation to that probably won’t disappoint.  Kudos to Dave Cooper of Guardian, current President of IGMA and Marg Webb for a well-done plan! 

--  Look at this way… for a few days in Vegas, between GlassBuild, the Glazing Exec Forum, and IGMA, you will actually leave RICH…. With knowledge!!  (and maybe with money if you go opposite of my advice!)

--  Gas is now above $4, does anyone care?  Isn’t amazing that we’ve settled as a society on gas prices that high and no desire to fight or do anything about it?

--  Did anyone see this glass bottomed swimming pool in China?   24 stories off  the ground… Ummmm I’d be worried about nickel sulfide…LOL

LINKS of the WEEK:

--  Olympic talk… Funny story… the NBC announcers were asked to stop doing play by play for Boxing because they were annoying the officials…

--  The newest target for the scammers in this world?  Lawyers!

--  And speaking of scams, keep an eye out for this doozy.  Wow.

VIDEO of the WEEK:

This is classic!  A Lego remake of the 100 meter race at the Olympics… the creativity out there really is something to behold!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

The letter to the editor

While I was digging through the latest excellent Glass Magazine this week, I got totally immersed on the “Letters to the Editor” page.  Usually that page brings some great insights and this month was no different.  In fact this edition brought an interesting rebuttal from John D’Amario of Yuanda USA Corp. on the whole adventure of tariffs of Chinese aluminum.  It was a very colorful letter defending the rights of Chinese manufacturers to come sell in North America.  Part of his approach was to go with the argument of “welcome to the evolution” meaning the way of the world continues to lean towards China in so many other categories, so it’s not a surprise that it continues its dive into building products.  He also basically said don’t blame China for your lack of competitiveness and so on.  However the one item he did not mention in his letter was the fact that many, if not all, of the Chinese manufacturers get government subsidies.  That fact takes out any notion of a “level” playing field.  I have gone on the record before about other items in this situation that make it incredibly frustrating to compete with and truly makes it unfair.  End of the day though it is not going away… this debate will continue… but I think it’s important to note that North American producers are at a distinct disadvantage that they have to deal with (and some do very well) every day.


--  By the way, the rest of the magazine this month was strong as always.  If you are not getting it, you need to make that happen so sign up or get it via the App. 

--  One of the big focus items this month was the GlassBuild show and I was blown away at the layout of some of the products that will be on display at the show.  I know I have been promoting it relentlessly, but my gosh seeing it in the spread really hit home.  You have everything from one man glass lifters to glass flooring to tons of new hardware options and so on.  Hundreds and hundreds of new and diverse products will be on display.   In any case, the time is now… the hotel blockby the way was extended after so many folks read my blog last Tuesday and must’ve swamped the system.  So you now have til August 10th to get the great rates.  Ya gotta be there…

--  Did you see the rankings of the “happiest places in the world” came out end of last week?  The US of A came in at #11.  My good friends in Canada checked in at #5 (though if they ever do “best dressed country,” Canada wins hands down because of Walker Glass)  The top 4 were Denmark, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands.  The US has had the same score and percentages by the way since 1992…. Which is really funny because I am sure a lot of people think our world and country have changed pretty dramatically since then. 

--  For the most part I have been very positive and optimistic about our industry economic trends.  I have been cheerleading like crazy.  However more recently I have been struggling and turning towards the pessimistic side as even positive news like the AIA saying last week that 2013 will bring some decent growth segments to our world actually did not impress me.  Just not feeling it as I have been built up and let down so many times…

--  There have been tons of amazing moments at the Olympics so far, but one of my favorites was the vault by McKayla Moroney in the Gymnastics team competition.  She is a vault specialist I guess and her main reason for being there was to come through with a jaw-dropping performance… and she did… and then some.  When I saw it I was blown away, pure amazing perfection.  Also if you had the chance to see NBC’s look back at the 1996 gymnastic team (Kerri Strug and the Magnificent 7) that was excellent TV.

-- The NFL has kicked off their pre-season… schools will be back in session soon… seriously is summer over?  Is it me or did the summer just fly by…


--  Fellow road warriors… check this story out for the airports known to spread the most airborne disease…

--  Wild trivia of the week…. Since 1912 one University here in the US has had someone win a gold medal at the Olympics.  That is insane!!

--  I fully expect this to be my kids in a few years… and Iactually would enjoy it probably.


If you want to go back to memory lane… here’s the Kerri Strug Olympic Vault… Wow….