Sunday, April 24, 2016

Up and Down Index

This past week we had two major construction related indexes release reports that featured some interesting takeaways. First from the General Contractor level, the results were not very rosy and somewhat surprising.  The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Construction Confidence Index (CCI) is a study/survey that takes 6 months into account and looks at the business in a few different areas- Sales, Profit Margin, and Staffing.  So for the latest CCI, tracking the last 6 months of 2015, all three indicators were actually down.  I can see staffing as a challenge but I have to admit that Sales and Profit being off is a shock.  And those of you dealing with GC’s each day probably agree.  Now the numbers are obviously much better than they were in 2012, but still interesting to see that the end of 2015 was not a major success for this side of the world- at least according to the index.  Meanwhile the monthly Architectural Billings Index (ABI) was released and it ticked up again coming in at 51.9.  New project inquiries were down slightly but they are still in a very healthy territory and regionally only the Midwest did not crack the break even mark of 50, finishing slightly under at 49.8.  So overall the ABI continues to be a source of positivity as we keep our eyes glued to 2017.  2Q usually sees a boost in new project inquiries, so we’ll see if that indicator starts moving that way or not.


--  Environmental Product Declarations is an area I am admittedly weak on. So I have been trying to educate myself and I came across this excellent article that provided solid insight.

--  If you somehow missed the great blog post by Kris Iverson on last week’s e-glass weekly, here’s the link.  Hiring is so incredibly hard; so any additional help is always appreciate.

--   Via Facebook I saw the news on changes at Vos Glass in Western Michigan.  Vos is one of those very respected brands and I am a big fan of Linda Vos-Graham who ran the company until now with a new team taking over.  I hope Linda is able to stay involved (if she wants) in the industry- her smarts and perspective were huge parts of events like the Glazing Executives Conference. 

--  We are about a month from the next event that many in the industry will participate in one way or another.  The 2016 AIA show is in Philadelphia this year and given its location and timing (better in May than in June) I have a feeling it could be very busy.  The fact it’s busy is not usually a guarantee for the exhibitors of a good show though since the event is so vast and education is still the priority, but the potential is there. 

--  Last this week… Prince passing away.  I’m a fan, have listened to his music for years.  What I did not expect was how many people were HUGE fans and the outpouring of love and respect for him.  It was Michael Jackson like including wall-to-wall coverage on the cable news channels.  Tough run for music superstars with David Bowie and now Prince passing away in such a short time.


--  I love my FitBit and good to know that it can also potentially save my life… for now it reminds me that I suck at working out.  Ha Ha

--  Beware what may happen when you take sleeping pills.  You may buy a cow.

--  Wild story on a real life cast away luckily saved by a reality tv crew.


The first trailer for the new movie “The Founder” is out.  This is the story of Ray Kroc who built the McDonald’s empire.  The movie looks amazing…

Sunday, April 17, 2016

15 Years Ago

From time to time I hit some personal items on this blog.  The start of this post will be one of them, so if you are here for the industry related scuttlebutt, please skip down to the next section.  Otherwise thank you for hearing me out.   15 years ago this past week, my father passed away.  He was a great and patient man.  An inspiration in that he decided to “bet on himself” and start anew.. by breaking away and starting his own glass business in the 70’s.  Not exactly the greatest economy to do so, but he did and did it well.   He recognized the talent of people around him and put them in a position to succeed.   Efforts by my brother, sister and many others who were there at the start were huge and the company grew.  That team he built, led to more and more over the years as people connected to that original network branched out and now the impact from that foundation is felt throughout the industry today.   That makes me proud.  I was too young to be in that business at the start, I consider myself one of the branches of that tree though.   I wish he could still be here to see how we all are doing but that was not meant to be. In any case I do think about him all the time and miss him dearly- he may be gone, but never forgotten.


--  Nice pub for the industry and SageGlass with a quick Q&A in the New York Times in the Vocations section. 

--  Very interesting article here on a 1600 year old glass kiln discovered in Israel.  The best part of it for me was that they mention how even back in ancient times there were costs differences for glass based on supplier.  The price lists were on stone tablets… amazing.

--  A great twitter follow is Glassworks Inc. (@Glassworks_Inc) as there’s usually an excellent article or picture to take in.  This past week was no exception with a super link to an article on “Architectural Embellishment” and that story was spot on.  For the architect the question is… the freedom to design whatever you want is surely available… but should you? 

