Sunday, January 28, 2018

Beating Up On Glass Again

Well here we go again… every few years a big media outlet writes a story hammering the use of glass in buildings.  Now we have latest one via CNN.  The headline was “Are architects turning their backs on glass skyscrapers?” but the interesting thing for me was the URL used to locate the page had the title of “Why glass architecture is bad for our cities.”  Hmmm.  Its one thing to lead with architects choosing different styles or approaches, its totally another to flat out make the argument a negative one.   In any case… to me no new ground was broken, the same tired and unproven arguments were made, and we are once again in the cross hairs of people who do not care for the product we all make our livelihood on.  The “thermal performance” card was played and while we all know there are quite a few products and systems that exceed any model, obviously the people quoted in this article aren’t seeing them.    It was nice that those noted in the article said glass wasn’t going away anytime soon, but the fact we still see these pieces should be of concern.  Our product is awesome and there are so many great options for it.   We need to get our message out.  This is YET ANOTHER REASON why the combined NGA-GANA group is so crucial… that unified voice to promote where needed and push back where necessary.  In the end, we all know we have great products, and we need to do our part to let the world know that as well.


--  Another big industry deal went down this past week with Morse Industries being sold to MD Building Products.  Morse is a classic family business that has done very well over the years and it looks like it reached that time to sell to a bigger player to move it to the next level.  Congrats to the Morse family on what looks like a great deal!

--  Modular Building is growing.  I spoke about this at a meeting last year and I think the audience thought I was nuts.  Those of you who know me, know I am nuts, but in this case I am on top of it.  An article this week came out trumpeting the growth of this segment and it makes sense.  Labor is a challenge, jobsites can be tricky.  This helps both.  Its similar to why unitized is growing like crazy on the glazier side- efficiency is king. 

--  So the Amazon Top 20 locations have been announced and while I was bummed Detroit did not make the cut, I was not surprised.  And the betting odds of who will end up the new Amazon HQ2 are not surprising either.  Atlanta is the betting favorite followed by Washington DC, Nashville, Boston and Austin, Texas.  Philadelphia, Chicago, and Pittsburgh follow close after that.   When I wrote about this last October I said Atlanta and Dallas would be the favorites, so Atlanta in the lead obviously does not surprise me while Dallas not being in the top 10 is stunning.  This will be fun to keep watching- it will be interesting to see what the overall affects on the winning city will be as the plus of adding new jobs and infrastructure will also come with some unintended negatives as well.

--  Good news from the Architectural Billings Index in December… it was in the positive range yet again at 52.9- which while very good was a bit of a drop from the amazing 55 the month previous.  So the work is still coming, which is good to hear as January for many has been a bit soft, whether it’s the weather or just lulls in the backlog process, I did sense some worry creeping in.

--  Last this week- my heart goes out to all my pals in Minnesota.  It sure would’ve been nice for you to not only have your team in the Super Bowl but at home no less.  That’s a tough one.  Now its down to New England and Philly.  I am good with whomever wins as long as the crowd boos Roger Goodell with a white hot passion when he comes to present the trophy….  I know the New England fan base will do that; hopefully the Eagle fans will do as well!


--  Self Driving cars or cars with auto pilot?  Count me as someone who doesn’t like either.  Though this guy using it as an excuse isinteresting.

--  This is good- and gives me hope that we have some youngsters who think and respond on situations in the right way.

--  Great headline but the opposite of the story above… not a great sign for our future…


This is interesting- guy sets up trap to catch people from stealing from his porch.  Is this real though?  Do we really live in such a crappy world where so many random people come to your porch to steal???

Sunday, January 21, 2018

2018 Trends and More

2018 is now rolling along and we’ve flown right by the midway point of January so I better get my trends/predictions out for the year…

-- Trucking at all levels will be even a bigger challenge.  Getting truckloads has been difficult for the last several years because of the lack of equipment, drivers and companies.  That will continue.  But now at the fabricator and glazier level, there’s DOT rules in effect that could disrupt the way things are usually done.  New restrictions on hours and more accurate logging is already changing the way the logistic world plays out and the trickle down effect here will be on delays of materials and a lot less flexibility on jobsite deliveries.

