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.

Sunday, November 19, 2017


Ok in keeping with my all time favorite holiday, (Thanksgiving in the US) I am taking a different spin on this week’s blog…  I am going with things in this industry I am thankful for…

--  I am thankful that we have so many amazing people in this industry who care… do you know how hard it is to find people who really truly care these days?  And yet in our industry the selflessness by so many people and organizations is pretty awesome.

--  I am thankful for the potential upcoming merger of GANA and the NGA.  Such a huge and important move for the health, welfare, and future of our industry.  And kudos to Nicole Harris for being a visionary in pushing for this.

--  I am thankful that Glass Magazine picks up my blog weekly.  I think I have given Katy Devlin and Bethany Stough fits with having to worry that my weakening writing skills will devalue their amazing site and also whom I may end up offending along the way.  But they still support me.  Amazing.

--  I am thankful to all of those folks (way too many to mention) who helped me along the way in our glass universe; like my brother Steve who convinced me to leave television to join the business, then convinced me to turn down a great gig hosting a TV show in Virginia to stay at it.   And my late dad, who never pressured me about joining the business or even staying in it, he would’ve supported me the same incredible way if I was doing the fishing report in North Dakota or working in the glass industry.  Class guy who didn’t talk much but his lessons, even 16 years after he is gone still speaks volumes for me.

--  I am thankful that the forecasts for the industry look positive for the next few years.  Obviously a lot can change and change quickly, but I am surely enjoying the positive wave now.

--  I am thankful we have companies that are innovating even though some from outside the industry don’t believe it.  Our materials have come a long way since I started in 1991 even though some days it doesn’t feel that way.

--  I am thankful for all I have been fortunate enough to experience in person in our industry, including amazing float plants, great fab operations, unitized glazing setups, installations, testing, R&D, trade shows etc.  So many experiences and memories I cherish and will always be on the lookout for more.

--  I am thankful for my fellow bloggers who write blogs I only wish I could write.  People like John Wheaton who bring up really insightful subjects and get people thinking and acting in a way that can only help our industry. 

--  I am thankful for GlassBuild America and for GANA BEC- two events that mean the world to me and our industry, and all I have learned at both.

--  Last… I am thankful that I still have the opportunity to write this blog every week and that at least a few people and my mom still read it.   I truly appreciate it and I am legitimately blown away every time someone notes they read it.  I’ve been posting for 12 years and I hope I still bring some interesting items up even though I am a ton mellower than I was when I started. (Thank goodness!)  I sincerely hope that every one out there in the U.S. has a wonderful holiday and to my friends in Canada and elsewhere enjoy the peace and quiet that should be emanating out of the United States Thursday!


This sounds like a heck of a sight!

A yacht with 186 MILLION dollars worth of cocaine…. Wow.


Next June the new Deadpool movie comes out… I am torn on this one… I know some people loved it (my son especially) and others did not.  It is surely different.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Start of the MVP Process

As I mentioned on my last post, it is Glass Industry MVP Season… so the first step is looking back at the past before noting who is going to be recognized this year. I have been acknowledging people as “leaders” in one form or another since 2007, but the formal declaration of MVP started in 2013.  The past winners were:
2013- Tracy Rogers
2014- CR Laurence
2015- Jon Kimberlain
2016- Chuck Knickerbocker
Each year there’s usually 5-7 runners up and as you can tell from above it can be an individual or a company as the winner.  The race so far in 2017 has been incredibly difficult.  So many remarkable people who work hard for their companies and also give back to the industry.  And there are some companies as a whole that collectively care a ton about making our space a better place.  So choosing gets more and challenging every year.  Overall I have recognized a total of 35 people since 2007 and 5 are no longer in the industry, including sadly the late great Greg Carney.  So who’s on tap for this year?  It’s coming soon….


--  If you are a glazier, take the time to check out and complete this survey on an industry-changing initiative, the development of the first certification program for glazing technician personnel.  Seriously this is an important piece to get your feedback.

I’m light on glass industry related stuff this week, so in some other areas that interest me…

--  In this world of ugly news and despicable human behavior there are some truly first class people.  One of them is Marine Veteran Rob Jones.  Rob lost both of legs in Afghanistan in 2010 but that has not stopped him from doing what I would consider super human tasks to raise awareness and money for veterans causes.  The most recent was running (with prosthetics) 31 marathons in 31 cities in 31 days. A lot of us travel a ton in this industry and just doing several cities a week can wear you down, now can you imagine running a marathon at each?  The guy is amazing.  Anyway this article is one of many that gives some insight to Rob- who I have been so fortunate to meet thanks to his work with veteran charity the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes which actually has a glass industry connection as it’s run by former NGA VP David Walker.  Check it out and be thankful we still have great people in our universe.

