Sunday, March 31, 2013

Beating up on us again

Last week the glass industry via a piece in a Toronto newspaper took on more heat. Once again the construction of condominiums with a ton of glass were the focus of a very rough and pretty much one-sided piece.  For me as a glass guy, it was a tough one to take.  While the article probably was geared to get on the developers and designers and their choices of materials, when I read it I just saw a very broad-brush wiping of an entire glass industry with an extremely negative stroke.  I don’t know what materials are used in these condos and I am sure there are some brutally weak ones, but the way the article was written made it sound like there are no glass materials that could EVER be good enough.  Meanwhile for as mad as I got reading the piece, I mentioned to a good pal of mine from Toronto and he was not fazed at all.  Evidently the bashing like this has been going on for a while.  Still it is a shame that we as an industry are being pretty unfairly portrayed yet again.


--  Viracon premiered a new logo and website this past week and I must say I was impressed.  First off, making a change to a look and logo for a company as iconic as Viracon is not easy.  Also re-building a website (something I do a lot) is very difficult.  Viracon aced them both.  The new logo is sharp and clean.  The new site I will admit I struggled with in finding a few things but its also new and I am an impatient person.  The new tagline elicits memories for me of Herb Brooks in Miracle.  Incredible cool that a classic Minnesota based company has a tag line that makes me think of one of the greatest people the state of Minnesota has ever given us.  Anyway, major kudos to all that worked on this effort!  Job well done.

--  Quick wrap of BEC.  This was the last conference led by Henry Taylor of Kawneer as Chair.  Henry was my choice to replace me in that position five years ago and he did a tremendous job despite some really rocky roads.  Henry’s a good man that I am sure will continue to give back to the industry.  In his place I am thrilled that Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning is stepping in.  Jon is a true blue talent in our world and he’ll be amazing in that spot.  Plus I love how active Dow Corning is getting in our industry, very good to have their support!

--  Unfortunately have a sad note to report in the passing of Mike McAskin of Great Lakes Glass in Michigan.  Mike was an industry vet and had just a few years bought Great Lakes and was building them into a very strong player in the region.  He was a good, fair, class man, who always took time for people to come pitch him ideas, products, and services.  A tough loss for all of us.  Thoughts and prayers to his family and staff at Great Lakes.

-- The Final Four is set.  I am happy for my Michigan friends who make it to the biggest stage after being bounced by Ohio U last year and thrilled for Tony Kamber, the biggest Louisville fan in the industry.  Should be a fun run to the title.

--  Last this week; the ABI did once again go up.  We’re now on a roll here and the improvements in new projects inquiry, best in 6 years is very exciting.  But as always I do worry again about the reliability of this report as we should be busier right now (based on old reports) than we seemingly actually are. 


--  Amazing weight loss story- couple loses 500 pounds… very cool.

--  New technology enters the prom-asking arena… NOT looking forward to my daughter hitting that age.

--  Long piece on a guy “selling himself” which is pretty wild.


This week my brother makes an appearance again with a Video of the Week submission… this one is pretty comical, though possibly staged.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The true industry awards

It’s that time again; the extremely popular Glass Magazine Awards are back.  Like last year I am very excited for the people portion of the awards since this is a great way to recognize the talent in our world.  Plus it’s a vote of your peers as the ballot is open to the industry and it’s great to have a say in such a prestigious award.  So if you have not seen the info yet on it, here’s a link for it.  Check it out and start nominating!


--  One guy who should get a nomination in the Sales Rep category is Dave Michaeli of AGC.  I thought of him this week when I saw his alma mater having its pro tryout day.  All those guys striving to be an Idaho State Hall of Famer just like him.

