Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Great Breakthrough

This week we’ll start with something other than glass… but it was something many people in the glass and glazing industry really got behind and supported, so you all deserve a pat on the back.  What I am talking about was the news that the money raised from the Ice Bucket Challenge that took place two years ago led to a major breakthrough in the research of the ALS disease.  The money raised during that time… a staggering 220 million… funded the biggest study ever and during that study researchers identified a gene that they had not previously and has given them a jump start on cure and therapy.  Obviously a long way to go on this one, but positive news and something that so many of us can say we had a part in.  The Ice Bucket Challenge really was like no other event I can remember in bringing people together and also allowing them to have their moment of fun for all to see.  All while raising money and now succeeding in helping fight this disease.  So to all of you out there who read this and did it- congrats and thank you!


--  The latest edition of Glass Magazine is out and as always some “must see” items are in there.  First and foremost it’s the 2016 Glass Magazine Awards issue- so surely worth checking out the best of the best and those who were talented enough to win the most prestigious recognition our industry has.  The main takeaway from this award issue is that we have great companies, who innovate at so many levels.  This is one surely to be proud of.

--  Also catch the continuation of the “succession” series and a nice piece on the class act Mammen family as they take a new step with their company. 

--  The ad of the month?  Security Lock Distributors wins it with the “Technical Assistance” play.  The ad was smart and bold and made me stop and read.  I don’t know this company well at all, so it shows the ad was effective in catching my eye.  So whoever there worked on this one- congrats on a job well done!

--  One of the award winners in the magazine was the new Minnesota Vikings stadium that opens this month.  This week I ran across an article that I thought did a good job of running down the timeline of the building of this structure and the various issues that ran into it.  Take a look and especially see the comment section as a local architect surely did not agree with the article… at all. 

--  For my Denver readers- I came across this piece breaking down the redevelopment of the old Stapleton airport area.  Sounds like things are progressing.  So does Denver have the roadmap for other municipalities to follow in the future?  I guess only time will tell but nice to see the moves to redevelop the area are in motion.  Especially since I currently live in an area (Metro Detroit) that has struggled mightily to do the same.

--  Last this week… Normally this sort of story would go in my “Links” section but I had to put here because it’s just too hard to believe.  Used cooking oil is a hot resource in Chicago.  I’m floored by this one. 


--  Last week we had the cheerleader threatening to sue after not making the team.  This week, it’s worse- a teacher who can’t speak Spanish suing because school won’t let her teach Spanish…

--  I don’t understand the whole “Pokemon” craze but I do love Police are using to catch criminals now!

--  Going to share this one with my kids… the use of the word “fair”


The big news around my house is the reboot of the “Gilmore Girls” series on NetFlix.  Which means two things…1- I have to get NetFlix… and 2- I won’t see my wife or daughter for as long as this series is on as they are addicted to it.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Wild Week In Review

So now we have had a few days to let the PPG-Vitro deal sink in.  I think the underrated item in this deal is Vitro is not exactly a newbie when it comes to glass.  They have been producing glass since 1909.  So there’s history there for sure. I say this because the focus was on PPG getting out of glass after more than a century, and it may have been different if a young upstart company bought them.  Another item that had people buzzing is what happens to the current PPG workforce.  I can tell you that in a deal like this people are a crucial part of it.  Vitro now inherits some serious talent and they surely will want to take advantage of that.  Believe me if they don’t competitors will.  On the branding side, I mentioned on a previous post that the tried and true names will be staying.  That is a big move as we’ve seen acquisitions in the past where familiar names were blown out- and so were the specs that were attached to them for years.  So at this point there’s a few months while the particulars get settled and deal turns official.  We’ll keep an eye on it all but I think for the most part we won’t see any dramatic change to the way business is done in our industry based on this.  I do however see the logjam starting to loosen on other deals.  While we are in a serious rumor overload right now, I do think more action is coming in the 2nd half of this year.  And there are a few with potential to be bigger than this and also have an effect on the industry too.  Stay tuned.


--  Last note for now on the Vitro-PPG deal and it’s an angle I bring up with all major deals- will the new entity still support the industry the way the old did?  PPG is at every show and always willing to help.  In addition their education pieces are fantastic.  Hope that continues!

--  Another note from the acquisition side, I’m surprised that the Dow and Dupont deal has not had more coverage.  A lot of speculation there on what comes next specifically regarding Dow Corning.  Will bear watching as well.

--  The monthly release of the Architectural Billings Index hit right as all of this came to play.  So it flew under the radar some.  June marked the 5th straight positive month though the score trended down a bit to 52.6 from May’s 53.1.  New projects also fell some to 58.6 after a scorching 60.1 in May.  Basically this along with some other forecasting metrics keeps the industry on pace for a positive start to 2017.

--  Via the Twitter feed of Ted Bleecker a great column on the economy and the metrics with it.  So while I trumpet the above success of the ABI, I guess I too may be falling into that trap.  Good food for thought here.  And the author of this piece Alex Carrick, is also a good twitter follow too.

--  Last this week- one convention done, one to go.  Stepping away from the actual event and looking at the costs, these two events will tally more than 140 million to put on.  That number just blows my mind.  Yes it’s helpful for the economy- that 140 million goes to tons of trades and companies involved with it.  But it also just seems like an insane waste of resources.  And my misery will just grow worse with a BILLION dollars expected to be spent on the election in November. 


