Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015 Cruising Along

Basically April is now in the books and 2015 is just screaming along.  I can’t believe we are four months in already.  Of the stories I have been monitoring, the biggest being the capacity tightening of glass continues to be the most interesting.  Some pockets of North America have been affected more than others, and with this cold, bizarre spring about to morph into a hot summer, we’ll see how things hold up.  I know my contacts are telling me it’s going to be rough, so we will see. 
The one cool thing?  The fact that so many fabricators and glaziers have raised their communication game.  I am seeing an unprecedented level of dialogue on leadtimes and planning.  That is great at so many levels and a good business practice no matter what. 


--  The Architectural Billings Index continues to provide good news for the commercial industry.  The main rating was up a point and the new project index up 2.  The worrisome news is that multi-family residential has had 2 negative months in a row. That bears watching for sure. 

--  Major kudos to the folks at Giroux Glass.  Their social media and website effort (with really strong blog takes) are absolutely fantastic.  Overall well thought out and strong content.  Very impressive stuff and worth checking out for sure.

--  This coming Saturday is as loaded as a sports day can be.  NFL Draft (which I used to live for, not so much anymore) NBA and NHL Playoffs, Major League Baseball games all day… the Kentucky Derby (major bucket list item for me- some day I’ll visit the Louisville legend Tony Kamber and attend) and ending with the long awaited Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.  If you are a sports fanatic I am not sure it can get much better than that.

--  By the way, my heart wants a Pac-man win, but the head says unfortunately Mayweather will take it.

--  Also this week is my trip out west to the Garibaldi Glass Day.  I am so excited to experience it and be involved on a panel while there.  I’ll surely provide some thoughts next week. 

--  I wish I had more time when I head to Vancouver, regrettably it’s an “in and out” for me- so getting to see the sites or visit with good friends like the awesome Chris Ketchum (who will be out doing a super job pushing RavenWindow, so he told me he wouldn’t see me anyway!) won’t happen this time…. Then again with the Canucks eliminated in round 1, not sure anyone will be in the mood to visit!

--  Congrats to a few companies on the recently announced expansions.  Onyx Solar is opening a location in Avila, Spain.  Plus they are hiring 60 more people.  That is great news for a very cool and needed technology.  Great credit to Alvaro Beltran, and my pal Diego Cuevas on the positive moves!
Meanwhile, Dip-Tech is opening up a service center in Shanghai- which is a smart move to handle that side of the world for sure.  No question that this is a company that just continues to press all the right buttons.   Last, the team from Alliance Glass is moving into a new facility and I loved how they promoted on Twitter with everyone in matching Ric Flair “Wooooo” t-shirts.  All good news and “Wooooo” to all!


--  Great story on all students opting out of an un-necessary test

--  Absolutely awesome story about the Boston Marathon and when a woman tried to run it when it was against the rules.

--  This is some serious theft of painkillers.  Wow.


Another big movie trailer this week… Batman vs. Superman coming in 2016.  Not sure I am into this one… but trailer looks interesting. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Green Building Still Growing

The “Green” building process is a favorite subject of mine.  I believe that effort is still very immature and has tons of growth still to go, especially in North America.   So when I saw a recent report on the world’s twelve “greenest” buildings it was exciting to see our continent well represented.  Five of the twelve were in North America and they were:
  • Arizona State Health Services
  • Manitoba Hydro
  • Bud Clark Commons
  • SUNY-ESF Gateway Center
  • Packard Foundation Headquarters

If you supplied the glass and metal on any of these I’d love to know and learn more of what you provided and any challenges you faced.  And congrats for being involved in something both incredibly cool and important.


--  Another aspect of the “green” side of things is solar and I have been on record saying that product line is still in line to make an impact.  And now thanks to a link from always excellent twitter feed of Ted Bleecker, there’s some evidence of growth on the residential side.  While the business is not in the greatest of shape yet, and this story surely leaves a lot to wonder about, the positive undertone is there. 