--  Big and sophisticated are achievable.  In the past the specs would call for materials that were either too large for most fabricators or too difficult to be cost effective.  Those days are over- suppliers have adapted- now glaziers and glass shops are realizing they can get virtually whatever they want glass wise.

--  Security Glass goes wild- Dang it I am putting this on here until it happens.  2018 will be the year.

--  Private Equity in and out.  2017 saw a few new private equity players invest in the glass industry.  I am betting that 2018 will see an existing one leave, most likely selling to another PE firm or a company from overseas.

--  The merger of NGA and GANA will go through and be great in the end.  Yes I am a proponent of the merge and I heard from a dear friend this week that he was not and his reasons why.  There is a fear that there’s still a lot to be known on how this deal will look in the end, but I am extremely confident knowing the players on both sides the way I do, that it is going to come out fine.  I love that there is a dialogue and that needs to continue for the good of our industry and the success of a combined entity that features one unified voice.


--  If you are coming to GANA BEC (you really should) then get your hotel reservations done asap.    That week in Vegas has some other action happening and the room rates GANA secured are excellent (trust me I studied it)  Deadline is February 1st- so book it now while you are thinking about it. Learn more and register HERE

--  For my fellow road warriors… we need to get legislation passed that there needs to be at least one outlet on the night table next to your hotel room bed.  This week I had a hotel where the only outlet near the bed was behind it and low to the floor.  It was not fun trying to plug the phone in.  Yes I am spoiled… but no way I am alone in wanting this!

--  From the times change file… I watched Saturday Night Fever for the first time in probably 30 years.  Wow… talk about a movie that could never be done in these times.  Amazingly politically incorrect (I’m not PC, but this was off the charts) and in many cases disturbing and vile.  I had only remembered the great Bee Gees music… the re-watch was painful.

--  Last this week a call for thoughts and prayers for George Sultage of Vitro. George posted word on Linkedin about a pretty serious health crisis he is having and quite frankly can use all of the positivity we can all muster.  George is a great guy- respected and popular with all he interacts with…  Hang in there George; we as an industry are behind you!


You probably saw this one… car stuck on to 2nd floor of building.  Crazy!!

I don’t agree with this breakdown completely but it is a very interesting way to look at the United States.

We just took a family picture and I kinda wish I would’ve been photoshopped up like these ones!


Hazing the rookie… filling his car with popcorn.  WOW!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Looking Back Before Looking Ahead

Each year I start my blog posts with a look back at previous predictions and then forward with ones for the new year.  2018 has great potential for all involved and I am excited for all that is coming down the pike.  I’ll hit more on the year ahead next week.  For now let’s look back.

In January of 2017, I made the following predictions- lets see how I did…

#1- More Unitized- Honestly I think I nailed this.  Unitized is the hottest segment on the framing side and not cooling off soon.  (Speaking of Unitized, get to BEC, a great discussion is scheduled on this subject there.)

#2- Net Zero growth- I am going to say I got this ½ right.  It grew but not nearly as much as I thought.  I am bummed that more structures continue to fall for the folly that is LEED and not NetZero.

#3- Security, Again- I predicted in 2016 and was wrong.  I brought it back in 2017 and was wrong again.  It just did not take off like I expected.  I am half tempted to put it on the 2018 list again.  It’s going to happen.  Some day.

#4- Deals and Acquisitions- I think this was an easy win thanks to Apogee buying EFCO along with some other smaller but still important deals.

#5- A new social push- I got this one wrong.  Maybe because the industry is so busy the advancement on the social media world was light- or maybe we are really an old school industry.  Either way, the big push was not there.

