Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Look Back at glasstec 2014

The 2014 edition of glasstec is in the books and quite simply it was amazing.  Having never been to this event I did not know what to expect and despite studying like crazy I was still caught off guard by the pure size of everything.  Mostly every booth (or stand as they call them at this show) was monstrous.   The equipment on display was breathtaking and as a glass geek, I just was in awe at so much of it. If there was a disappointment (other than horrendous internet at my hotel) it was the weakness in glass technology.  I did not see the innovation that I expected and honestly I think we had more innovation with glass products at GlassBuild.  But that was minor because the equipment, the software, and the ability to see how people do things from all over the world was more than enough to make this an incredibly memorable week.

Overall the show was packed and people very positive about the future.  The only scary part was the scuttlebutt about tightening glass supply in North America and the very obvious and frustrating lack of trucking that is causing delivery delays.  The themes of 2015 will be logistics and planning because our industry is not the same as it was 5 years ago.  We have less float plants, less available trucks and drivers and now major improving economic conditions.  So if you are a fabricator, you need to plan and inventory differently than you have in the past and if you are a glazier, make sure you and your fabricator are communicating leadtimes effectively because they may be disrupted due to transport issues.  I will have much more on this in the coming weeks.

As I always do after a show… the seen and heard… and its quite long this time appropriate for a long event like this… Lots to get to…

--  Hardware was everywhere and great usages and advancements continue.  That all glass look with classy hardware is just awesome and it’s only going to get better.  What was the “in” product that seemed to be everywhere?  Blinds in between glass.   Stunning since that is not exactly a new technology.  Also quite a bit of decorative, though I heard from many that the styles on display were not eye catching and I must agree. 

--  Busiest booth?  Guardian. Especially on day 3 of the show.  The place was like a Vegas nightclub, people jam-packed in there.  Somewhere in that mass of humanity I did get to chat with the super Amy Hennes who now has helped point me the right direction at yet another show. Thankfully I got in on day 1 of the show before the masses descended on their spot. Also great to visit with Chris Dolan, Jay Phillips, and Matt Hill.  I feel horrible I never could spend time with my favorite Chinese connection Dan Plotnick.  He was just too busy. But not seeing me is best for his street cred in China. 

--  Coolest machinery?  Everything I saw was awesome, but 2 stood out for me.  (1) The loading/unloading robot that the tremendous guys from Salem showed me at the Bavone booth.  That will help efficiency in plants for sure.  (2) The cutter from Turomas Tecnocat was incredible.  Fast, quiet, and seriously effective. I watched in awe for a while, including a part where it cut 1” thick glass like the hot knife through butter.  Thank you to Juan Pablo Herrera of IGE for getting me my own private demo there.

--  Seen out and about… Got to visit with Doug Marren at Eastman and even saw Aimee Davis from there as well- she no longer works on our side of the industry, so I never get to see her, so that was a treat!  Met for the first time Ruby Singh of Glassfab.  Seriously good guy and was also nice to see Mike Goldfarb of Glassfab too.  I had not seen Doug Studt from Torstenson Glass in quite a while so super to run into him.  And always a pleasure and honor to see Bernard Lax of Pulp Studios. 

--  Pat Kenny of PPG was stationed right across from the NGA\WDDA booth so catching up with him was excellent.  It was his first glasstec in many years.  Meanwhile Max Hals was making yet another triumphant appearance at the show- he’s been here every year since 1982.  Such a good man, glad we have the same name and people confuse us sometimes- I benefit from that deal that’s for sure!  Getting to chat with Ren Bartoe is the best though, he interrupted a conversation with others to say hi to me and I appreciate that.  Got to spend time with Manny Borda of IGE and it was fantastic- pure class that man is.  And speaking of class as well as “cool” Michael Schmidt of Forel fits that description.  Meeting with him in the massive Forel exhibition was a neat experience.  And while in that booth I visited with Steve Bouchard of Glass Distributors Inc. which was totally enjoyable.

--  No Diego Cuevas of Onyx as he had to work Greenbuild but their booth was busy and I got to meet the very sharp and intelligent Mila Plaza who was covering the stand for them.  I love that solar is gaining traction.  Getting a few minutes with Steve Weidner of NSG/Pilkington was awesome.  He treats me better than I deserve.  Always good to see Scott Hoover of Tecglass/Arrow as well as spending a little time with Carey and Chris Mobius of Garibaldi.

--  Not seen? I saw Devin Bowman of TGP at the airport in Atlanta and then never saw him again.  Rob Botman and Jordan Richards of Glassopolis were at the show, but never saw them and rumor has it they owned the town at night with legendary outings.  Nice. 

--  Last, on my final day here, I went for a nice (but icy cold) run along the Rhein.  Portions of my lungs I think are still behind in Germany floating along that river.  Somewhere my running idol Jeff Ziesche of CRL/US Aluminum has to be smiling about that one.

