Sunday, August 30, 2015

World Shaking Deal

There’s no question that the deal between Oldcastle Building Envelope and CR Laurence rocked the glass and glazing industry to the core.  In one form or fashion anyone who is involved or associated with the industry has dealt with one or both of the entities involved.   So a teaming up surely will grab people’s attention.  On the morning of the announcement, I spent a ton of time being in contact with many in the industry as we all tried to compute what happened.  First of all, no one saw this coming.  I can tell you, I hear some of the most outlandish, crazy rumors all the time.  If you can dream the “so and so is selling to so and so” rumor I have heard it… and yet never in any form did this one come up.  That’s how far out it seemed to be.  The next reaction and to me is the most important.  I have been adamant and public with my appreciation and respect for the way CR Laurence promotes and supports the industry at large.  They are tremendous in that aspect, and my initial fear was that would go away.  However I was relieved when I saw comments from CRL President Lloyd Talbert noting that the CRL approach to the industry will continue.  That is good news.  Obviously from a “deal” standpoint many are expecting major maneuvers and restructuring, but if anything like that is to happen I believe it’s a long way off.  This deal was too big and too valuable to try and do anything but let it run the way it has.  I may be wrong there but that’s the way I see it out of the gate.  In any case GlassBuild America now just got even more interesting…. as the CRL booth was ALWAYS packed, and now I expect it to be even more of an action center with people from all walks of life coming in to catch up, congratulate, and get a feel for the climate.  Congrats to Don Friese and his family, along with Lloyd and the rest of the CRL team on an incredible, historic run and mind-blowing deal.


Last week had some moments of volatility thanks to the markets and some folks were questioning the health of our economy going forward.  Once again I am not one of them and I offer a few pieces of evidence.  One is the above deal and comments made surrounding it.  One of the quotes I saw from Oldcastle BE’s parent was that they felt this was a solid deal because the US construction economy is at the start of a positive cycle.  Year 2 of a 10 year riser.  That’s something to respect when deals of this magnitude take place.  They probably get their confidence from headlines and data like “Housing Demand Expected to Surge over Next 10 Years” and “Construction Spending Rising at Fastest Rate since 2004-05.”  Add to it the run of construction starts- which is epic right now and those starts do not typically effect our industry on the non-residential side for 16-28 months, and you have again more positivity to hang your hat on.  Obviously things can change and change quickly, but the foundation is there and it is solid.

So going to something lighter… major pet peeve of mine and I wonder if I am alone… when I go to a website and immediately a pop ad attacks your screen. These are the 10-second ads, that come mid-screen and you are stuck with them.  No clicking off and no relief until the whole thing goes.   And it’s a growing trend in the online ad world.  I know I am old and crotchety at this point, but man I can’t stand those things. 

By the way a quick note on GlassBuild America.  I am hearing amazing things about the keynote breakfast by Cam Marston.  His talk on “Attracting and Retaining a New Generation of Employees” should be something every single business owner, big and small, should want to be at.  Plus I checked out some old speeches of his on YouTube and the guy is dynamic and interesting.  Excited to see him and so should all of you.

Last this week… College Football gets going big time Thursday and beyond.  Ever since Roger Goodell started to systematically ruin the NFL, I have become a bigger fan of the college game.  And I think my nephew Josh and his alma mater Ohio State is primed for a repeat run to the title.  My darkhorse to win it all?  Arizona State.   Apologies in advance to both fan bases for my jinx on them….


I am not a beer drinker but I do love Pop-Tarts… so maybe a Pop-Tart flavored beer will work for me?

I love comparison-shopping pieces like this- and I now need to look into this “Jet” to see if it’s a viable competitor to Amazon.

If we can convert all of what we waste into something good- the world would be a better place.  This article talks about reuse of wasted heat. 


GREAT middle school football play… QB looked like a classic Randall Cunningham from way back in the day.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Blacklisting Battle

On the General Contracting side of the construction business there’s an interesting battle happening that is due to come to a head this coming week.  This issue at hand is what the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is calling “Blacklisting” which is coming from a 2014 executive order from President Obama that is titled “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces.”  According to the ABC, the concern is that the proposal possibly could result in quality federal contractors being unfairly left out (or blacklisted) from future federal contracts by newly designated bureaucrats.  According to the ABC:

The proposal imposes a sweeping new regulatory scheme on federal contractors that will disrupt the federal procurement process, significantly increase red tape and costs for both government and industry, and serve as a barrier to federal contracting for many businesses.

