Sunday, February 26, 2017

Waiting To See What Happens

It’s the end of the month and I truly expect some big acquisition news to break… but then again I have felt that way for a while, so we’ll see if my senses are accurate or not.  Some times deals are there; they look perfect on the surface yet they fall apart.  I had heard last summer about a pretty major deal, things were moving fast, the buyer had a team working “around the clock” on it and so on.  In the end though for a variety of reasons nothing happened- no deal.  But this time I think we’ll see some action- whether its this week or sometime in the next month as I see at least 3 deals close to the finish line.  I will say the whole angle with researching things like this was a ton easier in 2007-2008 when I broke a few of them on here… those were more simple times for this sort of stuff for sure!


--  The past AAMA event looked like it had some excellent content.  One of the recaps I read included the discussion of LCA and EPD’s.  That is an area where we as an industry still don’t have a great grasp of it- the energy committee at GANA has done an admirable job of pushing the importance of it.  Efforts like those (from people like Mark Silverberg, and Helen Sanders) and also having it in an event like AAMA’s surely helps.  In my opinion, cost and time to achieve this information is surely a scary proposition for many at this point, but it sure looks like demand for these assessments is not going away.

--  For my friends in Southern California… any insight on “Measure S?”  According to this article it will hurt commercial building and development.  But I am curious from the folks on the ground and doing business every day out there what your thoughts are.  And or course with any ballot measure there’s usually as my brother Steve would say  “3 sides to the story” with each side taking a point and the truth laying somewhere in the middle.

--  If you ever watched the excellent documentary “The Two Escobars” or more recently the Netflix series “Narcos” than you are familiar with Pablo Escobar.  But are you aware that his son is actually a very respected architect?  He credits the profession for saving his life.   Good interview with him here.

--  The latest Architectural Billings Index is out and it starts 2017 in negative territory with a score of 49.5.  (Slightly below the break even of 50.)  However the new project score was a smoking 60 up from 57.6 last month.  Overall the positive vibes continue and the analysts who monitor this still feel pretty good.  If there is a worry its “real time” conditions are a bit soft right now but that is the adventure of the start of the year where weather, budgets, and holiday hangovers wreak havoc with schedules.

--  Last this week- glazier certification is back in the discussion.  AMS- the group that the industry uses for IGCC, SGCC, NACC certification and more held a summit in Las Vegas with the Finishing Trade Institute to begin dialogue on individual glazier certification.  There’s a lot of passion for this process from many different areas of our world and it finally getting some movement is exciting.  But there’s no question this is in its infancy and there is a long road to go.


I’ve had to use this foam before- crazy to get it confused with hair mousse.  Then again I haven’t had hair for a long long time….

This made me think of BEC’s Keynote Speaker Mark Eaton.  Tall guy with a creative approach.

How to sell 26,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies?  Networking and honest reviews. (And some people with lots of cash obviously....)


Drones are all the rage these days but there’s a group of Tigers that surely do not like them!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Getting It Going

I had a few discussions this past week about advanced technology in our industry and how it is or isn’t being adopted or grown in the architectural market.  This is a massive frustration for me. I have always been an enthusiastic early adopter of new technology and see the value.  Unfortunately the people that really can control the end results of these new products are completely opposite of me.  What is the answer here?  How do we get more push?   Interestingly if you ask people from outside the industry they’ll blame us- saying we don’t innovate.  But we do.  We have amazing glass products that can hit numbers never seen before and are an active part of the structure.  There’s now framing that allows the glass to actually perform as expected, not decreasing its values thanks to make up.  And there are plenty of other components that help the assembly as a whole soar.  So the products are there- the mass adoption continues to be slow.  What are we missing?


--  Saw a tidbit online that made me feel good… residential building starts in 2016 posted its best year since 2005-2006.  With the commercial industry running a year behind the residential side, this surely shows that the positivity should continue.  Residential starts have grown now for 7 straight years.

--  One area I failed to mention in depth during last weeks BEC recap was the always extremely helpful presentation by Dr. Tom Culp.  I seriously think his presentation should be streamed to the entire industry (hey there’s an idea!) because it absolutely affects all of us.  One word that really stuck for me throughout Tom’s presentation was “daylighting” – that surely seems to be an area of serious focus going forward and obviously our industry has great options for that.  Though you still have to not give in on the energy side, so a happy medium between great daylighting and high performance is a must. 

--  The rocky run for the AIA ontinues.  They are still dealing with the fall out of their post election press release and then they ran into another issue when they laid out their keynote speeches for their upcoming show.  They did not initially include any women in the program.  After a heavy backlash they did add a panel on day 3, but the damage was done.  If you want to get a feel for how some of the membership is feeling, check out the article on the situation and spend some time in the comment section.  Very interesting.

