Saturday, September 29, 2012

Keep Fighting

Many times over in the past few years I have commented on my lack of satisfaction with the USGBC and their LEED program.  When they have been confronted in the past, I have jumped on board, and even was mocked by some for doing so.  Well once again this week, a challenge to their dominance came out when a major developer decided they would build a major structure, make it green and NOT go through the USGBC for certification.  All I can say is AMEN. Why we always end up in these mostly monopolistic situations in our world is mind blowing.  We have 1000 places to buy glass from but only one to certify it being green, or one to certify it being in compliance with energy ratings.  It is insane.  Hopefully the developer sticks to their guns and a better system evolves, and the world benefits.


--  Want to know another issue with USGBC?  Their annual Greenbuild show has become a portrait of disgusting excess.  Major concerts to kick it off (“Train” this year) and tons of celebrities and politicos on hand for no real reason other than “star power.”  Basically the event has become a gluttonous ego fest.  Sad since the goal of “going green” or living sustainable is opposite of what the USGBC does every year at Greenbuild.  As for the show, there’s a lot of pressure on them as last year in Toronto was not good.  We’ll what happens this time around.

--  Speaking of shows… we’re a month away from a pretty cool show in the west at Fenestration West 2012.  Held October 23rd it is a one-day powerhouse of education, networking and information.  This year it’s in Burnaby, BC- so if you are in the west, it’s a must attend event.  More info is here.

--  Did you happen to see the story this week on a possible water shortage in North America?  The drought and weather is really taking its toll and I can tell you I believe there is no doubt this is a very serious issue.  I also think I am not alone and that’s why so many companies are jumping on board with better performing machinery that uses re-circulated water and other more efficient measures.  (Many at GlassBuild were looking for stuff like this) Even if there’s not a shortage or this is just a short-term threat, I just think running a smarter plant makes more sense.

--  Congrats to my friends at Glassopolis for their incredible contest win last week.  They won a cool 100K in a contest sponsored by the Toronto Globe and Mail and Telus in a competition for small businesses.  Evidently we have some very smart cookies at Glassopolis as they beat out 1200 other companies for the award.  Awesome for them and our industry!

--  A bizarre new survey from McGraw Hill says we’ll have an Architect shortage by 2014.  I guess these guys have gone from having trouble predicting a correct economic forecast to somehow coming up with this doozy.  Not a chance will there be a shortage of architects.  Now if they are saying they’ll be a shortage of capable architects, they may be right, but there’s been a shortage there for years…

--  Last this week… Serious Energy sold its Colorado plant back to Alpen the company they bought it from a few years ago.  There was also evidently an auction at the famous Chicago sit in plant in the last few weeks, so I guess that plant is gone too (though I don’t know what happened to the employee co-op that was poised to take it over) Anyway, amazing the transformation Serious has undergone, two years ago, they were everywhere and everything, crowing about the Empire State Building and the “revolutionary” way they were doing business while being mentioned by the President.  Now they are pretty much a shell of themselves.  I guess their version of heat mirror wasn’t ready for a comeback after all. 


--  Hail to the Victors! University of Michigan gives a full scholarship to a student who is the ripe old age of 102!

--  I don’t know how to intro this one, other than to say it is an interesting story about free speech, dieting, and governmental regulations.

--  Holy moses… an 8 year old got her tongue stuck in a bottle!  And needed surgery to get it out.  Unreal.


Great video prank of a guy posing with the new iPhone… love it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Getting caught back up

So it's time to get back into the nitty gritty of the industry after the rush and excitement of GlassBuild.  Before the show a ton of news broke and we put it on the shelf until after the show so it could get it’s proper due.  And of course since the show there’s been significant news too.  So without further delay let’s get caught up!

Here goes:

--  We had a comment left about the lack of action on training with our glaziers and industry.  This is a massive problem and one that will most likely get worse before it gets better.  Reason being, with everyone slashing costs, one of the first things to go is education and training.  It’s a classic corner cut.  Add that to our aging industry work force, lack of feeders, and the volatile nature of our world and this IS a massive problem that deserves debate. There is no easy fix either because it will need a concerted industry effort to improve the situation.  Sadly our industry has never been known to work together, so we have our work cut out for us.

