Sunday, November 11, 2018

MVP Season Begins

It is once again that time of the year that we start to look back and for me that is my annual awarding of the glass industry MVP.  In one month, with my last post for 2018, I will make the announcement of the runners up and the winner of the award.  I have been recognizing people for this honor since 2013 (list of winners below) and its one of the most rewarding things I can do.  All of the people that I name go above and beyond for this industry and represent our interests extremely well.  2018 will once again be an extremely challenging to choose a winner.  Since I have been doing this I have recognized 40 people all of which made major impacts and I am excited to point out 5 more next month.  If you have someone (or a company) that you think deserves consideration please drop me a line.  Our past winners:
2013- Tracy Rogers
2014- CR Laurence
2015- Jon Kimberlain
2016- Chuck Knickerbocker
2017- Joe Erb


--  Reminders again-
Thirsty Thursday this week- great insight into NGA.  See what the industries largest association is doing for you and GET INVOLVED!  

Also early bird pricing for Annual Conference ends soon.  Sign up for both ASAP.

--  The latest Glass Magazine review… and I am behind… is for the “Robot Revolution” October issue.  Obviously the recent glasstec event was a major showcase for robots and automation so this issue from Glass Magazine was very timely and helpful.  In depth articles on maintenance, robots, and technology advancements were strong as was Marco Terry’s excellent piece on when to grow a business.  Good stuff as always!  My favorite ad of the month actually goes to GlassBuild America for their piece recognizing all of the sponsors at the show.  All of these companies not only advanced their brand by sponsoring but they also did right by the industry by supporting the effort. It was great to see them all listed on one page.

--  I have covered on here the race to be the city that gets Amazon’s HQ2.  Well it looks like that contest is over and apparently the winners were Long Island, NY and Arlington, Virginia. This was stunning given cost of living, traffic etc. in those areas.  Those choices have not gone over well publicly as some of the tenets that everyone expected from Amazon when it started the search were not considered in the end. 

Will Oremus, Tech Columnist at Slate summed it up well with this tweet:

“I know I'm late to this, but the reason Amazon's HQ2 was a farce is not just that they picked two cities. It's that they raised the hopes of cities across the country that could really use an infusion of economic vitality, then picked the two that need it least of all.”

That really nails it- why have 300 communities do this when this is where you end up?  In any case Amazon also now has detailed planning information on every city in the US, deep intel really, that I am sure they will utilize to keep growing.  From a business side it was brilliant.  From a human side, it left me cold. 

--  Check out the design of this building.  I sure hope when it comes to the engineering someone really smart like John Wheaton is involved because looking at this blows my mind.

--  Last this week… note there is no blog from me next week as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday.  As I have noted here many times, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I can’t wait to enjoy it yet again.  But even more so this year- we need to give thanks for what we have and take heed that it does not last forever.  Life can be short, time absolutely flies, so next week, when you gather with your friends and family, take it all in a little deeper.  Thank you.


--  I found this cute and funny and surely makes the engagement even more memorable.

--  Serious question on this one… How?

--  This story was everywhere this week, but in case you missed it… the town that rallied around the owner of a donut shop. 


We are here at the Veterans Day time and if you want to show your support and appreciation to the amazing veterans in the United States, please consider donating to these folks.  They do great work to serve the heroes who served all of us!

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Rest in Peace Nick Barone

Recently its not been the best of times, first the tragedy in Pittsburgh, my home town, at a place of worship that I know so very well shook me to my core.  I still can’t even process what went on and I can only hope we can all stay strong and push forward.  Then early last week I got the word that Nick Barone of  GGI passed away.  That was another massive blow to the gut for me.  Nick was a very good man.  Treated me and so many others incredibly well- always with a smile and a story.   I knew Nick as a customer of his and for a short time a co-worker.  He was always a guy you could count on to improve your mood.  He took the time to get to know everyone he came in contact with and could hold a fun conversation with anyone.  He was incredibly good at what he did and it’s devastating to lose him so young.  Our industry, GGI, and especially Nick’s family lost a great person way too early.  My thoughts and prayers to all of Nick’s family and friends and I know I won’t easily forget what he did and how he did it.  Rest in peace my friend.