--  For my marketing friends- just a heads up, Twitter is making more changes including hiding some “low quality tweets” during conversations.  One thing that is not clear is how Twitter will determine quality, but if we have learned anything from Google and their programs, the rules will be changing constantly.  Never a dull moment when you are trying to be active in the social and online realm.

--  Last this week… now that I am addicted to Netflix (the ability to download so I can watch while I fly is awesome.) I found actually a work reason to use it.  There’s a new series on there called Abstract: The Art of Design and it’s a documentary series that follows different designers- many of which are major players in the commercial architectural world.  So in between me binging on “House of Cards” I will have some work to watch….


--  I am NOT a believer in Valentines Day at all… but this couple did it right for each other!

--  VERY lucky to survive this gator attack on the golf course

--  The pet squirrel is a hero!


I don’t understand the “Challenge” here but I love Bruno Mars- easily the most talented entertainer out there right now.  So I know there’s no way I could watch his video or listen to his music without singing and dancing….


Saturday, February 11, 2017

BEC Recap

The latest BEC Conference is now in the books and the biggest news coming out of it was the announcement of a joint task force between the National Glass Association (NGA) and the Glass Association of North America (GANA).  The charge for that task force is to explore the options to work more collaboratively and possibly combining the two organizations.  This is HUGE.  And I have been firmly in the camp of pushing a combined entity for a long time.  Both organizations are favorites of mine and I have been involved with both for many years.  I know the pros and cons of both.  And I can tell you this is a perfect match.  From an industry standpoint we need a more efficient and effective approach to events.  We also need to have a clearly defined voice.  And that’s just the start- this also has the ability to supercharge our training and education needs- something that is a massive issue for our world.  We as an industry need this and full credit goes to the leadership of both groups for starting this important process.  Obviously this is just a jumping off point but I am hopeful this will grow into something great. 

So back to the actual BEC Conference recap…

--  It was a very strong event and first congratulations have to go to Gus Trupiano of AGC who is the chair of the division and driving force of the conference.  Gus is not only an incredibly nice person, but a great leader as well.  This was his first BEC in charge and he delivered a tremendous event. 

--  The content this year was very strong, there was something for everyone really.  Julie Schimmelpenningh of Eastman delivered a fabulous keynote speech despite crazy technical interruptions.  The keynote is a tough spot but Julie nailed it.  I thought that Matt Johnson and Paul Gary were super on the legal piece and world famous Architect James Carpenter really was a fascinating guy to listen to.  The celebrity keynote was from former NBA player Mark Eaton and that too landed nicely- with a memorable approach and one that had many attendees debating some of his core messaging long after he was done. 

--  I had the amazing honor again of moderating a panel. This year it was a glazier challenges theme and my panelists were simply awesome.  While I think the theme was meant for other glaziers in the crowd to learn from their peers on stage, I learned a ton during their session and my respect for everything the modern contract glazier has to deal with grew immensely.  So thank you Bill Sullivan of Brin, Stephanie Lamb of Giroux, Ted Derby of LCG, and Joe Clabbers of National Glass.  You all are incredible credits to our world and I am grateful for what you all do!

--  Ok to finish this post off, time to cover some of the folks I ran into at BEC.  Remember the big key of BEC is the networking.  If you go to this and you are not making friends, you are doing it wrong….(and if you are not going- be there next year!)

--  In visiting with Bill Coady of Guardian he let me know this will be his last BEC- he’s retiring soon.  That is a loss for Guardian and for all of us.  Bill is the epitome of a class human being.  Great knowledge and care and will be missed!  Enjoy retirement my friend!  While still on the Guardian track, I met for the first time Samer Abughazaleh and that was enjoyable- very interesting guy who probably was wondering what I do in life.  (Don’t worry Samer, most people are still trying to figure that out too) 

--  Jon Kimberlain of Dow is always a favorite visit for me.  So incredibly smart and put together, I just want some of that to rub off on me.  Another example of smart? Dr. Tom Culp and Urmila Sowell meet that description every time.  I thank them again for all they do for our world!  It was great to see a smiling and healthy Greg Oehlers of TriStar along with his cohort Rob Carlson.  Thanks for noting you read the blog Rob- I appreciate it!  Speaking of reading, Cameron Scripture of Viracon always gives me great books to read and he did it again this time. And yes he still has those movie star good looks!   Was able to congratulate Ron Hull of Kuraray in person on his new position.  He’ll do great. 