--  Back on to another list… this time the Top 10 Most “Sprawling” Cities according to the website Smart Growth America.  And quite frankly I was stunned by some of these cities that made the list… as according to the study too much growth is not good. Honestly I am not sure if I understand or agree but here goes…

1.     Hickory, NC
2.     Atlanta, GA
3.     Clarksville, TN-KY
4.     Prescott, AZ
5.     Nashville, TN
6.     Baton Rouge, LA
7.     Inland Empire, CA
8.     Greenville, SC
9.     Augusta, GA-SC
10. Kingsport, TN-VA

The complete study is here for those of you interested in this sort of thing.

--  Las Vegas launched a self-driving shuttle and on its first day it got into an accident.  Evidently it was the human driver in another car that was at fault, but still I just can’t feel any trust or faith in this sort of arrangement.  Too many things can go wrong and I am really amazed at the time, money and effort that are going into this technology.

--  Last this week… is it me or is the amount of spam e-mail going up dramatically?  I go into my spam folders every other day or so to just make sure I am not missing something and I am flat out amazed at the volume in there.  Most of it is really obvious spam, but where I really feel bad is for those less sophisticated on e-mail who probably get this junk in their main folder and fall for a scam or two. 


Every day there’s a ton of bad news in the media- so  aside from Rob Jones mentioned above- how about a good news story?  Guy buys apartment complex and lets single moms & their families live there for free.

Yet another stupid angle from the iPhone X.  I really hope they still make a normal iPhone when I am ready for an upgrade.

Funny story on a hippo escape and immediate return


This piece from the Price is Right went viral when the contestant made a very conservative decision…

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Bring on the Forecasts

This past week the first of the 2018 construction economic forecasts were released and there was tepid optimism with regards to the non-residential side of the business.  Basically some of the analysts are pushing a small increase on the commercial side, not exceeding 5% overall.  The residential side though has some more bullish predictions with a potential for double-digit growth in ‘18.  Now keep in mind this is just one of many forecasts that will be coming out in the next 8-12 weeks, so a lot can and will change.  I like to take it all in and then see what I can come up with a consensus.  Plus my favorite ones are not out yet, so that’s a big one for me to wait on.  So sit tight as numbers are going to be coming out constantly with results probably all over the board.  In any case with regards to this release and its small growth, I will take a positive forecast any way it is delivered!


--  Continued from last week and my review of the most recent Glass Magazine…. The ad of the month… I do try and spread the kudos around but if a company who’s gotten my recognition before comes out with a new ad and its worthy, I have to give it props.  So the winner for this issue is Guardian Glass with their “Fall in Love” ad that carries on the video campaign they debuted at GlassBuild.  Loved the ad and because I was a big fan of the video I thought it was sharp they continued the campaign in print.  Well done!

--  The newest Apple iPhone is out and this review was a blistering putdown of the product.  I must say the author brought up a ton of good points- worth the read if you are looking to purchase. 

--  Ok construction geeks- what are 5 major changes coming to the jobsite?  Good article here and personally I am really into what the next generation tools would be.  With the on-going struggle for a solid (or in some cases any) work force, advancing the tools to potentially do more and do it more efficiently is huge.

--  Greenbuild is this week.  I am not a fan and I’ve made that known several times over the years.  The show this year may be decent because it’s in Boston (great city) and combined with the ABX event but in the end I don’t expect exhibitors to find any great success unfortunately.

--  Normally if I see a quote like this one I worry:

             “…Midtown doesn’t need any more glass”

--  Last this week… it is Glass Industry MVP season… yes my yearly award is now here so soon you’ll have your nominees and then the winner (who’s life will dramatically change for the better-lol) will be announced in my last scheduled post of 2017 in December.  Once again there’s a ton of great candidates and like I do with the ad reviews I try not to repeat with people nominated, but this year I may have to….


We used to be able to do a lot of things as kids… but riding in a plastic pool on the roof a car was not one of them.

Score one for the Canadian beavers!

There are a handful of issues with this story of a man locked in a beer cooler all night…


Some months these blooper reels are great.  This month its so so… but that also may be my quirky sense of humor at play.  Judge for yourself…