Saturday, July 25, 2015

This 'n' That

Every once in a while a bunch of subjects come up that interest me and I feel like would interest all of you.  So in no particular order, here’s a batch from this week that may get you going.

--  I noted last week to watch the Architectural Billings Index and if you follow me on twitter you would’ve gotten my tweet on it’s incredible number.  A 55.7!  That is the largest rating since 2007.  I know we all sometimes doubt these numbers but my goodness that’s an exciting one to see.

--  I saw a great article via the Twitter feed of Kawneer’s Donnie Hunter.  It’s about how architects are not overly enthusiastic about specifying new products.  I like the insight it shows and quite frankly presents a heck of a challenge to product manufacturers in trying to get their materials out there.  Good, quick, and interesting read.  Thank you Donnie. 

--  So two big mergers in the health care world and rates are also going up for 2016.  I think no matter what system or plan is out there (Old way vs. Affordable Care Act) and what side of the political aisle you are on, this will continue to be a nightmare for everyone involved. 

--  Do you have 200 million dollars laying around?  If so you too can build an experimental “ghost city” to test new technologies.  This is fascinating.  I guess if the real world won’t incorporate it first, this is next best idea. 

--  How in the world “The Americans” does not get an Emmy nomination for best drama is beyond me.  That show is beyond excellent. 

--  I often note industry websites that impress me and this week, I point to Galaxy Glass and Stone.  Eugene Negrin and company have a fantastic site.  Love the use of pictures and creative layout.  Well done!

--  There is now research that it “pays to be green” when it comes to building.  Obviously this study will be used by many in this business- and probably by the folks at USGBC who actually probably hurt the process, but that’s another story… for another time.

--  Because of all of the controversy on the Confederate flag, I find myself looking for more info and insight on the Civil War.  Anyone have a good documentary or book to recommend on it?

--  Last this week… The buzz I am hearing about GlassBuild America is really blowing me away.  More and more people are planning to attend and in my research of the show floor, I’m thoroughly impressed by some of the products and services that will be on display.  For the innovation/diversification angle, this event will surely provide tons of it.


--  Funny and true comic strip

--  The hacked Jeep story is one that was sent to me by a few people.  Scary.

--  Do I have to say anymore than “Naked Artist in a Tree”


Pretty cool…. How they speak in Australia… abbreviate it all!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

NFRC Back in the News... Again

When the news dropped with the announcement that Jim Benney was leaving NFRC, I was curious if there was going to be another part to the puzzle played.  Sure enough there was with news that the NFRC was “renewing” their commitment to the commercial fenestration industry with a certified rating system.  The whole story made me chuckle and also made me think of my old pal Greg Carney who’s probably laughing uproariously up in heaven over it.  There’s a ton I can go into, especially since I have been banging this drum for 10 years or so.  But I’ll just say a few main things… First and foremost the industry needs a quality rating system.  We’ve never been against a system, just the way these folks went about it.  We need a logical one that makes sense and provides the results and details that everyone involved depends on.  It’s a part of the commercial landscape more and more.  And we need a program that is not what’s best or easiest (or biggest money maker) for the test labs or NFRC, but one that’s best for the products involved and industry at large.  (Remember NFRC for years thought commercial and residential industries were virtually the same.) In any case, ease of use and logic was something we hammered on for years during the process and were summarily ignored.  So it’s going to be interesting to see what this new collaboration will be.  Will it be a true collaboration?  I have my doubts as the same people who ramrodded the old system through are still in major positions of power on the NFRC Board.  Regardless I will have an open mind, because it is something that is needed.  Second, when did the “partners” listed become actual partners in the process?  So all of a sudden three major organizations in our industry are now back in the process.  I have to assume it was news to them.  All will do what is right for the industry I believe, but I also found it odd that NFRC did not mention a few others that had involvement back in the day including the National Glass Association.  I guess they missed the blogs and articles their Ex-CEO would provide for Glass Magazine eh?  I bring this up because how do you get to true collaboration without all of the main players?
Last, personally I feel vindicated in the fact that I warned (along with many others of course) that the current program would not work, and it sure looks like we were right.  I took (and still take in some areas) a ton of abuse over my role in this effort but in the end my goal has and will always be to look out for the best interests of our industry….


--  OK from one worry to another.  To my friends in the Pacific Northwest… I sure as heck hope this article on an earthquake hitting your part of the world is wrong.  Really frightening read…

--  Interesting news via the Dodge Momentum Index.  It trended down in June and has been relatively flat all year.  This has been flying in the face of other indexes and also just the overall business climate.  Especially the current put in place spending, which has been tremendous and has a future-facing component to it.  The new ABI is due out this coming Wednesday the 22nd, so we’ll see what they say on the process. 

--  Last this week… which of you awesome glaziers, fabricators, manufacturers and suppliers will be working on the worlds largest “NetZero Plus” retrofit building in Los Angeles?  The Electrical Training Institute in LA will be 142,000 square feet and is being promoted as upon completion the largest NetZero Plus building in the US.  They’re calling it the “intelligent building of the future” so I surely can’t wait to see what glass and glazing products are involved here.


--  I am so anti fireworks it’s not even funny.  Maybe I am an old fuddy duddy but I see no value in them and stories like this are more and more common every year.

--  Like the ending of Caddyshack but for real.  Wow.

