Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Fascinating Look at The Future

When I was a kid I was always curious on how life would be in the year 2000.  Would there be flying cars?  Would we all be living like the Jetsons?  Obviously that did not happen… but this week my futurist tendencies were tweaked again with a great article on what the construction industry could look like in 30 years.  It’s a great piece featuring several excellent ideas that could be in place long before 2045.   In fact many of the concepts listed are being developed right now so it’s nice to see that there’s a finish line out there for it.  I for one love the robot and lifting technologies.  But I also think the reconfigurable rooms has potential.  I would be scared to death of the driverless trucks and heavy equipment… as I am not comfortable with anything “driverless” at this point.  So check out the piece and dream…


--  Ok my technical experts out there… I have one for you to look at.  Comes from one of my loyal readers and I just don’t have the knowledge for the insight needed.  Here’s the deal:

I have a question that may be nothing but with the weather patterns this year water/leaks have become more of an issue than years past. I know the national weather service has changed the criteria for severe thunderstorms but according to the small amount of research I have done wind speeds did NOT change. According to the ASTM E1105 water tests store fronts fail at 60 mph sustained and the weather service criteria for thunderstorms is 58 mph but more and more store fronts are beginning to fail or at least more water is showing up on the interior of buildings and the installs are correct. Has this become an issue everywhere? I am reading that some people within the weather service are wanting to change wind speeds for thunderstorms to 74 mph. My question is…  if this does happen how long will it take the industry to react and change their criteria for store front water testing or will the industry go to curtain wall (or pre-glazed/unitized systems) standard to offset what will become a catastrophic failure for our industry with every store front installed?

If you have some thoughts on this drop me a note or leave it in the comments.  Thank you!

--  A lot of forecasting reports over the last 2 weeks.  The Architectural Billings Index continues to be solid.  The Dodge Momentum Index continues to be mixed.  And this week CMD did a 2016 projections webinar with the main takeaway being commercial construction growing in an average range of 5 to 10%.  So positive trends are continuing, though I think we all are looking at the geopolitical landscape with some concern.  At least I am.

--  Latest update on the growth of the North American Contractor Certification (NACC) program.  A bunch of companies have completed the certification and many are now in the queue.  This is an extremely important process for our industry and if you are glazing contractor, it is absolutely something you should budget for in 2016.  Especially with the certification need showing up in more and more specifications…

--  Watched a pretty cool documentary this week.  “Drunk, Stoned, Brilliant, Dead” The Story of National Lampoon.  Really interesting work and all I could think of is our current society is so over the top “PC” that a magazine like that would last about 2 seconds before being bludgeoned by social media mobs and so on. 

--  Last this week…  No blog post next week.  (Unless breaking news happens of course) Next post will be week of 12/6.  In the US it’s Thanksgiving week…. And Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  Not even close.  We all have a ton to be thankful for each and every day, and I cherish this opportunity to focus on it.    Have a great holiday week everyone!


--  This is awesome.  And needed.  And I’d love to see it grow- a college degree in “Building Arts”

--  I love dogs.  I love stories about dogs too.  This one surely qualifies

-- This is outrageous.  How people can be so dense is beyond me.


Fun video of folks from Ireland trying American cereals and breakfast foods.  They just don’t get the joy of Pop Tarts!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

MVP- The Runners Up

Before I start, I just wanted to extend my thoughts and prayers to everyone in France and also affected by this awful tragedy.  It is incredibly sad and scary.  Peace needs to rule in our world…somehow.

A few years ago I started the Industry MVP award here on the blog to recognize people and companies for their efforts and support of the glass and glazing industry.  Obviously there are quite a few candidates that deserve credit for what they do, so trying to narrow it down has become quite the challenge.  So let’s begin with a reminder of past winners and nominees before we get to the runners up for 2015. 


Winner was Tracy Rogers of Quanex

Runners up:
Tom Culp
Mark Silverberg
Ed Zaucha
Mic Patterson
Oliver Stepe
Dr. Helen Sanders
Scott Thomsen

Note: All but Scott are still very active and influential in the industry.  Scott retired but his legacy thanks to  “Battle for the Wall” and great technology lives on.


Winner was CR Laurence

Runners up:
John Wheaton
Rick Wright
Tom O’Malley
Bernard Lax

Note: See what happens when you win Industry MVP from me?  Your company becomes a part of the biggest deal of the century!  LOL. 

So on to 2015.  Here are the runners up.  The winner will be presented on my last scheduled blog of 2015 in mid December.  Nominees were gathered from my knowledge of who’s who, along with several submissions from readers and followers of this blog.  I then narrowed the field to 5 using the criteria that included some of the following categories:
Overall Influence in 2015 on the industry
Industry Support
My opinion and knowledge of them and what they do. After all it’s my blog and my award right?   