--  One person who was working very hard to provide education to our industry sadly is leaving us.  David Walker, the excellent VP of Association Services of the NGA is moving on to a tremendous gig as President and CEO of the Coalition to Support America’s Heroes.  It is a great organization that is doing extremely important work for the men and women who risk their lives to protect us every day.  David was instrumental in reviving the NGA education efforts, and he will be missed.  However the NGA acted very quickly and have already hired David’s replacement in Jim Gandorf.  I was able to spend a few minutes with Jim at GlassBuild and came away extremely impressed.  I am confident that the issues that were noted above will be on Jim’s radar and he’ll be pushing hard to take the work that David and team began to the next level.  Oh and welcome to our world Jim!

--  The Architectural Billings Index bounced back… parse that with a great trade show… and I’m back on the positive train!

--  The Glass Magazine People awards were a hit and a major congrats to all of the winners.  I do not know Brian Abrisz or Richard Poirier personally, but I am sure they deserve after winning such a huge vote.  What an honor!  I do know John McGee and I am thrilled for him, a great guy who I have immense respect for.  As for the last winner- that category was tough- with John Bush, Scott White and the eventual winner Waylon McCall, I actually worked at one time or another with all three.  Think the world of all 3.  Wish I had a portion of their talent.  Happy for Waylon, since this award should make up for past crushing fantasy league losses (LOL) Seriously though, how anyone who knows these three could pick between them is beyond me.  In any case for all of the nominees and winners overall, it does show we have talent in our industry and I am sure next year these awards will be even harder to vote on!

--  Heck if we could have a training program led by the guys above…. Hmmmm… maybe we could solve some of our workforce issues.

--  The great news out of Colorado about RavenBrick (full disclosure, my firm does consulting work for them) was exciting.  Getting funded and preparing to go into full production in a new plant is just tremendous for the founders and employees of that company who have worked their tails off to get to this point.  It also shows that Dynamic Glass, whether its thermochromic like this or electrochomic from Sage or Soladigm is going to be a MAJOR player in our world going forward.  The momentum is there!

--  One more show note, did any of you who stayed at the LVH laugh over the “Go Green” offer in your rooms?  The LVH would pay you $5 coupon a day to skip getting your room cleaned in the name of “Green” and that just slayed me.  What a great efficiency improver… give someone $5 that has to be used in the hotel and save time and money not having staff clean.  That has got to be the most creative usage of the green meme yet!

--  Last, I picked USC to win it all, and they have already lost, and I picked the Dolphins to go winless, and they have already won.  Nice to see I can still pick em!!


--  A football team forfeits after they believe their opponent was trying to intentionally injure.

--  A new trick from the bill collecting community.  Using the local DA and Courts to show more power. 

--  Very funny bit here… top 25 local TV news captions.  Coming from that world, I love it!


Staying on the news theme… this reporter gets attacked by a frisky monkey… maybe because interrupted the poor guy in the middle of some serious pleasure!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Massive GlassBuild Report

If there were one word that could sum up GlassBuild America 2012 it would be “engaged.”  For the last few years the show had some positive moments, exhibitors still built amazing booths but the attendees struggled to fill expectations against a brutal economy.  This year however the tide turned.  This time in a very successful event, the attendees were truly engaged in positive conversations with the exhibitors and they actually had real live business to discuss.  I heard from so many people who booked business or found great prospects that it really was exciting.  Like one exhibitor told me- last year it was “wow I hope someday to use your product” while this year was “I have a project and I want to use your product”- what a difference a year makes.  I have been to boatloads of shows over the years and I always gauge the crowd and get a feel for expectations.  After this one, I can’t help but feeling positive that we are headed in the right direction.  Time surely will tell though, but for now I am enjoying where we are going. 

My quick awards:

Best Booths:  Quanex- they always have a great presence but this year their booth was perfect- open, inviting, informational and truly welcoming.  The runner up was PRL for their amazing mix of materials, including some really unique hardware.

Most Newsworthy Event: The GEF “State of the Industry” panel absolutely delivered.  The three panelists delivered in an 80-minute session that could’ve gone on all morning.

Hot Product: Decorative Glass still rules, but the installation equipment for the glazier was a very close 2nd. (loving the lifts and cranes!)

Best shirts: Lauren Manufacturing with the blue, orange, and black shirts.  Sign me up- that group has excellent fashion taste!

Top show stoppers: Several booths had professional models working, and YKK even got Jay Leno (or a close impersonator) to work their party. Looks like the Vegas style is back!

