Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Hottest Product Line is....

To me there’s one trend that is dominating our industry and it’s probably not the one that you think it is.  It’s a product line that fabricators are seeing as a great path to bottom line success.  What is it?  Well it’s probably not the one you think.  That would be something involved with energy efficiency.  And that trend is major and constantly growing.  Obviously we covered in this space and throughout the media the utter importance of our industry and energy improving products.  But right now that’s not the product segment that is seemingly growing at insane clip.  The hot mover is actually decorative glazing.  One look into the excellent current issue of Glass Magazine tells the story.  In the special “Products” section that the top glass fabricators in North America are offering, 13 of the 22 profiles are decorative related with only 3 being related to energy.  Decorative glass is actually a product line that allows fabricators to easily diversify their business and help their bottom line. Add in smart suppliers (both from the paints and machinery side) and the entry into that world is not daunting at all.   Now that said do I wish that the pages of Glass Magazine were filled with new energy related and innovative products?  Sure…. And I believe they exist but they’re not as sexy from a promotional side as decorative and the supply chain from the energy side is not as streamlined into the fabricator like the decorative suppliers are. Overall for me I had been involved in decorative before it became hip, so it’s pretty amazing to see how’s absolutely taken off.


--  By the way the rest of that Glass Magazine issue was spectacular.  Cover to cover; the content and layout was top of the line- as always.  And as I am known to do, I studied the ads in there and props to DFI for their very creative bridge ad.  It’s memorable and different… and for many of us makes us feel like we’re all in this adventure together!

--  Last week I talked about the BEC Technical meeting- this week, just a quick note on the overall conference scheduled for next month.  A very strong agenda is in place, kudos to the excellent Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning and his committee that put it together.  From a glazier prospective, you just need to look at the afternoon session of day 1 and see the value in pieces on sealing, installation equipment, OSHA, codes and more.  Then day 2 features the celebrity talk with this year being former Philly Eagles QB and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski.  “Jaws” should be fun since he brings a boatload of energy to every thing he does.

--  One of the former celeb keynotes at BEC was Mike Eurizone, the captain of the US Olympic hockey team in 1980.  He mentioned in his presentation, that if his game winning shot went just one inch to the left, he’d be painting bridges in Boston now and not speaking to a bunch of glass people.  Well I thought of him when the US Women’s hockey team missed out on a gold medal by an inch when their empty net attempt hit the post.  Heartbreaking for them.  And yes, since both the US Men and US Women both lost to Canada, I will be singing “O Canada” in public, and on video in the coming months.  Congrats to all of my friends up north on the wins!

--  One of those friends is Rich Porayko who picked up a fantastic interim gig this past week in being named as head of the Canadian Glass Association. Rich is a class act and excellent man and the CGA tapped him to guide them through the process of finding a permanent Executive Director.  I am confident Rich will do a great job for that organization and be a major asset to the new management that comes in.  Plus I am jealous… I mean he’s running an organization for the entire country!  That’s just awesome.  Remember us little folk eh Rich?


--  There’s a clown shortage… oh no what will we do!!

--  Great post on new Olympic events if it keeps snowing this winter

--  I’m struggling to find words here; other than I think I’ll be boycotting McDonalds if this is the way they treat an employee of 8 years!  Not to mention what she did for the firefighters in her town.  Unreal.


On this video you have to wait 20 seconds or so for the payoff… its raw video from the popular “Kiss Cams” that they do at the various sporting events.  This guy came prepared…. And this video now has more than 10 million views!  Amazing!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

A decade of significant change

I found it funny when Katy Devlin started her blog last week on looking back to 2004.  Reason being I have been having the same discussions, looking back 10 years and how so much changed in the glass industry.  If you told me then what our world would look like now I would’ve never, EVER believed you.  I’d be more apt to believe that the dream of having flying cars and a “Jetsons” like community would be happening than the different industry landscape we have now vs. then.  Only 10 years but so much has changed, so much is different, which makes you think where will we be in 2024?  I’m actually trying to avoid that thought; I’m still thrown by thinking about the past to now! Seriously think back 10 years and remember how different things were, what the products were, who were the suppliers, who were the voices of the industry etc. Just crazy. Not to mention Facebook was just born and YouTube or this blog did not exist for another year.  What a different world.   Oh and as for the blog that got me thinking and the companion piece in the magazine?  Splendid as always... Katy never fails to deliver the goods and those pieces are must-reads for sure.


--  Guardian released a new “app” recently with a focus on glass performances for windows.  It is a very sharp and impressive tool.  A great reference and training piece too, so if you have some new people, you need to download this and have those folks devour it.  Also paints our industry in a very positive light as well, which we always need.  Kudos to the team at Guardian who led the charge on this one.  To download, search your app store for Guardian Window InSight and it comes right up.

