Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Talented and The Technical

Last week I spent a few days at the GANA Annual Conference and as always came away impressed by the talent in our industry and the work that gets accomplished during the event.  Basically many of the discussions that went on there were crucial technical pieces that will have an effect on the way business gets done in our world. The big piece for me was the decorative division meetings as that segment and division continue to grow in prominence, thus the need for education, direction, and standards.  The group charged with it, led by their incredibly sharp chair Marc Deschamps of Walker Glass is surely up to the task.  Plain and simple, if you are in the industry and you care about the future, you need to attend events like this, along with shows like GlassBuild America (as well as their educational events) to stay properly informed on what we are up against in a very challenging world.


--  Of course I need to point out some of the folks I got to meet and greet… meeting John Rovi of SAPA for the first time was enjoyable.  I had heard a ton about him so it was nice to meet in person.  When I talk about some of the talent this industry possesses, I gotta point to guys like James Wright and Tim McGee of Glass Coatings and Concepts, they bring personality and energy to the game with some serious sales and marketing chops.  Was nice to get to know them.  I dig Nick Bagatelos of BISEM, his passion for the product is really hard to top.  Plus I wish I had his hair and style.  Last, getting to see Stanley Yee and Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning is always a treat.  Stanley just recently joined Dow Corning, which is an absolute coup for those guys given the knowledge base he possesses. 

--  Lost in the controversy of whether Beyonce lip synched or not (gosh our media is great isn’t it?  Not) was the part of the President’s inaugural speech that covered climate change and building better infrastructure and buildings.  We have heard that before, but maybe the time to get serious- especially on the buildings is here.  I expect to see movement from our industry on this before too long.  Stay tuned.

--  Any guesses on the Top 12 cities leading the way for sustainability?  Some folks on this list will surprise and some will not.  Interesting nonetheless. 

--  Congrats to the gang at General Glass (GGI) on their smooth revamped website.  Really strong piece of work, clean and very smartly laid out.  Well done folks.

--  By the way, at the start of the NFL season I did pick the Ravens to make the Super Bowl… which means somehow one of my picks panned out.  First time for everything!  So I am sticking with the Ravens to win it all next week.  Wonder if CBS will tell us that Ray Lewis is retiring?  (Sarcasm intended!)

--  And last this week; the Super Bowl brings us not only the game but also commercials.  Will be curious to see who brings the best and I also expect this year to have a ton of social media connection too.  On next week’s blog I’ll be listing my favorites….


--  Sometimes the blunt approach works to get the internship.  It did here.

--  The “photobombed” picture had a big week, best one was probably President Clinton checking out Kelly Clarkson, but this one wasn’t bad either.

--  Get ready… April of 2029, the next time the world is due to end. 


Another classic set of fails… this time on those Segway things.  I never thought they could be so dangerous… guess they are!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

And we're off...

We are now a few weeks in to the new year and you can start to feel that the holiday hangover is passing and we’re now starting to settle into what’s “real” in our world.  For some regions, that means slowing of business and more crucially the slowing of cash flow.  In other areas, it’s still rolling along nicely though they too are watching their cash flow closely.  All parties though are surely wondering how long this trend will last.  For those on the slowing side, some past experience has shown that it was usually slowing up by late January, early February.  Then awful until late March and early April.  Will this year follow pattern?  The clock is ticking…


--  Missed this last week, but a hearty congrats to Kirk Johnson on his promotion at Hartung to COO.  I’ve known Kirk a long time and it’s great to see him advance to such a strong position at one of the industries best companies.

--  Also missed last week, Steven Brenner, joining McGrory Glass as Director of Architectural Sales.  I am thrilled for Mr. Brenner and the classy McGrory family as this is a win-win proposition for sure!

---  And one more item from last week, I was heartened by the reaction to my piece on the supply channels being disrupted.  A ton of feedback both online and to me personally.  Very cool, and to hear from folks like Scott Surma and Gerry Duffy is ust an honor and thrill.  It is a serious subject and I am glad people see it as such.