--  I got the new Glass Magazine this week and kudos again to Katy Devlin and company for a fantastic issue.  Tremendous reads cover to cover and the list of top fabricators never disappoints.  In addition the piece on interiors was very informative.  A lot more to think about with that application than I think many expect.   And the continuation on “Exit Planning & Succession” series was strong.  Good stuff.

--  And in that issue, my “ad of the month” award goes to Dorma.  I liked the layout of their piece- very sharp and eye catching.  Right amount of text and thumbnails of product really worked here.

--  Last this week… the NHL playoffs kicked off, as did then NBA.  So here are my picks in both.  Again apologies to the fan bases I choose, as I am rarely right…  In the NHL I am taking the San Jose Sharks to beat the New York Rangers.  Yes I know picking the Rangers means I am picking against my Penguins….  In the NBA, this year will be amazing to watch.  I am excited that my Detroit Pistons are back in the post season for the first time in years, but they have no chance, unless they convince Guardian’s Chris Dolan to come out of retirement and rain down lots of three pointers on the Cavs.   I don't  think LeBron can guard Megatron Dolan.  
I would love to see the Spurs win because of my friends in San Antonio, the awesome Luna family. But I think it’s the Warriors world and while they will be tested, in the end, I think they pull it off in a finals rematch vs. the Cavs.


--  Smart pharmacist during a robbery

--  Sorry this cake will not come close to replacing Red Velvet as my favorite…


Well if the Pistons or someone else eliminates the Cavs, LeBron can go back to his other job… making pizzas.  Fun video here- LeBron does own a piece of this franchise too.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Proper Recognition

If you read my blog with any regularity you know one of my favorite things to do is recognize the quality people in our industry.  So when a company makes a move to promote super people like what happened this week, it’s even better to talk about.  YKK announced promotions to Oliver Stepe and Mike Turner and I am thrilled for them.  Both are excellent guys, talented to the core, and have a commitment to the industry.  That last part means a lot to me personally.  This industry is made better thanks to efforts of people like Oliver and Mike and they represent us very well.  Congrats guys, the recognition is truly much deserved!


--  I am thrilled that I will be attending glasstec in Germany this fall.  Especially now that I have done the show once, I feel like I have a better appreciation for the enormity of it.  To make it even better, glasstec announced its focus this week- “Glass Industry 4.0” with a heavy emphasis on technology.  I simply can’t wait to see what that is all about, learn, and grow.  The 3+ weeks that feature glasstec and GlassBuild America surely will be exhilarating and exhausting but oh so good!

--  The architectural community is in mourning after the loss of Zaha Hadid.  She was an absolute legend in that world and her passing have hit many hard.  Her designs will surely be her legacy.  There was an excellent remembrance in the New York Times by one of her employees Tegan Bukowski, capturing the qualities that made Ms. Hadid the incredible architect she was.

--  Looking at the initial designs of the redevelopment of the Inglewood, California site where the St. Louis Rams are re-locating looks very ambitious.  If this concept can become reality it surely will be a place to see.  I am guessing that a lot will change before ground gets moved, but if it comes off the way this article shows, sign me up for a visit! 

--  Twitter reminder- if you are a on the service and not following John Wheaton (@JohnLWheaton1) you need to do so- he always provides interesting insight and on occasion good project questions and quizzes including one this past week.  The last one he did I had no clue on, so it was fun to sit back and watch him converse with another excellent Twitter follow (Garett Henson @Viracon_Garret) on the details. In the end I learned- which is a benefit of good follows on social media.

--  Do you ever wonder what will happen to your online profile when you pass away?  Right now, it looks like nothing.  Long, but semi-interestingarticle here on the situation, specifically on Facebook.  Personally I see it on LinkedIn and Twitter a lot and no doubt it throws you when someone who has passed comes up in your feed or as a recommended follow. 

--  Programming note- no blog post next week… I will be back in this space week of April 18th unless news breaks ahead that. 


--  Fun story on a Kenyan woman who photoshopped herself into others vacations.

--  Old school smells that are disappearing…

--  I am not a big lawsuit person but this one has merit and I hope they win.  I am so baffled their initial case got thrown out. So sad.


Well 8.5 million views to date mean this video- a comical, and somehow fake volleyball game- has gone viral.  Funny stuff….