Sunday, September 28, 2014

October is Here, Best Ad of the Month, Good and Bad Forecasts and more

It’s now October and it looks to be an extremely busy month on a few levels.  The business climate is very positive right now, and optimism may be at its highest level in several years.  So everyone is at varying levels of “hectic” right now.  Though I have to admit that I can’t get the thought of “don’t repeat the mistakes of the past” out of my mind.  Hopefully lessons were truly learned from years earlier.  Another feature this month is several trade shows- ironically all happening at the same time towards the end of the month.  The two main ones are Greenbuild in New Orleans and glasstec in Germany.  In my estimation, Greenbuild has not been a good show for a while.  The lack of floor traffic exacerbated by minimal quality of said traffic is a big issue.  But since there is a hope of an Architect sighting at Greenbuild, people will still exhibit and attend.  Given the way business is going right now, Greenbuild should have a good show, but we will see and I’ll wait to hear from those who will be attending…  Across the ocean in Germany is the largest glass show in the world- glasstec.  And for the first time ever, I am attending.  From everything I have heard and read this show is beyond belief.  I can’t wait to see it for myself and then report back to all of you.  If you are going to glasstec, let me know, would be great to run into friendly faces while navigating that monster of a multiple hall set up.


--  October also happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while I despise the NFL’s blatant “Pinkwashing” of this effort, I do believe in supporting it where I can and believe in its need.  So it was very cool to see what the folks at Dip-Tech are doing by creating a special breast cancer awareness sample for their customers’ sample kits.  It’s a tremendous idea to cross their product with a noble charitable effort.  Great idea to raise awareness in a truly creative way.

--  Time for my ad of the month in Glass Magazine.  The latest issue with focus on decorative, was tremendous by the way.  We have some seriously talented companies in this industry.  Anyway, the ad award for the month goes to the gang GLG Canada for their neat and informative piece on where their glass handling machines can fit into the glass and glazing world. Very eye catching and well done!

--  The Glass Magazine Award winners were announced in that issue as well and here’s a major congratulations to all of the winners. A special shout out to Dan Pompeo who took the title in what I’d have to assume to be a very competitive Best Salesperson category.  I have known Dan for years and he’s a terrific person all the way around.  So happy for him to get this award but also credit and props should go to his wife Stacey who happens to be pretty awesome in her own right!

--  Mixed results on the various monthly forecasting reports… 

The Architectural Billings Index (ABI) continues to be strong though down just a bit from the previous month.  So far the past indicators of the ABI have held true.  The biggest months in 2013 were the July/August/September combo and that forecast held in the 9-12 month window.  But I know many of you will say of this forecast that even a clock is right twice a day- did they just get lucky?  Possibly.  I can’t rule that out, but for now I’ll take it.  

On the flip side McGraw Hill’s latest report showed a sharp decline from the previous month though the analysts expected the decline given some of the projects that were incorporated into the previous months totals.  Still no one wants to see anything with the word “decline” in it.  Heading into the winter months it will be very interesting to see how this all continues to progress.


--  Halloween is coming… have a costume yet?  This could give you some ideas.

--  Could this be the future of the business suit?  Maybe I’ll get one for my trip overseas. LOL

--  Hard to believe this suit has merit, but you never know.  Woman saying the whole Frozen story was her idea.


If you happened to miss Derek Jeter’s final at bat at Yankee Stadium, well you missed some serious goose bumps and an awesome moment.  So here it is… and even if you saw it once- very cool to see it again. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Confidence back, a big industry loss, hot products, and Oh Canada

Instead of the “Calm after the Storm” in our world we had the storm “during” the storm with news coming from the GlassBuild America show floor and beyond.  Probably the biggest item was Viracon announcing the opening of their St George, Utah facility in January.  That news combined with the announced positive performance by their parent company gives off serious confidence that the improved economy is more solid than we have all been hoping.  There are a handful of companies in the industry that can move the needle and Viracon is easily one.  This news is truly very positive for all.  Congrats to all involved.


