Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wrapping up 2014

With this being my last “scheduled” blog of the year, it’s a great opportunity to look back at 2014 and review our world some.  The big take away for me is that this is the year the industry came back.  While not everyone is swamped, I would say most are experiencing their best performances in a quite a while.  That is truly a relief, as I know there were some people riding this storm out wondering if it will ever come to an end.  I sincerely believe the positive momentum will continue in 2015. 
As for the year itself… I think the most surprising story and most under reported one is pretty recent.  The crazy drop in oil prices, sending gasoline prices in the US to levels that I don’t believe anyone ever thought would happen again.  While I am stunned seeing gas prices in the mid to low 2 dollar range in some places, I can’t help but think this is temporary, but regardless that is a pretty major hole busted in the oil bubble that looked impenetrable forever. 
2014 was the year that most trade shows came roaring back.  GlassBuild America was very strong as were several other trade conferences.  It was good to see that returning as those of us who always supported knew that these were “must attend” events no matter what.  Participating in these events will be even more crucial in 2015 because we have a glass and transportation situation on our hands, so knowing the answers that only a show or a conference can provide will be extremely important.

Also there are a couple of other highlights from this year I want to quickly touch on.  We had the always-incredible Dr. Tom Culp leading the industry to a victory in the code arena and our industry also got a major boost with Nicole Harris taking the reins at the National Glass Association; her effect will surely be felt in 2015 and beyond.  It's with people like that on our side that truly keeps me optimistic. 

Overall I am feeling bullish about 2015.  Yes there’s those glass and transport issues I have been nagging everyone on, but I think the smart end of this industry will make it work, and in the end I see things going well in the next year.  Bring it on!


--  Congrats to my old friend Kirk Johnson who has taken on a new role as VP of Business Development at Glasswerks.  He will do a great job with them without a doubt.

--  Pretty interesting in depth story for you HERE on the energy efficiency adventures at the Freedom Tower.  It was supposed to be the “greenest” building in the US.  Its not happening…. Nothing to do with the glass, but actually the fuel cells and the effect from Super Storm Sandy.  Great inside story to read. 

--  My ad of the month in Glass Magazine goes to the gang from SAFTI FIRST.  I absolutely loved the 2-page holiday spread and seeing the faces to go with all of the names.  This was an excellent layout and execution- overall really well done.  And fun for me to see some faces I had not seen in years.  Good to see old friends Tom Olson and Joe Marini in there among others.

--  If you are a Pittsburgh sports fan my video of the week is for you.  Pretty incredible walk through the world of Pittsburgh sports set to a great holiday tune/theme.

--  OK so that’s all for me for 2014 unless of course that “big deal” breaks in the next two weeks.  (I still am holding out hope that it’s happening and all of my intel was not wrong.) So please allow me to wish all of you a happy holiday season and a healthy and profitable new year!  Thank you for allowing me into your world each and every week.  I truly appreciate it!  See you in 2015!!


--  Stories like this disgust me.  The arrogance and entitlement.  Just blown away that people can act this way.

--  And while we are talking about airplanes and behavior, I guess “seat kicking” is a thing.  I can’t say I’ve ever done or experienced it.  Heck that room is so tight between seats I can’t even lift my foot high enough to kick the chair in front!!

Possibly a UK competitor for Disney?  Sherlock Holmes World?


Again if you are Pittsburgh sports fan- this is for you.  Just an awesome look back at Pittsburgh sporting events and the music is perfect.  As a video geek, this piece is just very cool.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

And the winner is....

Last week I noted the handful of people who were considered for the 2014 Industry MVP award, but did not eventually get it.  The time has now come to recognize the winner and like some other mainstream publications have done in the past, I went a little non-traditional with the choice this year.  Instead of picking a person, I actually am picking a company.  I looked at everything this company did this past year, its continued support of the industry and its growth, and to me it was a slam-dunk.  And because it’s a company known for a team effort, I couldn’t just pick one person out.  So I decided to recognize the whole lot (though I will mention one individual below.)  The winner this year of the “From the Fabricator Industry MVP” is... CR Laurence.  From an industry standpoint CRL is always there- at every show and event, always supporting, even though in many cases they probably don’t have to.  But I believe and have been told, they do it because it’s the right thing to do industry-wise.  I sincerely hope it continues.   From a product standpoint, more excellent innovations this year including a unitized curtain wall and window system unveiled at AIA that has game changing potential.  Plus their software releases are huge as well.  And yes when it comes to people, CRL delivers there too- so many make a difference- case in point a guy like Brad Thurman is as impressive as they come.   I've seen Brad in action and he represents his company and this industry with absolute class.  And he’s just one of many there that do a great job, led by excellent ownership and management.  So there you have it, a little different than the typical, but in my opinion a company that deserves the props. 