--  So we have to all keep moving no matter what… and to that extent… a few notes of industry events that just opened registration that are must attend events.  First coming up on November 15th is the next “Thirsty Thursday” webinar and this one is open to all!  More info can be found HERE but this is a rundown of everything the National Glass Association has going on right now and if you want the insight of what is happening at the trade level (you should) don’t miss it.  No membership needed to attend, so click the link and join in.

--  Next registration for Annual Conference and BEC are now open.  Annual Conference is in January and it’s the premiere technical event in our industry.  If you want to stay on top of the guidelines and approaches that are going on in the glass world, this is one to be at.  To register and learn more- click HERE.  Dates are January 22-24 in Naples, FL.

--  Last is the annual BEC Conference in Las Vegas.  I have been honored to be a small part of an amazing team that put together the program for this year and its fabulous.  If you are a glazing contractor- THIS EVENT IS FOR YOU.  The agenda is what your peers have determined include the issues that affect you and your business daily.  Meanwhile for all others it is a networking bonanza.  I visit with more people in 2 days at BEC than I can anywhere else (outside of GlassBuild of course) and that value is off the charts!  Register now- HERE

--  The latest Architectural Billings Index stayed above the mainline but the analysts are starting to hedge the bets some seeing a potential slow down in the near future.  Still positive metrics are there and the Midwest region posted its best monthly score in a very long time.  I think the stock markets volatility may be playing into these numbers as well- it would be nice to see some sort of calming of the markets overall as they herky jerk of the index really does cause some angst.

--  This Deer doesn’t like glass.  Wild story.

--  My pal Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP had this first on his great blog but I wanted to also share here… the ENR Top 600.  Good and interesting poll.

--  Last this week- in my glasstec coverage I left out some very important people. The folks from NGA that I had the honor to work with while there!  This group really is amazing and I am thankful to even be in the same room with them.  So many good things are happening at NGA with Glass Magazine, GlassBuild America, Education, Advocacy and more.  The NGA contingent led by Nicole Harris and including Andrew Haring, Katy Devlin, Urmilla Sowell, Sara Neiswanger, and Jonathan Watson brought an intense work ethic to the floor each day and it blew me away.  What NGA is doing right now is a massive benefit to our industry and I am excited for the future and next steps!


No one missed this guy?  Something doesn’t add up

There is hope after all… good work young man!

Wow- don’t spoil the ending of books or else…


Great work by Ford on this commercial… love it!

Saturday, October 27, 2018

glasstec recap

Settle in folks, this is going to be a longer than usual blog… Lots to cover!
Last week was my 3rd glasstec and by far it was the most impressive and intense.  It is amazing how much has changed in 4 years.  The biggest takeaway from the event for me was automation for our fabrication plants is truly here and ready.  The advancement in this area was striking and I am not just talking about the robots or the automated forklifts themselves but the technology and intuitiveness behind them.  With virtually every piece of automated equipment I saw, it came with a back end intelligence plan that keeps the user alerted on everything from its production performance to its health.  For me being old school, and I know many others had this thought too, the fear was if you automate too much and equipment goes down you are in trouble.  But the back end intelligence is a huge guard against that worry and the detail it provides is nothing short of amazing.  I was able to see the way it worked with Fenetech at the Bystronic booth and at Grenzebach and I simply was blown away at the visibility these machines and software provide.  (Many others had it too; I just did not get to see them like I did these) The future is here with regards to plant automation and when you add in the advancements in the machinery itself, this really bodes well for our industry.  Higher quality end products are something we all strive for and it’s nice to see the efforts there on all levels to get us further on this path.  My other takeaways include…

