Sunday, November 30, 2014

Industry MVP- The Runners Up

So it’s time for our annual look at who is the most valuable player (MVP) in the glass and glazing industry for 2014.  There are quite a few great candidates but they’ll be only one winner.  I have selected the winner and that announcement comes next week… but I did want to run down who were the other candidates in contention. I do this mostly because I do believe in shining the spotlight on those extremely deserving people.  They deserve it.  So here goes, the runners up for the “2014 From the Fabricator Glass and Glazing MVP.”

John Wheaton- Wheaton and Sprague- Whether you do work with him, follow him on twitter or hear him speak, the passion and care that John brings is incredible.  Great interest in the industry and its future.  This is a guy who is always promoting awesome projects and work in the field, even if he didn’t have anything to do with it. Unselfish and classy to the core. 

Rick Wright- Oldcastle BE Similar to John Wheaton when it comes to passion for the industry.  Can sometimes be on the other side of popular opinion on issues but always has a reason and solid logic.  Cares for how we (the industry) are presented in public and is extremely active in the trade organization world.

Tom O’Malley- Tom’s on this list because he went out on his own this year, seemingly 10 minutes after the recession lifted and built a business- Clover Architectural Products.  So basically this is a guy who could’ve done anything, anywhere but yet stuck his neck out big time.  Folks, that’s serious confidence in our industry (and himself) Plus he’s always on the edge of innovation and bringing new and positive items to our world. 

Bernard Lax- Pulp Studio- When I think of Bernard, I think of this famous quote… “Speak softly and carry a big stick…” basically while Bernard is not front and center at trade meetings in such, when he does express his thoughts they carry a ton of weight.  He is not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to health of the industry and the safety of our stakeholders.  I probably get to talk to him once or twice a year but those conversations always have meaning and value.  Plus he has an insanely creative mind, which is also a plus.

Now of course there are many others that would be up for this that I have noted in previous editions and awards like Julie Schimmelpennigh, Valerie Block, Chris Dolan, Kris Vockler and so on… but I wanted this list to be of people I had not nominated and noted in depth before.  In the end none of these folks won… the winner comes next week!


--  For those of you who only read my blog when its reposted on and published in e-Glass Weekly, I did post last week on my original site, so if you want more insight on the latest deal talks, green stats and some cool links, please check it out.

--  Curious have you ever flipped through your contacts on your phone and asked “who is that?”  I had to look through it the other day and saw names that I seriously have no clue who they are…

--  So which states had the biggest year over year gains (October) in construction employment?  The winner may surprise you as it did me…  the top 5…
5- Utah
4- Illinois
3- California
2- Texas
1- Florida
Yes.. the Sunshine State led the way and I do find that surprising for sure.  Could be a signal that the slow to recover market there is starting to perk back up.

--  Last this week… its December which will seemingly go very quick, and while that’s good from a personal standpoint, from a business view these last two months are tough ones.  After the 18 work day November, the holiday season may not have as much cheer with such little time to get work done!


--  The differences of being on Facebook when you are in your 20’s vs your 30’s.  Not sure how accurate this is as I am barely on FB (for work really) and I am looong past my 30’s…

--  Why in the world do people in LA not want you to see the Hollywood sign?

--  Just echoing the sentiments of the person who sent me this link… can you imagine an American athlete going to jail for an action on the field of play?


Well it is out.. the first official trailer of the next Star Wars movie to debut late next year…if you have not seen it, here it is here… as of this posting its been viewed more than 18 million times in just 2 days.  Wow.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Still waiting on the deal of the year

Short week ahead but for good or bad (mostly bad in my case) this week in past years always brought news. Will “big news” happen this year?  The note I had here last week on the potential mega deal propelled this blog to the most traffic it’s had in a long time.  So obviously there’s a hunger for info… The deal I mentioned has NOT happened yet, and when one other acquisition took place and people saw it tweeted out by Glass Magazine, I was asked if “that was the deal” I was talking about.  And the answer was absolutely not.  A one location purchase is not a mega deal, and believe me if this deal I am hearing about happens, you will see it’s a lot bigger.  As for said mega deal, I am hearing if it is going to happen, it will be done soon.  No later than the end of the year.  As for the effect on the industry they’ll be several, most though involving some strategic changes to plans already set for 2015.  As soon as I hear if this deal goes through I’ll tweet it out and make sure you are also following Glass Magazine on twitter, as I am sure they’ll be on top of it too. 