And before I hit my part of the show, I have to give major props to the 7 ladies who put this show on- they build this thing from the ground up and deal with every obstacle thrown at them to put on a first class event.  So to Denise Sheehan (the boss and driving force), Susan Jacob, Zoe Buckmaster, Dominique Spaide, Cindy Luria, Jaime Barnhart and Jennifer Robinson, congrats ladies, you are one talented and amazing team!!

Now on to the show scene…

On a very busy show floor… people seen and people missed…

Who I saw…

--  Last week I said if you see me, stop me and say hi… first to do that, Mike Gainey of Azon…  Odd to see Claude Duquette of “Eastman” now that Solutia is a part of that company.  He did look dapper in a great red Eastman golf shirt though.  He was with Doug Marren who will be returning from the solar world to work in glass again- great to have him back in our side of things!  Good to see industry stalwarts like John Dwyer and Bernard Lax.  I saw the Idaho State football hall of famer Dave Michaeli of AGC- looks like he could gear up now and rush the QB.  And speaking of AGC, running into Matt Ferguson was an unexpected pleasure.  No show for me is OK unless I see Jan Rogan of PPG, so I knew all would be well when I visited her on day 1. 

-- The always-dynamic duo of Bob Price and Mike Nicklas of JEB even stopped and said hi to me.  On the fashion side Danik Dancause of Walker broke out a powder blue sport coat that not only drew attention at the show, but also had all the women at Coyote Ugly wanting him to dance on a table. (That will never happen to me!)  Always nice to see my old friend Chad Simkins, who is now doing great things for Soladigm.  Speaking of old friends, getting to see Bret Summers of Arcadia was great as well as catching up with Michael Schmidt at Erdman Automation (who’s booth was jammed all day every day).

--  A few more… saw fellow bloggers and NGA heavyweights (as well as excellent businessmen) Bill Evans and Chris Mammen.  I also met for the first time Mike Albert and Bryan Bush, great guys.  Got to have a quick visit with one of the best reps in our world, Dan Pompeo, who was there with his better half and the brains of their operation- his wife, Stacey.  The Quanex people as a whole are always so welcoming to me- I can’t thank them enough for their hospitality.  Dave Lutrell and Tom Noe  of Glasstech actually admitted that they read the blog- then again they said this at the big reception party, so who knows… LOL.  Bowie Neumayer of Cardinal and I caught up and compared notes on Fantasy Football… hopefully by the time you read this Bowie’s team will have a win on the board or they’ll be heck to pay.

--  Finally on the scene, it was super to catch up with family… my brother and nephew Josh along with Justin Benline and Tim Marconi of WA Wilson were there.  Great to see my bro and Josh and watch them cringe realizing that they are related to me as I worked the floor in an obnoxious yellow media vest.  (Yes, I think both want to disown me)

Who I missed…

--  I know Rodger Ruff of AGC was there, but didn’t ever get to catch up to him- his booth was always packed when I went by.  Tom O’Malley the legend from Doralco I saw for a second and never saw again.  Joanne Funyak of PPG missed the show, and really all missed her.  Joe Carlos of Triview was working the floor and seminars so I didn’t get as much time with him as I would like.  I saw Derek Malmquist, the excellent VP of Marketing for SAGE for a split second- and then did not make it to his booth in time to visit.  Very disappointing for me.  Saw Mark Spencer of SAPA several times, but the guy is too popular, so never could get a chance to talk.  And last but certainly not least Earnest Thompson of Guardian had to miss because of other meetings… or maybe because he was afraid an Alabama fan would approach the booth and remind him about the U of M-Bama game….

-- Final thoughts… Hope to see everyone in Atlanta in 2013… this year proved yet again that this is the show where the industry meets and the networking is just top notch.  It was amazing to see how many meetings and gatherings there were all over the show floor, in the lounges, at the lunch tables, heck any area that someone could sit down really.  BUSINESS WAS BEING DONE!  It was great to see.  This show brought it out… (and yes I am biased, I do promote and work on the show, but still…)

--  Last…. My feet hurt.  Time for universal rules that we can all wear sneakers or comfortable shoes… No more worry about fashion and political correctness- lets focus on comfort!!!!


--  I am so friggin fat right now… I may actually try thisgimmicky diet.

