Sunday, September 29, 2013

Trying to Believe

Each month the Architectural Billings Index comes out and I usually make a quick comment or two on it.  It’s been a tremendous struggle for me to trust the numbers, because forecasting in our industry is pretty much a disaster.  If you look at the various professional predictions over the last few years they have come up wrong, significantly wrong in some cases, so my confidence in relying on these efforts is not strong.  So that said, when this month’s ABI was released I was very excited but also wary because I just don’t want to get let down again.  The numbers coming from the ABI are showing that we are trending out of the malaise and challenged economy we have all been dealing with in some form or fashion over the last few years.  Combine that with an incredibly positive trade show performance at GlassBuild America as well as expanding employment numbers and we just may be on that right path again.


--  Props to AAMA for putting together a first class fall conference coming up later in October, specifically the scheduling of Dr. Karma Sawyer of the DOE to deliver the keynote speech.  I had the honor of meeting Dr. Sawyer once and she is sharp, focused, and professional.  I believe she has the ability to really benefit our industry and our world as a whole. 

--  And those who know me know that I am a huge believer in “karma” so it’s only natural I would be a fan of a person with that name. 

--  Nice work by Guardian on their joint white paper with the University of Michigan on the benefits of glass and daylighting.  Once again Chris Dolan and his team come through with a meaningful and significant effort.  Papers like that are crucial to our industry.

--  A favor to ask… former NGA VP David Walker is doing amazing things in his new life as CEO of the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes’ charity.  Recently he was nominated for a “Rare Life” honor in which his story and others are told and the public votes for a winner.  What David is doing is significant and a win in this contest would bring to tremendous benefit to the organization he now runs.  So please click the link, read about David and click to vote.  Thank you.

--  The Pittsburgh Pirates made the playoffs in baseball.  Been a long time coming for sure… first time since 1992.   My World Series picks though are Oakland out of the AL and the Dodgers from the NL with LA winning it all.  That pitching in LA will be hard to beat.  Oh and if you missed Mariano Rivera’s last Yankee Stadium appearance it’s my video of the week and it’s beautiful.

--  And while we’re talking sports… the NHL drops the puck formally this week too… my call for the finals there… Washington and LA with the Kings winning it.  Going to be a good year to be an LA fan.

--  Last this week… I noted that I’d be saying goodbye to my beloved blackberry next spring when my contract is up… well I may have to move that schedule up since a company I do work for switched their e-mail format to a platform that doesn’t support blackberry at all.  I guess the end really is near…


--  Serious drinking problem here.  Wow.

--  This sort of story doesn’t go away… now it’s the effect of “wi-fi” on your health.

As you know I love twitter but this article is so true… thanks to our current society (which lacks class and grace) it really can be a very angry medium.


The great closer Mariano Rivera is retiring after this year… and in his last game at Yankee Stadium, a couple of his long time teammates came out to get him from the mound.  Great, moving video. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Next Argument

How important is energy efficiency to you?  Would you pay more for it?  If you were the bigwig developer and you had a gaggle of new buildings to build, would you spend the extra money to make it the most energy efficient it could be?  Those are three questions that have recently been bandied about and here’s what I think the majority answers from the business owner/developer community would be. 

“Yes, energy efficiency is important to me.  If this were a public poll then ‘yes’ I would pay more for it.  If it’s confidential or my name is not on it, not a chance.  And as for the question on spending extra money… well I didn’t get to the point of developing buildings by spending ‘extra’ on anything!”

This is our problem, we build the products and push the attributes, but if it costs more, a lot more, it will always be a struggle.  We have a society right now that no matter what they say publicly will always defer to the bottom line when it comes to financial decisions.  So last week issues like this were discussed at the GANA Fall Conference and it was fascinating on several levels.  First off was the one the leaders of the discussion was an anti-glass industry guy back in the NFRC battles and now somehow he’s back on stage being this great sage of advice. Unreal.  He personally stood in the way of consensus many times, caused a ton of rancor and I just find it comical that now he’s the one telling the industry what to do.   The other fascinating thing is the codes issue.  As we have seen with other battles at the code arena, if done wrong, the codes could have a tremendously negative effect.  They also could raise costs even more.  Heck groups like the NFRC (sorry, back on that) account for additional costs now that in my opinion do not make sense or pay off. (Go ask a window manufacturer)  So what does this rambling rant mean? 

