Sunday, August 31, 2014

The GIGANTIC GlassBuild Preview- from my perspective

We’ve basically reached that time; we’re now one week out from the biggest event in our industry and on this special GlassBuild edition of the blog I wanted to first touch on a few things I have NOT hit on previously.  The Glazing Executive Forum, backed once again this year by industry heavy hitters YKK, Guardian, SAPA, Pilkington, Dow Corning, and FMI will be solid.  Kicking off with very strong panel featuring Mic Patterson of Enclos, Jay Phillips of Guardian, and Oliver Stepe of YKK concluding with the industries favorite economist Dr. Jeffrey Dietrich, and timely and needed break out sessions in the middle, it’s an extremely interesting agenda.  Check it out here.
Meanwhile GlassBuild will also be home to a very important session being hosted by the Department of Energy.  Yes the DOE will be on site with a forum being led by Dr. Karma Sawyer. (I am huge fan of her personally, check my archives) Participants in this event will be able to provide feedback direct to the DOE Building Technologies Office on their needs over the next 3 to 5 years, and to provide input about the facilities that will be critical to moving their energy efficient products to widespread application in residential and commercial markets, in new construction, replacement and retrofit.  More simply said, it’s an awesome opportunity to reach people in our world that can make a difference.  So while there are the typical opportunities to come to the show and do business, there are also these other events that make the overall show even more monumental.


--  Oh and I’m hearing that the folks from Vetrotech Saint-Gobain will have something really memorable in their booth this year.  So go download the GlassBuild App, and make a note of their location. 

--  Speaking of the App, it really makes the show experience more complete.  Three ways to get it... either search for GlassBuild 2014 in the iTune App store/Google Marketplace.   Or click here and follow the links/codes. Or if you like to wait til the last minute... when you get to the show, they’ll be QR codes on signage everywhere that you can scan and the app will load from there.  If you are going you have to have this on your phone.

--  Otherwise I’ve previously hit on all of the other cool things with GlassBuild this year… the Express Learning, FREE 20 minute sessions on the floor… the demonstrations, the innovation (some amazing products that should not be missed) and the ability of just being with thousands of people covering every bit of our industry is pretty cool.

--  You may wonder why my passion for the show.  While I do work for this show (so for some that’s the obvious reason), I also am an industry guy and believe (and learned over the years) that a strong industry benefits from the success of a major event like this.   The education, the business possibilities, and the innovation on display are crucial for this industry to evolve, grow, and be healthy.  So yes, I am full-throated promoter of the show, but with serious beliefs of the incredible value it brings.

--  As always I will be working the floor, shooting video, interviewing people, and networking.  I’ll be wearing my bright yellow media vest, please stop me and say hi.

--  I won’t have a formal blog next week since we’ll be in the middle of show coverage, but the week after I’ll be back here with my traditional Who’s Who of the show.  For those of you new readers, that’s where I call out people I got to meet, see, and chat with and looks at the best products and exhibits at the show.

See you at the show!!!


--  Just a brilliant sign.  Wow.

--  The at home IV. I actually like this idea… could use it after the tough week at the show.

--  The mind-blowing list of banned and recalled toys.  Just crazy.


Since this is a GlassBuild focused blog, the video of the week is look at the show for this year… Can’t wait!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cold Winter Ahead, Low Gas Prices Here for now, Open Office Problems and Potential Bad Designs

The casino/hotel that is housed in one of the more fascinating glass and glazing projects in recent times is closing down.  And among the excuses out there is the actual design of the building.  The Revel Casino in Atlantic City closes its doors September 1st and while the building envelope looks spectacular, the layout and flow on the inside allegedly caused major issues.  Online there’s been some interesting discussion on what went wrong with this property and while I think that the overall gambling downturn in AC is a bigger reason (among many others) than the building design, I was amazed that people did jump on the layout issue.  Building layout is a major factor in the success and failure of businesses every day.  Yet so many times it does not get the focus it deserves.  And further more, the desire for a great exterior aesthetic has taken more priority than what the process inside will look like and work as.  I have never seen this property in person and am depending on the stories and views I see online.  Any of you that have been there and seen it feel free to e mail me your thoughts- do you think the layout was the biggest factor in this properties demise?