--  The new Glass Magazine is fantastic and one column is a must read.  Please check out Katy Devlin’s piece on the transportation issues facing our industry.  It is worth your time. 

--  I know I am harping on the transportation issue and on the glass capacity issue-and I am told other writers are taking the opposite of my insight on a few of these items, but I continue to talk with people every day, those that are in the trenches, and these issues ARE real.  I guess you can choose which magazine or writer to believe, but when it comes to the best interests of this industry, I feel like I have your backs.  And again what’s the worst thing that can happen, you get ultra organized? 

--  Well just one more blog scheduled for 2014… will the big deal I have been talking about for the last few weeks happen?  It did get very quiet last week on it.  Maybe it’s the calm before the storm or maybe we have a “runaway bride” and the deal was iced.  We shall see.  If/when the deal does happen, I’ll blog about it regardless.

--  Last week I attended a semi-interesting webinar on green building.  For the most part the confidence of continued green building growth is still very strong.  A few tidbits I found interesting… China’s 3 Star energy program passed LEED to become the 2nd most popular energy related standard in the world.  (Energy Star in the US is #1)… Plus did you know that Singapore offers a rebate for retrofitting buildings to become energy efficient?  I did not… an incentive here surely would be nice.  This last item was big given that the analysts on the webinar felt that the move to green growth was now more about financial advantages than environmental.

--  Last this week… for the first time in my life I hurt my back.  And I can tell you I have no idea how those of you with chronic back problems do it.  You all are my heroes.  My goodness this is brutal and I hope temporary, as I have little to no pain tolerance…


I love stories like this… classy and considerate!

Comical link- what if guys acted like girls on Instagram?

This was one of the first apps I ever added… and now the fade of Angry Birds


Well I have seen some crazy things on a golf course but never a baboon. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Industry MVP- The Runners Up

So it’s time for our annual look at who is the most valuable player (MVP) in the glass and glazing industry for 2014.  There are quite a few great candidates but they’ll be only one winner.  I have selected the winner and that announcement comes next week… but I did want to run down who were the other candidates in contention. I do this mostly because I do believe in shining the spotlight on those extremely deserving people.  They deserve it.  So here goes, the runners up for the “2014 From the Fabricator Glass and Glazing MVP.”

John Wheaton- Wheaton and Sprague- Whether you do work with him, follow him on twitter or hear him speak, the passion and care that John brings is incredible.  Great interest in the industry and its future.  This is a guy who is always promoting awesome projects and work in the field, even if he didn’t have anything to do with it. Unselfish and classy to the core. 

Rick Wright- Oldcastle BE Similar to John Wheaton when it comes to passion for the industry.  Can sometimes be on the other side of popular opinion on issues but always has a reason and solid logic.  Cares for how we (the industry) are presented in public and is extremely active in the trade organization world.

Tom O’Malley- Tom’s on this list because he went out on his own this year, seemingly 10 minutes after the recession lifted and built a business- Clover Architectural Products.  So basically this is a guy who could’ve done anything, anywhere but yet stuck his neck out big time.  Folks, that’s serious confidence in our industry (and himself) Plus he’s always on the edge of innovation and bringing new and positive items to our world. 

Bernard Lax- Pulp Studio- When I think of Bernard, I think of this famous quote… “Speak softly and carry a big stick…” basically while Bernard is not front and center at trade meetings in such, when he does express his thoughts they carry a ton of weight.  He is not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to health of the industry and the safety of our stakeholders.  I probably get to talk to him once or twice a year but those conversations always have meaning and value.  Plus he has an insanely creative mind, which is also a plus.

Now of course there are many others that would be up for this that I have noted in previous editions and awards like Julie Schimmelpennigh, Valerie Block, Chris Dolan, Kris Vockler and so on… but I wanted this list to be of people I had not nominated and noted in depth before.  In the end none of these folks won… the winner comes next week!


--  For those of you who only read my blog when its reposted on and published in e-Glass Weekly, I did post last week on my original site, so if you want more insight on the latest deal talks, green stats and some cool links, please check it out.