--  I’m on my way to the west for a few days for the GANA Annual Conference.  I have not attended one of these in a while, so I am looking forward to seeing what is new and happening on the technical side of our world.  Plus getting the chance to visit with folks like Greg Carney, Julie Schimmelpenningh, and the Pittsburgh legend Ren Bartoe among others is very exciting. 

--  Cold enough outside for everyone? Man oh man, just seems more bitter than normal.  Then again my friends on the auto glass side are just pleading for a few ice storms to help that business segment.

--  Lance Armstrong.  Manti Te’o.  I just don’t know what to say.  What a wild news cycle.

--  I have been involved with some of the planning of the Glass Management Institute and will say that I am very excited about the speakers and subjects lined up.  More info is coming, but suffice to say, this will be “can’t miss” sort of stuff.  Except for the marketing class that some pain in the butt blogger is going to teach.

--  Hockey is back… my picks… St. Louis vs. the Rangers in the Cup.  Early apologies to Paul DeGray, whom I believe is a huge Ranger fan and is now screaming at the screen that I jinxed the Blue Shirts.  Sorry, but I think King Henrik will carry them.


--  A college in Georgia is a leader in “Sugar Baby’s” and I am not talking the candy.  Amazing!

--  Same names…first and last, and they get married…. Now divorced.  Confused?  Yep, I was too… then I clicked.

--  Wild story, Russian soldiers finally switching to socks.  Yes socks… I mean I thought EVERYONE wore socks.


Last week I talked about the amazing MTV book and there was one video that was noted in the book ruined a guy’s career.  It was “Rock me Tonight” by Bill Squier and it is very memorable… here it is in all its glory…

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Harmful Practice

Right at the start of the year I was alerted once again to the depressing practice of suppliers selling direct to contractors thereby cutting out the glazier.  This is something that is not healthy for our industry on so many levels and it needs to stop.  I think sometimes companies do things in acts of desperation, but this latest rash of direct selling does not fall in that category.  In my early days growing up in this industry when a supplier sold direct, they were faced with a version of frontier justice in that the local industry shunned them.  Now for some reason it’s more accepted, and that is insane. Hopefully this latest batch of wrong-headed selling will slow and retreat and not gain because if it does, it surely will not be good for anyone in the end.


--  Why I like Twitter, part 378.  This past week I was unable to attend the BETEC conference.  Yet, I missed nothing thanks to live “tweeting” by Glass Magazine’s Katy Devlin. (Then the wrap up article too)  Twitter really is a great way to stay up on info and Katy did a great job- as always.

--  So the Dodge Momentum Index was up … again I remain hopeful.  And as for the ABI, they got some mainstream love from the folks at the Wall Street Journal.  This article ran before the holidays and really played up the positive nature of the last few months.

--  I really like the agenda that IGMA has laid out for their conference next month.  Kudos to David Cooper and Marg Webb for putting that one together- good speakers and subject matter to be covered.

--  Other than the above...a pretty slow week in our industry news wise- which was needed after the heavy news flow in week one of this new year.

--  Book of the week… if you grew up during the birth of MTV, then the book I just read is absolutely a must.  The book’s title is “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution” and it’s an oral history that is simply fantastic.  I LOVED MTV as I grew up, and reading it just brought back tons of memories- and also sent me scurrying to Youtube to look up the videos again as they were mentioned in the book. The inside stories were amazing too.

--  Also during the holidays I was able to check another item off my “Sports Bucket List” and that was getting to see LeBron James play in person.  He was spectacular to watch- just owned the court.  Still not as good as Michael Jordan but the game has changed, and seeing him in person gave me new perspective on how good James really is.

--  Still on the list?  See a hockey game in Edmonton and Toronto, go to Wimbledon, see The Masters, and the World Cup…. Among others… hey may as well shoot high right?

--  Last, did any of you catch the controversy from “Wheel of Fortune” that hit over the holidays?  I guess if you don’t annunciate just perfectly you can be buzzed as wrong.  That happened in a horrible way in this videoclip and you just shake your head for this poor gal, who is by the way a part of our military and deserved better.  Plus I think she actually said it close enough even with her accent to be accepted.