n  There is positivity about the economics of our industry with regards to the forecast, but there’s no doubt the worry about a slowing up is there and something to continue to monitor.
n  Railing and Balustrade options, I have never seen so many styles and choices.  I knew this was a busy business segment, but was not aware how much it was globally.
n  Go Big or Go Home... 2 years ago the theme here was jumbo and oversize, and this year it just continued it by showing large glass in different fabrication styles including amazing bent, decorative, etched, painted, and laminated.  We may only be touching the surface in North America with oversize but there is no doubt the rest of the world is in full speed ahead mode.
n  Vacuum Insulating Glass appeared in more stands than I have ever seen before and the push to grow its commercial footprint is significant.
n  Dynamic… the advancements continued. Sage had a very impressive stand and gamebreaking product release in Harmony.  Relative newcomer Halio was in the courtyard of the halls showing faster transition time and a product that could be easily used inside, and Pleotint/Suntuitive had its product all over the floor thanks to several international partners pushing it and showing the way a thermochromic approach can work.  Eyrise was also a new one to me and they had an incredible setup in the Glass Technology Live area showing a skylight in action with their product. 
n  Meanwhile on the smart glass side, (glass that transitions from a clear state to opaque) I am estimating maybe 25 companies (probably more) were showing one form of a switchable interior glass or rear projection material.  I know there are a lot of folks who do that product, and I think most were on the floor at glasstec.
n  Safety gear/clothing is about to go into a next amazing level- lightweight and safe, it’s going to be something the folks in our plants and jobsites will go crazy for.
n  The technology area was the best I have ever seen with interesting concepts.  This is similar to the auto shows in the US that may show futuristic visions of vehicles, and this year at glasstec we had that with glass.  Craziest one for me was a solar piece that used algae in it to generate electricity.  But other items in this area included great advancements on structural glazing, curtain wall material, thin glass usage, laminated stacking, and hardware. 

To see a lot of what I mentioned, check out the twitter feeds of Glass Magazine and Glass Nation, along with coverage from  They’ll be videos up as well including my video of the week.  And if anyone is curious on anything specific, please reach out to me, glad to chat with you about it.

--  As for my personal touches that I do after every event…. I’ll start with the setup and team from Guardian Glass.  They had an marvelous stand that showed a wide range of products and innovation- both in concept and also ready to go.  Of course the team there could not be any nicer to me.  Getting to see the one, the only, the great Amy Hennes is easily the highlight- she is always going to full speed, so the fact I get a couple seconds with her is an honor.  I love talking with Chris Dolan, we’ve been through a few of these now and it’s always great to hear his insights and opinions.  Folks like Matt Hill (who I have seen a bunch in my life but never in the US for some reason) Joe Butler, Samer Abughazaleh, and Sarah Wansack are incredibly classy and cool.  Thank you all for the amazing hospitality you always show me.

--  At every glasstec I have gotten to visit with Bernard and Linda Lax from Pulp Studios and it’s nothing short of awesome.  Plus this year old pal Kirk Johnson was with them, and that made it even better.  Also seemingly a glasstec visit tradition is seeing Thomas Martini of Vitrum and his talented crew.  Tara Brummet was at the show for the first time and it was great to chat with her on her experiences, and seeing Adam Byrne and Tyler Boult from there again was enjoyable.   I spent some time in the very innovative SCHOTT booth and got to see Rob Botman and Jordan Richards from Glassopolis while there and catch up with Dan Poling as well.  Such cool folks and I’m humbled to get to spend time with them.  Speaking of SCHOTT they win the “great call by the marketing head” award as they were told their dress for the show would include jeans and tennis shoes.  Folks there is basically no carpet anywhere in the halls at glasstec and the show runs from 9 to 6 daily.  Dressing your team casual/comfortable was the call of the year! 

--  The Tristar Glass team was there and I will never pass a chance to talk with Greg Oehlers.  I also met his fabulous wife as well.  Greg is an industry great and with more knowledge about glass in his pinky than I’ll ever have the rest of my life.  My friend Mike Synon of HHH was there and smiling despite his beloved Brewers not making the World Series- probably for the best that he missed game 7 of their series with LA while flying to the show.  I just stepped back and watched Max Hals and Ian Patlin of Paragon Architectural work a portion of the floor and was in awe.  Those two guys know everyone- they don’t need an exhibit, it’s like everyone came to them.

