Sunday, January 29, 2012

It never gets dull

Last week was a very interesting in the glass and glazing world. We had positive news from AIA, a major player getting sold, a big time promotion, and a melting Toyota Prius- blamed on glass of course. In any case, never a dull moment in our world any more. Plus this post may set a record for most “name drops” ever. First up is the AIA report that called for “substantial” growth for 2013. Obviously if this forecast is even close to being right, that would be an amazing event. The hesitation that everyone has is that we have been teased with the heavy positive reports many times before only to be let down, and in some cases let down dramatically. I believe many people are pointing to the election and figuring momentum will come from that as well. So as we all plug along here in the winter of 2012, we have something to absolutely look forward to in 2013. At least according to this report.


-- Congratulations to Garret Henson who was just named Vice President of Sales at Viracon. As many of you may know I am a huge fan of Garret’s. I think he’s a tremendously talented player in our world. He’s a guy who in my opinion “gets it.” His continual move up the ladder is well deserved and shows Viracon does value talent. Pair this with their previously excellent move of Bob Randall as VP of Marketing and Business Development (which I was asleep at the wheel on commenting about- sorry) and you have two very well put together guys in the primes of their career. Anyway I figure I better keep buttering them up, because now that they are both major bigwigs, they’ll never take my calls again! Congrats Garret and Bob.

-- Friday of last week the news hit that Solutia is in line to be sold to Eastman. What effect that will have on the day-to-day business of Solutia and Southwall (recently acquired by Solutia) is far from being seen. But rumor has it; the key part of the deal for Eastman was getting Julie Schimmelpenningh on their team.

-- PPG hit a home run again with their latest trade magazine ad. When you see it, you’ll chuckle and remember it. Rob Struble is really on fire creatively lately.

-- If you missed the story about the Prius melting supposedly because of the sun reflecting off the high performance low e windows, here it is. The best part of the story is the comments. Sometimes a good window just can’t catch a break from being blamed.

-- Saw the Washington Glass Association named its Board of Directors and was excited to see such a strong slate of people and that it included Bill Coady of Guardian on there. I had the honor of meeting Bill once upon a time and was impressed by his approach. Plus I like Maryanne Howell as she was nice enough to comment on here on a past story. Someone like that willing to associate his or her name with mine is a brave soul!

-- For my fellow travelers, this story on the world’s worst airport terminals is a hoot. I agree with many on the list, including Newark’s fabled Terminal B. However the good news there is that terminal is getting remodeled and with some of the glass from folks like GGI in play, I can guarantee you it will be better!

-- I had been skipping picking football this year as between the Steelers losing and me posting on Sunday mornings, the timing never worked. Plus I am always wrong. But it is the Super Bowl, so I have to make a call. A few weeks ago I noted how I hate the Patriots and immediately I heard from a few people on that. I failed to mention that I hated the Ravens worse- so I was glad New England won. Unfortunately here I go again… because in the big game, I gotta go with Eli Manning and the Giants. I feel a kin ship with Eli. We both have a brother that’s bigger, better, and classically talented. Not to mention ironically both of our brothers had severe neck issues too. So based on that- I’m going G-Men in an exciting 27-25 game.

LINKS of the WEEK:

-- There are certainly folks that are not fans of sites like Groupon. Now this story about Groupon actually peddling snake oil? That will make em howl!

-- Not sure if this is good or bad… the day of the resume is starting to end. Firms want different evidence of you and your achievements. Yikes.

-- Just a great piece on how old media spent a ton of cash supporting the on line piracy bills and lost to the world who spent basically nothing. Wow.

VIDEO of the WEEK:

If you happen to be a fan of the show Survivor like I am, then this video is for you… a preview of the newest season, starting up here in a few weeks. Some day I am going to do that show… and the comedy that comes from it… well that will be epic.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Will the trend be our friend?

OK so the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) now has had two good months in a row. What exactly does that mean? As those of you who follow this blog, I follow and comment on it monthly and quite frankly I find it vexing. When I finally see it stabilizing it drops. When I think we’re in the midst of a free fall it pulls itself up. Seasonal logic makes no sense either. Architects were busy in December? A short month, at the tail end of budget planning? Obviously I am missing something, but regardless I am pleased with the progress. Now we wait 30 days to see how January plays out. If the ABI is up, it can be called officially a “trend” (3 months of something puts it into “trend” category) and as the great philosopher Roger “28” Collette once opined “the trend is your friend” especially when its positive. If that does happen, the projections of a solid 2012 will be looking much more possible.