--  It’s March Madness!  Sadly my Alma Mater just missed getting back to the dance but no matter it will be a blast to follow as always.  My picks for the final four are Louisville, Ohio State, Florida, and Miami with Louisville winning it all.  Remember I did pick the Super Bowl right this year, so I am on a roll…LOL

--  The monthly Consumer Confidence sentiment had a surprising and major dip in its latest release.  Several factors including the “sequester” and gas prices had effects.  It was a matter of time in my opinion that the unconscionable gas gouging was going to finally bite into the economy.  Why no one of importance seems to pay attention to the games the oil companies are playing is beyond me.  Unfortunately the trickle down here will continue to be a drag on the economy.  And we are seeing it here in our industry as another set of price increases are out.

--  Great piece here from Susan MacKay and Paul Gary on the Affordable Care Act.  The more you know, the better you will be.  Also Susan along with the excellent Matt Johnson will be presenting at the forthcoming online Glass Management Institute.  If you are in business, you will not want to miss their piece as well as the others that are lined up.  Basically in the case of understanding new laws like this, you just can’t afford to miss it. 

--  For the first time in who knows how many years, I missed the annual GANA BEC Conference this week.  Schedule conflicts did me in.  Hate missing all of the folks I usually see there.  Hopefully I’ll catch up with everyone at AIA and GlassBuild.

--  Last this week.  I struggle to remember birthdays as I get older, but I always remember that St Patrick’s Day is also the birthday of a good guy and former co-worker of mine, Dave Gillikin of Hartung Glass Industries. Hope you had a great one Dave!


--  Twitter, for as much as I love it, is also littered with some serious lowlifes.  In this case one boxer had enough of the idiocy and took matters in to his own hands… good for him!

--  This story makes it seem like this is rare, but I have seen the old storage room, now for napping, at a lot of offices.

--  Drunk man falls asleep in his fries.  Yep.


Well I can say that the old traditional Bar Mitzvah invitation has changed dramatically.  This video invite is very well done.  I actually got this from a few people, but thanks to Scott Goodman who led the pack.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Throwback Blog

Last Friday I was lucky enough to go ton 80’s themed NBA game featuring Debbie Gibson as the halftime performance.  So I was already in the “throwback” mode when the e-mail came in from an industry friend with a crazy piece of news from an old nemesis of mine.  Yes, the NFRC has returned to the radar like it was 2005 again.  Now this little tidbit is nothing like what I battled over for years and I have moved on, being too much of a fan of Tom Herron (NFRC’s excellent Senior Manager of Communication & Marketing) to even pick on anything else now that the major battles had passed.  But that said this one was too much not to make a comment on here.  NFRC sent an e-mail to their membership that had chosen to be partners in an ENERGY STAR program.  After thanking them for doing this and mentioning how wise and wonderful the decision was, the next paragraph dropped the doozy:

“As an ENERGY STAR Partner, you have the option to participate in a verification program. However, failure to enroll for verification testing or to respond to requests for products or information in a timely manner will require the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) to inform the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

Yep, so you have the “option” to participate but if you DON’T do so, we’re turning in you in to the authorities!  Ummm that means actually you DON’T have the option if you don’t want some muckety muck from the EPA on you.  So why not just spell it out- it’s not an option, it’s a requirement.  Plain and simple right?  I swear it’s like old times again as it was loose, inconsistent language like this that started the whole fight.  I guess it is true that everything old can come back and be new again.  I can go on and on, but if I start ranting on NFRC again, I’ll become that crazy outlier blog no one will want to read.


--  But wait… another one of my old staples is China and that too hit my radar this week.  Legendary technical consultant Greg Carney dropped me a note with a link on a story of the growing amount of vacant skyscrapers in China.  The scary part as Greg correctly noted is if this issue causes the Chinese government to stop investing in real estate and the glass guys there (and there’s more than you can ever realize) run out of places to supply… well the dumping that could take place in North America will off the charts.  Here’s the link and it is one story to watch.

--  Almost back to 2013, but before I do, just a heads up on a movie coming out that is based on an incredible, true story from 1994.  The movie is called Pain & Gain and it stars The Rock and Marky Mark Wahlberg.  It will surely be made with a Hollywood spin and be a buddy film sort of thing (based what I saw on the trailer).  However the true story is so unreal, so amazing, and filled with just mind-blowing twists, it’s a shame it won’t be covered accurately.  The story is covered here on this link- it’s three parts long but worth it when you get a moment.