--  The acquisition from last week by the way, Trulite buying Texas Tempered did have everyone talking though.  No doubt that this industry does get into the acquisition insight game and the analysis that goes with it is fascinating.  The big angle most people focused on was that Trulite already has a location in Houston.  My two cents?  Houston is a big town with horrendous traffic.  Having another location there is not a bad play at all.  I have a feeling I am in the minority on that opinion.

--  Good news for those of you like me who long for competition for LEED and the USGBC.  Turner Construction’s 2014 Green Building Market Barometer showed that interest in other green building rating systems was up 250% since 2012.  Yes, please lets grow that even more.  We need green building but we need more than one system to get us there.  Let’s hope this trend continues.

--  The Architectural Billings Index slipped a bit in October but still stayed positive.  The Dodge Momentum index bounced back and had a good month.  ABC’s Construction Backlog Indicator also is looking great.  So the indicators continue to be on the good side.

--  On the bad side… The weather.  My gosh the fact that we are having full-scale winter before Thanksgiving is incredibly depressing.  And how about the folks in Buffalo.  Everyone there deserves a medal.  What an unbelievable scene.  Stay warm and safe friends…

--  The latest issue of Glass Magazine has a great piece on Hardware ideas.  It’s one of those pieces you rip out and keep for future reference. (If people other than me still do that) Job well done too.

--  Last this week…  we have reached my favorite holiday of the year.  I love everything about the US Thanksgiving, including having tons of family and friends stuffed inside my house to celebrate it.  We as a society truly do have a lot to be thankful for… And please this holiday; say a prayer of thanks to the awesome and brave men and women of the armed forces who protect (and have protected) this country (same for the armed forces in Canada as well).  They are selfless and tremendous people who make our world a better place.  And to you dear reader, I will always be thankful you stop on by and read my thoughts.  So to you and yours… HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


--  I thought of former Guardian Glass marketing guru (and glass guy) Earnest Thompson when I saw this link on brands actually answering tweets with some comedy.  He and I had a convo on twitter actually about some of the social media and its use in the business world.  These brands get it.

--  I love dogs.  Stuff like this is why.

--  This may be the funniest link I have ever posted…  32 real reasons why people’s releationships broke up.  Some amazing ones on here!


Those who know me know I love basically everything about Canada.  I love its people, it’s cities and of course its positive effect on the glass industry.  Canadians also ooze class and it was proven yet once again last week when at a Toronto Maple Leaf hockey game the microphone of the anthem singer died and the Toronto crowd stepped in and finished it… but the twist is they finished the US NATIONAL ANTHEM.  Unreal.  Only in Canada would this happen… great people…

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A BIG deal in the works??

The acquisition part of the glass industry has been pretty quiet in the last few years.  While some smaller deals have taken place, the mega deals have not.  Well I can tell you that if the hot rumors blowing up my phone and e-mail are true, there is one such mega deal coming soon. Simply to say if this deal happens it will change the landscape of the industry again.  Back in my past life I could throw the names out there (like I did when I broke the EFCO-Pella and Oldcastle-Vistawall deals) but things are different these days.  People are more careful (me included) and companies like to float things to throw me off the scent (yes I have been told as much), so I’ll just leave it at the teaser above.  In any case I’m grabbing the popcorn and sitting back waiting to see if/when this one happens…. It should be very interesting.


--  Guardian announcing the closing of their Floreffe, PA plant will be the third domestic float plant to go off line in the last year now.  So you now can add that to the many (nine at least) gone since 2006.  In some circles you are hearing that this whole tightening of glass supply may be made up.  All I am saying is its now down to pure math & logic.  It’s A LOT less capacity matched to better and improving business conditions.  So as a consumer of glass you have two choices… look for a conspiracy and start arguments or plan to be proactive and be on top of your game with active communications and prepared logistics.    Your choice… but math and logic are on my side on this one.  And if the tightening does not turn out to be serious, guess what… your business actually got better because you had to become even more efficient than before.  No downside at all to that.

--  There is one other major potential tightening of supply in the world right now that could be a concern… that would be a potential shortage of Chocolate.  Amazingly as this story breaks down for you, even a product like this suffers from many supply chain issues too.  Glad I am back on the diet again as when I get off M&M’s may be $10 per bag. 

