Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wrapping up 2014

With this being my last “scheduled” blog of the year, it’s a great opportunity to look back at 2014 and review our world some.  The big take away for me is that this is the year the industry came back.  While not everyone is swamped, I would say most are experiencing their best performances in a quite a while.  That is truly a relief, as I know there were some people riding this storm out wondering if it will ever come to an end.  I sincerely believe the positive momentum will continue in 2015. 
As for the year itself… I think the most surprising story and most under reported one is pretty recent.  The crazy drop in oil prices, sending gasoline prices in the US to levels that I don’t believe anyone ever thought would happen again.  While I am stunned seeing gas prices in the mid to low 2 dollar range in some places, I can’t help but think this is temporary, but regardless that is a pretty major hole busted in the oil bubble that looked impenetrable forever. 
2014 was the year that most trade shows came roaring back.  GlassBuild America was very strong as were several other trade conferences.  It was good to see that returning as those of us who always supported knew that these were “must attend” events no matter what.  Participating in these events will be even more crucial in 2015 because we have a glass and transportation situation on our hands, so knowing the answers that only a show or a conference can provide will be extremely important.

Also there are a couple of other highlights from this year I want to quickly touch on.  We had the always-incredible Dr. Tom Culp leading the industry to a victory in the code arena and our industry also got a major boost with Nicole Harris taking the reins at the National Glass Association; her effect will surely be felt in 2015 and beyond.  It's with people like that on our side that truly keeps me optimistic. 

Overall I am feeling bullish about 2015.  Yes there’s those glass and transport issues I have been nagging everyone on, but I think the smart end of this industry will make it work, and in the end I see things going well in the next year.  Bring it on!


--  Congrats to my old friend Kirk Johnson who has taken on a new role as VP of Business Development at Glasswerks.  He will do a great job with them without a doubt.

--  Pretty interesting in depth story for you HERE on the energy efficiency adventures at the Freedom Tower.  It was supposed to be the “greenest” building in the US.  Its not happening…. Nothing to do with the glass, but actually the fuel cells and the effect from Super Storm Sandy.  Great inside story to read. 

--  My ad of the month in Glass Magazine goes to the gang from SAFTI FIRST.  I absolutely loved the 2-page holiday spread and seeing the faces to go with all of the names.  This was an excellent layout and execution- overall really well done.  And fun for me to see some faces I had not seen in years.  Good to see old friends Tom Olson and Joe Marini in there among others.

--  If you are a Pittsburgh sports fan my video of the week is for you.  Pretty incredible walk through the world of Pittsburgh sports set to a great holiday tune/theme.

--  OK so that’s all for me for 2014 unless of course that “big deal” breaks in the next two weeks.  (I still am holding out hope that it’s happening and all of my intel was not wrong.) So please allow me to wish all of you a happy holiday season and a healthy and profitable new year!  Thank you for allowing me into your world each and every week.  I truly appreciate it!  See you in 2015!!


--  Stories like this disgust me.  The arrogance and entitlement.  Just blown away that people can act this way.

--  And while we are talking about airplanes and behavior, I guess “seat kicking” is a thing.  I can’t say I’ve ever done or experienced it.  Heck that room is so tight between seats I can’t even lift my foot high enough to kick the chair in front!!

Possibly a UK competitor for Disney?  Sherlock Holmes World?


Again if you are Pittsburgh sports fan- this is for you.  Just an awesome look back at Pittsburgh sporting events and the music is perfect.  As a video geek, this piece is just very cool.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

And the winner is....

Last week I noted the handful of people who were considered for the 2014 Industry MVP award, but did not eventually get it.  The time has now come to recognize the winner and like some other mainstream publications have done in the past, I went a little non-traditional with the choice this year.  Instead of picking a person, I actually am picking a company.  I looked at everything this company did this past year, its continued support of the industry and its growth, and to me it was a slam-dunk.  And because it’s a company known for a team effort, I couldn’t just pick one person out.  So I decided to recognize the whole lot (though I will mention one individual below.)  The winner this year of the “From the Fabricator Industry MVP” is... CR Laurence.  From an industry standpoint CRL is always there- at every show and event, always supporting, even though in many cases they probably don’t have to.  But I believe and have been told, they do it because it’s the right thing to do industry-wise.  I sincerely hope it continues.   From a product standpoint, more excellent innovations this year including a unitized curtain wall and window system unveiled at AIA that has game changing potential.  Plus their software releases are huge as well.  And yes when it comes to people, CRL delivers there too- so many make a difference- case in point a guy like Brad Thurman is as impressive as they come.   I've seen Brad in action and he represents his company and this industry with absolute class.  And he’s just one of many there that do a great job, led by excellent ownership and management.  So there you have it, a little different than the typical, but in my opinion a company that deserves the props. 


--  The new Glass Magazine is fantastic and one column is a must read.  Please check out Katy Devlin’s piece on the transportation issues facing our industry.  It is worth your time. 

--  I know I am harping on the transportation issue and on the glass capacity issue-and I am told other writers are taking the opposite of my insight on a few of these items, but I continue to talk with people every day, those that are in the trenches, and these issues ARE real.  I guess you can choose which magazine or writer to believe, but when it comes to the best interests of this industry, I feel like I have your backs.  And again what’s the worst thing that can happen, you get ultra organized? 

--  Well just one more blog scheduled for 2014… will the big deal I have been talking about for the last few weeks happen?  It did get very quiet last week on it.  Maybe it’s the calm before the storm or maybe we have a “runaway bride” and the deal was iced.  We shall see.  If/when the deal does happen, I’ll blog about it regardless.

--  Last week I attended a semi-interesting webinar on green building.  For the most part the confidence of continued green building growth is still very strong.  A few tidbits I found interesting… China’s 3 Star energy program passed LEED to become the 2nd most popular energy related standard in the world.  (Energy Star in the US is #1)… Plus did you know that Singapore offers a rebate for retrofitting buildings to become energy efficient?  I did not… an incentive here surely would be nice.  This last item was big given that the analysts on the webinar felt that the move to green growth was now more about financial advantages than environmental.

--  Last this week… for the first time in my life I hurt my back.  And I can tell you I have no idea how those of you with chronic back problems do it.  You all are my heroes.  My goodness this is brutal and I hope temporary, as I have little to no pain tolerance…


I love stories like this… classy and considerate!

Comical link- what if guys acted like girls on Instagram?

This was one of the first apps I ever added… and now the fade of Angry Birds


Well I have seen some crazy things on a golf course but never a baboon.