Sunday, December 17, 2017

MVP 2017

So before I get to my annual industry MVP, I just wanted to hit on item that I have been pretty active on over the past several months.  This past Monday GANA sent a voting ballot to its membership asking them to vote on approving a combined entity of GANA and NGA.  As I have stated here on many occasions I believe this combined entity is a must for our industry- it is the opportunity to get that one unified voice and bring the best of these two excellent groups together.  One key is an improved efficiency and approach with meetings & events.  More focus and the opening for more input from parties that may not have been heard in the past or comfortable speaking up.  Movements like this and other possibilities will allow the strengths of these organizations to grow.  Obviously a lot of the work still needs to be done to determine how a combined group will exactly look when merged-but that’s normal in any unification.  But what I do know is the personalities involved are strong and caring, and they have our best interest as an industry at the forefront.  So if you have a ballot, please vote, and if you want to talk more about this, I am always up for a dialogue. 

Ok now on to the MVP…

2017 was a tough one… but in the end I did find my winner.

First though the runners up… and all of these are well deserving because they truly came to play all year long with the best interest of the industry in mind.

2 companies and 2 individuals make up the group that came close.  They are:

GCI Consultants- These folks made the list because they went next level with communication that made a difference.  Every other week for the most part, GCI released a podcast with an industry subject and guest.  That is something I have wanted to do for the past 3 years and couldn’t do and these guys are doing it and doing it extremely well.  To find new ways to communicate is a crucial step in reaching more of the world.  Kudos and congrats to GCI for pulling it off

Darijo Babic- Guardian Glass- There are stories about Darijo’s work ethic and hustle that are folk legend like.  There is no doubt he is a person who gets the job done and he brings a passion to the glass industry that is off the charts.  Darijo this year and in his past has been tremendous at educating architects and designers on glass and why it needs to be used.  

Cathie Saroka- Goldray- Cathie’s company has tons of admirers with the beautiful product they produce.  But it’s Cathie’s activities on the technical side of the industry and her being at the front of promoting the excellent potential uses of decorative glass (instead of non glass products) wins the day for me.  10 years ago decorative glass was a niche, it now is standard and the space it goes in can utilize a lot of different non-glass options, so having a champion pushing glass is huge.

Walker Glass- There are so many people at this company who could probably be on this list solo it only made sense to honor the company as a whole.  The commitment that Walker makes to the technical side of the industry is huge.  No matter where the meeting is, they usually have multiple people there.  And those folks usually take on leadership roles that involve more work than their daily duties.  Walker also has excelled at leading the way in newer areas of bird protective glazing and sustainable glazing with the etched products (going after HPD/EPD etc.)  Overall it’s an impressive body of work. Kudos to Lee Harrison, Ross Christie and the entire team Walker team for doing what you do!

Congrats to the above folks/companies.  You all represent the industry well!

Now to the winner…. I have known this gentleman for a few years and was a fan of his style and skill.   But honestly it wasn’t until this year when I saw him in action in a few different venues that he hit my radar as a guy that was performing even beyond my initial knowledge. My industry MVP for 2017 is Joe Erb of Quanex.  Joe is easily one of the most likable people in our world and one that I would be stunned if anyone did not hold in the highest levels of respect.  He is a focused, caring guy who has thrown himself into several volunteer roles all with the industries best interests in mind.  As I noted above, I watched him do his thing in a few meetings and it was awesome.  Joe kept discussion flowing and debate/collaboration at a fair and respected pace.  All the while making sure that the work being done would provide a benefit to what we all do.  Like the past winners of this award, I am just in awe of the effort Joe puts forward and appreciate all he does!  Congrats Joe, I believe this honor is well deserved!

Ok so that is it for my last “scheduled” post of 2017.  If major news breaks I’ll jump in online and on twitter.  Beyond that I want to wish all of you out there a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy, and rewarding 2018.  I am looking forward to what’s in store and I can’t wait to continue to share my thoughts, gripes, and whines with you here on this blog.  Take care and enjoy!!


An “ugly” Christmas sweater that went kinda wrong….

This would be a brutal flight delay!

This may not be for everyone- but for those who want a Christmas tree but don’t have space- this is not a bad idea!