--  Got tremendous news this week that the extremely talented Dan Plotnick of Guardian Industries got promoted to a new position in the Asia Pacific region.  Dan is now the Architectural Sales and Marketing Director for that area and I am thrilled for him.  Plus he’s at least one person on that side of the world that doesn’t hate me.  It’s a great thing to see when good things happen to good people.  Congrats Dan. 

--  I started my research into the AIA show and the immediate thing that jumped out at me?  Birds.  Or more specifically bird protection.  They’ll be several non-industry companies there with different options to protect the birds from the building envelope, as well as industry folks like Walker Glass showing their option for the architectural community to consider.  This trend may actually grow faster than I expected.

--  I’ve written a few times on how I love the glass usage at Dulles Airport, so when I was there this week, I snapped a picture.  Doesn’t do it justice, but believe me its amazing.  Glass everywhere and on everything.  And I noticed several different logos this time, so the supply was surely spread around too.  Overall just fantastic for a glass geek.

--  The great news from Apogee Enterprises on their strong year is also a good indicator for the industry at large.  It’s surely a positive that one of the big signature players is experiencing significant success.  And as for the Viracon segment and their great run, it’s no surprise given how dialed in Garret Henson and the sales team is there. 

--  Last this week, on a personal level; my teenage son has had his own blog focused on the world of professional wresting for a year or so.  Well this week, he started to write for a big publication in that industry and got his first piece published.  So incredibly cool and I am beyond proud.  


--  A napping worker gets a flight to remember.

--  A 70K minimum wage.  Going to be very interesting to see how long this lasts and how it works.

--  I love this story- a great grandmother foils a mugger.  Awesome.


Coming this Christmas a movie that will break all the records… Star Wars- The Force Awakens.  The new trailer came out this week and it.. is… awesome…..

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Spring Showtime

So we are about to enter the late spring show/conference season and there are three that I have marked on my calendar for importance and impact.  Events are crucial for networking and education, and if you are in the business, you need to make sure you are keeping up.  Coming up on the 29th of this month is the 28th Annual Mid-Atlantic Glass Expo in Maryland.  This event is always packed with the many from the region and rarely disappoints.  Then 2 days later is one that I simply cannot wait to experience.  I am getting to attend the iconic Garibaldi Glass Day on May 1st.  Being a glass geek, I love to see and learn new things.  What Garibaldi Glass does every year is simply brilliant, laying themselves out there to educate the industry and bringing so many stakeholders under one roof.  Being there in person has me excited beyond belief.  The final event on the schedule is the annual AIA Expo, this year in Atlanta.  While I pick on our industries over the top obsession for architects and their approval (we are like that needy child, desperate to catch the attention of the distracted parent when it comes to our need for love from architects) there is value to this show, because of the networking and new products usually on display. 

In the end, making shows or conferences a part of your yearly marketing budget is a must, and that budget absolutely must include GlassBuild America, as if you are not attending/participating in that show you are truly doing yourself and your business a disservice.  Obviously I’ll have a lot more to say on that event as we get closer, but it does boggle my mind when people skip it and then wonder why their competitors are gaining or passing them.


--  Heads up with your e-mail folks.  A very nasty and tricky virus is out there.  Basically you will get an e-mail from a recognizable friend of yours.  It will start off as “Hi, how are you and then ask, “have you seen this” and leave a link.  And that’s it.  That link is a virus to add to your computer.  And this virus is so tricky that you truly think it’s from a friend.  In addition another version has a link telling you to review “an invoice” and that too is bad.  Needless to say you have to be on guard with every e-mail now a days.  If it looks wrong or different it probably is…

--  Tremendous issue of Glass Magazine is out now, and once again the great team led by Katy Devlin knocked it out of the park.  And as I do each month, time to give props to the best ad of the issue and this one was a no brainer.  The new ad from General Glass International (GGI) was spectacular.  Just stopped me in my tracks.  That is what you want from a magazine ad that is for sure.  Congrats to all involved on that one.

