Saturday, June 28, 2014

This Week

Just a quick note- no post this week.... will be back next week with AIA recap and more...

Hope everyone is well!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Insanely Great!

This past week our industry got news that I would say is “insanely great.”  That term usually associated with the greatness of Steve Jobs and his Apple products, can now apply to our world here after Nicole Harris was named as the new President and CEO of the National Glass Association.  This news should give everyone who cares about the current and future of our industry an extra pep in their step because there’s simply no one more qualified or ready to take the NGA and our world here to new levels.  I have known Nicole for many years, and hold her in the highest regards.  She is an absolute class act.  I will never forget years and years ago my brother and I had dinner with Nicole and we were talking advertising ideas.  Despite the fact we weren’t placing ads with her magazine at the time, she was still there brainstorming with us and actually helped us develop an amazingly memorable campaign.  She surely did not have to, but did what was right.  And I know going forward she will do what’s right for this industry.  This is tremendous news folks, plain and simple.  As for Phil James, in a future blog, I will have some comments on him and his legacy. His place in industry history is surely one to greatly respect.


--  This week is AIA in Chicago… maybe I can get a picture or video of someone from our industry pleading for love from an architect.  Seriously though very interested to see how the show goes and the vibe.  Will report on all of this on my next blog which won’t run until after the July 4th holiday.

--  World Cup of Glass… week 2… and I was alerted to a huge snub… France is not in my tournament.  So while that country does boast a major player in the glass world, for this exercise, they’ll have to wait until I do the next edition of the World Cup of Glass.  Also the feedback I got regarding this was some of the best I have ever had.  Thank you…  Ok our next round is China, Italy, South Korea, and Mexico. This result of this one was a shocker to me.. I fully expected China to prevail but alas they fell to the Italians in the end.  Italy won the quality segment, finished 2nd in products and 2nd in industry support to take the day.  While China does have products, their quality continues to be hampered by some bad actors and innovation (at least originating) is not a strong suit in my opinion.  South Korea hung in there most being the home of some major interior switchable glass players and Mexico has great supporters of this industry and quality on par with the best.  The final breakdown though was:

Italy 13
China 11
Korea 9
Mexico 7

So Italy joins Germany in the finals… next blog we’ll have the match up of the US, Russia, Spain, and Japan.

--  Good news also this week on Thom Zaremba being appointed to the Canadian General Standards Board’s Glass Committee to help update the architectural glass standards there.  Thom joins a strong group that will make sure that the right glazing products are used in the right applications.  No question adding someone of his experience and pedigree will be great for the effort!

--  I just heard about the retirement of one of our industries most enjoyable people.  Jim Stewart of Tremco hung em up recently.  Jim is a great man and I will miss seeing him at industry events because he was always the one guy I could count on to greet me with a smile and hearty handshake.  Enjoy the next phase of your life my friend!

--  Watched the movie “Non Stop” on a flight this week and all I can say is…wow. Solid plot and creative writing.  Good action movie… Liam Neeson playing that hero role works.

--  Just in time for the summer travel season, gas is rising but so are airline prices.  May had the largest one-month increase in 15 years!  I noticed it as some routes I normally take I could not find a reasonable flight price at all.  Very depressing to say the least.    And this trend looks to continue, the airlines expect flights to still be full, so I don’t see pricing going down or even staying flat for the time being.

--  As mentioned above- no blog from me again until after the 4th of July holiday.  Hope everyone has a great and safe Independence Day!


--  Cool long form piece on benefits still being paid from the Civil War!

--  Amazing story of pilot who has to skydive when his plane is damaged… by a skydiver!

--  Waffle House’s are getting scary… yet another shooting.  Man I like their food though.