--  The industry lost another icon last week with the passing of Bob Pool, founder and chairman of Thermal Windows.  Mr. Pool was a class act, loved by basically everyone who came in contact with him.  In his town and company he’ll surely be remembered for many things but from my standpoint one part of his legacy will stand with the fact that Thermal Windows has been a tremendous supporter of the industry for many years, through the best and worst of times.  Thoughts and condolences to Mr. Pool’s family and everyone at Thermal.

--  Lost in my long review of GlassBuild last week was coverage of the hot products.  There were a few things that caught my eye.  AGC North America’s Dragontrail (which I previewed here pre-show) did not disappoint.  Neat product that could be a game changer.  I am fan of solar, always have been and continue to respect and have high hopes for what Onyx Solar is doing.  Plus there may not be a nicer young man in our industry than Diego Cuevas.  The interior switchable’s were in many spots on the floor, showing that product has legs and it was good since I probably get asked twice a month where you can find that sort of product. 

--  Also at GlassBuild America I ran into Tara Brummet who just was hired by Vitrum.  Great hire for them as Tara is an extremely impressive individual.  I will be soon doing a list of my top 20 best industry salespeople and I expect Tara would surely occupy spot.  That list is going to be VERY hard to compile as at the sales level our industry has the most talent right than it ever has.   

--  This has been a theme here and elsewhere but I am seriously tempted to start a school for project managers.  The need for that position is so huge, it is not even funny. 

--  This week is the GANA Fall Conference in Toronto and unfortunately I cannot attend.  I am looking forward to hearing about it, as some subjects that will be covered, specifically the bird glazing issue, are extremely important right now.  On a side note it is great to see a GANA meeting in the awesome country of Canada.  We are blessed with tremendous industry support from so many Canadian companies, it is great to see them have a home event.


--  Actor brags on drinking 14 bottles of wine a day… I mean how in the heck does that happen???

--  Amazing story of 9/11 photo found in the rubble and now after all of these years back with its owner.

--  Serious over-reaction to more airline fees… That is our world these days folks…


The new iPhone 6 is out and the one of the first guys to get one was interviewed and he dropped it.  Ouch.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Who, What, & Where GlassBuild Recap

Another GlassBuild America is in the books and it truly was an incredible experience.  2014 featured the best crowd in years, amazing education and demos, networking and business being done.  LOTS of business being done actually.  There is no question in my mind that the momentum and enthusiasm we have in our world right now is very real.  Yes we have obstacles ahead, but things continue to progress in the right direction.  And let’s keep in mind one of the comments that the great Oliver Stepe of YKK AP said in the Glazing Executive Forum at Glassbuild….   Basically he said that hat we need to remember the lessons of the past… and I can’t agree more, as we surely do not want to go backwards in the way we operate or approach our businesses.  All in all let’s keep this positive time going!

As I have been doing for many years, its time for my seen and noticed on the show floor… so here goes… and yes this blog is usually longer than normal… so you are forewarned.

--  Overall- the level and look of the exhibits were amazing!

--  Great to see Mike Gainey of Azon again.  And he was looking great too.  The team from Garibaldi Glass were great to catch up with, Carey, Chris, Otto, and Neally- a super booth and some really cool cutting edge/impressive products on display.  Of course its not an industry show if I don’t get to spend a few minutes with Glen Miner and Joanne Funyak from PPG, though this year it had to be BEFORE the show kicked off because I could not get in their booth during the show because of the crowds.  Speaking of busy, old friend Cliff Monroe (Oldcastle BE) was in deep conversation every time I came within 20 feet of him, so never got the chance to chat.  And actually same with Tom O’Malley (Clover Architectural) and Steve Cohen (Schott), that’s the only problem with such a packed event, not getting time to chat with everyone.  All 3 guys look like they are doing quite well though.

