Sunday, February 24, 2013

Is It Real This Time?

This past week the latest Architectural Billings Index (ABI) came out and it showed the best performance of that indicator since 2007.  So is it time to party?  Can we take this seriously?  Sadly my answer is… no.  I just have a nagging feeling that this report was a fluke and next month we’ll be off the trend again.  Plus even if this is good, we’re seeing that the positive ABI from last year, that should have a direct effect on our industry right now, really did and has not. (Especially in specific geographies)  End of the day, I enjoy following these reports, I like commenting on them, but I guess I am reluctant to believe them.


--  Want to read a depressing story that will make you angry about government waste, corporate greed, lawyerly deception and overall ineptitude?  Check out this piece on the Home Affordable Modification Program and see how efforts like this can go very badly.

--  Last week I hammered the Cruise world after the Carnival debacle and I heard about it from several angles.  The biggest one was from former Texas Glass Association Professional of the Year David Ozment of Binswanger Glass.  He was not pleased with my comments given the effect a cruise slowdown could have on his Galveston territory.  And he’s right.  No doubt that if the cruise industry suffers the effect it will have on its ports will be dramatic.  Still I do wonder how many people did see that coverage and decide, no way, not going on one.

--  Amazing news, last week I had a brief interaction with the folks at the Department of Energy and I must say, the new blood is very very good.  We have hope folks.  Good people at that organization could have an incredibly positive effect on our industry. 

--  If you read this blog you know I like lists… this one though was tough.  I picked it up thanks to the fantastic Twitter feed of Earnest Thompson and it was Forbes Magazine’s “top miserable cities” for 2013.  The link is here, but as a preview it has a lot of Michigan and California cities on the list.

--  Kudos to the team at for their latest fundraising success.  You may remember these guys as the folks with the memorable exhibits at GlassBuild America.  They also though are pretty amazing when it comes to raising money for breast cancer and last week they announced they passed the $10,000 mark in secured donations.  Great work gang!! Plus I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves in Atlanta this fall!

--  Last this week… I read that Lance Armstrong was paid 31 million by the US Postal Service as a part of their sponsorship of him and his cycling team.  I guess this is yet another reason why that organization is so deep in debt.  I would’ve loved to be in that marketing and strategy session to hear what the justification was on why they sponsored him and more importantly how it would drive more people to use an archaic mail and delivery service.  And I get brand awareness, live for it, but that argument doesn’t play here for a ton of reasons.  (Majority of races overseas, lack of TV exposure, tainted sport, etc.)


--  A helium shortage could actually be very serious.  Wow.

--  OK fellow Road Warriors… check out the possible airline seatof the future… what do you think?  Pretty cool in my estimation but since I usually only fly Delta and their fleet is 30 years old, I’ll probably never see it.

The untold story of one of the more memorable openings of the Oscars.


Last week it was the basketball coach hitting the half court shot.  This week it’s the cheerleader and she does it one better.  Amazing stuff!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fun and Interesting Feedback

I have been writing this blog for a long time.  Pretty much every week since 2005, I have been posting my thoughts, opinions, theories, and awful sporting predictions.  (Exception this year, I did call the Super Bowl- thank you very much.) I have enjoyed doing it a great deal but I must say the last several weeks have been the most fun I have had doing this in a very long time.  You, the readership, have been incredibly engaged.  The amount of feedback I have been experiencing has been a blast.  It is awesome to see people are interested in the subjects I hit here like education, technology, talent, and heck I even got a handful of notes about Taylor Swift too.  While I created this forum for me to release my feelings and act as therapy, it is also for you to have an outlet of your feelings and issues.  And I am thrilled it continues to fill that role!


--  Speaking of education, several weeks ago I mentioned SAPA’s Commercial B&C Academy as a great learning opportunity.  It was held a week or so back and the feedback I have received on it was great- people from all over North America attending and some serious learning going on.  Congrats to the gang there for their efforts and I will surely do all I can to attend the next one in person!

