Sunday, August 20, 2017

The GlassBuild Primer

With GlassBuild America only 3 weeks away I wanted to dedicate this weeks post to the show.  So this won’t be my typical posting… we’ll return to normal next week. 
In any case with regards to GlassBuild this is usually the time that many make their final decision on whether or not to attend.  I know mostly everyone is very busy, but if you want to improve yourself and your business, you will make the call to be in Atlanta on September 12th to the 14th.  Here are few reasons why…

Overall Education:
This is a one-stop wonderland for everything you want to know with regards to product, equipment, services and more.    Below I will break out a few channels where you can gain critical knowledge and insights. There is something for everyone no matter what end of the business you are in.

Glazing Executive Forum:
The collaboration here is incredible.  For a glazier this is invaluable.  Also the economic forecast and the state of the industry pieces are very helpful.  Plus a special 25 years of Top 50 Glazier survey review will be quite interesting.

Express Learning:
These 20-minute sessions are perfect for quick on the go information and with every speaker easily accessible you can always reach out for more later.  There are great topics and speakers scheduled and I’m looking forward to sessions hosted by CR Laurence, Quanex, YKK and GED.  Also I am humbled and honored to have a spot speaking on Thursday, a dream come true for me to speak at the show!

Cam Marston:
Keynote speaker open to all attendees.  Those who saw him in the past raved about the lessons he brought.  Well worth your time.   His talk on the multi-generational work place is something that is fresh and important to grasp and understand. 

Packed floor with also a large attendee based expected means tons of potential connections all in one place.  It is simply the best opportunity to meet suppliers and customers and get to know potential targets on both.

In Booth Demonstrations: 
This is something that you get by walking the floor.  There’s always demonstrations happening and you learn as you go.  I know the team from Bohle America will have a ton happening and newcomers to the show like Glass Renu promise to impress with hands on demonstrations that will surely give you ideas and angles for your business.

Last but not least there’s the machinery angle.  Every player in our world will be represented and they all come with their best foot forward.  GlassBuild unfairly gets a rap that it’s more of a machinery show than anything else.  But that’s not exactly the case.  The reason people think that is the machinery guys come with amazing exhibits and machines tuned up and working.  Its eye catching and impressive.  I fully expect those booths to be very busy because right now it seems like every one is looking to replace and/or expand what they have.  This includes glazing installation equipment all the way to fabrication machinery.  It’s all there….

In the end I know you are busy.  Every one is for the most part.  And the thought of spending a day or two out of the office is frightening.  But this event brings the best of the best out in our industry and supplies you with the information and networking that makes you better.  I believe that is surely worth your time! 

If you have any questions or need more insight on the show, please reach out to me… I am always glad to help!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Glass = Healthy!

The glass industry was back in the spotlight in an indirect manner recently with a report on healthier buildings and what the occupants really want from their structures going forward.  The top choice in regards to health was enhanced air quality or ventilation.  But right after that were products that enhance thermal comfort and better lighting/daylighting exposure.  Obviously those are major glass related sort of angles and something as an industry we are in a very strong position to supply.  I do chuckle somewhat because those features are not new to our industry, there’s many companies who push that approach quite a bit, but it goes to show you that at some level there’s still an old fashioned approach to building going on.  With a heavier focus on healthier buildings will come a larger use of glazing products that make a difference.  By the way close behind in the poll (5th) were products that enhance tenant moods and while that could be virtually anything, my thought is that is a great place to slide in decorative interior glass since that surely beats old fashioned fabric partitions.  In any case this is a positive poll for the products we manufacture, fabricate and install…


--  Heads up on two e-mail fronts… 1st… beware any e-mails offering you e-mail lists from people attending GlassBuild America.  These are scams and the lists are not legitimate or safe.  While some names on these lists will work, many others will not, and many names on the list have the ability to set off black listing functions within your bulk e-mail service.  So I would advise you to avoid.

--  Also out there are e-mails with a virus link that seemingly comes from a friend of yours and it comes with a friendlier greeting than in the past.  It will say something like “this you can appreciate” so it gives off a safe vibe, but proceed with caution before clicking the link.  Look at the rest of the e-mail and most importantly look at the actual address from the sender.  The sending name may say your friends name but the return e-mail address will not.  At that point delete.  Never click any link or download any attachment if you are not totally sure of its legitimacy. 

--  Kudos to the teams at Guardian, JE Berkowitz, EFCO and Forno Enterprises on a fantastic school rebuild in New York.  This state-of-the-art school was rebuilt after the original building was destroyed by a tropical storm.    I am a big fan of school construction especially when it uses smart approaches with regards to things like energy and security.  In this case energy and that daylighting (as noted above is a big thing) carried the day.  Nice work all.

--  Last this week… Good guy and friend Thomas Lee of Lee & Cates Glass was nice enough to send along an update to a story I had a while back on the Tesla electric car… the latest test showed almost 700 miles on one charge.  Slowly but surely the electric car play is getting more interesting.


--  How can one overflowing toilet shut down a portion of an airport?