--  One big comment I get, at least weekly is “I didn’t know about that.”  Well in our industry there’s two events that can help solve that dilemma- GlassBuild in the fall and BEC next month…. So speaking of BEC…  one of the parts of that conference that has become even more prominent to attend is the technical meeting the night before the event opens.  Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP leads this portion and he’s a tour de force, and thanks to him and his team’s effort his session next month is loaded with tons of info and three strong presentations.  One from Jon McFarland of Wheaton-Sprague (Benefits of BIM & Curtain Wall) , one that brought the house down at GANA’s Annual Conference by Julie Schimmelpenningh (School Security & Safety) and even one from Jim Benney of NFRC (Codes and the NFRC) that is important to attend to know and understand what will effect you and your business going forward.  Plain and simple, if you are a contract glazier- you need to be there…  plus the rest of the event has excellent presentations planned as well. (which I’ll get to next week) It is worth the time and budget.

--  Olympic hockey is so enjoyable… but now there’s even more on the line for me.  If Canada beats the US and wins Gold… thanks to a bet with my friends at RavenBrick (proud Canadians) I will have to stand up in a restaurant and sing “O Canada”- but if the US wins, they will have to do the same with the “Star Spangled Banner”  - I don’t think I can lose on this bet… If the US wins I am thrilled.  If Canada wins, I will have a blast belting out “O Canada” and may even mix some of the French version in too…. 

--  The largest solar power plant in the world opened up in the California-Nevada’s desert last week.  This project is an important milestone for anyone who cares in the future of solar energy.  It has been adventure getting here as its been slowed by lawsuits and worries on the effect on the environment.  That conundrum has been interesting to watch since the same people against fossil fuels and who are pro solar, have lined up against this plant because of its effect on the wildlife etc.  Regardless, this project is the first major piece and could continue to renew and improve efforts to get more solar energy going.


--  The crazy snow caused people to ski to the local stores… which somehow were open…  none of this makes sense to me.

--  The dumbest homework assignment ever… and its 10 miles from where I live too… ugh.  Our society is in trouble.

--  An Olympic story I did not see… tough one.


This past week Tampa Rays Pitcher Alex Cobb was creative in asking his girlfriend to marry him.  Well someone grabbed that and 6 other great sports oriented proposals and made it into a quick video. 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Celebrate the Win, Stay Focused on the Future

Last week the Glass Association of North America held their Annual Conference in Florida and quite a bit of interesting tidbits came out during the event.  The highlight was the celebratory lap for the group of people that worked so hard on the ASHRAE Window to Wall Ratio issue.  It was nice to rehash such a significant moment in our industry.  However the major caution that came with the cheers was that “it’s never over” when it comes to attacks on our world and we can’t sit back on our laurels.  We have to keep innovating and then pushing AND implementing said innovation.  I believe we have great momentum and we do have excellent products both available now and in the pipeline, so the world is ours.  Let’s keep going!

Also in the news from the conference:

--  A presentation on the new LEED, known as LEEDv4 opened eyes.  I think it has potential to be very difficult on our industry, especially on regional manufacturer categories.  It’s not mandatory until mid 2015, but you better start understanding it and learning it now. It does feature many “good” things for energy efficiency but also has a comical and bizarre “Quality View” category that is just weak. (a ton worse than the old "bike rack" that was always panned) So just when you think these guys get it, you see that they don’t.

--  The Energy Day was very strong.  Kudos to Mark Silverberg, Dr. Helen Sanders, Stanley Yee and the rest of the team that set it up.  The speech by Dr. Mikkel Kragh of Dow Corning was mesmerizing.  The ideas and information he presented were among the best I have seen.

--  Lots of people were honored throughout the event.  A memorial was done for Greg Carney; it was done with perfect tone, a great way to remember a great man.  Notable was that Jim Benney of NFRC made a heartfelt speech about Greg.  Obviously Greg and Jim butted heads later in his life but once upon a time they were on the same side and that’s something many may had forgotten.  It was a classy moment for sure.

--  Carol Land is retiring from the organization and was honored in front of the crowd; I for one will miss her.  She has always been tremendous to me, and these events will never be the same without her influence.  Other very well deserving folks won awards as well and I also wanted to give public props to Valerie Block of Dupont for all she does for that organization and our industry.  She’s had and I would assume would continue to have an important role in how certain standards are set and explained.


--  Got news that Tim McQuade of NWI is hanging them up.  You can consider this as another big departure to our industry as Tim helped build NWI into an absolute force in his 20 years as President there, and 39 overall.  I personally will miss Tim as he was always willing to hear me out on whatever lame-brained adventure I was onto.  Thank you Tim and enjoy your retirement!!  Rick Nelson will be the guy who takes over there and I am sure already has my e-mail and phone numbers blocked!

