Sunday, January 31, 2016

Is This New Technology Real?

I pride myself in always trying to learn something new each day.  The internet surely helps with that as do friends and colleagues sending me notes and info to review.  So when I ran upon a story talking about “Perovskite cells” and improved glass performance I immediately jumped in.  Evidently these are similar to photovoltaic cells that can harvest the suns energy and turn it into electricity- but more efficiently and effectively.  I have always been a proponent of doing all we can to maximize our space on the building to make glass more useful and intelligent so this appears to be another source.  However like the past solar products this looks like its not exactly main stream yet. Anyway, for my solar friends out there, if you have some insight on these cells and technology please drop me a note, I’d love to learn more and also share here.


--  Once again the latest edition of Glass Magazine was outstanding.  Excellent article on trends in transport (crucial these days) as well as a good read on engaging the millennial workforce.  Whole issue was super though.  Check it out!

--  My ad of the month in that issue was a tough call.  Former winners like GGI and CRL came through again, but I like to notice folks here who have not gotten the credit yet.  So with that in mind, this month the honor goes to Ergo Robotic Solutions.  Jerry Nudi and company had what I feel was an eye catching ad with a good memorable message. 

--  Since it was a very slow week in the glass and glazing world, this is the perfect time as promised previously to unveil my top 5 airports.  I know several industry road warriors read this blog and so I’m curious if I hit all the right notes here.  What I considered was ease of getting around, food and bathroom options, places to sit and charge equipment, and just overall feel.  I did not include security process because that can be a day-to-day adventure anymore.  Also this is only airports I have visited.  So someday when I get to visit the living legend Lyle Shimazu and fly into Honolulu International that could change things. So here goes…

#5- Boston-Logan- Yes maybe I am crazy with this one but I always had good experiences and think highly of this place.  Once I leave the airport and hit the roads and traffic, that’s another story…

#4- Madison, WI- There’s a lot of smaller airports that people seem to love.  Madison though is the best of that bunch.  Clean, bright, easy to get around, comfortable and creative seating. 

#3- Seattle. WA- This one probably depends on what terminal you fly out of.  The A/B sides are nice, with everything you can imagine and an amazing view through an incredible curtain wall.  The S terminal leaves you wanting.  But in the end the layout is simple and comfortable, plus the view is worth it.

#2- Detroit, MI- Sure it’s a homer pick.  I’m there as much as I am at my house some times, but as airports go this place is strong.  Easy layout.  Clean.  Tons of food choices including the always awesome Chick-fil-A.  Tons of seating and charging stations.

#1- San Diego, CA- Excellent layout, many food choices, clean and bright.  Nice people too.  Plus when you go there you are pumped that you are going to one of the nicer places in this world, and when you leave you are usually relaxed. 

Just missing the list- Charlottesville, VA (tiny airport but an outside deck to watch planes come and go is very cool) and Cincinnati, OH.

--  Last this week it is Super Bowl time and despite my absolute dislike for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell I will watch the game.  Though at this point I enjoy the commercials more than the game.  I really wanted New England to win it so Goodell would have to hand the trophy to Tom Brady but that did not work out.  So who wins the big game?   I’m going with Carolina, so get ready Denver fans, a title is coming your way!


--  After the big snow this person shoveled a maze for their dogs.  I can honestly say I do the same for mine.  This one is really good though.

--  Smart legislation… This is so logical you know it won’t pass.  On another note our political system is so broken… it’s a downright shame.

--  The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 30 years ago this past week.  One of the engineers that tried to stop the launch is still obviously haunted by it. 


Well the highlight of a major snow was the annual appearance of the NYC snowboarder.  Gotta have some skill to not get killed out there.  Also proves you can put almost any video to Sinatra singing “New York” and it will be awesome.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snow & Economic Storms

Mother Nature flexed her muscles for the first time in 2016 with the massive snowstorm crushing a healthy portion of the eastern US.  Storms like these can sometimes have an effect on the economic performance of the industry depending on how long the event lasts and the cities it hits.  We’ll see next month when the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) and Dodge Momentum Index come out.  Both metrics came in positive for the month of December which was obviously good news.  On the ABI, two main takeaways… first the overall 2015 was pretty much equal with 2014’s performance which should lock in a solid 2016 actual performance for the industry.  Second, the new projects inquiry number was very high, giving some confidence to the rosy predictions for 2017.  But…. That was all done before we had the correction to the stock market… so aside from seeing if there’s any storm related declines, watching to see if positivity on the new project inquiry side will be key.