-- Another positive trend… housing report from December showed its 3rd straight month of sales increases and we now have the lowest amount of housing inventory since 2005. As you can see by this article we’re not out of the woods yet, but the hopeful signs are coming into play. Gotta stay positive.

-- Once again I got a tremendous nugget of info from the twitter feed of Heather West. This time it was a critical rating of the effectiveness of building codes on the east and Gulf coasts. It was very, very interesting and surprising read. Check out here… but one comment, I am blown away that the great state of Texas scored so low and that South Carolina scored so high. Those ratings were shockers. In my limited experience I would’ve thought those ratings to be flip flopped. Anyway thank you Heather for the feed.

-- Great news internet wise this past week when the highly controversial SOPA and PIPA bills were yanked from the floor of congress. These bills were to put in tough federal laws against online piracy and copying of online intellectual property. Normally I would be 1000% behind something like these efforts. But the bills, as with most of what DC does, were loaded down with seriously intrusive measures and were just out of control in the desire to control free speech. The electronic community led by groups like Google and Wikipedia came together to flex muscle that overwrought measures like this won’t be accepted and won. No matter what, I do believe eventually these bills will come back but congress will have to take a more even keeled and fair approach as otherwise it will never work.

-- It was a combination of two sets of some of my favorite people when the gang from RavenBrick spoke at the Colorado Glazing Contractor Association meeting last week. Heard it was a lively and informative and everyone had a great time. It’s always good when the good word about advanced technology is getting out into the marketplace. The CGCA led by Rebecca Kaspari and with awesome members like Marty Richardson of Metropolitan Glass and the model like Cameron Scripture of Viracon really has the template down pat for well-run regional associations.

-- Thanks to GH for the quality proof read of this blog by the way. Brain sometimes freezes!

-- Last this week… great creative marketing play by Terry Newcomb and the folks at Thermal Windows… they gave away 1300 pounds of Grapefruit last week as a “thank you” to their Tulsa customers for three decades of support. Just a well-done effort and gesture… Now if they were giving away 1300 pounds of M&M’s I would’ve made the trip to Tulsa for that…. I guess M&M’s don’t grow on trees though. In any case, very nice work folks.


-- Did you happen to see the controversy on the High School rejecting the nickname “Cougars”? Really amazing that word is now offensive…

-- There will be beer served at the World Cup in Brazil… interesting since laws will have to be changed. Ah the power of “football” in our world.

The Sketcher Shape Up shoes are getting sued… I never saw the fascination with them or the value… and now it looks like they’ll be doing some explaining in court…


My brother is back on the prowl supplying videos… this one a classic slip of the tongue… he meant to say Hoosiers… and unfortunately that is not what came out…

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Off and running

Well that surely was an interesting week in our industry eh? I never thought that when I posted my blog last week that more acquisitions would be coming so fast and furious. Going forward the assumption should be that things will settle down but actually there have been rumblings from other concerns (not Grey Mountain) about some major moves about to take place. So 2012 is starting to look like the “year of the deal” and that should at least make things interesting! To me the bright spot in all of this is these are straight deals and not consolidations, which means there’s a confidence that money can be made. Which also means that maybe the worst of our malaise is over and we’re starting to consistently climb back.


-- As but for every piece of promise comes a piece of worry. This week the Associated Press ran this absolutely frightening article about the skyscraper boom in India and China and the effects on a possible massive downturn.

-- On the Glass Magazine site I know we were having some issues with the commenting feature. Hopefully it is fixed now. In any case the comments that were meant to be there were about Google+ and its value. There are more than a few people who are in agreement with me about it, questioning its future and value, so it was nice to see I am not alone. I'm still trying though, but can't get in the groove.

-- Speaking of social media… if you are on LinkedIn, please make sure you join the National Glass Association group. Always a good discussion or two going on there. LinkedIn has some great groups and sure it does have some serious duds but once you can optimize the experience it is really a worthwhile feature.

-- Guardian is becoming a “go to” place for our elected leaders to visit. In the last two weeks, they’ve had two pretty powerful U.S. Congressmen visit them and to me the more the merrier. Our industry has taken a beating in Washington over the years, so the more exposure we can get the better.

-- Did you happen to see the Elvis “Cirque” show in Las Vegas is done at the end of this year. I guess I gotta make sure I see it before that happens. Shame it didn’t take off, I can only wonder how it compared to the Beatles “Love” show which is the best show on the strip right now.

-- Sign we are all in the wrong business? That little energy drink “5 Hour Energy” sells 9 MILLION bottles a week. Just crazy.