I’m sure I missed more than one thing and we’ll catch that next week as we return once again to normal…. 


I hope you can give me a pass on both of these- internet was not great in Germany, so looking up and finding anything was not going to happen.  They’ll return next week!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

OK glasstec, bring it on!

This week is the big glasstec show in Germany and I have to admit some nerves are banging around inside my stomach right now.  For me the double whammy of a gigantic show and a foreign country really puts me out of my element.  But the preparation has been done, between studying the landscape of where the show is, loading the translator on my phone with every question I could think of so I could try and learn how to say it, and going through a list of almost 1000 exhibitors I believe I am ready.  Hopefully I didn’t either over study or miss something obvious but it’s finally time to see what happens.

Next week, we’ll have my often imitated but never duplicated show review and the gang at Glass Magazine will have some serious top-notch coverage in e-glass weekly.  Plus if you are on twitter make sure you are following Glass Magazine (@GlassMag) as the updates will be coming throughout the show.


--  The crazy and volatile week on Wall Street surely has added some nerves to many.  Our economy still has some fragility and even things that us “regular” folks take enjoyment in like lower gas prices are actually having a negative effect on some parts of the market.  With the price of oil actually tanking, this good news of sub $3 gas is now not as joyous.  I guess we just can’t win for losing sometimes…

--  Last week I wrote on the San Diego airport and I missed an amazing piece of glass work that was so notable, Glass Magazine did a “Great Glazing” piece on it earlier this year.  Thanks and props to my friend Joe Carlos of Triview for the heads up.  Great work by Joe, his team and everyone involved on this project!

--  Catching up on reading this week, ran into 2 interesting stories…  First from Laser Focus World...  
Sometimes innovation is not quite ready for prime time but its released and promoted anyway.  That’s the case with this clear glass that can collect solar energy.  The story is worth a read but check out this quote:

The big advantage of the Michigan State University design is its lack of hue; the device looks like a piece of ordinary clear plastic. “No one wants to sit behind colored glass,” says Richard Lunt, one of the researchers. “It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco.”

Yep NO ONE wants to sit behind colored glass….  I mean seriously?  Has this guy ever seen the way glass in the year 2014 works?  Anyway, I hope this technology eventually works because it would be good but surely not because of the "colored" glass issue…

--  Also this week, the Washington Post did a piece on spray-coated solar panels.  I’ll be curious to see what the esteemed Ted Bleecker says about it (since Ted is a true solar guru) because while I am intrigued this also seems incredibly premature and just not ready for prime time at all.  Make sure you read to the comments at the bottom, they surely give some solid perspective.

-- As I post this the results of the Columbus Marathon are not in yet, but sending positive vibes and extra lung capacity to my pal Dean Mead of Virginia Glass Products.  I give tons of credit to guys like Dean and Joe Erb from Quanex who can just get out there and run... and run...and then run some more... hope the race was awesome my friend!

--  Last this week, those of you going to Greenbuild, please feel free to drop me a note to let me know how that show is and the pulse of the attendees there.  Hopefully all will be positive- though you all know my opinion on that event already, for the good of the industry I’ll happily be wrong. 


--  Love this story of JJ Abrams replying to an 8th grader.  So cool..

--  Grilled Cheese from the sky?  Sounds awesome!

--  Lying about your age to get on Facebook… with a twist.


I enjoy the humor of Key & Peele- here’s one of their sketches on concussions in football.  Obviously these days it's not a joking matter, but given my dislike for the NFL, I'm rolling with this.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Energy Efficiency Past and Future, Another Great Hire, and Following all of the Shows

As most of you know I am a geek when it comes to energy efficiency and the products in our industry that can improve that process.  So when I saw Katy Devlin’s blog last week I was truly excited.  Actually according to my son what I did was I “marked out” which comes from the wrestling world when you get overly excited about something you know and hope will happen.  Anyway, the details of Katy’s blog and the focus on energy efficiency and the timeline of the many great companies looking to disrupt that space was a breath of fresh air.  I believe we are still at just the start of the process.  We have a ton of innovation in the pipelines and ready to come.  So you can look at where we were but just get ready because we are going is truly something to behold.


--  I think these are the dog days of blogging. Not much news happening, but it will pick up with glasstec coming up. 

--  My day was made the other day when I saw this news on a former co-worker of mine.  Dan Wagner was recently named Vice President and General Manager of Global Door Controls.  I had the honor of working with Dan for several years and I hold him in the highest regard.  I am sure he will do a fantastic job in his new position, as he has done everywhere he has ever been.