--  Never thought I would see this.  The Autobahn succumbing to the heat.  Wow.


So there’s a snow farm in Boston and that’s where 70 feet of the stuff went after the brutal winter there… and now a time lapse of it melting over the past few months.  Wild.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Trend Continues

The good economic news keeps coming our way. Construction spending in May broke the trillion-dollar mark, giving us the third straight trillion dollar spend and the sixth month in a row that there’s been growth.  May was very strong with the last time a month showed a better mark was way back in the glory days of October 2008.   That of course was pretty much the last good month we had before the slide came.  As we sit now, the “slide” doesn’t look apparent.  Though concerns about the dollar, world unrest, and the financial health of Puerto Rico and Greece surely sit as a reminder that things can change quick. 


--  Saw an interesting study on the fact that larger office buildings are taking more advantage of green building practices than larger.  So I am curious.  Why do you think that is?  Scale?  Cost?  Ego?  I just find it surprising because the study shows that less than 5% of US office buildings smaller than 100,000 square feet are qualified as green.  I guess I can also question the study because smaller offices may be green or even more "green" than any standard but choose to save money and not be certified.  But I just find the big vs. small angle interesting.

--  I pretty much prop the great work from Glass Magazine every month, but this latest issue is different.  This content is off the charts incredible.  Great columns, great insights and amazing projects to look at with the Glass Magazine Award section.  And once again in what is becoming my favorite section- the “Here’s an Idea…” piece was stellar with a look at AGNORA’s health and fitness efforts.  Great work.

--  Oh and while I’m being biased towards this excellent magazine, I should add that my ad of the month is the one for GlassBuild America.  Loved the format and layout of it featuring a question/answer set up.  Go check it out, it gets you thinking and those who “get it” will be on the floor at the show ensuring they don’t end up like companies in the “Question.”

--  How cool was the US Women’s Soccer team winning the World Cup?  I loved it.  I don’t watch sports like I used to, so this was a really enjoyable one to take in.  And a 5-2 soccer game?  That just never happens in that sport.

--  I just started to watch the new mini-series on CNN called “The Seventies” and it’s tremendous.  The first episode was about TV and they spent quite a bit of time on the show’s of that era.  Most notably “All in the Family.” – After watching clips of that, it dawned on me that show- which was so groundbreaking, could never happen today.  It’s pretty mind boggling if you think about it.  Anyway if you want excellent one hour looks back at that decade, check it out.


We’re taking the week off on this one… Links will return next week!!


Opening at theaters at the end of the month a new documentary on the life of funny man Chris Farley.  Should be a good one.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

A week of Ups, Downs, and All Arounds

A bit of an odd week as a couple of emotional things went down.  First the news of the passing of long time industry rep Pat McIntosh really threw me for a loop.  Pat was an excellent man, always friendly and dedicated.  Always smiling when I saw him.  He will truly be missed.  My condolences to Pat’s family and friends. 

Then right before the holiday the NFRC announced that CEO Jim Benney left the organization.  No other details were provided outside of a standard quote and naming of an interim leader and I think with how active Jim was even recently you have to consider this move as shocking.   As many of you know I’ve battled the NFRC for more than 10 years and many times drove Jim up the wall.  Even debated him once in Boston at a trade show.  Despite me being a true pain in the rear, Jim always treated me well and always kept a cool and calm composure.  I am not sure where Jim will end up next, but I wish him only the best…  Interesting that in the same week the USGBC (another “favorite” of mine) had their CEO resign as well… could Jim be headed there????  Crazier things have happened…


--  My last post on the issue of birds and glass was one of my most popular posts ever.  Obviously this is an issue that is more intense than I realized.  I heard from so many diverse people, both in and out of the industry and got tremendous leads and insights on the process.  The best part was people really wanting to be a part of a solution and that was nice.  In the meantime I plan on staying on this and learning more (and sharing here of course) from some of the new friends I just made.

--  Congrats to my friends at GGI on the launch of their new website.  What a fantastic piece of work there. 

--  Also congrats go out to my old co-worker and friend Scott Goodman on his new gig with AGC.  Good to see him land there and probably get to work with another old friend Matt Ferguson.  That would be a fun road trip to be on if those two made calls together.

--  I have to stress that if you are on Twitter and you are not following Glass Magazine, you need to stop what you are doing right now and do so.  For every big event the live tweeting is so great and so informative, you are seriously missing out.  This week was the AAMA conference and once again I felt like I was there.  Great to get the flavor and no other feed comes close to the live content that Glass Magazine’s provides.

--  Last this week… if you watched and liked the show “The Men Who Built America” then you will probably like the new one out called “American Genius.”  Same sort of historical look at the men and women who made their marks on many facets of our life.  Some episodes better than others (the Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates one was not great) but still worth the watch if you enjoy history and the analysis of it.


--  Class still exists in this world.  Nice to see.

--  I am one of those people who does not like Southwest Airlines… but this story is very cool.  And I am stunned that they are not trying this action still!

--  A wedding picture taken under some crazy circumstances.  And it went viral!

Those who know me know that the Rocky series (with the exception of #5 which is should never be discussed) is my favorite.  This November, we get a semi sequel to the Rocky films with the new movie Creed.  Should be interesting and here’s the trailer that debuted this week.