-- I know this gets covered everywhere, but on the whole “glass falling epidemic” I have just one question… is the presence of the internet, now fueled by lighting fast informational wires like Twitter, making the issue more prevalent? And what I mean by that is are we having more breakage than historical normal or are we just hearing about it so much more? I just wonder if these issues have always been out there but just not covered so intently.

-- Last this week, Sorry to see the Tebow train end this weekend. That guy is a true blue American role model. Man I hate the Patriots…


-- The new thing in traffic flows... “the roundabout”- I don’t know about you but I HATE them… look out though, they are coming more and more…

-- Must read story on the NFL ref diagnosed with cancer thanks to an on field fight. Some things really do happen for a reason…

-- The great Journey tune “Don’t Stop Believing” has always had a major mistake… that being there is no such thing as "South Detroit" and finally some background on why the group used it.

BONUS: Occupy Wall Street is over but the occupiers live on… and they have 300K in their bank account… maybe they’ll invest in the glass business?


Youtube and I have not been getting along. Here we try again with the top “fails” of 2011… hopefully it works!!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

2012, great to see you!

Happy New Year! Before we put 2011 in the books though I wanted to quickly take a look back. There is no doubt that the past year was challenging. But there were probably more bright spots than we either want to admit or were willing to notice. Regardless, I for one am thrilled that we have turned the calendar over. 2012 brings with it serious promise, on virtually every level. We have many companies poised to make moves with new locations, expanding products and cutting-edge technology. We have hopefully some political closure, no matter who wins in November, and we just have the “hope” that comes with a clean slate. So with that in mind, the onus is on us to make it a great one and I truly believe we’ll rise above the obstacles and roadblocks out there. Nothing is easy, but I am staying positive as it relates to our industry and world.

See I am trying to turn over a new leaf… positive… kindler… gentler… oh my.


-- I have been doing this blog since 2005 and maybe once during that time did I take any extended time away from it until the last two weeks. It surely was bizarre not thinking about it. I missed it actually. So it’s great to be back. And as a reminder I actually post every Sunday, and it ends up in many people’s screens Tuesday as a part of the absolutely excellent e-glass weekly.

-- Some props to catch up on… Congrats to Kirk Johnson on his new position at Hartung Glass. Very happy that Kirk landed so well. And speaking of Hartung, kudos to their marketing genius Rich Porayko for the excellent choreographed set of announcements last week. Well done my friend. Congrats also to Alissa Schmidt who just picked up a nice promotion at Viracon. Wow the good guys get even better now! And also Congrats to the fine folks at Binswanger Glass who embark on a new journey, I’m excited for everyone there after the announcement of their purchase by Grey Mountain.

-- Grey Mountain also announced the acquisition of Global Security Glazing as well. As many of you know I have always been a fan of Grey and the way they do things. I lamented that they hadn’t gotten their chances in the past, so I am thrilled it has taken place now. That I believe is a positive for the industry for sure!

-- Did see the wild ruling that the Department of Defense will not be able to use any money to go through specific green building certifications. I am probably in the minority (I always am) but I think its great. Build to the spirit of it (like so many people do) because going sustainable is the right thing to do, but skip the process, save the cash (taxpayers cash anyway) and move on.

-- Saw on Twitter (are you using yet?) a great link from Heather West that predicted the 5 regions that will flourish in 2012. I should make you all go follow her on Twitter to find it, but here’s the link- interesting stuff.

-- Still on social media, anyone using Google+ much? I am trying to make an effort for 2012- just not sure if I get it yet.

-- BOOK of the WEEK: The Wizard of Lies by Diana Henriques. This book was the inside story about Bernie Madoff and his ponzi scam. Solid read overall, though maybe a tad too long. The key of the book for me was the blatant ineptitude of the SEC in their various investigations into Madoff. Many times they had him, and they just skipped a simple step and let him off the mat. It was like a TV cliffhanger leaving you thinking for sure the guy is done, and next week you watch the show and he survives. Just amazing stuff.

-- Last, this blog gets linked elsewhere but it is so good, I feel like I need to throw a connection out too. Kris Vockler compiled 9 business lessons from 2011. Very good, easy, and worthy read.


-- Start the year off with an absolutely great one… the job interview questions of the year. Some of these are really out there… makes you think!

-- If you are Facebook person and need a shower curtain, this is the product for you!

-- Wild piece here- 6 “true story” movies who’s happy endings really did not continue in real life.


Our submission for VIDEO of the WEEK this time is basically every video that my brother found and I didn’t show you all… and its compiled into one very handy video. The top “fails” of 2011. Check it out! (Bear with me- my link was bad and now Youtube is not cooperating- will update as soon as they allow me)