Sunday, May 31, 2015

No Worry On Decline... Yet

Is there cause for concern after the latest Architectural Billings Index fell again this past month?  The headlines surely give you pause, but when you dig into the report, it does not look as negative as you may think.  The “New Projects” rating was positive again as was the “Design Contracts” index.   Plus the winter weather may have left a bit of hangover when it comes to the overall performance.  I not only see, but also continue to hear too much positivity and confidence in the economic future of our industry to raise the red flag yet.  Obviously this and the other indexes bear watching but for now, I wouldn’t consider this last report anything but a blip on the radar. 


--  Congrats to Tubelite on celebrating their 70th year in business.  Really an incredible and impressive run through some volatile territory and times.

--  Excellent article in the new Glass Magazine on ergonomics in the workplace.  It is a must read, especially when you are talking health and welfare of your plant personnel.  Kudos to Lisec, AGNORA, and all others engaged in this excellent process.

--  Minnesota is home to some of the best minds in our industry.  And now that state has a city that is going to really do something fascinating.  Rochester, MN is working to transform itself and doing so with an ambitious 20 year, 6.5 Billion dollar renewal, that will surely need a lot of glass.  Fast Company magazine has the insight and it’s a great read. 

--  As many know, I am big fan of solar, and I still believe in it.  But even though solar performance is growing and products are improving there’s still a massive reluctance to use it.  The big utilities still stand in the way of solar growth and there are a few states that are letting that happen.  It’s an unfortunate battle that is not good in the end for our environment or energy needs.  It also does affect many in our industry that supply to it, though I do know much of it does come from off shore, it’s still a tough one in any form.

--  For those of you in my generation, a fun documentary to watch… “Atari-Game Over”  is a good one chronicling the rise and fall of Atari with regards to one game and its burial in a landfill.  Technology on gaming has come so far in such a short time, and this documentary was a pretty neat walk through the 80’s and the initial gaming explosion.

--  Last this week, just downloaded a new book I am looking forward to reading.  Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry” is now in my queue and while I will never go back to a blackberry (I love my iPhone) I have a feeling this insider tale may be one to immerse myself in and enjoy.  Once done I’ll provide a review.  Still finishing the current book “Becoming Steve Jobs” which has been solid read for sure.


--  Interesting graphic on what your hourly wage would need to be by state to afford a 2 bedroom rental. 

 --  Being a media sort of guy I really enjoyed this piece on layouts gone wrong.  Yikes.  Gotta feel for the people involved here!

--  Never knew this existed and it’s wild.


My good friend Dave Gillikin passed this one to me and its awesome.  It’s the incredible Eminem anthem “Lose Yourself” in sign language.  Extremely impressive. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Quick Hits

A lot of quick hitting items for me this week, so I’m going to eschew the normal format and just get into them…

--  Great Tweet of a link from John Wheaton (who is a must follow on Twitter- @JohnLWheaton1) about the decision in California to grant land to LinkedIn over Google.  I don’t think Google loses many battles, so this is truly an interesting one.   Google was planning an intense new global HQ (which I wonder now if they will redesign to try and match or top Apple) and now without the land they’ll be going to plan b. 

--  Tremendous feedback from my piece last week on the renovation needs by 2030.  Thank you to all.  It will be an issue to continue to monitor and we as an industry need to support any and all efforts to be involved in the process.

--  I ran into a computer magazine from 1977 that had a great story in it… it was an article on how computerized statements will be a key to getting paid faster.  I have to laugh since I don’t think that ever made a dent in the pay process, and even now, with electronic statements, those who want to pay quick do… and those who don’t or can’t… won’t.

--  The NFL was in hot water yet again, but this story did not get the same amount of attention as “Deflategate” did.  The story is how the NFL takes millions of dollars from the armed forces for advertising, but they try and play it off with “honoring the troops” during pre game and halftime.  It’s very disingenuous.  If you want to take money to promote signing up for the National Guard or Army etc. that’s fine.  But honoring of any troop should be free and done with respect, not because it’s a sponsor. 

--  Hiring is always a crucial need and one thing that came up this past week was that with the shortage of skilled employees some companies are just hiring any warm body they can.  That is a dangerous approach as sometimes it’s really better to let the job go unfilled than to hire someone who could cause major harm.  And in an industry where the primary product is pretty dangerous when not handled correctly, that’s even a bigger reason why it’s better to be focused on the hires you make.

--  I made the extremely quick visit to AIA.  Did not get to all I wanted to, but still good to see who I did.  Reaction on the floor traffic was mixed; some folks were thrilled, some not so much.

--  One thing at AIA that I caught wind of via social media ahead of time was View’s announcement on their new “Intelligence” product.  It’s a predictive glass that will do many things including react to the environment.  It’s no secret I love the dynamic glass space and this is yet another reason why. 

-- Kudos to Jeff Razwick for a tremendous blog on last week.  I believe the blog “format” has many uses, but pieces like Jeff’s that in 500 words or so provides such great and important information is crucial to our world. 

-- Not sure of my publishing schedule for next week, with Memorial Day in the US and also the weekend wedding of my nephew Josh.  Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday (And a Happy Victoria Day this week for my friends in Canada who celebrate that) and please those in the US take some time to pay respect to the men and women of the armed forces, both alive and passed for their commitment and dedication to the country they served.   Thank you.


--  This is when Twitter is truly fun.  Creative and light hearted trolling.

--  Mixed feelings on this.  I am very familiar with the 504 policy and I respect and am thankful for it, but also think there’s more to the story here as well. 

--  The “overbooked” generation.  Count me as someone who likes when kids don’t have too much time on their hands.