--  It was nice to talk for a few minutes with Joseph Holmes of EFCO as well as my old friend, the incredible Shelly Farmer of SC Railing. Catching up with past co worker Bob Cummings of Hartung will never get old for me and same with talking sports with Joe Carlos of Triview.  And speaking of guys named Joe- Mr. Erb of Quanex was there and he always has a smile on his face and positive approach.  I always am in awe of the talent of people like Heather West and Rich Porayko.  They do things every day that make our industry (and the groups they work with) look great and that is appreciated!

--  I had the pleasure to meet GlassFab’s Barbara Russell for the first time as well as getting to visit with Mike Goldfarb too.  That company just recently passed the 10-year milestone in business and the sky is the limit for them.  Clover Architectural Products Tom O’Malley is always a constant at events like this and I think he knows more people in the crowd than anyone, so getting 5 minutes with him was a great deal for me.

--  And there were many more folks that I just can’t get to here… maybe next post!  In any case this was a good event that served its purpose once again.  I look forward to the next opportunity to network and learn amongst the best and brightest in our industry!


People getting fired and why… comical article

Red Robin CEO gets a tattoo after service improves.  Hey if that’s what motivates… go for it.  I am a fan of Red Robin- they treat food allergies seriously.

This is a rough one- we are in a world of “if you see something, say something” but sometimes things are truly innocent…


Did you see the UCLA Cheerleader adventure from this week?  Take a few seconds… poor kid had a tough night.  She is ok and fine now by the way….

Sunday, February 05, 2017

It's BEC Week

This week is one the major events in our industry with the GANA BEC Conference in Las Vegas.  I have been fortunate enough to be involved with this event for many years and while so much has changed in our industry and world, the key advantage of this conference remains… the incredible ability to network.  Yes the education is great and the speakers are usually very engaging but the chance to see people from companies up and down the supply chain- all in one place- is huge.  Basically it’s one of the two times in our industry (GlassBuild America being the other) where you can attend an event that allows you stay on top of everything happening in our world.  I’ll have my annual breakdown of all of the takeaways of BEC next week…


--  One group of people and company I like visiting with at BEC is Viracon.  And I have to pass major props to Kelly Schuller and every employee there for their incredible charitable contributions.  Viracon employees donated an incredible $108,692.60  to the United Way in 2016.  This is simply awesome and everyone involved there should be commended for his or her effort.

--  Time to look at the latest Glass Magazine… first what got me was the cover shot- a beautiful classic looking project in Montreal; it looks old school but performs like a 2017 champ.  That led to a fantastic story from Katy Devlin that not only broke that building down but some others as the battle for advanced energy performance in buildings continues.  There are several other stories that are worth checking out as well- and I plan on calling them out more in the next few weeks- including the look at the I-Codes and how we as an industry should be approaching them.   Whether you get the magazine or grab online- make sure you are checking it out, too much important content to miss!

--  Ad of the month… is actually a tie.  Loved the effect of the TGP ad as soon as I cracked open the magazine.  Slick 2 page spread with a catchy picture and tag line.  Nice!  But I also really liked what Schuco did with the use of old computer discs- basically pushing the idea of don’t get left behind.  While many do that sort of ad, this particular visual worked for me and caught my eye.

--  Check out the video of the week below from Guardian.  It is undoubtedly a promotion video on their work in the middle east but it’s a great quick watch with stunning views of the buildings and facades in that region.  Being the glass and glazing geek that I am, just seeing some of these projects is really breathtaking.  Plus I love looks at other plants and layouts.  Good watch for sure and a VERY well done video.  Wish I had those skills!

--  For my fellow road warriors… did you happen to see the airplane row of the future?  Check out this link and let me know what you think.  This looks to be too advanced for the stodgy airline industry….

--  Super article here on the “death” of Facebook- I know many who feel same way.

Last this week… Super Bowl... WOW.  I mean that was beyond words.  I feel for my friends that are Falcon fans- tough loss.  Happy for folks like Steven Brenner and Brian Shaw- big time Pats fans who are on cloud nine right now.  Commercial wise they were pretty awful all night.  5 million for 30 seconds and the lack of creativity was stunning.  The folks doing creative for ads in Glass Magazine are loads better.  If I had to choose a few "winners" I would say the Tide, Kings Hawaiian, Spud McKenzie, and Ford "Stuck" commercials were best with decent efforts by Buick (Cam Newton) and the live Adam Driver spot.  Still I gotta think these agencies have to go back to the drawing board for the future.


Uh oh… Bacon is actually bad?  Nooooooooooooooooo! 

If you are a watcher of “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver you will get a chuckle out of this story about TRONC and an odd tweet.

This really happened and was not an episode of a show on TV… yet….


As noted previously… here is the video via Guardian on glass in the middle east…