Sunday, August 28, 2016

Catching Up On Green and More

This past week GANA held it’s Fall Conference in Kansas City and as always with events like these there’s a great deal of information and education (as well as primo networking) available.  So a few takeaways from that event…

--  If you haven’t heard the acronyms LCA or EPD, get ready, you will certainly be hearing more from them and about them in the future.  LCA stands for Life Cycle Analysis and EPD is for Environmental Product Declarations.  This is a trend that started a few years ago that boasts more transparency in a products environmental make-up.  Green building rating systems are a driver of it but so are architects and building owners.  Mark Silverberg of Technoform, who always leads thoughtful discussions on serious energy issues was great in taking the audience through the options.  This will be an area to watch.  But I will also throw it out to you my dear readers- are you seeing LCA or EPD in your specifications? 

--  Also in the same session that discussed the LCA/EPD, Dr. Tom Culp gave some updates on the various code and ratings bodies.  The push to be sustainable seems to getting more organized with two groups combining standards and I liked the fact that one standard has an angle that really promotes the use of dynamic glazing.  As anyone who knows me, knows I am a fan of that technology, so seeing it the approach here was a daymaker. 

--  In addition I learned that the NFRC hired a consulting firm to among other things “help them understand the commercial manufacturers value chain and what will encourage them to adopt the program”  Seriously.  I was among many who told  them these things way back in 2004.  I was mocked and villified as I wrote, debated, argued that the commercial world was different.  And in the end so much of what our industry tried to teach them was ignored.  Amazingly in the end they could’ve saved themselves a ton of money and resources if  they would’ve listened.  Oh well.  And despite this move I do not believe they’ll ever really want to understand the commercial world. 

--  The conference featured a tour of the AGC Float Glass facility in Spring Hill, Kansas.  For me it was the 7th float plant I have toured and I still learned new things.  The AGC folks really did a tremendous job with this effort, the plant was spotless and impressive.  Major thanks to Gus Trupiano of AGC for setting this up. 

--  Kansas City also featured some great glass and glazing viewing.  Really unique buildings, excellent usage of glass for the most part, and the downtown area was very nice. 

--  Next up on the North American show/conference schedule is GlassBuild America and the Glazing Executives Forum.  You seriously can never have enough education, information, or networking in your life.

--  But before GlassBuild America dominates the landscape I am excited about getting to attend my 2nd glasstec in Germany.  That show kicks off in a few weeks and now that I have one under my belt, I am pumped to take the show on again.  I look forward to reporting back on here some of what I see and experience.  And if you are headed over there, I look forward to running into you along the way!

--  Last this week… the always great Twitter feed of Conners Sales Group (@ConnersSales) had an incredible link posted a few days ago.  Check this one out.  It is an “All Glass Office” and when I say “All Glass” I mean ALL GLASS.  Now I love glass.  Live for it.  Want it everywhere- but I have to admit this actually was event too much for me.  That would be live or work in as obviously if I was the fabricator or glazier, I would LOVE these jobs….


I hate companies that gouge.  I get profits and wanting to make a lot… but gouging is terrible and what the makers of the EpiPen (I have to buy at least 6 a year) are doing is criminal.

And while we are on the path of things that are very wrong in our world… how about the debtors prison?  I get the concept, hate the execution.

This is just 30 minutes from me and so comical.  I think Canada needs to build a wall….LOL


The turning of the tables… robbers take on a cell phone store.  Manager runs out the back and locks the bad guys in the store. 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

We Are All About Advancements

Innovation and technology.  Those are words we throw around quite a bit in our world.  In some parts there’s actual meaning and weight behind them, but in others, it’s empty terming, something that people use to just make themselves look good.  On the whole though I think the main majority of the glass and glazing industry truly “walks the walk” when it comes to these terms and making advancements in what they do and how they do it.  Now our main base products- float glass and aluminum- may be as basic as they come but it’s what we all do to them that make it special.  And each time I am out and about and see what people are doing or when I am sent new info, it really makes me excited to see how things are progressing.   I do believe we have some great things going.  On that note I’ll be at the GANA Fall Conference this coming week, so I am looking forward to see what else I can learn and I’ll share here next post.