--  So I have to ask my readers in California for some insight into what I am hearing is a massive mess with Title 24.  Evidently municipalities are developing their own codes which are confusing and beyond the current written code in place.  This “wild wild west” mentality is throwing the various code inspectors into a bit of a flux and thus delaying code decisions and actual occupancy of buildings.  So folks in California I’d love some input on what is happening there and if it’s as crazy as it sounds.  Or is it just the good ole California way of doing business?  At the end of the day though it’s already tough enough to do business when you are dealing with codes and ratings as it is, but a moving goal post is surely not fun.

--  Speaking of energy…. In Washington DC it will be interesting to see if the change in the make up of the Senate will help the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill get off the ground.  There are some positives in that bill that would be good for our industry for sure. 

--  Coming soon… my list of potential Industry MVP’s…  last year’s winner was Tracy Rogers of Quanex.  Who will take home the prize in 2014?


--  This could be tremendous news.  The cause of ALS possibly found…

--  12 year old runs away and lives in an IKEA store for 6 days.  Wow.

--  Very sad story and the need to do something with regards to the Greek system at colleges.  The drinking and initiation process have to get under control.


The Seattle “Seahawk” lands on a poor guys head.  Crazy.  Maybe because the guy had good hair, something I will never have to worry about!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

2015 Forecasts Looking Strong

The first major forecast for 2015 was released last week and it was chock full of positive news.  According to the Dodge Data & Analytics report, commercial building will be up 15% next year.  In addition they’ll be nice gains on the institutional side and thankfully on the public works segment as well.  The public works business been stuck in a bad place for a while, so gains there are not only good for our industry but in overall life as well.  So the only hesitations to have now are pretty simple.  Will this report be accurate, as we all know these projections in the past haven’t exactly been picture perfect.  And if it is correct, will there be glass and drivers available to deliver said glass to meet these additional needs? 


--  Despite the optimism above there were mixed messages from the various monthly reports, the ABI was strong and has bounced back from a soft middle of the year, but the Dodge Momentum Index has not been stellar recently though it is in the positive territory, just not as solid as it was earlier in the year. In addition spending on Non Residential construction also dipped which could be a red flag as well.  

--  A few of you out there may have heard me tell the story on how I desperately wanted to be selected for jury duty a few years ago and was passed over.  Making me the only person at the courthouse that day mad at being sent home at 11AM.  Well there’s a jury trial coming up, so massive, so major, and quite frankly so unreal that even I would not want anything to do with it right now.  Even though I actually find the subject to be fascinating because it involves our industry in a way.  What I am talking about is the breach of contract trial regarding the Harmon Hotel at CityCenter in Las Vegas.  The trial is expected to last one year.  Yes you read that right… a year!  There’s going to be more three million pieces of evidence and 35 lawyers will be involved in this trial that actually wrapped 12 separate cases into one.  Now if I were retired, I would LOVE to be on this jury.  Heck I have felt for years now that an oral history/book on the CityCenter project would be riveting, so doing this trial would be the icing on the cake.  But not meant to be and given the numbers of the folks brought in my odds would’ve been long anyway.  407 prospective jurors from an initial pool of 6000 will be whittled to 8 jurors and 12 alternates when all said and done.  This surely will be one to watch, I am hoping for some good coverage, or who knows may Glass Magazine will send me to be their court reporter….

--  Speaking of Glass Magazine, I was delayed in giving my “best ad of the month” award… So in the awesome October issue, some previous winners continue to stand out (Kawneer, Cardinal, Quanex) but the nod this time goes to PPG for not only their clean and catchy back cover ad, BUT the companion specialty website to go with it.  PPG has been very active creating specialty websites for specific products and promotions and they did one as well with this ad.  It’s a sharp and forward thinking maneuver.  Well done and major props to Pat Kenny, Rob Struble and everyone there who had a hand in this. 

--  Last this week, big time congratulations to my friend Jim Ventre on his promotion at Gardner Glass Products.  Jim is now Vice President of Flat Glass Sales at Gardner and that basically means he’s now big time… so that also means he’ll probably never talk with me again!  Seriously though Jim is one of the industries nicest guys, and it’s great to see him rewarded for his talent/efforts.


--  Yep no one will have similar twitter name to mine.. I feelbad for guys like this who do get caught up in the world of confusion.

--  Could this really be? Hundreds of federal workers on paid leave.. some up to 3 years worth?

--  Comical link from a pal in our industry (or his brother actually)- very  “creative” and surely odd…


So NASCAR now features post race fights?  Bizarre and crazy… here it is if you missed last week’s donnybrook.  The action picks up at the :58 mark.