--  A quick “Get Well Soon” wish to good friend Steve O’Hollaren of ICD.  Can’t wait to see you back out on the road and at the shows!

--  Enjoyed the Glass Magazine “G3” piece this month.  It was the “Expectations for 2013” question and the three folks featured Mike Turner of YKK, Sue Moore of Moore Glass, and Scott Thomsen of Guardian Industries did a great job of hitting the important pieces of the year ahead.  By the way, I really like this feature- it is a quick and interesting way to get insight and opinions from some very fascinating people.

--  As a marketing guy it will be very interesting to see if Carnival Cruise lines do anything to change the current perception in the marketplace.  Last week’s debacle with the ship broken down in sea gave so much negative attention to the line, I have to wonder how they bounce back.  Heck the whole industry suffered mightily as even though these ships are “floating cities” when things go wrong, you are really going to be in an ugly place.

--  For the record, I haven’t had a desire to take a cruise, after this event, even the slim desire is gone.  I’ll stick to land.

--  Last week was the Grammy Awards and my comments are simple… Taylor Swift did not sing the song I liked and the show lacked that awesome performance they had in years past (like Bruno Mars in 2012).  Too bad.

--  Last this week… a meteor hit Russia.  How is this not bigger news?  If one hit the US it would easily be the 2nd biggest story of the day behind Marco Rubio drinking water or someone learning the Harlem Shake dance.  Seriously though, the meteor hit was an insane event and scary.  And from a glass standpoint, one story noted that more than a million square feet of glass was broken after impact.    Really big story that somehow, at least in my viewing, did not get the attention it deserves.


--  Interesting photo bomb here… and on a side note, how is this guy going to get confirmed with his past?

--  A mini meth lab on a golf course… in the porta potty… wild.

--  Meet a very cool Jeopardy contestant and the awesome way he answered the final question.


Very cool story from Brandon, Manitoba…. Where a college basketball coach at Brandon University just won a student free tuition by hitting a half court shot.  Love stuff like this!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The End of an Era

Several weeks ago I mentioned that the IGMA Conference in New Orleans was going to be a strong one and from all reports that filtered back to me it was.  There was quite a bit of news made at the event including John Kent from IGCC talking about the never-ending adventure of certification and Mike Burk of Quanex (one of my all time favorite conference speakers actually) on safety including how incentives may NOT work and danger to the neck area.  Both certification and safety are major concerns and issues in our world for sure.  But that said, when I had heard that Ray Wakefield of Trulite was attending his last IGMA, I was really thrown.  To me that’s the biggest news of the event.  Personally I can’t believe it as Ray is an industry institution and not having him involved in things like IGMA blow my mind.  He has forgotten more about the technical side of glass, IG and jobsites than I’d ever be able to amass.  I wish you well Ray- these deals won’t be the same without you!


--  And let’s give props to outgoing IGMA President Dave Cooper of Guardian.  In his tenure at the top, the meeting agendas were strong and interesting.  The next President (I have not heard yet who that may be) will have really big shoes to fill.

--  Good news that the Dodge Index went up in January.  Again trying to stay positive with my thoughts towards our economy.

--  On the negative side, gas prices, even before Winter Storm Nemo, was inching towards $4 per gallon again.  In Michigan we saw almost a .50 increase in 2 weeks time.  Ummmm can anyone explain why?  That whole deal really is amazing.

-- A very strong effort by the team at Glass Magazine on their latest effort featuring the Top Fabricators in our industry.  They have now made this yearly edition something that can’t be missed.  I really enjoyed the poll questions, some of which had to be tough to answer.  The one on “greatest challenges” as an example had to be a brutal one to answer since so many of the choices are kinda like a 1 and 1A sort of thing.  I’m stunned that the “Finding Financing” answer was so low, but the other choices were surely more crucial.

--  But on the same poll the one question that wasn’t hard to answer was the “What are fabricators future capital acquisition plans?” The dominating answer was adding new products and product lines.  I think that is so dead on and we see it daily, companies are hungry to diversify and jump into new business segments and I believe we are only seeing the start of it. 