After that I studied the 5 candidates against each other and then determined the MVP.  Which is tough because all of these people and companies (as the same with the ones from previous years) are certainly deserving of this huge honor.  And to note, this is all on me, it has nothing to do with Glass Magazine (who graciously runs my blog weekly) or GlassBuild America- they don’t even know who I am picking etc. 

The runners up for 2015 feature 2 companies and 2 people.  They are listed in no particular order. 

Walker Glass- This is a company that is always at every industry event and meeting. And they just don’t attend to attend; they are active, with many of their folks on or leading committees.  In addition they have made great technology advancements and this year made a major splash with their heavy push into bird safe glass.  The team there led by owners Lee Harrison and Ross Christie may be the nicest people around too.  So it’s a great mix, nice, hard working people, doing very good things for our world. 

Garret Henson- Viracon- I think if I mention Garret any more he may take out a PPO on me.  So this will be the last time. (at least in 2015)  Still very deserving and he cemented his place here with his performance at the Glazing Executive Forum in September.  He takes very smart approaches to selling and his massive embrace of communication is something I wish more would do.  He’s also built a team around him at Viracon that always impresses and makes our industry look good.

Dip Tech- The other company on our list is this great Israeli organization.  Dip Tech has been very impressive in basically creating a new market from scratch.  They have some incredibly engaging people that are always innovating, always looking to see what else they can do to support the cause.  They could’ve chosen to sit back and soak in their successes but that has not been the case.  Plus they are active and supportive within in the industry in many different forums and open to every idea.

Kris Vockler- ICD- I will say personally I consider Kris a close friend.  She is a fantastic person is a part of one of the best families this industry has.  Professionally though is where this nomination comes from.  The time, care, and effort Kris puts in at the trade level via GANA is impressive.  Her desire for an overall advancement in the way the industry works is extremely admirable and needed.    On the business side ICD (with lots of credit to Kris’ dad Larry) has been pushing the envelope for years in similarity to what I said about Dip Tech.  They could sit back- but don’t and that’s due to the drive Kris has.

So there you have it… these 4 did not grab the prize (which they may actually be happy about coming from me…) but they deserve recognition for their efforts.  Next month I’ll recognize the 2015 MVP and the only hint is it’s a person, not a company this year….

Congrats to the folks above.  And THANK YOU for doing what you do for this industry. 


Creative Judge uses Taylor Swift lyrics in a decision over Taylor Swift lyrics.

So many good movies coming… including the concussion movie ripping the NFL.

Awful website name but cool link.  One line from 36 songs that get the song stuck in your head.  More for music lovers of 80’s and 90’s


Thanks to the great Dave Gillikin for this great reminder of one of the best TV episodes of all time.  The WKRP in Cincinnati featuring a Thanksgiving Day promotion gone wrong.  This, as was the show itself, a major classic!

Sunday, November 08, 2015

The Circus of 2016

While I am always looking ahead with a positive approach I can tell you one thing I am dreading… the 2016 Presidential election.  This is going to be a wild and probably bizarre ride thanks to more media (with more social and electronic than ever) and more candidates.  And with all of this extra attention will come extra noise and hyperbole.  Simply said it’s going to be a circus.  But obviously, this election, like all major ones, has the potential to change the trajectory of the construction and glass world.  So getting to know the candidates, not only the presidential ones, but your congress and senator choices are crucial.  On a side note it has been good that some candidates have already been active in noting their positions with regards to the building industry, so at least that’s not getting lost in the other adventures that come up during events like these.


Some more lists for you… you know how much I love them…

--  The great folks from did a fascinating one on “Which States Care Most About the Environment”  They used Google trends to develop it and the study was broken up into several categories which you can see HERE.  It’s a different way to see who’s interested and there were certainly some surprises. 

--  The other list I have for you is something that I think everyone who reads this blog can have an opinion on.  “The Worst Freeways in America” Here’s the top 12 and if you want to read the rest of the story, the link is HERE.

12-   I-95 and I-195 in Providence- No experience here.
11-   1-76/Schuylkill in Philly- I assume my pal Ted Bleecker may have an opinion on this
10-   I-376-Parkway East/West in Pittsburgh- Yep.  Horrendous, grew up there
9-     I-880 in San Jose
8-     I-80 in San Francisco – I guess the roads in NoCal are NoFun
7-     I-35 in Austin- I never thought it was that bad, then again I’m not there a lot
6-     I-635/LBJ Dallas- This is too low.  Dallas roads and traffic are brutal
5-     I-70 in Denver- In the Winter its like a demolition derby
4-    The 405 in LA- Very little experience here but I am sure my friends in SoCal can vouch for it or is the reputation worse than the reality?
3-    610 Loop in Houston- I think this should flip positions with Dallas
2-    I-10 in New Orleans- I have never been to New Orleans, which is nuts considering there’s always shows and events there.