--  Part of my thought process above came thanks to the latest issue of Glass Magazine, which was focused on “Next Generation Manufacturing for Next Generation Products” – it was a great read that featured several pieces that gave neat insight into product and plant advancements and technologies.  The deep dive into the new plant at Sage was especially riveting to me.  Worth the read and nice touch by adding a section for some of the key people involved in building that plant.  Good for those hard working folks to get some pub!

--  Also in this issue another fantastic look at succession planning with a few pieces and a pretty interesting case study.  Great content overall- check it out!

--  And my for my “ad of the month” I am going with Harbison Walker International.  I never heard of them, did not know what they did or do, but their ad stopped me in my tracks, made me read and want to see more.  Well done to whomever was the brains behind that one!

--  Some sad news this week with the passing of Joe Landsverk of Wood’s Powr-Grip.  Really good man and he was very encouraging to me both when I started my business and whenever I would run into him at GlassBuild America.  My condolences to his family.

--  A while back we covered the whole “transparent wood” is better than glass story and it seemingly popped up again this week with some coverage online.  I do not view it as a major threat to our way of life, but should be a warning that the rest of the world is always working on what’s next.  (See more innovation and technology is needed!) Here’s the story andincludes video too. 

--  Last this week…  the new iPhone is due to come out in the next few weeks and rumor is there will be no are for a headphone jack.  So wireless, Bluetooth or headphones that connect to the charge port will be it.  This is a monumental change.  Usually Apple changes the way people do things, but this will be one to watch to see how it works.  For me I do not like Bluetooth headsets- just can’t hear as well and hate having to remember to charge yet another device. 


For my fellow Road Warriors- a piece on airports and travel and great perspective on what a “bad trip” really is. Plus funny comments too.

So McDonalds passed out “activity trackers” in their Happy Meals… only to yank them when they caused skin problems. 

Awesome story. Losing 300 pounds in an interesting way


Frightening moment for a lady who gets runover by her own car.  Could’ve been a lot worse…

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Got to Go to the Show

If you missed the excellent blog by Ron Crowl of Fenetech last week on tradeshows, I strongly suggest you check it out.   I thought in the very quick and creative way he did it, he got the message across on the importance of trade shows.   It’s something that I have been harping on for a while and will continue to do so.  If you are not attending these events- with the next big one in the US being GlassBuild America- you are really doing yourself a disservice personally and professionally. 
One key part of GlassBuild that you do no want to miss is the Glazing Executive Forum.   I was thrilled to see that SAPA jumped on board this past week as a sponsor.  They had done so in the past, so to see them back was exciting as I truly appreciate and respect they way they support the industry with events like this and their internal educational pieces as well.  Props obviously also must go to the others that are sponsoring YKK (loyal sponsor of this for several years) Tremco, Ergo Robotics, Roto Frank, and Novagard Solutions.  As an industry guy- thank you for doing your part for our world.


--  I know I have been going overboard on the econ numbers lately, but here’s a great story to share on some of the metrics not watched as closely as well as some specific looks at markets and trends.  Worth the read.

--  This may be an old piece but thanks to old friend Scott Goodman of AGC for sending along.  The suspended pool in London.  Does anyone know- has this been built yet?

--  Congrats to Richard Wilson of AGNORA for being a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year contest going on in Ontario.  AGNORA surely has done some innovative things that are being recognized.  Plus I love when our industry has people noticed in overall award categories and not just industry centric.  Makes us all look good.  Best of luck Richard!

--  And while we’re on the path of congrats… a hearty one to the McClatchey family of SAF.  They just celebrated their 70th year in business.  Every interaction I have ever had with this company is always was positive plus they are another company that seemingly is always exhibiting and supporting every show.  Congrats gang!

--  I have to talk Olympics and just how enjoyable the first week was.  Some incredible performances and stories.  Katie Ledecky is off the charts.  Anthony Ervin, winning a gold 16 YEARS after doing it the first time and at the "ancient" age of 35 was awesome.  Maya DiRado wowed me.  And the two Simone’s.  Manuel and Biles were historical difference makers.  Last but not least Michael Phelps. Wow. And no way do I think he’s actually retiring after this Olympiad either.  The 2nd week of these games will surely have a long way to go to catch the excitement of the first!