--  Speaking of design… does the open office layout cause more theft and confusion?  Good story on that here.  Personally, while I like an open floor plan, the lack of continuity like mentioned in this tory (i.e. you don’t have your own desk) would make me crazy.

--  The Farmers Almanac is out and the prediction for this winter is for cold and misery yet again.  The almanac is working with an 80% success rate, so I tend to believe what it says when the predictions call for similar in 2015 as we saw in 2014.

--  I usually am one to hammer when gas prices go high, so I should note that gas prices right now where I am at are shockingly low.  3.36 by me this week… now hopefully that continues but with the holiday coming I am sure it will spike up.  For the life of me I have no idea how this all works and its pretty comical that I am happy with a 3.36 price but its sure better than the $5 I thought we’d see!

--  Props and thanks to a couple of great regional trade organizations.  The Colorado Glazing Contractors Association and Washington Glass Association are class acts and both worked this summer to help promote GlassBuild America to their members.  So a major thank you to Rebecca Graves (CGCA) and Maryanne Howell (WGA) and their members for their support.  Those who know me know how I feel about industry support for major events and these groups certainly did their part in jumping in the way they did.

--  I shouldn’t have to remind you about GlassBuild America coming in a few weeks, but may as well.  Still time to get flights and get there.  I for one am pumped when I see new exhibitors still signing up daily including a game changer for interior switchable glass that will garner a ton of interest.  Anyway you will not want to miss this event!

--  Last this week… college football kicks off this week.  Crazy prediction… if Wisconsin beats LSU this Saturday, they will win the National Championship.  (That sound you hear is all my friends in SEC country moaning that I am nuts…and I am)  I do love college football and can’t wait for it to get going!


--  The guy behind the dreaded “pop up” ad.

--  Fellow road warriors… a windowless plane with some cool technology.. yes or no?

--  Great class by Justin Timberlake with a special birthday wish


Well as you know from reading this blog and being alive basically, the amazing ALS Ice Bucket Challenge continued to grow.  What an incredible run and the money being raised is off the charts.  So in between all of the heart-felt videos, there have been a few bloopers.  Video of the week has a bunch here, though once you watch  the first minute or so you get the picture!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Busy Markets, Great Industry Support, Amazing Ad and the Ice Bucket Challenge

Is being very busy almost everywhere mean the industry is back and healthy?  Was the industry ever really that healthy to begin with?  Regardless of how you may feel about the 2nd question, it’s the first one that needs to be examined.  While many people report to me that their sales levels and backlogs are excellent and other factors like the booming registration of GlassBuild America lead me to the conclusion that people are busier/happier than in the past, there’s still a nagging fear.  That worry is couched in two areas, cash flow and the overall economic conditions in the world.  Cash flow as I have written here a few times is still a challenge for many.  There does not seem to be an easy fix to that given the banks are still not providing that safety net that many companies are were used to.  The overall economy still has issues and holes that are worrisome.  This recent run is not built on a very solid foundation and world (and in some cases domestic) volatility makes one very skittish.  Regardless, this is the time to make it go but keep an eye on all that is going on, so if the foundation cracks open, the fall may not hurt as much.


--  Some great reading in the most recent Glass Magazine… first off major kudos to the three great industry pros in the “G3” section who answered this months question about expectations for GlassBuild.  All three folks, Mike Wallace of Quality Metalcraft, Lloyd Talbert of CR Laurence, and Alysa Hoffmeister of Dip-Tech gave thoughtful answers to the question and they all made a point to note that this show- the biggest and most important in our industry in North America- is a must to support.  Companies like these and the hundreds others displaying in the show really GET IT. 

--  Also my monthly award for best ad of the month was a tough one.  Some excellent and creative work in the issue but we can have only one winner and that goes to Kawneer for their smart “hole in the wall” piece.  Very eye catching and well done! Love the picture and idea.

--  Quick link- this very interesting and disturbing story on why some states are keeping the spread of solar panels down.  This is surely not the direction our country needs to head into!