--  Interesting read on being a Butler at the Plaza Hotel.  I don’t think I’ll ever encounter one of these since I am usually at a Hampton…

--  Really bizarre story of couple buying a “street” in San Fran.  Man the real estate adventures out there are crazy!


I’m not sure this was as funny as the anchors made it seem… but still funny if you are dog lover.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Remembering Russ

As most of you surely know by now, former Guardian leader Russ Ebeid passed away at the age of 77.  Russ was a unique man, a powerful man, and someone who I had tremendous respect for.  Russ was a major key in the incredible growth of Guardian and his impact on the companies that worked with Guardian was huge as well.  He was not afraid to share his thoughts with customers and industry observers with the goal of improving the overall lot.  He told it as he saw it and clearly laid out his cards each and every time.  At least that’s how I saw and experienced it.  I didn’t spend a ton of time with Russ but I was fortunate enough to have a relationship with him that allowed me to pick his brain on occasion and gain insights that were incredibly valuable.  When I was at a major transition point in my professional life I went to see Russ.  He was behind his “famous” table that as always was devoid of paper or clutter (how I wish I could do that!)  I ran through my plan and he laid out his opinions straight to me.  He told me that the road ahead was probably going to be pretty rocky but I needed go forward with my approach because it was going to be for the best in the long run.  He was completely right (like he seemingly always was) and I will always remember and appreciate that conversation. I am sure I am one of many people who were blessed to get insight, advice, direction, and a push from Russ.  I’m not alone in being grateful that is for sure.  The world lost a great person last week and he will truly be missed.
My thoughts and condolences go to the Ebeid family and all of the friends and co-workers that knew and loved him. 


--  Big week in the industry for deals with two done and another one soon to be announced.  The ones that did go public, Ferro buying Dip Tech and Trex adding SC Railing were very interesting.  Dip Tech in a very short time became an extremely active industry player.  I will always appreciate that and hope that Ferro continues to support those efforts.  On the other deal, SC Railing has grown dramatically with some of my favorite talents doing the super work there and I’d assume this new arrangement will only enhance that set up. 

--  GlassBuild America is now coming up on a month away!  Have you registered?  Got hotels?  If not… do it.  Do it now. 

--  At GlassBuild there are always events that add to the value of being in town.  One such meet up is a pretty important informational session that Fenetech is putting on 9/12 and 9/13.  They are going talk about the IoT (Internet of Things) and Industry 4.0 and the communication standard that we will need for our industry.  You may not think you need to know about this stuff but if you are a fabricator you will want to learn because this is an area that could make a difference in your plant.  This is just a jumping off point and I give massive kudos to Fenetech for taking a lead here.  More will follow but I say get on board now. 

--  Big moves on the Architectural Glass and Metal Technician (AGMT) Certification Program…, the folks developing it Administrative Management Systems, (AMS), held a meeting in Chicago recently to work on the basic design for a program, one that will provide validation of glaziers’ fundamental knowledge and skills.    This is an area that brings quite a bit of debate from all sides of the industry and with this effort growing, if you are for it, now’s the time to get involved.  If you are against, be prepared because its gaining steam.  This program looks like a nice combo with the NACC program that certifies companies in the glazing world.  Bottom line if it improves what we do in the field and how we are perceived I am a fan. 


Now I have a legit excuse not to work out

Build a house for you and ALL of your friends….


The best news bloopers for the month of July…. Some good, some not, but always a fun watch.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Confidence Index

We’ve got a new entrant into the world of forecasting the construction industry and this one in its initial report provided some very interesting insight.  The USG & US Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index provided by Dodge Data made its debut and it’s a quarterly index of commercial construction through the eyes of the contractor world.  The report featured a “Confidence Index” that pegged in at 76, which meant it was squarely in the “healthy market” zone and included a ton of survey detail on everything from hiring to green building practices.  The eye-catching thing for me was the green aspect and what I would consider a surprising lack of enthusiasm or usage on such products.  The survey showed that only 26% of respondents see requests for energy efficient products and only 30% seek them out in a major way.  68% either seek them out a little or not at all.  The majority of people requesting or working with energy products are from larger firms (100 million and over) where 48% request and use green related products vs. small ones (under 10 million) who checked in at 7%.  There are a few things here though that jump out at me… is it possible that the respondents don’t realize they are seeking out energy efficient products?  After all so many products have gained performance over the years.  Do you consider a double silver low e an “energy efficient” product?  Or does it have to be triple silver?  Or with BIPV?   Not knowing how someone one defines energy efficiency is a major question for me.  Still it is scary that so many in a major position of power admit they only sparingly look for products that could make an energy difference.   I would assume a lot more on this will be coming out over the next days/weeks/months and I look forward to the 3rd Quarter report to see what else is involved and how the “Confidence Index” is doing.  I’ll obviously keep you appraised on here…


--  Its been a while since I have given props on a new or updated website… so time to shine the spotlight again and this one goes to WAWilson for their awesome refresh.  Yes, my brother Steve is an owner there but even if he wasn’t I would absolutely point out the fresh and very effective approach that they took.  So congrats to my brother, Bobby Hartong and everyone at WA Wilson who made this happen.