--  Another fear is the cratering cost of oil.  If you read this blog (thank you) you know I usually mention gas prices- especially when they seem abnormally high or whenever prices get raised for the flimsiest reasons.  (Like someone at a refinery having the flu… raise the prices!) However we’re now on the opposite side of the spectrum with prices too low.  Yes it’s amazing to fill up so cheaply, but it’s actually economically unhealthy by a lot.  So there’s got to be a happy medium and for whatever reason we rarely can get to it.   By the way I saw a graphic that really threw me.. a bucket of chicken from KFC right  now costs more than a barrel of oil.  Never thought that comparison would ever happen!

--  Interesting move by PPG corporate as they are getting rid of voicemail systems.  From an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Instead of being prompted to leave a message when no one at PPG picks up, a recording informs callers that the person they are trying to reach is unavailable and that they should call back later or “try an alternative method to correspond.”

Wow.  I'm at that point where I remember when voicemails were first introduced... now they are obsolete.   Anyway this new move is on the landline corporate office only as far as I know… and I have to assume those with cell phones will always have voicemail working.

--  From time to time when someone launches a new website or I come across one I have not previously seen, I mention it here.  This time around props to the folks at MyGlassTruck for their excellent upgraded site. I never thought you could make a glass rack truck look like a super model, but they did.  Beautiful visual and informative site.  Congrats to Rustin Cassaway, Michael Frett and the team there for a job well done.

--  Very interesting story here on mold at the Winnipeg IGA Stadium.  You read this and you seriously have to wonder if the designers had any idea where this stadium was going OR if they even knew what they were doing.  Then again you also wonder did the proper materials get value engineered out?  In any case just a baffling situation that won’t be easy to fix. 

--  Just a heads up- we are one month away from GANA BEC.  Should be a good conference with some interesting speakers.  For me I look forward to hearing the “Innovation in the Industry” piece from Kai-Uwe Bergmann from BIG Architectural.  Love that insight.  Plus baseball legend Johnny Bench is speaking too and being an old school sports guy, that should be neat.

--  Last this week… if you are an NBA fan and you have not had the opportunity to see Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors in person yet, do yourself a favor and try and catch him.  Truly an amazing player with the sweetest, and smoothest shot I have ever seen. 


--  Just an amazing story of a 71 year old woman who’s lived most of her life in the wilderness.

--  Nice work here by a Target cashier.  Very rare stuff these days.

I really can’t stand this “affluenza” kid.  His latest story or excuse makes no sense.


From Saturday Night Live last week.  A great take off of the goofy TV show “Undercover Boss” using Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) of the new Star Wars.  Classic stuff.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Pull of The Glass Industry

Whenever someone new joins our industry I usually tell them that they are here for life.  For whatever reason, glass and glazing has an amazing pull to keep folks around, albeit in different jobs for different companies, but still same industry. Now there’s been some exceptions, incredible people like Tony Clark and Scott Surma were able to pull themselves away from this world and do extremely well in other industry realms.  But in the end, the pull here is real.  Why do I bring this up?  Because an excellent blog postby Glass Magazine’s Bethany Stough was dead on.  If you are not in this industry you care about the new or remodeled buildings differently.  Basically when you are an outsider and that new store or doctor’s office opens, you are happy about the new options or the convenience.  But when you are in this industry, you are focused on what glass did they choose, what metal system, who supplied it, who sourced it and more.  Only those of us in the industry can understand the feeling and NEED to bend down in front of total strangers to look for a logo on tempered glass or a spacer marking on an insulated storefront.  So Bethany, great piece, welcome back (and CONGRATS!) and I’m pretty sure you are here in this industry for the long run!


--  The industry lost an absolute icon last week with the passing of Ed Berkowitz.  Ed was a great person, class act and excellent businessman.   His impact on the industry will always be felt because he positively influenced so many and his son Arthur has carried on the class approach that the Berkowitz family has had for generations.  I count myself as fortunate to have been able to chat with Ed on a couple of occasions.  He truly will be missed.  Continued thoughts and condolences to his family, friends, and company.

--  Pretty brutal week on the stock market and fears of a recession are out there.  The initial feeling for many is this is part of a “correction” and things will settle.  If you attended the Glazing Executive Forum at GlassBuild America this past fall you would’ve heard economist Jeff Dietrich talk about the coming corrective actions to the market.  So at this point I am going with that… and I am making every effort to not look at the stock market numbers.