--  Read this article and you can’t help but thinking this kid is headed towards a life of crime if his mind is working like this at age 8!

--  Brand new computers pre loaded with Malware… oh joy(sarcasm)


Last week was the new Red Dawn… this week the sequel to Taken… called Taken 2.  Now I thought the original Taken was awesome.  Wish I had kick tail skills like Liam Neeson.  My worry is sometimes the 2nd movie ruins the memory of the first…but I am willing to give this one a shot- here’s the trailer.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

GlassBuild Update

Sorry for the lack of updates here... For some reason Me, Vegas and the Internet are not getting along very well.  I went to post some thoughts this AM and it was misery.  Anyway seems to be working now.

Quick thoughts:

- My big review, along with my "who did I get to see report" will be coming along over the weekend.  Needless to say it has been amazing catching up!

- Show has been tremendous.  Plain and simple.  Attendance strong, but better yet, attendees are seriously engaged and interested in the exhibits.

- The GEF event went off nicely- loved the industry panel and as always NGA's Chief Economist Jeff Dietrich delivered yet again!!

- My feet hurt.  Badly.

- Some really impressive booth efforts here.  I thought last year was good, this year I think may be better in terms of people putting up interesting displays.

- You'd be amazed how quickly you get noticed wearing a bright yellow vest like I was.  (I did it so people knew who the chubby bald guy was video taping their booth... I am not the enemy!)

- Some notable folks missing.  Yes Greg Carney, that was for you... with Julie Schimmelpenningh close behind!  LOL  See you both next year!

That is it for now... like I said more over the weekend!

Saturday, September 08, 2012


Finally after months and months of build up, GlassBuild America is here.  I have attended this show pretty much yearly (even when it was just the “glass show”) since I started in the industry.  One of the tag lines for the show is “the place where the industry meets” and it is so true.  Every facet of our world is represented, heck even press that usually ignore it for 362 days of the year, covers it like crazy for 3.  It IS where business gets done, where innovation IS found, and where networking takes over.  And it’s finally here…

Elsewhere from GBA…

--  From the show floor, I’ll have sporadic posts on my own blog but the real major recap will come next week.  In the meantime if you want to follow along, the coverage from Glass Magazine will be top notch (as always) along with live tweets coming from the show organizers at the address.  So whether you are attending or have to stay home (I have a few friends regretfully staying home to tend to major business items) you can still follow all the action online. 

--  If you are coming and I haven’t met you yet, please by all means, if you see the chubby bald guy wearing striped shirt and media vest, stop me and say hi. That has happened in the past and great friendships have come of it.  My favorite of the times that has happened?  The classy and cool Milind Jhaveri of Technoform stopped me in my tracks a few years ago, somehow recognizing me from picture and I’ll always be grateful he did. 

--  They’ll be many highlights of the week but I am most excited about the “State of the Industry” panel at the Glazing Executive Forum.  The panel features great folks with diverse opinions and insights on our world.  Should be very interesting.

--  Also excited about Steve O’Halloren moderating a cool decorative glass session on Friday morning.  That should be fun and informative.  As well as getting to attend the Quanex cocktail party and seeing my friends from that company and the rest industry as there’s nothing out there like that event.

--  Aside from the show, there’s plenty of other news I want to hit but I don’t want it to get lost in the GlassBuild shuffle.  So I’ll save my takes on the Glass Magazine Award winners, the great news from my friends at RavenBrick, the latest acquisition from Grey Mountain, and of course the latest economic news for future posts. Also I'll want to cover this comment that was left on last week's post- makes a great point:

What? Not a single comment about our need for trained glaziers. I have commented before about our need to recruit and properly train our workforce. It is a need very few companies seem to want to invest in. Quality, Safety and Reliability depend on this.

No doubt that subject is a biggie, even if we don't get tons of comments on it.

--  We’ll see you on the floor!


-- Amazing this woman ripped off her friends for hundred of thousands of dollars. 

--  Is the lap dance a tax-exempt art?  A court will decide.

--  Can we please get our senses of humor back?  Billboard controversy.


A remake of the classic Red Dawn movie?  Yes please.  That will be a fun one to see and here’s the trailer.  Plus Josh Peck from the old kids show “Drake and Josh” is one of the stars… good to see him in action.

((Unfortunately I can't get any of the trailers to work... will keep trying- man if I was the producer of this movie I'd be peeved- ))