--  An architectural message board I monitor had a wild thread this week.  Actually the thread started in 2009 and somehow was resurrected.  The discussion was on annealed vs. tempered glass and the differences.  Something we take for granted as a no brainer in our industry did garner some dialogue on this site.  Even the great Bill Coady of Guardian jumped in and tried to educate but discussion continued. In any case the point here is what we take as simple, may not be as such in other areas of the building product universe.

--  The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been one of the most amazing ground roots charitable effort I have ever seen.  Basically people of all walks of life are challenged to donate or dump buckets of ice water over their heads. Most now are doing both to spread the word.  To date reportedly more than 15 million people have taken part. It is everywhere.  The Atlantic wrote about why this process just exploded and provided more background if you are interested.  This is a charity close to my family’s heart since our dad passed from this disease in 2001.  My brother did the challenge (figures the smarter, more successful one of us led the way) and passed it on to my kids and me.  We did it.  And man it was cold.  The evidence is my video of the week… please feel free to check it out.  Also a thank you to the always-classy Mike Cully of United Plate Glass who did the challenge in honor of our dad. 

Please in the end, whether you donate to ALS or you have another charity or charities that you support, please continue to do so.  It is ALWAYS appreciated!


Well this is one way to scare off a burglar! 

Man steals identity to become a lawyer.

This is one very tough woman!  Wow.


The previously mentioned evidence from the #ALSIceBucketChallenge.  You get quick glimpses of me, son and daughter…

Saturday, August 09, 2014

The Top Architects

Since so many folks in our industry are focused on architects, the following is for you.  Recently the ranking of the top revenue producing architectural firms was released.  The overall good news is that in 2013, total revenue grew at these firms from 10 billion to 11 billion.  So obviously the uptick that our industry is seeing right now, started on the boards of these groups last year.  Meanwhile the #1 architectural firm in the country by revenue in 2013 was not even close.  Bringing in more than 800 million in sales last year was Gensler.  They doubled 2nd place CH2M Hill and 3rd place AECOM.  Well known names like HOK (8th) and Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (9th) also showed well.  9 of the top 10 were the same in 13 as they were in 12, which shows you those big players do have their ways of getting the work and holding their spots.  Overall the growth is the best news of this story for sure.


--  Last weeks bird glass story surely hit home for many.  I received some incredible and helpful feedback from great minds like Kerry Haglund and Frank D’Aprile among others.  One of Kerry’s points was about the new law in place in Minnesota that the stadium is basically skirting due to the time it was designed.  (Also as Kerry pointed out, it was noted in Katy Devlin’s piece).  Meanwhile Frank provided some excellent insight on the codes in various cities and things that we are all not paying attention to in this process.   Plus he left me with this excellent quote:

“City folk love to encourage mother nature and her kin to visit their urban neighborhoods while the very buildings in which they live may harm her.”

And while my issue was with the press aspect of the story, there’s no question we’re only touching the surface here.  And with great minds out there on the case, this will be a problem that will be addressed well and hopefully solved in the long run.

--  Have to give props to Kevin Roth, Arbel Martin and the team from Vistamatic on their excellent new website.  Believe me building or refreshing a website is not easy and these guys did a tremendous job with their new approach.  Congrats!

--  Speaking of new sites, PPG also did an upgrade of their GlassNET site that was very strong and well done.  Positive changes including the fact that there’s more info and its more simple to use than before make this upgrade a winner. 

--  My weekly GlassBuild note… have you registered yet?  Make those plane reservations?  Hotel?  You are a month away basically, time to get it done.  And a reminder, I will be on the floor in my bright yellow media vest (or looking like an airport worker as my brother Steve pegged it last year) so please stop me and say hi.

--  Last this week… if you have not seen Guardians of the Galaxy- give it a shot.  I saw it and loved it.  Funny, different and creative.  Really worth the movie ticket that is for sure. 


--  Start prepping now… your Winter forecast predictions by region

--  Sign me up… Family Guy and the Simpsons together!  Love it

--  I have seen many of these “collecting rain water” illegally stories a lot and I still just don’t get it.


A surfing pig.  Seriously.