And here are your monthly news bloopers.  Like all months, some good, some bad, some unfortunately tasteless. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Major Rebuilding Needed

Interesting statistic this week to lead things off.  According to the Build America Initiative approximately 75% of the infrastructure in the United States will need either renovated or replaced by the year 2030.  At first glance I see the year 2030 and think, that’s a long way off, then it hits me, time is flying, that is not really that far away anymore.  As for the actual stat, I can truly believe it.  Massive growth in the 70’s and 80’s already is seeing signs of decay, and in our little world of glass and glazing, the amount of structures with old and poorly performing materials is mind blowing.  So what’s the plan?  Well that’s another problem… there doesn’t seem to be any cohesive or leading plan out there to address the issue stated above.  The Build America group is surely a start and it has the backing of the Rockefeller Foundation and the White House, but that is not going to be enough.  Not even close.  To truly get in front of this situation and do what needs done, this needs massive buy in from trade groups across the spectrum (not just glass, but builder and development bodies) code organizations and the government.  Will it happen?  My guess… not any time soon.  But the issue is out there and hopefully this start spurs some action.  


--  Maybe I shouldn’t be too hopeful to get government involved after all… especially after this past week and a special election in Michigan.  The very off-season election, at a cost of 10 million dollars, featured a complex and confusing proposal that would increase one tax, reduce another and spread money around to several needs including roads and schools.  The proposal was so poorly written and communicated that it went down to defeat 80 to 20!  Think about that for a second… In this day and age of strict lines of right and left, this was something that a mass majority agreed on.  Not sure you will ever see anything like that anywhere any time soon.

--  The AIA show is this week in Atlanta.  I am only hopping in and out for bit, so probably no big recap from me.  Looking forward to seeing the floor though and getting a feel for the attitude of the attendees and exhibitors I do get to run into.

--  Congrats to the gang at Guardian on the expansion of their Science and Technology Center.  I have gotten the opportunity to visit and tour the original structure and it was amazing.  Now this new addition sounds even more intense.  I love that they went with Bagatelos Façade System and look forward to seeing it in action some day.  Practicing what they preach is a great concept.

--  Last this week… our industry had a cool connection to the first round of the recent NFL Draft.  The first round pick of the Cleveland Browns, Danny Shelton is the first cousin of Jimmy Hanczor of Binswanger Glass.  I’ve gotten to work with Jimmy over the years and he’s an incredibly good guy, so I’m obviously thrilled for him and his family on one of their own making the big time.  Oh and our video of the week features Mr. Shelton and his reaction after he was picked.  Good stuff!


--  Oh just going to the bank to cash this little 368 Billion dollar check…

--  Interesting piece on the effect of the “Fitbit”- some people I know absolutely swear by it…. And my daughter wants one badly, maybe I’ll make her read this!

--  IKEA as a relationship killer?  As a friend said to me.. if your relationship can be harmed by IKEA, your relationship is not in a good place.


Here’s the previously mentioned Danny Shelton grabbing and lifting the NFL Commissioner in total joy after being selected round 1 last week.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Working to Meet Industry Needs

Education and communication.  Both crucial needs in our industry and both were among the major themes at the excellent event I attended last week at the annual Garibaldi Glass Day.   This is the 5th year of a really unique and well-run event that gives architects, engineers, glaziers, glass shops, and industry at large opportunities to learn more about the fabrication business.  It was very apparent to me from the questions I heard throughout the event that there’s a serious need to educate the masses about what we do and how we do it.  I give the ownership and staff at Garibaldi a ton of credit for stepping up yearly to provide it.

I was honored beyond belief to be on a panel discussing all things glass and glazing. The other guys on the panel were awesome.  Industry icon Joe Marks of Global Façade Solutions was incredible with his depth of knowledge on so many aspects of the building envelope.  Brian Hubbs of RDH providing strong insight into the building engineering side, and Steve Thomas of Guardian dazzled the crowd with in depth and detailed information on all things glass.  Steve was like a human version of Google for glass, just ask him a question and BAM, you get everything you need answer wise.  I think in the end I was there for the comic relief because these guys were intense, but in any case it was a great thrill to experience and be involved in this fantastic event.  Thank you to Carey, Chris, and Craig Mobius and everyone at Garibaldi for their hospitality.


--  Just some other notes from the show… my day was made when Tish Oye of Glassworks Architectural Art Glass approached me and mentioned she enjoys reading the blog.  That was awesome and appreciated greatly! Getting to see Steve O’Hollaren of ICD is always great, and he was with ICD’s newest player Chris Fronsoe.  Chris is the type of young and energetic person this industry needs involved, so its great he’s out and about.  Also spent a ton of time bending the ear of Dean Borys of All Weather Window in Edmonton as well as Matt Hill of Guardian.  Both are a major credit to our industry and doing things right.

--  Oh and the design of the Garibaldi facility was surely something to see- exterior and interior usage of glass and glazing that ran the gambit.  Really a smart way to promote what our industry does in real life applications.

--  I gotta say I do love Canada.  Have never had a bad experience anywhere or with anyone in that country. 

--  Glass Magazine broke two pretty big stories last week.  The closing of the Southwall Insulating and personnel changes at HMI Cardinal.  Those stories both will have major repercussions in the industry, one of which is that there’s now some serious talent available for hire.

--  Last this week… a movie to recommend… on the plane ride home I caught “Now You See Me” – it came out a couple of years ago, but I never heard of it.  Glad I got to watch it- pretty cool and creative movie.  And evidently a sequel is coming out soon too.  Hope it lives up to the first one.


--  Guys its not yoga… its “broga”

--  This may be the goofiest infographic ever.

--  A really stupid teen.  Lucky to be alive really.


While the nation watched Mayweather-Pacquiao I had to go back and watch on youtube one of the greatest fights ever- Hagler-Hearns.  So those of you who spent the $$ on the PPV, here’s a fight that was worth paying for!