--  And last from the past a word of congrats to a former co-worker of mine Howard Holesapple on his new gig as VP of Sales at Consolidated Glass in New Castle, PA.  Howard is riot, and glad he left his band “Howard and the Holesapples” to stay in the glass industry.

--  Before I end, we’ll come to the present for the last item of the week.  The news that Grey Mountain’s Consolidated Glass Holdings named a new President & CEO broke on late in the week.  I will say the same thing here as I said on my blog when the new CEO at Trulite was announced, I wish them the best of luck as there’s a bunch of excellent people in the organization and no doubt it will surely be interesting to watch how this progresses. 


--  Interesting piece onbranding and the actor Ron Howard. 

--  Great “food for thought” story… the original Karate Kid is now as old in real life as his teacher.  Wow, time flies.

--  I don’t think anyone could say they had a worse week than this guy?


This is more for my readers in Canada but also for serious Hockey fans… tribute to Stompin Tom Connors who passed away this week.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Must Follows

There are certain authors, actors, and musicians that I absolutely must follow and whenever they come out with new material, I am sure to get it.  Well lately in the blog world there’s a few people that fit that role as every time they post, it brings thought and reaction.  Here’s some that just deliver again and again.

First up, Jenni Chase on Glass Magazine’s site is on an absolute roll.  Last week’s post on the Low Cost Competitor had the industry buzzing.  The comments to her piece were insightful, interesting and for some controversial.  When a true class act like Bob Lawrence weighs in, like he did here, you HAVE to pay attention.  The give and take, in the mature manner that took place was refreshing.  More debate is sure to come on that issue, and that’s the beauty of Jenni’s takes.  Whether it’s this piece or being a glass “geek” she gets people talking.

I am also a fan of Jeff Razwick’s blog on the Technical Glass Products site.  This past week, Jeff took on the subject of school safety and laid out several arguments and insights.  In some cases Blogs are meant to just get you thinking and Jeff usually takes that task.  And basically every time he writes it leads to discussion.  Great stuff.  The post can be found here.

Others?  I miss the old Division 8 blog, that one had a ton of potential but went away and I am not sure why.   I do like when guys like Mark Silverberg of Technoform blog and I am huge fan of anytime that Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning posts.  Plus the great takes of folks like Rod Van Buskirk, Bill Evans, and Chris Mammen are in that must read category.


--  Is it the fact that we are in such a relatively slow news cycle (in our industry) right now a good sign?  I think so, less turmoil is best… but it is tough to be a blogger who loves to comment on relevant news though.

--  I recently completed the first of four interviews I am doing for Glass Magazine and I am very excited about it.  Being able to shine the light on some serious talent in our industry is exciting.  First one for 2013 will be out soon!

--  One of the architectural sites I love to follow had a good thread on one of their message boards that asked, “What are some of the ‘coolest’ new products you have seen lately” and being a site for architects it had responses on some wild self-healing concrete along with other marbles and gypsum.  No glass or aluminum has been mentioned... yet.

--  Also on the same post one person wrote in that instead of products she found cool, she was more annoyed by people promoting “green” products with no documentation or basis. Amazing that still despite FTC fines and a focus on ”greenwashing” it continues. 

-- Last this week… can you believe it is March?  Get ready for baseball to kick in and March Madness to take place in College hoops.  Maybe spring weather will actually make an appearance too… would nice to be warmer, but I’ll take cold over a wet spring since rain is bad for jobsites.


--  Seemingly great news… new home construction in Atlanta going very well.

-- OK a wild story on how a Mom and Daughter scammed a Coke bottlecap contest.  Impressive.

--  Neat story on an NBA Player having his dad take his allowance after getting a fine from the NBA.


Oh a High School Playoff buzzer beater from Utah… from Half Court… wow… gotta play better D… what a great way to win and tough way to lose.