Twins everywhere!  Mom gives birth to 3rd set in 2 years.

Where is the common sense here?  Threatening to sue after not making a team?  Nuts!

Editing genes.  As a friend noted to me, just because you can doesn’t mean you should


So if you are a music fan I have one for you.  Saw this group while I was on vacation and they were amazing.  They are “Striking Matches” and the guitar playing – especially towards the end, is nothing short of tremendous. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Deal is Done- Quick Reaction

So PPG reached an agreement to sell their glass division to Vitro. The rumors that poked around for such a long time, surfaced publicly last Friday, all came true this morning.  I am honestly stunned.  Why?  Because anyone who has followed the industry has heard a rumor or two that PPG’s glass division would be sold.  Candidates from all over the globe were associated with it- but it never happened.  Until now.  It’s obviously going to be the end of an era.  PPG is a major name in the glass industry.  As the great John Wheaton asked on Twitter, what will the G stand for in their name now?  (My answer- just like ESPN used to mean Entertainment and Sports Programming Network- they dropped that and the initials just stay.  Or better example- MTV)

As for going forward- my assumption is the brand names stay (Solarban, Starphire etc) but that's not confirmed yet.  (that's crucial from a spec standpoint) UPDATE- I just got this confirmed.  Names staying  I can’t imagine Vitro doing a deal without those.  I don’t see any immediate disruptions in business or people, but I am sure as time goes on things will change.  They always do. - Also should note, in deals like this people are a key element.

The rumor mill in our industry by the way is spinning at warp speed.  I do think a lot of tire kicking is going on for sure, but for some of the proposed marriages I am being told, I just don’t think they are even close to happening. 

So this was just a quick take on some gigantic news.  More to follow as the details come out and things sink in.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Big Deal Potentially Brewing

The rumor had been floating out there for a while.  In fact rumors surrounding both companies are almost like a cottage industry.  Now the “rumor” has hit the main stream news.  I am talking about PPG and Vitro.  PPG selling it’s flat glass division to Vitro.  The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette acquired anindependent auditors report and then released a story late last Friday night.  Obviously this does not mean a sale is immenient.  We don’t know exactly what sort of report it was as the story doesn’t dig into specifics. But the fact the Post Gazette ran with this story is very interesting…  it now brings this backroom discsussion to the public.  We’ll see if this marriage happens or if something else swerves in it’s way.  In any case this will be one to watch.


--  We are halfway through the year, so let’s do some looking back and some peering ahead.  2016 got underway with some early weather issues and dropping oil prices.  Both of those items were especially unkind to the great state of Texas.  Bird friendly glazing continued to be in the news and growing in the minds of designers, building owners, and consumers.  Hopefully it will find more usage as well.  Also in the first half of the year, another successful industry gathering at BEC, ending an increbile run of success by Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning in the lead of that event.   From an overall economic side, both residential and non residential starts and put in place are running ahead of forecasts and the analysts are bullish.  The ABI and DMI also looked solid during Q1 and 2. 

So now looking ahead, will oil prices stay low or start to grow?  The bi-annual glasstec in Germany hits in September and I’ll be curious on where the vibe is there, especially given the whole “Brexit” adventure in play.  GlassBuild America goes a month later than usual this year and is bigger than ever- bigger floor space, more exhibitors, and tremendous innovation and networking to be had.  That’s in October.  I still expect other acquisition news to hit- (aside from mentioned above) though being a major sellers market, there may be some delay in any of that happening with valuations a lot higher than folks would like to pay.  Of course no looking ahead can happen without the one thing that most likely will be life changing.  The 2016 Presidential election.  No words can probably describe that one accurately….  Anyway it should be an interesting run to 2016… buckle up!

--  Speaking of GlassBuild, just a reminder on the Glazing Executives Forum.  Two great keynotes (George Hedley and Ken Simonson) and “Solution Sessions” that will be well worth your time.  To learn more and join the growing registration list- visit

--  The winners of the Glass Magazine photo contest are out and I loved the winner.  A picture of glass after going through a two hour fire test.  Just an awesome shot overall.  This contest was a fun one and I expect it grow and be even better in the future.  Our industry has a ton of great looking and innovative pieces… let’s keep pounding our chests and show it off!

--  I’m a bit late on this but congrats to Bobby Hartong and his family, his partner and my brother Steve, and everyone at WA Wilson in West Virginia on their 175th Anniversary!  Yes 175 years… amazing accomplishment and could not have happened to nicer folks too.  That party in 25 years for the 200th will be a wild one….

--  If you have the slightest interest in the growing 3D Printing world, this link is for you.  A ton of great insight and resources in one place thanks to Benesch Law and my good pal and industry supporter Rick Kalson.

--  Last this week… interesting article on the Las Vegas building market and how the tall residential towers are not in the future plans… I wonder if this same fate awaits Toronto?  Eventually there’s just too much.  Good piece overall though….


Is this really true?  The Waldorf no more?

Totally depressing that the government booted this issue.  The “May contain” label is so important- so of course they screw it up.

Rough relationship finally reaches an ending I think. 


I hate the ESPY’s but am a fan of John Cena.  Good work here with SNL fave Leslie Jones.