--  Also congratulations to Rick Hamlin of Cupples on his new post as President.  Rick is a fantastic person and a true gentleman.  Rick for the last few years has moderated the Glazing Executive Forum’s popular “State of the Industry” panel with great care and style.  So happy that he’s continuing to be recognized for his talents.

--  Last this week, book review… I just finished “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!” by Nicolas Carlson.  It was solid, not quite as good as the last few books I have read, but if you want to get a feel for the way billion dollar companies make decisions, most of them bad, then you’ll want to read this.  There’s also great inside insight on the configuration of Boards and volatile shareholders and that insight is pretty enlightening. 


Divorce papers delivered via Facebook?

Brilliant work by Burger King here.  Smart!

Watch the Iced Tea usage, it could be very bad for you.


Could this be real?  Dog and Child in opposite positions.  And these dash cams are really big in certain parts of the world.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Good News on the Energy Efficiency Front

Since my last post two major energy efficiency efforts received big boosts.  And despite our current comfort with lower energy prices, energy efficiency is crucial to our society and our industry.  First the Shaheen-Portman Energy Savings Bill was re-introduced and the odds of it being pushed forward are positive.  If a bi-partisan bill like this can’t make it, then there’s no hope.  Meanwhile the Senate did pass the Better Buildings Act of 2015, which will push commercial buildings harder to be more energy efficient.  More details can befound here, but suffice to say we do have the products to get this done.  And these are examples of why I have been so bullish on the dynamic space.  That product line surely should be in the discussion with regards to these pieces of legislation.


--  Your monthly update on the Architectural Billings Index… the latest results had the index in the positive but the new project score did dip.  Overall attitudes are still very positive when it comes to building and the economy and from my own view I am seeing more cranes and shells of buildings in process than I have seen in years.

--  Folks don’t forget to get your nominations in for the premier award program in our industry- The Glass Magazine Awards.  Deadline for nominations is this week- April 10.

--  Birthday wishes to two cool folks in our industry… Happy and healthy ones out to Lewis McCallister of Coral Industries and Jan Rogan of PPG. 

--  A heads up to anyone who’s into SEO and websites… Google is making some big moves to their algorithms.  And the big part is changes to the coding with regards to location.  Back in the day, a tactic was to list your company and connect with every city you could think of, then just have it link back to your main site.  Well in this new update, Google is devaluing websites that do that, potentially moving them down the rankings quite a bit.  So heads up.  If you need more info, just drop me a note. 

--  The final agenda for Glass Performance Days is out and those of you going to Finland for it will surely experience a serious overload of glass and glazing education.  A few pieces to check out?  The awesome Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning going deep on hyperelastic materials, tech legend Chris Barry on Spandrel Defects (Chris will make serious news I believe with his findings) and the extremely talented Jim Gulnick of McGrory Glass with a solar power case study.

-- And speaking of Mr Kimberlain, hopefully by that June trip he'll be over the Kentucky loss in the Final Four.  The great 1976 Indiana team still holds the mantle of being the last college team to go unbeaten all year.

--  Last this week… one big item I have missed was the growth of Health Product Declarations (HPD) in our industry.  Slowly but surely there’s been a significant demand for these and many in our industry have jumped on board and are able to supply them.  In addition having the document helps in the whole LEED v4 effort as well.  I can honestly say I don’t know the process very well at this point, but I’ve decided to dig in and figure it out… especially with HPD 2.0 now in process.   In any case it looks like this is a need that is here to stay for sure- so be aware.


--  Amazing effort from a 570 pound man running 5K’s.  Great work!

--  The pressure of college… and it may not even be needed for many.

--  Amazing story here- how a guy has to sell his house because he can’t get internet.  Fascinating on so many levels including horrendous service and outright monopolies.


And here are the top news bloopers for the month of March… some good, some bad, some tasteless…