And the worst freeway in the US... is
I-66 in Washington DC- A very worthy champion!  Not a fun road in any way, shape or form!

One big omission in the US?  How are none of the freeways that run through Boston on here?  And by the way for my Canadian friends… the traffic in Toronto and Vancouver is mind blowingly bad.  So both would be at the top of this list if it included the great country of Canada.

--  The new Apple HQ continues to get further along in construction and Forbes this week had an update.   So far so good, and that is one place I will make every effort to get to when done, just to see it all.  Thanks to the great twitter feed of @JohnLWheaton1 for the heads up.

--  Next week I’ll be unveiling some of the names and companies that were nominated for the 2015 Industry MVP.  The winner however will not be in that list… I’ll lay that out in December.  By the way some excellent nominees as there’s certainly a lot of good people and companies in our world right now.


--  Really bizarre piece here… woman gets drunk, busts into a zoo, and goes to pet a tiger.  Not the best of decisions. 

--  This could be a companion to my road story above… but with a great halloween spin!

--  Also similar to the above- on elections and politicians.  This freshman Senator gets it.


Congrats to the Kansas City Royals and their fans on the World Series title.  Very happy that it was a Blue October for them.  Video of the week was a hype video created for the Royals BEFORE the playoffs began this year- but uses awesome music from Jorge Quintero so it’s the video of the week!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

This Trend is Your Friend

The annual Dodge Construction Outlook was held last week and for the most part the data is trending positive in the construction world.  Overall construction starts are predicted to rise once again, but at a slower rate than the past.  This time, 6% is the number after gains of 9% in 2014 and the estimated 14% rate for 2015.  Commercial construction is also being pushed upward with a healthier jump in 2016. The one area to watch is the “office” category.  Dodge is predicting an 11% jump but there’s other analysis that I follow that is not as bullish.  Obviously a majority of the audience who read this blog are heavily involved in the office category in one form or another.  The other big take away was that the cycle is looking healthy meaning there’s still expected growth to happen.  We’ve been hearing 2018 and 2019 so this seemingly is another affirmation of those previous predictions.  As I think we all know, these forecasts are not guaranteed and have been known to be wildly off… especially during the recession.  So everything needs to be taken with a massive sized grain of salt.  Though in the end I will take these positive notes for sure….


--  One of the other big themes of the Dodge event was the discussion about people and talent.  Basically the ability to hold on to your best people is a major concern and it’s something on the radar at companies all over the globe.  It also points to the need to train your folks and grow your bench because it’s surely tough out there to bring folks in.

--  So speaking of talent leaving….we as an industry lost a major player to retirement….  The incredible and iconic Ricky Shaw (Solar Seal, Shaw Glass, CGH) is calling it a glass career after more than 40 years of industry leading moves, especially in regards to equipment and products.  Obviously I am thrilled for him, even though his loss leaves a hole in the fabric of the Northeast and New England glass and fabrication scene.   So enjoy the next phase of your life Rick- you have earned all of the skiing, golf, and whatever other recreational approach you want to do!!

--  Now maybe Rick will become a consultant like the technical wizard Chris Barry did when he retired from Pilkington a while back.  I got to visit some with Chris this week and even though he’s not associated with a company, his care and passion for this industry has not waned one bit.  He still attends trade meetings and his activity and insight on our products is absolutely crucial for all of us to respect and understand. 

--  Good piece from Julie Ruth in the latest Glass Magazine.  Her first hand take of a tornado in her community and then the reaction to it (from a business and code approach) makes for a good read.

--  Last this week… quick book review.  Have you ever read a book and 98% of it is awesome and you’re so excited to see how it ends and then it closes with a thunderous dud?  Well that’s the book “Almost- 12  Electric Months Chasing a Silicon Valley Dream” This book about a start up in Silicon Valley was really mesmerizing as the author wrote about what can go right and wrong (mostly wrong) with a start up. So after spending a ton of time with this story and really being invested, the ending just came up very short in my opinion.   Anyway, if you want a book with 98% of an interesting story with dysfunction everywhere, give this one a shot.  By the way after a run of business background books and history books, next one up is comedian David Spade’s biography.  That surely will be different than what I have been reading!


--  I travel a ton and have never seen anything as cool and different as this…

--  Going to be an interesting case to watch… not a lot of thought went into what will happen with crazed fans from a movie.

--  This story is pathetic on every level and a terrible example of ineptitude in our schools.  good teachers deserve better!!  


As someone who loves sports and media- this video is perfection.  Weird Al Yankovic with the classic and clich├ęd sports press conference to its fullest.  Great stuff!