--  At this point I am assuming no one in this industry won Powerball?  For my fellow road warriors I felt like I had a moment almost as good as winning Powerball this week.  I had an empty seat next to me on a long flight.  That never happens… 

--  And speaking of flying, I was not aware that there’s now a new “class” of seats being sold.  Welcome to “last class” which will be a step below coach and really no frills.  So the experience of flight is already difficult, tiring, frustrating etc… and now we’ve somehow found a way to make it worse.  Yikes.  However I did find one article that made some points about how this could be a good thing… so there’s that.


Did you know Powerball once had a rigging scandal?

Love this list of banned words for 2016.  I need to check and make sure I don’t use these….

I am NOT a fan of cruises.. but this is good news for those of you who are…


The great David Bowie passed away this week.  Conan O’Brien did a fantastic and funny tribute to him.  What a cool sense of humor Bowie had as well.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The 2016 Predictions

The new year is off and running so it’s time for me to take a jump into the deep end and present to you my fearless predictions for 2016!  This was a very difficult list to come up with as things are more fluid in our industry than ever and you have the frustrating stock market issues hanging out there which could derail some positivity.  But that said, here goes…

1-    Go Big or Go Home.  This was always what I would call a mini trend.  Architects have been known to desire to go as big as they can (opening wise) and for years they would push the envelope in North America as far as they could.  Sometimes they would get what they want, sometimes not.  Now that game is changing.  Between the growth and push by folks like AGNORA and the recent oversize upgrades by Viracon, the approach of going bigger on sizes are a reality.  Add in the foreign influence that always is willing and able to provide oversize material, and you have a full-fledged trend on your hands.  2016 will see a lot of this.

2-    Security Focused.  No question we live in a scary world right now.  I don’t think there’s ever been a time that we’ve all had to worry about security the way we have to now.  Glass is a big part in the protection effort.  Security glass is now more available than ever and being used in more applications than just federal buildings and high risk areas.  Schools are getting specific security based glass applications and more and more businesses are choosing these options for their workers comfort and safety.

3-    Greenfielding is back and new players emerge.  I think 2016 will see a few greenfield locations from established fabricators.  There’s some very ripe markets that can use more fabricators and I have a feeling that you will see new plants pop up in 2016 with familiar names.  Meanwhile, there’s quite a few players overseas looking to come to North America to set up shop and I have a feeling they may choose to greenfield instead of buying someone established, though I am not totally convinced of that.  I do think you will see new players in North America in 2016 though in one form or fashion.

4-    Codes and Certifications. I think the NACC takes off, too important for the industry not to.  I also think individual certifications of installers also grow, we as an industry need to have that to show that we have the craftsman and workmanship that is expected.  On the code side it’s been pretty quiet, so something tells me that there’s going to be an issue coming up.  It makes me think of a horror movie, just when things get really calm, is when the monster jumps out with a chainsaw.  Thankfully I am confident that folks like Dr. Tom Culp will be there to protect us…

5-    More focus on birds.  Yes I know this was on my 2015 list but this is simply both a growth area and a meaningful process to protect wildlife.  With more companies getting into and more designers realizing what it is happening, this grows in stature again. 

As always these are my opinions and thoughts and I always welcome yours, privately or publicly.  So feel free to reach out.


--  Those of you who know me know I love lists and info.  And I have to say that the infographics being put out by the folks at are amazing.  Here’s one they posted on Energy Star with who’s getting certified and where.  It’s an incredible setup and worth your time.  Check it out HERE.   

--  During the holidays my family got me a FitBit.  Really neat little apparatus that can tell me that I never sleep at night and need to take a ton more steps.  But seriously though it’s a cool piece and I am into it, but a question for any of you who got one recently- was it absolutely impossible for you to get it out of the packaging?  I’ve never experienced anything like trying to get that thing loose. 

--  Last this week… the movie “13 Hours” comes out this coming Friday.  The book was absolutely fantastic.  Will Hollywood ruin the movie?  I hope not but I always get a feeling that it will happen.  If the great Steven Spielberg can ruin a book (like he did with “Munich”) than it can happen anywhere.


--  We all have a twin somewhere I am told- poor Mike Rowe has one that’s bank robber.

--  This is an interesting story on several levels- community apathy, a marketing angle gone wrong, and a smart/lucky guy.

--  Good piece on Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney.


As mentioned above- 13 Hours comes out this week.  Here’s the trailer…