Part of me thinks this is fake… a seagull grabs a “GoPro” camera and flies away.  The owner finds it several months later and this is the video it shot…. Online they are calling this the seagull drone…

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Slowing the Roll

The past week brought some technology plays to the forefront of our industry.  Usually I am pretty upbeat about the possible innovation breakthroughs because I love when we push the line.  However this time I’m a little more cautious than normal.  The first of the two chunks of news was from NREL with the press release on a thermochromic glass product.  This potential product supposedly will mix the thermochromic property into a solar/electricity generating one.  The issue I have is this is not new, has been done, and the product they are showing still is nowhere close to any sort of commercialization.  It’s very premature that they are even trumpeting this- but if you Google NREL and glass, this isn’t the first time they’ve pushed their news. With every ballyhooed announcement about some solar breakthough and then nothing happens, it does cause our industry as a whole to take on unwarranted criticism that we are not innovating.   It’s a neat concept, but that’s all it is right now and until it can be produced in a consistent manner in commercial sizes, the celebration needs to slow a bit.
The second story came from Merck out of Germany with news on a production facility to produce Liquid Crystal (LC) Windows.  This has some interesting potentials and it appears this is much much further down the process line than the NREL item mentioned above, but what caught my eye was the distribution comment. 

Merck does not see itself as a competitor to glass and window manufacturers, but rather will supply the modules enabling them to make these smart glass elements, windows and façades. In addition, Merck assists architects, designers as well as window and façade makers in an advisory capacity.

So I guess some day soon your window manufacturer will be bringing in LC to integrate into their windows… it just doesn’t seem that doable given the technology needed to handle it all.  But it bears watching and despite my comments, I am keeping an open mind. 
By the way you may be noticing a lot more news from the “smart” glass world.  Reason is based on continuing market studies that say the switchable/smart glass market will be in the billions of dollars in the coming years.  It’s been a pretty constant prediction of that since I started blogging and the studies (big numbers coming in a few years!) just keep moving the goal posts.  But a billion dollar potential is surely enticing.


--  More positive economic news… the latest Dodge Momentum Index was very strong.  It surged up almost 20% on the commercial building side in November.  Year over year the index is up 24%.  Obviously very good signs.  Another good sign are the commercial building backlog statistics.  They currently stand at an all time high with this last 6-month stretch blowing the doors off past numbers.  All the metrics do have 2018 looking to be very good, obviously we’ll see if everything plays out like the projections are showing.

--  Congrats to Heather Evans of YKK AP America on her first blog on last week.  This was a super read and another great use of the medium.  Informative, interesting, helpful.  Job well done Heather!

--  Next week my glass industry MVP will be revealed along with this years runners up.  All I can say is this has been the toughest call yet and none of the past ones were close to easy. So many good choices!

--  Last this week… Folks who know me know I hate the commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell.  So obviously this week was not a good one for me when he signed a new contract with the NFL worth 200 million dollars.  200 million.  That just makes me ill.  I used to live for sports, and especially Sunday NFL football- but that love is long gone.  200 million.  Absolutely insane.


The bad guys are always coming up with new ways.  Now to steal push button start cars….

Wow- I am stunned this still is done… and what a deep letter.  Ouch


An old friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I was absolutely mesmerized by it.  It’s a great song to start with but then you add the Peanuts gang, all seemingly playing in tune… check it out- great stuff!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Remembering Frank and Jack

The glass and glazing industry lost two amazing people last week with the passing of Frank Dlubak and Jack Hoisington.  Both men made significant impacts in the markets they played in and will be missed greatly.  Frank Dlubak was a remarkable inventor and founder of Dlubak Corporation.  Some including myself thought of Frank as a mad scientist (In a good way!) He was always coming up with a new product or machine that could change the way the market worked.  My first visit with Frank was many years ago and he showed off a new addition to one of his tempering ovens, it was all home made, all invented and developed solely by Frank.  It was jawdropping and I was speechless.  But pretty much you felt that awe after every conversation with Frank because he had this amazing energy about him. 
Jack Hoisington was a Michigan glass and glazing leader for many years as the owner of Madison Heights Glass.  He was also probably one of the overall nicest people this industry has ever seen.  He was extremely friendly and positive as well hard working and ethical.   He was a guy that the glass and glazing industry can point to as an excellent example of class.  Frank and Jack were guys who always left a positive impression on you because they allowed you to have a conversation and you learned after every interaction with them.   The passing of these two incredible men leaves a massive hole in our world and hearts.  My sincerest condolences to family and friends of Frank and Jack…


--  The latest issue of Glass Magazine is out- this one is dedicated to the Top Metal companies in the industry so several pages are focused on that area including some interesting insight on the challenges that some of these companies faced in 2017. Plus I loved the coverage my pal Tom O’Malley (Clover Architectural Products) got with a full-page shot of the Cummins Building in Indianapolis.  I know Tom has always been extremely proud of his company’s contribution to that structure, so it was great to see it recognized.  Obviously I advise reading this (and every issue) cover to cover, but I want to also point out that there’s some interesting content on the Buy America Act, codes on glass wall systems, and an excellent piece by Carl Tomkins of Sika about doing things differently. 