If you have not seen the issue yet, check it out HERE.

--  The Big 10 in basketball is like the SEC in football- just stacked.  What a wild March this is going to be.  Just thinking about the brackets is exciting.

--  Last, I have to admit and I may be the only mid 40 year old guy around who would do this, but I really dig Taylor Swift’s new song “I Knew You Were Trouble”  - just a great tune in my opinion and man it does stick in the head.


--  Pretty comical… something a newspaper is still good for.

--  This story brings up a ton of issues- including if Marijuana was legal, would stuff like this happen?  My guess is yes.  Society right now is NOT a pretty place.

--  This is so wrong it hurts. Schools taking the ownership of kids work.  For future profit I am sure.  Maybe stick to updating the curriculum to the year 2013 first eh?


The perils of being a pro golfer playing one of the greatest courses in the world.  Phil Mickelson takes a hard spill while looking for his ball.  The replay starts at :11 in and I think ole Phil will be sore tomorrow.  Ouch.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Talent on Display

One of the great pet peeves I have is hearing the negative comments about the talent in our industry.  Basically the discussion, which has become more prominent in recent times, follows the theme that too much of our little piece of the world is lacking the brainpower compared to other industries.  I am sorry, but that is just plain wrong.  I know as an industry we are very unique and we do things that are probably not the smartest.  However that in my opinion doesn’t come from a question of talent but other out of control factors. (And I can guarantee you other industries have similar issues- no world is perfect)  In all honesty, I believe we are loaded with men and women who could transfer into any industry and do VERY well.  As a brief example, guys like Oliver Stepe of YKK, Devin Bowman of TGP, and Garret Henson of Viracon I would put up against anyone from any other industry.  And I believe I’d win.  And these guys are just from the top of my head.  At the end of the day, it is an absolute fallacy that we lack talent, there’s tons of it; maybe some folks just don’t want to look for it.


--  As a side note to the above, I believe our whole “Family Business” model is what also bring us heat as so many companies in our world are family operations.  But that is not a bad thing (sure I am biased as heck here) A great example of a family success that probably doesn’t get enough pub?  Companies like My Shower Door/D3 Glass with the Daubmann family at the helm.  Success is not an accident there- it took some talent for sure.

--  Obviously I have written a ton about the DOE over the years and most of it negative, but now there’s a chance that we could be moving into a positive space.  With the resignation of Dr. Steven Chu, they’ll be a new leader coming on.   Add that fact with some impressive fresh blood now in the organization and taking bigger roles, I am very hopeful.

--  ABI went up again… so with that news, and with most of last year’s totals, we should have a great year right? 

--  I’m told the new show “The Americans” is really something to see.  Going to check that out hopefully this week.

--  Last this week... the Super Bowl... the power outage?  Crazy eh?  The comeback?  Even crazier.  Me losing a Super Bowl Square payout because of the safety?  Depressing.  Anyway on to the commercials...  Overall I thought they were weak. On the good side:  I really liked the M&M's "Anything for Love" spot, enjoyed the the fantasy of the "Go Daddy" ad and got a kick out of the Oreo library commercial.  Plus no doubt "The Rock" is truly an American star, with him being in a bunch of spots with the best one being his "Milk" commercial.   And the halftime piece from JEEP was fantastic.  On the flip side, I thought the Dorito's spots missed badly, and I have no idea why Budweiser keeps introducing new beers during this game with such awful and unmemorable efforts.

Oh and I did pick the Ravens... from the start of the season... the blind squirrel found the acorn for sure...

--  Wow- great customer service and a customer surely determined to get some.  Wild story.

--  Tremendous story of a pizza franchise that gets it.  And now that I am eating Pizza again, next time I have a chance, I’m ordering from these guys.

--  This story is too wild.  A girl had to sue to be able to use her given name?  And it's not a wild one either.  Worth the quick read.


Charles Barkley does the weather.  Always a comical guy…