--  Wrapping up, I enjoyed seeing Mark Seaton and Glenn Davis from Vitro, but I think it was obvious (as it should be) that they would’ve preferred to see my brother Steve vs. me.  (Most would- that is the better choice)  Still was nice to see them and also see Ricardo Maiz for the first time in several years.  Great man he is.  I did not get to see Michael Spellman like I usually do and that was too bad.  But I know he had several properties only the floor that IGE partners with so I think every time I went to Forvet to see him he was at Landglass or Tecglass etc.  But I did see Manny Borda from IGE and that’s always an absolute pleasure.

So there you go- I probably missed a bunch and if so I’ll hit it on my next post.  Overall though it was a positive experience, and I sincerely hope to make it back in 2020.


150 margaritas in 3 days and still living.  Wow.

Towing your boat with the your scooter?  Huh?


So at the show as I was trying to wrap up I happened upon the team that built this amazing all glass teetor totter… and they were giving it a try… and I could not walk away, so I got it on video… (click link below to take you there)

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Glasstec Time

Glasstec week is here and it should be an interesting event yet again on several levels.  First and foremost this a great opportunity to take the temperature of the industry from an international standpoint.  I know I sometimes lock myself into a North American bubble; so getting takes from all over the world will be helpful. Next up is the technology- I will admit that I was not very impressed in 2016, so I am very hopeful to see some advancements on this end.  I have gone down the entire exhibitor list and there are companies that I am expecting to see products and services that will make a difference.  In addition the opportunity to network is a big piece for me, GlassBuild was an absolute blur, so the opportunity to hopefully catch up with people I either missed in Vegas or only spent a few seconds with is huge.  In any case, it’s going to be a good week… please feel free to follow my twitter feed for updates and insights and also keep tabs on Glass Magazine’s twitter and instagram feeds and the GlassNation one as they will be pumping out great content too! 


--  Note… I was going to originally post this from Dusseldorf but decided to upload before I left the states.  If I have one irrational fear its that of having bad or no WiFi.  Such a 1st world problem person I am!  In 2016 after the show, I would go to the Apple Store in town to use their WiFi and be able to have a good signal so I could catch up on work and e-mail.  I hope that is not the case this year…

--  Good news from Dr. Tom Culp and Urmilla Sowell this week via the National Glass Association.  They attended and participated in the ASHRAE 90.1 meetings and usually those events could have some consequences for our industry.  This time around though in the three main areas of discussion- Window Criteria, Thermal Bridging and Envelope Backstops, our industry was in a positive position going forward.  I cannot stress enough how lucky we are to have people like Dr. Culp, Urmilla, and Thom Zaremba working on our behalf at these functions.  They do incredible work in some very challenging areas.  I am sure you will be seeing more on these efforts in the pages of Glass Magazine….

--  Interesting article here on green building and architects taking the process to a new level.  The article also mentions 5 new(er) rating systems, most of which I have never heard of… but if they are better and more legit than LEED…SIGN ME UP!

--  Funny on this one… some people say the lodging and hotel side is slowing down… then you get this report that says the opposite…

--  This proposed new soccer stadium in Cincinnati looks wild.  It also doesn’t look like it would be a fit in the style of Cincy or the Northern Kentucky area…

--  Last this week… as I noted last post, there was an industry bet on the Red Sox vs. the Astros and Dan Pompeo’s team came through.  So somewhere in the social media realm I am expecting to see a picture of Javier Sanchez Gil donning some Boston gear… Congrats Dan… happy for you as it is about time teams from Boston win something…. Good luck in the Series!


Too many stories on 3D Printing being used for the wrong reasons… this is not that.. good stuff here!

The privacy issues here are quite frightening

This is too funny…


The Iowa State University brought a new twist to the halftime show… Jurassic Park and Dinos galore!