--  I am convinced that if you wanted to and had the money/time to do so, you could attend an industry related function for every week of the year.  Our landscape is so packed with seminars, conferences, shows, roundtables, squaretables, it’s absolutely incredible.  So it brings to mind three questions… how do you decide on which event is more worthy than another and how can you still follow the action and information without attending.  On the decision of which ones to attend, time really has to be taken to determine if the audience and reach is relevant to your business.  For instance there are quite a few events that promise “architectural interaction” but they all can’t deliver at a high level and sometimes the smaller ones turn out to be better.  You truly need to research who’s there and the conference schedule before deciding.  As for following along, thanks to electronic and social media, it’s never been easier.  This past week there was an event in New York that I was able to follow via Twitter and really I felt like I got a good feel for the discussion and flavor of the event.  While NOTHING will ever replace face to face networking, at least from an education standpoint being able to follow along from afar is truly doable in our current society. 

--  I happened to go through the San Diego airport last week and again noticed the glass. The usage inside was decent, but it was the outside, especially some of the curtain walls that really were impressive.  Clean design and the glass and aluminum looked tremendous.  I know (from looking at the spacer band) that Viracon supplied the glass but no idea on the framing and who installed- so whomever did those jobs (and Viracon too) congrats to you.  It looks amazing.  Unfortunately my picture does NOT do it justice!

 The up and downs of the construction forecasts continued.  Non residential construction only added 3,200 jobs last month which was considered modest growth. Meanwhile the Dodge Index slipped for the 3rd month in a row.  While that index is up 8% year over year, this little trend is starting to concern.

Last this week… normally I would put this in my LINKS of the WEEK but it’s a pretty cool look inside the McDonald’s Monopoly promotion going on right now.  It is amazing the how heavily the odds are against you. 


--  This makes me sad.  The end of Saturday morning cartoons.  The world continues to change.  Wow.

--  Wild and interesting story for those journalism/grammar lovers and lawyers too.  All over the word “how”

--  I LOVE dogs.. and this story is amazing.  There are both awful and great people in this world and this story shows both.


Not the best Video of the week… but if you are a fight fan, especially MMA, this one could interest you.  A format in Russia with 2 fights going at once and so on… a little crazy for sure.  Will be curious to see if this ends up happening in any of the North American promotions.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Milestones, New Jobs, New Apps and a Billionaire (maybe)

It was in October of 2005 that I started blogging.  So much has changed in the nine years since, its actually pretty mind blowing.  If you would’ve told me when I started this blog that in 2014 I would be on my own and preparing to go to Germany for a trade show, I would’ve never believed you.  Not to mention if you told me HOW some of those nine years were going to play out- that too would’ve floored me.  Guess it’s a good thing to not be able to predict the future sometimes!  In any case to those of you who have supported me and read this blog etc., thank you I will always be grateful! 


--  Speaking of exciting milestones… A Happy Anniversary to the gang at Morse Industries.  The company turned 32 this week.  I have a lot of respect for the way they do business and the way they step up to support the industry.  Here’s to many many more years!

--  A good friend of mine and one the most talented guys in the industry has a new position with a company making some moves into the market.  Donald Press, formerly the General Manager for Schott Architecture & Design is now heading up the new subsidiary of Okalux GmbH called Okalux North America.  Okalux and Schott used to have a marketing agreement and that has been ended, so now Donald has a new gig with the new company and I know he will do great.

--  Forbes last week listed 1645 billionaires in the world.  Rumor has it one of them is former glass industry wiz, Scott Surma.  Maybe time for me to call him for a loan….

--  The Efficient Window Collaborative just launched a new “App” for their window selection tool.  As you may know I am huge fan of Kerry Haglund and her team and this app is absolutely off the charts in terms of information and ease of use.  Another great tool for the public to use!  Props to everyone behind this excellent effort.

--  One issue that Kerry (among others) have hit me up on is the bird control issue with the new Minnesota stadium.  Well last week the bird issue actually came up, somewhat quietly with another stadium.  Levi’s Stadium, the new home for the 49ers will pay 70K over 3 years for “bird control” at their new stadium.  All I could find on this was a lonely tweet from a beat writer locally there, but it surely begs the question of exactly what is happening and could this too been avoided with glass?  Could the Vikings be planning the same?

--  Last this week; it would not be an anniversary blog for me if I did not hit on one my most favorite subjects over the years… NFRC.  I had to laugh this week when I had the opportunity to sit in on a fascinating industry presentation.  In the middle of this incredibly informative and in-depth piece the NFRC logo appears and the speaker proclaims “and NFRC is a group you need to be aware of and understand what they do and the effect on your business…”  Classic, the more things change….


--  Crazy cost from a “cheap” airline option.  Always be careful what you click.

--  Oh… the “anti-Facebook” you say?  I’m interested!

--  When the auto reply meant to look “real” goes wrong.


I love my dogs.. and this is something one of my dogs would do.  Get confused whether there was a door there or not….