Basically we have to get past the money proposition by having clear and concise arguments on why the new technology coming from our industry is better and how it works.  Showing how it works, showing the improved energy modeling and being aggressive with technology and working with every component to ensure the products we deliver are a must have.  As an example people buy expensive cars all the time not because of status (though some do) but because they have a belief system that the expensive car is BETTER and will last longer and at the end of the day will be worth the investment.  We have to push that our product, the glass, the frame etc. will be going into a building and expected to last 50 years.  They won’t be changing it.  The owner will change the carpet every few years, re-paint every few years, tear out interior offices and remodel every few years… but the curtain wall is set…and there… forever… so why not make it the best?  Let’s prove it.


--  There’s more to say on the above… and in coming weeks we’ll get to it.  And with GlassBuild over I plan on a few more interviews (with people MUCH smarter than me) to keep this discussion going.  It’s an important one; it is a part of our future.

--  One of my past interview subjects and one of the most intelligent people when it comes to talking our future, Mark Silverberg had a great link from his twitter account recently on the top 10 green building practices of 2013.  This list was pretty interesting overall and something for everyone to be aware of.

--  Very sad news last week with the passing of Arthur Balik, retired Chairman of General Glass International (GGI). Arthur along with his brother Al (who passed away last year) were pillars in this industry and were a huge part of building the infrastructure we all work in today.  I’d assume Arthur had to be extremely proud of the advancements his company made over the years.  My thoughts go out to the Balik family on their loss.

To the lighter side to end this week…

--  I did see at GlassBuild America people still using a Blackberry.  So I am not alone.  But come May, I am moving on…  very scared…
--  I saw the movie Pain and Gain, it was the re-make of an amazing newspaper series I covered here a while back.  And of course Hollywood ruined it.  Only Hollywood could take a story that is built for a movie and screw it up.
--  Finished the latest College Football expose by John Bacon called “4th and Long” and it was a decent read.  If you are a college football fan, it’s worth looking into.  By the way, I see a work stoppage or some sort of major protest coming to college football soon.  Some seeds were planted this weekend and I have a feeling these players, who are being exploited badly, will start to band together.  And yes that is a story for another time too.


--  These parents are disasters… thanks for raising kids who will be worse than you.

--  Great read on weight loss and a success story

And speaking of bad parenting… wow… and also paranoia payingoff.


Thanks to good friend Mike Dishmon of Virginia Glass for the heads up on this one… the old “hidden ball” trick actually in use!  Very cool.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Big 2013 GlassBuild America Wrap Up

Another GlassBuild America is in the books and the key takeaway is pretty apparent.  There is serious optimism and proof of a positive trend in our industry.  The good news that came from the show floor was that machinery was being sold at an amazing pace. Whether it was fabrication equipment or glass (for shops and mostly job sites) handling machinery, it was in demand and being sold over the three days in Atlanta.  People would NOT be buying (especially in the numbers they did) if they did not think we were not headed in the right direction.

As for the show, I would deem it a major success.  Yes not every of the more than 350 exhibitors had a great show, but a heavy majority did. (Keep in mind the vast focus of the show makes it impossible for every exhibitor to have giant audience)  The vibe was great and the support that so many of the exhibitors showed our industry truly was tremendous.

The Glazing Executives Forum went extremely well.  The “State of the Industry” panel really delivered.  Economist Dr. Jeff Dietrich came through with a great presentation as always.  His statement of growth and investment really did mix well with the way the show went.  I will have more comment/details on this presentation on my next post.