--  Last this week…. The annual “Old Farmers Almanac” Forecast is now out for this winter.  Remember it has an 80% accuracy rate.  This blurb from Country Living Magazine sums it up:

Every region of the U.S. will be hit with a different type of terrible. The Northeast and Midwest can expect "colder than normal" temperatures and precipitation is supposed to be "above normal." If you're in the Pacific Northwest, you can expect a lot of rain and chilly weather. And in the Intermountain and Appalachian regions, where ski enthusiasts would actually like cold temperatures and lots of snow, it's set to largely be warmer and less snowy than usual.

The story did note the South would have a very mild winter.  So good for all of you who live there.  As for the rest of us, here’s rooting for this forecast to be wrong!


Easily the most bizarre story of the week.  Grandma and 13 year old grandson- drunk driving.

I never watched “Breaking Bad” but I am guessing this could’ve been a plot line?

Cool moment here as the Baltimore Ravens stop their game to watch Michael Phelps swim.


Olympic news bloopers anyone?

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Are We Trending Positive or Negative?

I know it seems I am constantly talking about forecasts and economic conditions and it’s probably because I am.  Basically I get asked a few times a week about the economy, about the different projections online, and about the different data points- so I like sharing it here.  This week had more of the same because several stories came out with reviews of both the first 6 months of 2016 and more recent month-to-month reporting.  The story tones were mixed, mostly because the data was.  On the positive- The AIA released a mid year update and while noting several roadblocks current and possible, was very confident in a positive finish to 2016 and an entire 2017.  On the flip side- Dodge had their midyear piece and was not as confident, focusing more on the fact that we had fantastic growth and it’s slowing down a bit from that.  Add to that the release that construction spending went down for a 3rd straight month and you could start sensing concern. 
The analysts I follow and trust are still very much in the positive camp and actually expect some of these reports to be revised up after further review.  Good, quick piece here fromBloomberg spells some of it out.  Plus we are actually still ahead of 2015 by 6% so basically we are quibbling over how much growth and not just staying positive.  In addition the mid year consensus has growth predicted to finish at almost 6% this year AND next.  Still the memories of 2009 and 2010 are amazingly fresh in many of our minds and the time it took to really get cranking again seemed to take forever.  So whenever we have these blips on the radar it does cause some angst.  Bottom line for me right now is we’re in a good place, let’s keep rolling but obviously continue to monitor the trends.

One item that can and will have an effect but is not really known on how much is the US Presidential election.  In normal cycles a Presidential election has an effect of some type.  For those of us living in the US, this cycle is as far from normal as you can get.  So that is surely an item to always have in the back of your head…


--  I am surely one that tries to support anything sustainable but I have a question for those of you experts out there.  So I am online ordering tickets for a few upcoming ballgames.  The site notes in order to “stay green” that paper tickets are unavailable.  OK that makes sense.  But then they note, mobile and electronic entry are not available so you need to “print your tickets at home.”  So my question is, how are we being more sustainable if I print the tickets vs. the venue printing?  

--  Fun picture laden piece that came via the great Twitter feed of Viracon’s Garret Henson (@Viracon_Garret) on fritted glass.  I love looking at the buildings and usage of glass but I will say the article is a bit shortsighted.  There are many more options than they listed or focused on to meet these aesthetic goals, and I would’ve like to seen them mentioned.  Despite that glaring omission I love when glass is shown off like this.  I just may have to do my own splashy photo piece showing the options!

--  On that note of great looking glass, I really enjoyed the blog post from Kris Iverson last week on the Glassblog.  Clear, concise and helpful piece and yet another reminder that communication rules.

--  Last this week… The Olympics are underway and if you can remember this was the one that the US badly wanted for Chicago.  The effort fell short back in 2009 when the games were awarded but can you imagine IF Chicago would’ve won?  With the security shown at 4-day events like political conventions, I could only imagine the mess Chicago would’ve been during this.  Oh and with an Olympiad that close, I would’ve done everything to go too…  I know my pal Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural with his Chicago connections would’ve taken great care of me!


--  Dumpster pools… hilarious, innovative and soon to be no more.

--  Not sure what to make of this story…

--  A “bee hive” of justice for driving under the influence!


Bizarre screw up on America’s Got Talent recently.  Guy gets shot in the neck with an arrow…