As a former TV guy and current video editor, this piece blew me away for the pure complexity of it.  To make this many cuts to make it end up as a song is so difficult- what an amazing piece of work…

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Glass World Cup Kicks Off

Week 1 of the World Cup of Glass is now underway… Here’s the set up.  I selected 12 countries, and broke them into 3 groups.  Each week I’ll look at the 4 countries in that division and then decide on a winner.  Then 4 weeks from now we’ll break down the final 3.  So to kick it off, this week’s group is Germany, Finland, Canada, and Israel.  (And if you are keeping score at home, as I know all of you are, the other two groups are USA, Russia, Spain, and Japan… and China, Italy, Korea, and Mexico)
The first group really has some serious players.  Germany brings in the precision equipment that comes with so much respect, but how much have they done with regards to glass products and efficiency?  Germany is also tremendous code wise (and I wish the US would follow) as well as the host of the big glasstec show every other year. Finland is another machinery star, so many of us in this industry grew up on tempering ovens made there, plus Finland has the education side with Glass Processing Days.  Canada is a favorite of mine because I love the people there, 99% of them as classy and cool as they come, and there’s been some solid technology coming from the north but really the strength there is being able to implement great stuff, not develop it.  And Israel, a tiny country doing amazing things, its flagships of solar and digital printing are really making serious waves.  For the size of the country, I’d wager that no area does more with less.  Picking a winner from this group was brutal.  What I did was award points in each category 4,3,2,1 and the country with the most won.  The categories are innovation (what have they developed and brought to the markets, did they make a difference?), quality (what they do produce or install, is it top notch?), products (are the products mainstream, something that now is a must have?), and industry support (support of trade shows like GlassBuild and industry trades).  And the final breakdown for this group was:

Germany        14
Israel              11
Canada           9
Finland           6

So Germany moves on…. its strength in innovation and quality was too much for the rest of the group to overcome.  And this little project/series of mine was much more challenging than I thought!!  Fun, but really tougher than expected.  If you have insights or opinions, feel free to share them.  Next week, we do it again with group 2.


--  You all know I am not a big fan of Google, but this past week I had a video conference call using a Google+ hangout instead of Skype or GotoMeeting and it was super.  Great quality and sound.  So there’s the first redeeming quality of the Google+ platform for you!

--  Did you know that this year is the 20th anniversary of the middle movie of the Mighty Ducks trilogy?  The reason this is relevant to our industry?  Well a very well done oral history was published on it and as I am reading it, one of the main characters in this story was Garrette Henson.  Now my mind started to race… could it be the same guy who’s the force behind Viracon’s sales success?  I know he spells his name differently, but maybe he tweaked it for Hollywood.  Plus the time frame makes sense and the shooting location of Minnesota makes me think we may have a Hollywood actor in our midst...  Oh and if you like oral histories this is a good one.

--  Katy Devlin’s heads up on the lead paint rule for commercial needs to be taken very seriously.  Believe me, I was there on the residential side when it launched over there and it was an absolute boondoggle. 

--  Last this week, this “Great Glazing” that Glass Magazine profiled here- the Prada storefront really looks amazing.  That is one job I’d like to see in person because the pictures blow me away- I could only imagine how great it must look in real life.  Congrats to all involved there.

--  When did the whole “Senior Prank” thing start in High School… wasn’t around when I was in… but anyway, this one sounded pretty good.

--  These do have potential to be very comfortable slippers…

--  Really neat and creative article here- the 50 states of the US if they were High School kids.


This may get pulled from youtube, hopefully it doesn’t… amazing header goal from Robin Van Persie in the Netherlands huge 5-1 win over Spain.  It’s a great effort!!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

World Cup of Glass

Later this week the World Cup kicks off and soccer fans from all around the world will be glued to their TV’s and computers following the action.  With all the hype around this event, it made me think, if we had a World Cup of the glass and glazing industry what country would be the winner?  Obviously because of homegrown bias, I would probably join many others and say the US wins that sort of approach in a landslide.  But does it?  Is the US that dominant when it comes to technology or efficiency improvements?  How does it stack up vs. Canada, Mexico, Germany, and China (yes China).  And obviously Finland, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Israel are among countries really active in our industry too.  So given all of that… which country is the best in our industry?  Well over the next month, as the World Cup of soccer is playing out, I will be determining the World Cup of Glass.  I’ll be using the parameters of innovation, quality, products, and industry support as the guidelines.  And let me know your thoughts too- via e-mail is fine, I always love learning and I’ll appreciate the insights as I determine the champ….  And yes right now I am sure the Chinese contingent is preparing a protest that there’s no way I’d judge them fairly, but I promise I will!


--  As for the actual World Cup- I don’t know enough to say who will win, but I have friends from all over the world who have their rooting interests.  And when those teams win, like my pal Joe Staffileno’s Italian team did a few years ago, the euphoria is real.