Comments on this are due this week and it will be interesting to see if the ABC gets anywhere.  How this affects our industry is obvious… blowback from GC’s that may have previously done the work and now could be booted and also more red tape?  No thank you.    With government work a major piece of many company’s pies, this bears watching.  If you want deeper information on this, please do not hesitate to contact me.


--  The “app” for GlassBuild is now out- if you still have from last year, just click on it and it will update to the info for this year.  If you do not have, go ahead to the App Store or Google Play and download it.  You do not want to attend this show without it.  It’s like having a personal assistant right with you making sure you are seeing and experiencing all you can.

--  The Architectural Billings Index hung in there in July.  Slightly down from August but still solidly in the plus range.  If there’s a worry now it’s the struggles of the stock market.  Last week was ugly, I am afraid to see what this week will bring.  I guess you can never get too comfortable with our economy…

--  For those of you much smarter than me and those into the environmental responsibility angle, the folks at Enclos wrote a fantastic piece on Health Product Declarations for glass.  Worth the read or at worse a bookmark for when this issue comes across your desk.

--  A HAPPY belated 40th Anniversary wish to my pal, TGP’s Chuck Knickerbocker and his wife.  Chuck is as smart as they come in our world and passionate about what we all do.  Thrilled that he has such a great milestone to celebrate with his bride!

--  Normally this would go in my links but this is too good for that area.  17 legendary locales, must visit places… shown as you imagine and then shown in reality.  Incredible.

--  Last this week… I noted previously my excitement over Hawaii doing what they are doing energy wise.  Now comes news that the city of Boise, Idaho is presenting a new standard for all buildings in that community to be built following a “voluntary” green building code.  While the push is voluntary the city seems to be going out of its way to make sure that everyone understands the benefits of building sustainably.  Hopefully by doing it this way, people will embrace the effort, grow it organically and do right for our universe.  Good for Boise, and the best thing to come out of Idaho since the football hall of famer and super glass guy Dave Michaeli.


Tremendous story of a person that was thinking.  And of course he’s from Canada, so I expect nothing less!

Good piece on why Millennials struggle in the workplace.

And you knew it was coming… going to be a cold and snowywinter says the Farmers Almanac


I love good stories and love college football- so combine the two and I’m good.  Many schools like to surprise their walk on players when they end up getting scholarships. It is so cool to see the reaction of the teammates to one of their own getting that step up.  This one is from Notre Dame.  Love it!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Growth of Unitized Glazing

As an industry we’ve seen quite a few impactful developments, but it could be argued that unitized glazing may be the most important advancement of them all, especially when it comes to labor and efficiency in the field.  The whole unitizing process is a game changer and the excellent article by Bethany Stough in the latest Glass Magazine really helps bring those who are unaware into the light.  With finding qualified workers harder and harder, processes like unitizing take on a larger role for sure.  Obviously not every job can use this style of install, but I have a feeling as time goes on, you will see more and more jobs that can be unitized, going that way.


--  Also in the latest issue of Glass Magazine, I had to pick my favorite ad of the month and it was a tough one with many great choices, especially with excellent new ads from past “winners” of mine Cardinal, Kawneer, and GGI.  However this month, tip of the hat goes to marketing genius Rob Struble of PPG for their “trust” ad.  Smart and eye catching for sure.  Well done Rob and team!

--  Good for the state of Hawaii in passing a mandate that says the state’s utilities must reach 100% renewable energy by 2045. The law, effective July 1, sets 30% by 2020, 40% by 2030, and 70% by 2040 interim targets.  You will now see more Net Zero work there featuring higher performing products including dynamics and solar.  I love it. 

--  Speaking of solar, it was good to hear from several people that the stats I posted last week- specifically that BIPV was a 3 billion dollar industry were off.  I thought so… nice to get some confirmation.

--  I have really gotten into using the excellent database at I suggest you click that link and “favorite” it as you’ll want to have it when you want to look for products and services in the industry. 