I though the in-show demonstrations were spectacular.  The multi-laminate cutting one (Putsch & Company) was something I had never seen before, and I thought the “Are you Smarter Than a FenestrationMaster” (AAMA) was creative and smart.  Plus the digital printing piece by Dip Tech had great crowds each time and was fascinating too.  Last the Impact testing (ATI) never ever fails to impress and wow the audience.  That is truly a GlassBuild staple.

As for seen and heard on the floor…

-- Actually I did not see Jeff Cothery to congratulate him on his new role at Besana Lovati… happy for him though.  I did see and spend time with the great John Rovi of Sapa, he is a credit to our industry for sure.  I was very impressed with the effort and team at AGC; they really brought their “A” game to the show.  The CR Laurence booth was a massive hub of activity all show long.  I did get to chat with Lloyd Talbert of CRL and just really honored with his commitment to support the industry by going all out every year at this event.  Speaking of going all out, as always the folks from Quanex did not disappoint and a special thanks to Ryan Kerch there for his help and hospitality.  It’s not a show for me if I don’t visit the guys from Glasstech, Dave and Tom always in top form.  A couple of other Tom’s were also running around doing good things… O’Malley from Doralco and Herron from NFRC.  And so happy for Michael Schmidt in his new role with FOREL, he’ll do great things there.

--  I finally met Russ Slaybaugh from DFI in person after YEARS of communicating by e-mail.  That is another company that gets it when it comes to supporting the industry. 

--  GlassBuild had a “Best in Show” award and while they had extremely impressive and worthy winners, here’s a couple that didn’t win and I am stunned.  M3 Glass Technologies booth was a stunner.  Loved what the gang at Salem Distributing had going and in fact they win this years “Fashion” award with best golf shirts.  They offered me one for $19.95 too…. I’m going to save up to buy one for next year.

--  Old friends… seeing Scott Goodman from a far, getting a few minutes with Cliff Monroe, and chatting with Dean Mead.  Running into Tom Marsh was fun, but basically missing Tony Kamber, Joel Smith, Scott Sallee, and Manny Valladares was depressing- saw all 4 but never got to talk to them-surely bummed me out. I only got a couple of seconds with Oliver Stepe, of YKK, but was glad to at least get that considering he is a man in demand.

--  New friends… met artist Christopher Reisert of Reflective Collections in West Palm Beach and his ideas and creativity look to be a major breath of fresh air for our world.  I had always known of Trent Hartley of Coastal/Aldora, so it was cool to meet him in person.  And I finally met Mason Harper from the very smart Nu Vu Glass out of Idaho who made the trip in with a team of folks from his office.

--  A few kudos to go around… first a major thank you to the team at NGA and GlassBuild America.  I have said it before and I will say it again, there’s no group more talented and their drive and dedication to make this the best show possible is impressive.  Plus they put up with me, and that alone takes a ton of effort.   And a massive thank you to every exhibitor who came out, expended resources, and made the show great.  The support of the show and thus the support of the industry means a ton.  We are all better for it!

Next week we return to normal… or whatever that is….


I may be in the minority here but I think this is a frivolous lawsuit. 

Ummm check this story out… amusement park gets ride shut down for safety rules, so it just moves it to a different state… and they plan on setting it up… without addressing the issue…

Plastic surgery to look like a hero or a star… I may do this, I want to look like Denzel Washington.


In case you missed it… Here’s the day 3 recap video from GlassBuild America… man it was a fun week.  I am very tired now though!!

Saturday, September 07, 2013

It's finally here

Not your typical blog this week.  I am in Atlanta already preparing for the show, so I'll be short.  Basically this show is incredibly important and exciting.  The importance is based on the fact our industry needs to show it's back and healthy.  Having wonderful and classy exhibitors like GlassBuild has makes that happen. The floor is absolutely loaded this year.
Meanwhile, it's exciting because I just love the action.  Getting to see people from all over the world and renew acquaintances is awesome. Anyway, I am pumped.

Here's a quick video that shows some of the action in the set up process and a handful of the almost 400 exhibitors that will be on hand.

My next post(s) will be the typical review of the show and my "page 6" style review of who was seen and heard on the floor.