--   Really interesting read here on the trees being planted at Apple’s new campus HQ and the difference they will actually make with regards to the carbon footprint. 

--  GlassBuild America note… when you registered did you sign up to come to see Cam Marston at the opening session?  Remember the opening session is open to all… so if you are going to be there and ready for the show, I strongly recommend adding this to your schedule.  Those who have seen Cam speak previously raved about the insight he brought so I don’t think you will want to miss it.  A note in an e-mail from GlassBuild summed it up:

   Build your workforce. Key to addressing the industries' workforce challenge is recruiting young people. GlassBuild America attendees will have the opportunity to hear generational expert Cam Marston address this subject during the GlassBuild America Opening Session—OPEN TO ALL. He will share how understanding the differences of each generation, from Baby Boomers to Millennials, can help attract and retain a new generation of employees. Attendees will walk away with actionable ideas to help them effectively manage across the generations.

--  Last this week… can you believe football season is about to start?  NFL preseason kicks off this coming week.  College (which I love) is a month out.  My goodness.  Time is flying at warp speed.


The Pacific NW has had a brutal run with their highways… last week eels… this week dough.  Lots of dough…

Our schools are a mess.  This story is a part of that.


Tom Dixon is an up and coming country artist and one that has his heart in the right place.  He does tons of charity and his latest is the song “Alive Day” that supports the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes charity that I have noted from time to time.  The official music video is strong….

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Trending Positive

2nd half construction forecasts now have been released by a few of the groups I follow and the news continues to be good.  Depending on the analyst, non-residential building is up 5-7% so far this year and the backlogs/starts continue to be strong lending quite a bit of confidence in the belief that 2018 and now 2019 should be solid.  You may see some reports showing forecasts slower than this but keep in mind these forecasts get revised and in the last 2 years pretty much every one has been revised upward.
Obviously the political landscape all over the globe has the ability to change all of this immediately but for now, the trend is certainly our friend.  Also the Dodge Momentum Index and the Architectural Billings Index both just reported strong results in their June reports and both have been on fire all year.  This is surely a great run from economic side- lets make the best of it industry wide!


--  We as an industry have a ton of providers of materials on a job.  There’s the glass, metal, hardware and components like sealants, caulk, shims etc.  We all want to promote everything we do… but context is needed when the promotion comes.  If you show a picture of an entire skyscraper but you only did a fraction of the material and it’s not really shown, should you promote that entire job as yours?  Or at least leave the impression that it is?  It’s misleading and not right.  Our industry had an example of that online last week and it was disappointing in that it happened, but also that it was never addressed or corrected.  As an industry we take a lot of heat on many things that are not our fault, so it sure would be nice to not bring on extra woe unnecessarily...especially a potential misrepresentation of product on a project.  So when you see the beautiful photo and not a rendering of the completed 609 Main project in Houston, credit for the massive amount of glass in the picture should go to Viracon (tower fa├žade) and Novum (Podium).  Harmon was the glazier.  Congrats to those companies for a job well done!

--  Get Well SOON wishes to an old and great friend Danny Danese of Thompson IG.  Danny is an awesome man that has a heart as big as the globe.  I have absolutely no doubt that he’ll be back at it on the road and out and about in no time after this health concern. 

--  Congrats to Seth Patterson of Thermal Windows on his promotion to VP of Commercial Sales.  Seth was always very welcoming whenever I would see him at GlassBuild and he knows his stuff!  Good to see him moving up the ladder…

--  One week ago I talked “green” rating systems with WELL vs. LEED… After posting I got some excellent feedback from one of the people I consider the smartest in our world- Kerry Haglund of the Efficient Windows Collaborative.  Kerry left the following message on it.

Max, just a bit of clarification on LEED vs WELL. LEED is about energy efficiency/conservation and the built environment. WELL is all about the health and well-being of the people in the buildings and occupied spaces. WELL focuses some on efficiency strategies but only if they are for the benefit of the occupants. So, the two standards/rating systems are not comparable. Though they can be done in conjunction and there are a few strategies and preconditions/optimizations that can satisfy both WELL and LEED. If you need more information, just let me know, I'm a LEED AP as well as a WELL AP :-)

THANK YOU Kerry- I appreciate the additional information and I think with how important this subject is (overall sustainability and how we rate and track) I will be getting with you to get and share more insight with the industry!

--  Last this week, the Top 300 Architectural Firms list was released and for the 6th straight year Gensler was number 1.  Not a lot of movement amongst the top 25 showing the big players continue to dominate.


Hard to believe this is true… 27 contacts… in one eye…

You know this is coming to the US somehow. 

Get ready for more mosquitos…. Yikes.


The new baseball stadium in Atlanta is getting rave reviews (though I can’t get on of the glazing companies to ever talk to me about their role… that’s another story for another time) and I love seeing time lapse videos of how things are built.  Check it out!