--  This story will make your stomach turn.  Foreclosed houses are bad enough, but how about the twist of the “Zombie Title” – Unreal.

--  I am not a Facebook guy and this story is another reason why I am not.

--  A new weight loss system.  Yeah I may have to try that…


Great video of game winning shot in 8th grade hoops.  Just wild….no urgency, pure flair.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

2013... Great Year Ahead!

Happy 2013!  Hope everyone out there had a wonderful holiday season.  I have to ask… Did January 2nd seem busier and more intense than the normal return from holiday?  It sure felt that way to me! I think because of the way Christmas fell, that so many people were off after Friday the 21st, that folks returned en mass on the 2nd and man what a crazy day it was.  In any case, I am looking forward to 2013, as there’s a lot to watch for.  Will the ABI be right?  Will the economy grow, stagger, or stay the same?  Will there be more consolidation in our industry? Will there be product breakthroughs?  Will new stars in our world be made?  These and other questions will be answered below and in future weeks on the blog.  I for one can’t wait to get to it!


--  Before I go forward, just a note to go back to.  For readers of my blog via “e glass weekly” I did have a post before the holidays and it can be found HERE.  I gave out some kudos on the marketing side to the fine folks at TGP, YKK, Guardian, Kawneer, Cardinal, and PPG.  Plus I hit some NFL talk, and another green smack down, so feel free to check it out.

--  OK on to 2013… I think the ABI is going to be wrong.  I will still follow it, report on it and hope that when its good it’s right, but I have a feeling they are just going to be off.  I think the economy stays somewhat the same as 2012 but starts to improve later in the year.  That said I have no clue what is really happening in DC as I chose to ignore the stories the last few weeks of the year.  I finally got sick enough of it, to just avoid it. Absolutely there’s more consolidation coming.  Trulite made the first move in 2013 (an excellent one by the way), and I think several others are coming from them and others.  If the rumor mill is any indication, I think this has potential to be a very active year. 

Product breakthroughs will continue- I am constantly amazed at what people have in development.  I am pumped for GlassBuild America as I know a few of these technologies will be on display at their Innovative Product Pavilion.  And yes I believe new stars are being made in our world- I have plans to interview a few of these folks who are really making inroads in our world- I am excited for the rest of the industry to get to know them to.  End of the day, I am excited for this year, despite those economic unknowns I still feel like its going to be a positive year and if we keep creating great new technology, and introducing smart and capable people, our industry will be heading in the right direction for sure. 

--  No my new years resolution was NOT to be sappy, but that paragraph above sure was.  Ha ha.  Actually this year is no Ice Cream.  I’ll skip it.  2012 I skipped Pizza and am proud to say I made it.  Never thought I could.  Somehow I gained a ton of weight becoming the only human to swear off pizza and gain like I ate it every day!

--  Big news… right before the break, Guardian Industries announced a new leader and the completion of their deal with Koch Industries. This is a great deal for Guardian and more importantly our industry.  Guardian is a massive player and a supporter of so much of what we do whether its trade media, shows, sponsorships, education etc.  They are an excellent corporate citizen and now even better with the addition of a strong company like Koch in their world.  To me as an industry observer, if a company that didn’t “make things” like Koch does was the investor, I would be worried, but this fit is really good and smart.  Congrats to all involved.

--  Last, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the change at the top of Trulite.  The old me would go off for about 700 words.  The new me is more measured, soft, and sappy.  (And fatter too, dang it)  I will only say that I was actually surprised by the ousting of Jeff Leone because I thought after all this time in charge he had ridden the storm out.  I now look forward to seeing how the new regime does and wish them the best of luck, as there’s still a bunch of excellent people in that organization.


--  For my fellow readers who fly a ton… a story you have heard but doubtful you have ever seen a picture like this.

--  I am one of those people who don’t like to fly Southwest (I am in the minority there I believe) but after this news, I may have company.

--  Interesting list on “banned words” – good read.

--  Wow there’s also a tariff on wire hangers…. crazy eh?


My good friend Pat Pickrell sent me this incredible video on the VW plant in Germany that is something to behold.  Thank you Pat!