--  Also last week the International Builders Show took place in Las Vegas and every single report I got back said it was awesome and best in years.  That is very exciting.  It means we surely have some positive approaches going.  It also says that trade shows ARE a good and important way of doing business…. Nice to see.

--  Last this week… the Olympics.  I always enjoy many aspects of the Winter Games but I am really looking forward to the hockey.  It usually never fails to bring great action and drama.  I’m going with the Fins in a major upset. 


--  Interesting debate, what is the worst song of all time?

--  A woman changing her name to “Sexy”… Who cares and why is this a story?

--  Another heads up for a nasty virus… fake funeral notifications.  This one will trick many I believe.


In case you missed it… here is the incredible Radio Shack commercial from the super bowl.  Not only do you have the great 80’s nostalgia bit, but you also have a company openly mocking itself and trying to reinvent.  I love it. Now it will be interesting to see if their effort pays off.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Wicked Winter Taking its Toll

Just when you thought that weather could not get any crazier, a storm this past week happened in the south and turned that part of the world on its ear.  People being stranded in cars, schools, and stores are simply stories I’d never expect to hear in the year 2014 with all of the technology/abilities we have at our disposal.  One of my former co-workers was stranded, then spent 9 hours in a cab to go 5 miles and waited another 2 hours to get through airport security.  I guess it shows that we still have a ways to go with regards to disaster or storm preparedness eh?  As for the business effect, I am afraid that with how awful the weather was in most of the country in January, not many owners are going to be very excited to look at their P&L’s as they get completed this week.  Hopefully the worst of this winter is over, but I have a feeling its not.


--  Oh and speaking of weather, while snow and ice is dominating so much of the country, California is in a severe drought.  Unreal.  I feel like I have enough snow in my backyard to solve those problems!

--  I’m escaping this winter for a few days by attending the GANA Annual Conference in Orlando this week.  I am very excited for this event.  A ton of prime time players will be in attendance and some great subject matter to be covered.  Next week I’ll give the complete review.

--  One conference I unfortunately can’t attend but believe will be awesome is the upcoming IGMA event March 3-7 in San Francisco.  IGMA always does things first class and I expect this one will follow suit.  If you are in the IG business and not attending, you are missing out.  Plus the legend Julie Schimmelpennigh is giving a presentation!  That alone is worth it…

--  Word of the ruling from the Court of International Trade standing behind its decision on Chinese curtain wall imports was big news and another positive move for the North American glass and glazing industry.  Between the AEC led push of the Department of Justice False Claims Act a few weeks ago, the Window and Wall Ratio appeal victory and now this, the start of 2014 has been refreshing from the rulemaking standpoint.  And opponents of the curtain wall issue should look at the ruling from the DOJ before they think they have it all figured out. 

--  The Architectural Billings Index was down for 2nd straight month.  This does play into some of the fears that are out there that 2015 is will be rough.  I’m not sure I’m ready to buy into that theory and I’m using this year to measure how the ABI does anyway…

--  ESPN recently produced a mini documentary on Richard Jewell, the security guard who was wrongly accused of setting the bombs in Centennial Park at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.  At 21 minutes long, it’s absolutely riveting and surely gets you thinking about how the media worked (and still works today) and how it can shape public perception.  Also how the life of a guy who should’ve been celebrated as a great hero, was ruined.

-- Last this week.  Congrats to all of the Seattle Seahawk fans... great win.   I was a big Seahawk fan growing up, loving Jim Zorn, Sherman Smith, Steve Largent and the gang.  Very cool to see that franchise win!  Commercials for the night were weak- I thought the M&M's and Tebow were best along with Radio Shack (the admitted they were stuck in the 80's!!! Brash!) but after that the crop was weak.  And how about Maserati doing an ad?  Why?  Makes no sense at all.   Oh I will say I loved halftime.  Bruno Mars is an entertainer in every way and enjoyed the Red Hot Chili Peppers joining him. 


--  Amazing story of a random sperm donor and two friends in college.

--  As a marketing guy I can see how sometimes an idea can go bad, but this one was horrific. Really not right.

--  BBB warns… if you don’t know the number calling you… don’t answer and don’t call it back.  (If they leave a voice mail and you know the person… then do it)


Yes I admit I am a huge Tim Tebow guy.  While he may not be the greatest QB in the world, he’s a leader and from all accounts an excellent guy.  Add to it a great personality with this super commercial on how he spends his time without a contract.  Good work by T-Mobile here as well with the concept.