Saturday, March 25, 2017

Awesome Retrofit

One of the big issues we face energy wise is old, energy sucking buildings.  Structures that were built before quality materials became available or mainstream.  I am confident that every new building that goes up at least pays some mind to energy efficiency (would like more, but I will take what I can get- for now) but we need to make sure old buildings get brought up to speed.  One such structure I read about recently is in Rhode Island and major congratulations are due to everyone involved.  This was a building that was originally constructed in 1973 and it was that classic concrete bunker look.  The building sat empty for many years until a smart developer jumped in and decided it was time to rehab the structure.  By gutting the inside and outside, the work done to it was absolutely transformational- so much so that the building achieved LEED Gold status.  Simply amazing.  And proof it can be done.  The project was 1301 Atwood inJohnston, Rhode Island and if you supplied or installed material on it, drop me a line- I would love to hear more about your experience and even share it with my readers.  Anyway at the end of the day we need to do this more and more- get old buildings renewed and energy smart- it’s good for our planet and obviously our industry.


--  A big deal in the industry this week with SAAND purchasing Guardian’s Webster, MA fab facility.  The guys at SAAND are sharp folks and they continue to make very savvy moves.  In the long run this will really be a nice acquisition for them.

--  It was very busy week deal wise- Greco Railings, Chelsea Building, Atlanta Commercial Glazing and 2 UK based Pilkington factories all changed hands.  And folks there’s a few more to come.  We are certainly in transaction season. 

--  The Architectural Billings Index bounced back in February finishing above the break-even line at 50.7.  Even better the new project inquiry index was its best mark in more than 2 years.  So some very positive reporting this month from the ABI world- I have to assume the big run on Wall Street may have had something to do with the new project trend- I guess we will see. 

--  Want to read a fantastic piece on commercialization?  Check this one out… really required reading for everyone trying to build a product line.

--  I can’t believe this is my last blog of March.  1Q is done.  2017 is absolutely moving way too fast.  I swear I think I am going to blink my eyes and I’ll already be at GlassBuild.

Last this week… I am absolutely humbled to announce I will be speaking at the Texas Glass Association’s “Glasscon 17” event in May.  I love speaking to groups like the TGA and I am excited that the TGA is really working hard to build a great event for their members.  So if you can get to Waco on May 19th, I’d love to see you there.  Plus you’ll also hear from Nicole Harris, the President of the National Glass Association, Yuwadee Senamontree of Guardian, David Linhart of Vitro, and one of my all time favorite speakers, the legend Greg Oehlers of TriStar.  The theme of the overall session is “Improving the Future Together” and I think that really is appropriate.  We really need to be working together to bring the best insight and education to our industry to keep moving it forward.  Learn more by clicking HERE.


How in the world does this happen?

So help me out here- I think this guy got what he deserved right?

Heads up- yet another scam to be aware of….


As some of you know I am involved with a wonderful charity called the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes.  It is run by former NGA VP David Walker and it does amazing things for our veterans.  So for the video this week- a look inside this charity from the folks behind.  If you are in a charitable mood, please consider donating to this group- great people who are really doing a lot of life saving things.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Adventures in Modern Project Managing

Last month I was very lucky to be involved in a panel that featured 4 incredible glazing contractors from 4 of the best companies in our industry.  It was during that time that I learned even more about what the day-to-day adventures are for the glazing contractor in the fast paced world we currently live in.  That session really opened my eyes to challenges I did not know even existed.  So this week when I attended a webinar that featured the 37th Annual Deltek Clarity A&E Industry Study I was more in-tune than I would’ve been before my session back in February.   The big takeaway I wanted to share from the study was a poll that ran down the “Top Project Management Challenges” and based on what I knew and recently learned, I don’t think anyone will be surprised. Here are some of the big ones.

  • Competing priorities including project management, design, business etc.
  • Inexperienced people up and down the chain
  • Communication
  • Schedule viability
  • Poorly defined scope
  • Accurate project cost and timeline forecasting

I would assume everyone who either manages projects right now or has a staff that does it are nodding their heads right now.  So it’s good we know about the issues, but what in the world can we do about them? That’s a session I’d love to attend if it ever happens!!


--  Time for the monthly review of Glass Magazine and this is an issue very close to my heart because at the core of my being, I am a fabricator and this is the annual “Top Glass Fabricator” edition.  Tremendous reading and resource overall and major kudos to everyone listed- so many great organizations doing significant things in our world.   Please take some time to check it out and a tip of the cap to Bethany Stough and the team that pulled this thing together.  That much info is NOT easy to make sense of and they really knocked it out of the park.  

--  Aside from the fabricator coverage there was also another article I want to point out.  The “Succession through Hardship” piece about the family business and the transfer that follows through death, illness etc.  Obviously this is another one that I get from a personal level as well.  Interesting and heart wrenching stories for me but also very inspirational on how people dealt with it and moved positively forward into the future.  