To all of you traveling to Atlanta, be safe and get ready... THE TIME IS NOW for the biggest and best trade show in North America.

PS- Links & video of the week will return next week!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Wishing the best to Bob Lawrence

Happy Labor Day week and Happy Week before the biggest show of the year!  Finishing touches going on the show and below I’ll hit a few of those items but before I do, I wanted to pay tribute to a great industry man and class act who announced his retirement last week.  Bob Lawrence is hitting the golf courses full time and I for one will miss him greatly. In a lot of ways Bob was one of those “conscience of the industry” types- never afraid to give his opinion and never afraid to hear the other side too- and always wanting the best for our world.  He served the industry and his customer base with absolute class.  While I will miss him and his approach, I am thrilled he is starting the next chapter of his life and know he’ll be making a difference for someone, somewhere.


--  The Farmers Almanac was released and its predicting bitter cold for the winter.  Lots of snow.  Given the crummy summer, not a surprise.  Hopefully the weather is NOT a detriment in the building world though.

--  LEED back in the news this week, a fawning article about it hit the Atlantic.  This to me was over the top positive like I am over the top negative.  So I guess it’s the ying to my yang.  Worth the read though and comments are fascinating.

--  Happy Birthday to my brother Steve… if you see us together at the show try and guess who’s older…

--  Some updates for GlassBuild.  First and foremost, GlassBuild America now has an APP!  It’s a very cool addition that will make your show going experience that much better.  No longer will you have to scramble to find that booth you want to visit or seminar you want to attend- just click the app and you’ll be set.  If you are attending the show, download this now.  It works on Apple, Droid and even the rickety old Blackberry’s like I carry.

--  I have to extend a major THANK YOU to Guardian after they created and launched a video to promote their appearance at GlassBuild.  Video can be seen HERE and its great work from Earnest Thompson and Paige Plant Coates.  Super way to add to the momentum for the show!

--  In past week’s I’ve covered some of the stuff to hit at the show, so just a few more:
  • Stop by the AGC booth and see what they have going and you may even get lucky to see Glass Magazine interview star Rodger Ruff. 
  • Congratulate the folks at Virginia Glass for being in business 100 years… they’ll be celebrating at the show
  • Check out the “Smart” or “Dynamic” Glass options all over the floor… know it now because it’s here and showing in more specs than ever.
  • If you are looking for equipment, there’s no better place, the options on the floor, from all over the world is mind blowing.  I also heard a rumor that one major equipment company is planning a major splash at the show- if that happens, it will surely catch everyone’s attention.
  • Make sure you get to the Opening Night reception, always worth it. 
  • The floor demos this year have expanded with 4 of them happening throughout the run of the show.  All are going to be something to experience. 
  • The seminars on the 11th and 12th are all winners.  One example: If you are a fabricator of safety glass, the session there (Safety Glass Process & Training) showing the critical points in the safety glass process is an absolute must! 

 End of the day you WILL learn something during your time in Atlanta and it will improve either you personally or it will positively affect your company’s bottom line… or both.

--  And seriously make sure you visit and support the exhibitors… these companies spend significant time and resources to show off their best.  They deserve as much attention as we can give them.  Some amazing new products are being launched and old favorites shown.  I just wanted to say how much I appreciate every company that is exhibiting or sponsoring.  You all get it- and I thank you for supporting this industry the way you do.  I hope all that attend keep that in mind as well.

--  Last look for me in the bright yellow “Media” vest and say Hi… I’ll be shooting video all over… let me know what you like and don’t like, and of course I’ll have blogs from the show next week with my highly anticipated “who’s who” on the floor and more.


--  City of Ft Worth now has torn down 2 structures by accident… That is a major wow…

--  This man died after claiming to have 54 kids.  That is crazy right?

--  10 police cars to chase down a guy on a moped?  Really??


Video of Elephant ramming a jeep on a safari.  Pretty nutty… loved one of the comments left that basically said, “hey if you came into my house to stare at me I’d react the same way”