--  Good to see Garret Henson and Seth Madole of Viracon holding court on the show floor.  Those two just stood in one place and let the show come to them.  Nice.  The Idaho State Hall of Fame football player Dave Michaeli of AGC was on hand working their booth (which was very sharp by the way) Dave looks like he could suit up for a NFL team right now. Plus AGC had the legend of Rocky Top Matt Ferguson in attendance as well; wish I could’ve spent more time with him.   Very nice to meet Vistamatic boss Kevin Roth in person, I’m a fan of his companies product, so cool to meet him in person for the first time.  And great to run into Devin Bowman from TGP walking the floor, wish I had more time to chat with him.  Getting a few minutes to catch up with Lloyd Talbert of CR Laurence is always awesome.  That company always steps up for the industry and I always make sure to thank Lloyd for that support.

--  The Dip-Tech booth was awesome- and being here early and seeing it go up from nothing, makes you appreciate it all the more.  And that goes for the entire show- to see the floor a few days before the show opens; it’s an epic disaster.  Then by show open its absolutely pristine.  Kudos to EVERY exhibitor.

--  A fascinating moment for me? Being in the Bottero booth and meeting Kristin Hayes of Luminous Glass Distributors in Miami.  She just closed a deal there for a machine and was rightfully fired up.  It was very nice to meet her and witness first hand this exciting move for her company.  Very impressive businesswoman for sure. And I loved watch business being done on the floor!

--  Best shirts again this year go to Salem Distributing.  Whoever is making the clothing call there keep it up looks great.  2nd year in a row for them.  Close 2nd to Lisec, the maroon/black look is strong.  (I think that color is maroon- whatever it is it’s sharp) Speaking of Lisec, was very nice to catch up with Hans Hoenig, Bob Quast and run into Chris Brooks as well.   And you can’t mention fashion without mentioning Walker Glass of course.  In a few weeks I’ll share a story about me, fashion and the industries most stylish man, Danik Dancause that some of you will get a kick out of.

--  Best booth idea/promotion?  Dressing up in zebra printed sport jackets by the guys from Lite Sentry. Mark Abbott and Eric Hegstrom looked dapper and a good way to get their message across for sure.  Also really liked what PRL did with their booth, super use of product.  And the same can go for HMI Cardinal; they had some product on display that really blew people away.

--  Safety really matters, and so seeing Tuff-n-Lite having a packed booth the entire show was exciting for me.  If I were still a fabricator, I’d surely be trying out their safety gear in my shop, really neat advancements of safety technology there. Props to Mary Olivier of Tubelite for her golden touch on booth selection, she hit the jackpot with what seemed to be a perfect spot with traffic coming in from all ends.

--  Bloggers galore.. Bill Evans did a tremendous job with his Express Learning spot and Bill Briese of GED was nice enough to step out his booth for a moment to catch up with me.  Love when either of the guys write- wish I could be that good. And yes it was great to see my brother Steve.  Healthy, happy, and strong and doing amazing things with Bobby Hartong (who refuses to come to GlassBuild for some reason, I think its me) and their team at WA Wilson. 

--  Not seen: Unfortunately Ralph Aknin had to cancel out last minute, you were missed for sure Ralph. Also because of the crowded show/meeting landscape Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning had to miss out.  And since he doesn’t read this blog, someone tell him he was missed!  I believe Joe Carlos from TriView was there but missed him too.  Plus the show was not the same for me (or others I am sure) with Chris “Megatron” Dolan not being in the Guardian booth. (Though the gang there did a great job of showing off their product and services as always)  

--  There’s other news from this week including a good friend of this blog getting a new position and Viracon opening back up in Utah… those and other stories I will hit next week as we get back to normal.  Or whatever normal is in my life…. 


--  Airlines banned the “Knee Defender” so while that will stop some fights the misery of air travel will continue- especially for those who like or have to work during flights.  

--  The movie Frozen is so popular even characters from other TV shows are being confused with them. 

--  Yet another reason why Facebook can be so frustrating.  Updates that make it worse…


Basketball player Jeremy Lin recently hung out at the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and was able to play some pranks on the visitors who thought he was a wax statue.  Fun video.