--  Curious have you ever flipped through your contacts on your phone and asked “who is that?”  I had to look through it the other day and saw names that I seriously have no clue who they are…

--  So which states had the biggest year over year gains (October) in construction employment?  The winner may surprise you as it did me…  the top 5…
5- Utah
4- Illinois
3- California
2- Texas
1- Florida
Yes.. the Sunshine State led the way and I do find that surprising for sure.  Could be a signal that the slow to recover market there is starting to perk back up.

--  Last this week… its December which will seemingly go very quick, and while that’s good from a personal standpoint, from a business view these last two months are tough ones.  After the 18 work day November, the holiday season may not have as much cheer with such little time to get work done!


--  The differences of being on Facebook when you are in your 20’s vs your 30’s.  Not sure how accurate this is as I am barely on FB (for work really) and I am looong past my 30’s…

--  Why in the world do people in LA not want you to see the Hollywood sign?

--  Just echoing the sentiments of the person who sent me this link… can you imagine an American athlete going to jail for an action on the field of play?


Well it is out.. the first official trailer of the next Star Wars movie to debut late next year…if you have not seen it, here it is here… as of this posting its been viewed more than 18 million times in just 2 days.  Wow.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Still waiting on the deal of the year

Short week ahead but for good or bad (mostly bad in my case) this week in past years always brought news. Will “big news” happen this year?  The note I had here last week on the potential mega deal propelled this blog to the most traffic it’s had in a long time.  So obviously there’s a hunger for info… The deal I mentioned has NOT happened yet, and when one other acquisition took place and people saw it tweeted out by Glass Magazine, I was asked if “that was the deal” I was talking about.  And the answer was absolutely not.  A one location purchase is not a mega deal, and believe me if this deal I am hearing about happens, you will see it’s a lot bigger.  As for said mega deal, I am hearing if it is going to happen, it will be done soon.  No later than the end of the year.  As for the effect on the industry they’ll be several, most though involving some strategic changes to plans already set for 2015.  As soon as I hear if this deal goes through I’ll tweet it out and make sure you are also following Glass Magazine on twitter, as I am sure they’ll be on top of it too. 


--  The acquisition from last week by the way, Trulite buying Texas Tempered did have everyone talking though.  No doubt that this industry does get into the acquisition insight game and the analysis that goes with it is fascinating.  The big angle most people focused on was that Trulite already has a location in Houston.  My two cents?  Houston is a big town with horrendous traffic.  Having another location there is not a bad play at all.  I have a feeling I am in the minority on that opinion.

--  Good news for those of you like me who long for competition for LEED and the USGBC.  Turner Construction’s 2014 Green Building Market Barometer showed that interest in other green building rating systems was up 250% since 2012.  Yes, please lets grow that even more.  We need green building but we need more than one system to get us there.  Let’s hope this trend continues.

--  The Architectural Billings Index slipped a bit in October but still stayed positive.  The Dodge Momentum index bounced back and had a good month.  ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator also is looking great.  So the indicators continue to be on the good side.

--  On the bad side… The weather.  My gosh the fact that we are having full-scale winter before Thanksgiving is incredibly depressing.  And how about the folks in Buffalo.  Everyone there deserves a medal.  What an unbelievable scene.  Stay warm and safe friends…

--  The latest issue of Glass Magazine has a great piece on Hardware ideas.  It’s one of those pieces you rip out and keep for future reference. (If people other than me still do that) Job well done too.

--  Last this week…  we have reached my favorite holiday of the year.  I love everything about the US Thanksgiving, including having tons of family and friends stuffed inside my house to celebrate it.  We as a society truly do have a lot to be thankful for… And please this holiday; say a prayer of thanks to the awesome and brave men and women of the armed forces who protect (and have protected) this country (same for the armed forces in Canada as well).  They are selfless and tremendous people who make our world a better place.  And to you dear reader, I will always be thankful you stop on by and read my thoughts.  So to you and yours… HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


--  I thought of former Guardian Glass marketing guru (and glass guy) Earnest Thompson when I saw this link on brands actually answering tweets with some comedy.  He and I had a convo on twitter actually about some of the social media and its use in the business world.  These brands get it.

--  I love dogs.  Stuff like this is why.

--  This may be the funniest link I have ever posted…  32 real reasons why people’s releationships broke up.  Some amazing ones on here!


Those who know me know I love basically everything about Canada.  I love its people, it’s cities and of course its positive effect on the glass industry.  Canadians also ooze class and it was proven yet once again last week when at a Toronto Maple Leaf hockey game the microphone of the anthem singer died and the Toronto crowd stepped in and finished it… but the twist is they finished the US NATIONAL ANTHEM.  Unreal.  Only in Canada would this happen… great people…