--  Gas prices.  You know I always have to hit it.  So while oil prices are at a historic low, those of us in Michigan and in other parts of the Midwest are paying 50-75 cents per gallon more this week than last.  Why?  Evidently some sort of a refinery issue at ONE of the gas manufacturers.  It’s amazing how that industry gets away with volatile price swings with never a whiff of collusion or really anyone at the ambulance chasing lawyer level caring.   

--  Last this week… Happy/Sad news from the industry… a great one has moved to a different company outside our typical product lines.  The always sharp dressed; never sweating Jay Phillips has left Guardian Industries to take a new gig as VP of Sales within the Masonite organization.  So while Jay will be dealing in windows and doors, we probably won’t see much of him on our side of the tracks anymore and that is too bad.  Jay did a ton for our industry, worked hard, volunteered and cared a ton.   I am thrilled for him as I believe he’s still on the fast track to continued greatness, but bummed I won’t see him like I used to.  In addition our industry is down another extremely talented person.  Good luck Jay- we’ll miss ya!


--  Count me as one guy who hopes Tom Brady wins his appeal- big time.  I can’t stand Roger Goodell.  Anyway, speaking of that, how about the brutal courtroom art work?  Isn’t it time for cameras?  It’s 2015…. We can do it.

--  Somewhere in South Africa there’s an out of work marketing person after this horrendous ad. 

--  Cool story on the Beatles playing Shea Stadium.  Love the line in here about them not being able to even hear themselves play- so they just stopped. 


I absolutely love this video.  Little guy learning Taekwondo.  Good stuff!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Must Attend Event

We are now basically one month from GlassBuild America and there’s one event that deserves your strongest consideration on attending.  The 10th annual Glazing Executive Forum (GEF) will be held on the September 16th and it has the subject matter that truly is crucial to you both personally and from a business standpoint.  The keynote is “Building a Stronger Bench” and I think every single one of us in this business knows how crucial the development of the modern workforce is.  In addition a panel on managing lead-times, so incredibly important in the world of tighter supplies, will surely be a segment that can give you vital insight.  Mix in several breakout session options and of course the always must-attend economic outlook by Jeff Dietrich and you have an event that you simply cannot miss.  I know everyone is busy right now, but this time investment is surely worth it given the subjects about to be covered.


--  This past week a report came out that said BIPV technologies would reach the 9 billion dollar mark in 2019.  Now I love BIPV technology.  I have been a fan for a long time and still believe; some day it will disrupt our world.  That said I couldn’t even come close to believing this report.  Heck the report states that industry is at 3 billion right now.  Can that be right?  If it is, that’s one amazing sleeping giant out there.   Anyway, I call on my pals on that side of the industry for their insight because if that 2019 potential is true, the world is surely going to be disrupted….

--  Quick catch up… thank you to all who sent in Civil War recommendations.  I am loading up the various queues.  I appreciate it!  Now I have to find the time to take it all in. 

--  So some of the June construction data results are in and it’s pretty interesting.   As you know if you’ve been following along here, the Architectural Billings Index has been doing well for a while.  Only a few blips here and there.  But the Dodge Momentum index has been flagging some.  And in June, it suffered some more.  However looking deeper at the numbers shows, that 2015 is still pacing well ahead of 2014 and we’ve just had our best 1st half of a year since 2006.  Add in the positive spending and put in place reports, and confidence remains high despite the downward trend of the DMI.  Obviously it will still bear watching to see if there’s any weak points and I know in some pockets of the US, things did slow up a bit in June, but I am looking at that as more fluke than fact at this point. 

--  Last this week… 24 million people watched a debate for an election that is more than 15 months away.  Either the Donald really has drawing powers or this election really has people engaged already.  Here’s hoping for a competitive set of primaries on both sides with lots of choices and more debates….


--  Groom suing new wife for fraud….

--  C’mon Kansas!  Get it together with support of your teachers!!

--  Pretty wild story around the baseball trade deadline on a trade that wasn’t and a very emotional player…


Fascinating/scary video here where a couple of guys dress up and act like security people in Las Vegas.  Amazingly easy to pull off it looks like.  Interesting what they went after.