--  The ad of the month goes to the gang from TGP.  The layout of the ad caught my eye with a bold, smart headline and then just enough text to carry the message all the way home.  Tremendous work and props to the team at TGP on a job well done!

--  Last week I asked about the building used on the TV show- “The Good Doctor” and thank you to all who replied with the info.  (One was my friend, the great Steve O’Hollaren of National Glass- very cool to communicate with “SteveO” again.) So what we know now… this is a real building and it is in Surrey, BC.  So I’d love to know who fabricated and installed the glass.  Tons of tremendous companies in that part of the world, so I am not even going to guess. 

--  Did you see that one of the soccer stadiums in Qatar beingbuilt for the World Cup will be demountable?  All of it.  We as an industry are now used to demountable interior office systems… but an entire building or stadium?  Wow.

Last this week, a story to follow and one that has a lot of moving parts and pieces but does have a glass related connection.  In Philadelphia there’s a move a foot to get rid of the all bullet resistant glass structures at convenience style stores.  I have been used to that set up my entire life (there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken we used to go to that was the first I can remember) so I’m very curious to see how this proceeds.


I gotta admit this is the first time I’m seeing a teacher busted for this…

This is a tough one- the world is changing and you have to be able to change with it- but she seems very needed and if she can properly treat the patients- nothing else should matter

Sometimes I’ll activate “Siri” when I say “Sorry” but thisstory is much better… wow


Lindsey Stirling is an amazing talent.  Violinist and dancer… I’m a big fan.   If you’ve never seen or heard of her, it’s worth checking out!  Here’s her latest to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Almost Done with 2017

We’re now entering the home stretch of 2017.  For many people the year is over.  The amount of work that gets done between now and new years is usually on the low side.  So productivity is not a positive right now.  Still work needs to be done, and weather is cooperating in the traditional winter weather spots of the US.  That could change pretty quickly but nasty, job-slowing precipitation has not been a factor yet.  This year though has absolutely flown right by…


--  The latest Architectural Billings Index (ABI) came in with a return to the positive.  The key with tracking the ABI is that it doesn’t touch our world for at least 9 months, so these consistent upbeat reports, along with healthy backlogs really are momentum builders for 2018.  There’s obviously the daily worry that some geo political nightmare that bursts from a twitter post could bring all of this to a halt, but so far so good metric wise.

--  A while back I wrote briefly on the “fake marketing” that is happening in our industry.  Sadly that trend keeps continuing with companies attaching their names to projects online and leaving the reader to incorrectly assume that said company supplied the entire noted product on the building.  It’s a lazy and weak approach and quite frankly distasteful to try and take credit for something you don’t deserve.  As you can see it makes me somewhat crazy- mostly because companies can and should be better than that.

--  Congrats to my friends at Walker Glass for completing the HPD/EPD process for several of their products.  That is not an easy or inexpensive process but it is meaningful in the big picture of transparency with regards to sustainable building.  Well done gang!

--  The home of the 2018 edition of GlassBuild America, the Las Vegas Convention Center is getting some serious upgrades and additions.  860 million will be spent to make the center the 2nd largest in the US right behind Chicago’s McCormick.  My guess is Vegas saw how GlassBuild is growing and with the merger of GANA and NGA, they needed to add more space to take care of us glass folk!

--  Does anyone out there watch the new ABC show “The Good Doctor” – if you do you see an amazing looking hospital featuring tons of glass.  I’m curious is that a real structure (or Hollywood magic) and if it is real, where is it and who did the glass and glazing… because it is sharp!

--  Are you a Top Glass Fabricator?  If so submissions are now open for Glass Magazine’s Top Fabricator list.  Get your details in and you can also nominate so great glaziers along the way too! 

--  I think “Black Friday” may be the biggest day of the year for promotional e-mails.  I was floored by the amount that I received to start the day and how they just kept on coming in.  I think every list I have ever been on from a retail outlet reached out to me as well as many others that I have no idea how they found me.

--  Last this week, before the Thanksgiving holiday in the US I posted a handful of things I am thankful for within our industry.  If you are interested you can find that posthere…


This story shows a sad part of our society- people confusing Charles Manson with music star Marilyn Manson

Part 2 of society frustrations… how people can be mad at a professor for telling the simple truth

Deep and long story on the last of the Iron Lungs in operation.  I honestly had no idea this was still out there.


Fun video- guy does one of those typical contests during an NBA game and wins food for entire crowd… backstory they don’t mention, the shooter recently survived cancer.  Very cool.