--  The ad of the month was a tough one- a lot of very good ones and many new entries thanks most likely to the fabricator heavy coverage.  Was great to see ads from people I had never seen previously like Woonsocket, GlassFab, Glass Vice and others.  But my winner for this month is SC Railing.  I think the pictures they chose made sense.  I also thought the extra white space worked and I am usually not a fan of that style but in this case it was a winning look.  Congrats SC Railing team…

--  There was an update this week on the joint meetings between the Glass Association of North America (GANA) and the National Glass Association (NGA) and basically things continue to head down an encouraging path.  That is great to see and the feedback I am getting continues to be extremely positive.  The desire for a streamlined, focused approach is something that we all need in our world right now.

--  Last this week…  GANA wrapped up their Annual Conference last week and announced their various members of the year and also the Greg Carney Member of the Year Award. 
From GANA: 

2017 Division Award Recipients were nominated by their peers based on leadership and volunteerism with regard to their activities within the respective Division in the past year.
  • BEC Division: Jeff Haber – W&W Glass Company
  • Decorative Division: Marc Deschamps – Walker Glass Co., Ltd.
  • Energy Division: Sarah Sinusas – Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates
  • Insulating Division: Jeff Haberer – Trulite Glass & Aluminum
  • Laminating Division: Julia Schimmelpenningh – Eastman Chemical Company
  • Tempering Division: Steve Marino – Vitro Architectural Glass
  • C.G. Carney Member of the Year: Stanley Yee- Dow Corning Corporation

Everyone who was honored richly deserved the nods- great people who truly give of themselves as volunteers to the industry.  But I am so happy that Greg’s name continues to live on in the form of this award.  Such a great man that was taken from his family and us way too soon. 


This story was an interesting one- lack of Uber and Lyft in Austin rankles the elite… and shows other issues.

Is there a thing possible as a balanced media diet?  No way. 


AMAZING slo mo video of a train bursting through snow… not sure why the clueless people on the stage just waited there- they had to know the snow was going to somewhere….

Sunday, March 12, 2017

What Architects Really Want

One thing that many in this industry absolutely covet beyond anything else is interaction with architects.  Obviously it makes sense on many levels because the architect can surely make a difference in the advancement of your product and services.  Bit even with all of the working of this group- do we know what they want?  Well this week, I finally got an idea after finally seeing AIA’s excellent study on the “Journey to Specification.”  One of the main keys was education and I think we all knew that- but it was the specific breakdown of the learning needs that were interesting.  Evidently a majority of the respondents want their education in shorter and more creative and coherent bursts and they want it without a sales spin.  So basically quick hits from a technical guy or engineer is the preferred method.  And they also want the ability to take advantage of apps/technology that supply the education in micro-style sessions like CEStrong (that several industry companies use) that still offer the necessary CEU’s they want/need, while getting their education in small bites.  I think the traditional “lunch n learn” will always be there and needed but I think we all know its not the most effective vehicle. 
Another point made… Architects want better website layouts from the manufacturers.  This is an area I fight and lose daily with manufacturers- so maybe seeing a survey like this will open some eyes… but anyway what the architects want is a site that breaks down the supply process in areas such as design stage, specification stage, and review and approval stage.   I believe this issue here for many companies is that they get caught up in the minutia of the site look  and they completely miss the layout (optimized best for user) and content. 
There were many other items but these to me were the highlights.  At the end of the day we can do all of what the architect wants- still getting them to spend the time, even how minimal will always be a challenge.  But at least we know some of the keys they are currently after.


--  Alex Carrick, the Chief Economist for Construct Connect is one of the best follows on twitter.  There are always a few pieces to keep you informed on the economy and forecasts.  One example was a link to his blog on one of my favorite indicators to follow- the “put in place” spending study.  The details are a bit concerning as its showing some weakness out there on the non residential side.  When I see words like “softening” and “backsliding” it makes my stomach turn.  This is surely one to continue to monitor.

--  A few weeks ago I mentioned that “Measure S” in Southern California was up for vote and there was quite a bit of debate on it.  The voters now have spoken, defeating the measure significantly- at almost a 2-to1 margin.  (though voter turnout may have been amongst the lowest ever there)  Developers seemingly are the big winner on this one but from everything I read and heard on it, there’s still great need to get the area up to speed with planning, zoning, and codes.

--  The designs and plans are coming out for the new Los Angeles Rams stadium and this is one for my façade geeks out there.  They are promoting a breathable façade that will respond to the climate so the need for HVAC won’t be there.  Hmmm.  I am not smart enough to compute that.  Here’s the article- interesting stuff.

--  From the how far we have come files… the Apple II computer came out in this month of 1987 and sold for $7000.  That would be like $15,000 in today’s dollars.  There is no question that part of the world has made incredible advancements.

--  Last this week- I failed to mention last week that the amazing show “The Americans” is back.  If you have not seen it- start at season 1 and go from there.  The show will end in 2018, so conclusions are coming…


This is a depressing blow to the solar community in the UK…

This would be huge- but I am not holding my breath.  Breakthroughs on medicine seemingly never happen.

This is justice… carjacker hopefully thrown in jail for a long time.


So I tweeted this one out… this was simply the funniest thing of the week.  And anyone who has worked from home has had this happen.  By the way the little girl and her swagger while walking in is the best.