--  Congrats to my old friend and co-worker Bob Cummings on his new position at Hartung Glass.  Bob is one of the best around, classy and hard working always and he’ll do great within that super organization.

--  I had to make a trip to Omaha this past weekend and while preparing for it I looked at the weather and saw a forecast I had never seen before- It said “Mostly cloudy and humid, storms expected, with large hail, damaging winds, and a tornado.”  Ummm “…and a TORNADO”  That just blew my mind… luckily that forecast was wrong, but never before did I actually see a forecast predicting one!

--  With Kuraray acquiring the DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions, will that signal the end of the name DuPont in our industry?  Will we be living in an industry where the long time classic names Solutia and DuPont don’t exist?

--  I gotta admit I am very bummed that California Chrome did not win the Triple Crown.  I am not sure I’ll see another Triple Crown winner in my lifetime.

--  Last this week; AIA is a couple of weeks away.  This year it will be interesting to see how the show does, tough timing for sure but its in a city everyone loves to visit (Chicago) and the trade show scene is very hot right now.  Funny thing for me is when I started to research the show, 5 of the 7 largest booth spaces (not including AIA spaces) taken at the show are companies in the glass and window industry.  I guess that never-ending desire to gain love and acceptance from the architect continues.  I swear when it comes to this scenario we as an industry act like the awkward boy in high school pining over the homecoming queen.  And you know how those stories always turn out….


--  Cool photo story- what some smaller level wrestlers do in their “real” lives.

--  Bizarre story and sad too thanks to the vandalism done.


There have been quite a few of these rough performances on Wheel of Fortune lately, but this one may take the cake!

Sunday, June 01, 2014

On the Ledge

So our industry made national news this week when the “Ledge” in Chicago had a busted piece of glass.  This now famous all glass overlook suffered a breakage on its sacrificial layer and to us glass people its no big deal, but to the worldwide media, it was the opportunity for hysteria.  Usually the media only pays attention to us during ratings months when they do the classic (and overdone) investigative report on mysterious glass breakages in your shower and patio table glass.  So this gave them something new to bring to the table and allow the mis-education to fester.  After a couple of days, the folks writing the stories finally hit upon real experts to explain no one was in danger and so on, but by then its too late.  Maybe one of these days we’ll get proactive stories on things like our energy efficient glass, dynamics, hurricane, safety, and fire rated glazings.  You know products that make a REAL difference…  I can dream can’t I?


--  Thanks to the always classy James Wright of Glass Coatings and Concepts for some of the heads up on the above adventure.  Always great to hear from you my friend!

--  The neatest story in a long time may be the one from Western Window Systems where one of their employees got a company logo tattoo.   Loyalty is tough anywhere in this world, so seeing someone care enough about the company he works for to make it permanent is pretty cool thing.

--  Another industry retirement this past week… Phil Blizzard of YKK AP is hanging them up.  Phil spent more than 30 years in the industry and my interactions with him were always memorable.  Simply, Phil is just a good guy… enjoy your new life and catch lots of fish….

--  A giant bear taking a nap on a utility pole… this story issurely clickable because it’s not something you see every day!

--  Good luck this week to the folks in Canada at the Glass Connections Conference.  From all indications, this show is primed to be fantastic, and I still remain bummed I’m unable to attend.  Once again though it continues that hot trend of trade shows and their effectiveness. 

--  On that note… registration is now open for GlassBuild America.  I’m very excited about this year- last week I noted the phenomenal new education set up, and this week the show is now open for business.  With the floor loading up with innovative exhibitors from all over the world- it’s going to be epic!

--  Last this week… it’s now June… soon we will be half way through this year… it’s flying by for me.  Maybe because we had no spring…  Though I am thrilled to say I have not yet had to turn on my air conditioning.  As someone who prefers to be cold than hot (theory being I can always add layers, love sweatshirts etc.) I usually jump to get the AC going.  Now that I probably jinxed myself, it will be 90 here and when I do click the cold air on, it probably won’t work!!!


--  Bad signage in stores.  Though I will say I LOVE Tastycakes. 

--  A depressing look inside a child’s classroom.  Our current education model is so outdated, it’s sad.

--  While this is a great story, the current hacking landscape is frightening to me.


Here’s the April edition of the best news bloopers… wanted to post May’s but amazingly it was filled with words that are not safe for work…