So in the end I think I did ok- but I am determined to get them all correct in 2018!  Check back next week for my trends and predictions post for the year ahead…


--  Before we get too deep into January its time for my monthly Glass Magazine review… the December issue with the amazing picture of the team from Giroux Glass in LA handling some seriously heavy materials.  The overall theme of this excellent issue was handling and safety.  Those are HUGE subjects that affect us all, so very worthwhile reading inside.  There were some seriously good HR resources in there.  Please check out Katy Devlin’s piece at the front of the magazine on a ”near miss” – a very meaningful and helpful article and my heart was beating way too fast during the start of it.   In addition one of my pet issues, the OSHA Silica Rules are covered as well.  All in all if you are not reading these issues you are missing out…

--  Ad of the Month is going to double as a plea from me.  The ad for BEC in March with keynote speaker Jeff Havens gets my nod.  The ad is delivering a message on the generational workplace and it does it quite effectively- and quite frankly BEC is the event that you need to be at to continue to stay ahead the trends while keeping your network strong.  If you are doing BEC in the Spring and GlassBuild in the Fall you are doing it right.  In any case, nice ad on the speaker and what he’ll cover and if you want to learn more and then register for BEC- click here.

--  The NGA-GANA combination continues to proceed.  If you are a GANA member and have not voted, please do so.  There is still time and it is worth the few minutes to do so.  As I have stated here previously I believe this deal is a very good one and I am excited about what is next.  Also if you are a NGA member I believe you have a vote to handle as well.  So folks get to the ballot boxes!

--  It was a big week for fellow Glass Magazine blogger Gareth Francey of Bohle America.  He and Bohle purchased the shower door hardware manufacturer Portals.  Exciting deal for both sides and I am happy for Gareth and team as they continue to grow in the space.  So far all of the deals announced in 2018 are looking very promising for both the folks involved and segments they serve.

--  Last… Congrats to my friend Lewis McAllister of Coral Glass on his Crimson Tide winning the National Title.  I don’t know anyone else who lives for Alabama football like Lewis, so I am thrilled for him.  ROLL TIDE!


The internet can be a scary and stupid place.  Like the latest trend, easting laundry detergent pods.  Unreal how dumb.

Speaking of flying between Atlanta’s power outage and JFK’s water main break, it has not been a good run for major airports lately.


This is a find… a guy in Russia reviewing old McDonald’s gadgets to see how they work….

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Off and Running in 2018

Well 2018 is here and we are back it with a lot of news and notes to get to.  Normally I use the first post of the year to have recaps and predictions but I am going to push that into the next couple of weeks because there are other items to cover.

--  On the company side of things we had a deal involving one of the companies in this industry I respect the most.  In announcement soon after the new year, Technical Glass Products (TGP) sold to Allegion, plc.  I don’t know much about Allegion but I do know they got an amazing company with incredible people.  Congrats to the Razwick family on the deal.  Everyone at TGP has always treated me extremely well and I am happy for them as this situation really looks positive for everyone involved.

--  Aside from this one there are a few other deals that are bursting at the seams and I expect announcements in the next week or two.

--  Also one of my favorite companies had a major rebrand at the end of the year- SC Railing is now known as Trex Commercial Products.  SC sold to Trex last July, so this makes sense to bring them into that family.  No matter the name, the influence and growth that SC/Trex has had in the industry has been quite impressive.

--  And while I am talking about words like impressive and favorite, a gentleman who fits both descriptions took on a new position at the start of the year.  Dan Wright was named President of Paragon Tempered Glass, moving up from his previous role as VP of Sales & Marketing.  I cannot tell you how happy I am for Dan- a wonderful guy who I knew was destined for greatness way back in the day when he had to put up with my constant whines and cries when I was a customer of his.  Congrats Dan- you will do awesome in this role!

--  Good news from the last Architectural Billing Index for 2017.  The ABI crushed it with a crazy score of 55.0 – which is highest of the year and really had people talking.  The main analyst from AIA chimed in with this positive nugget:

“Not only are design billings overall seeing their strongest growth of the year, the strength is reflected in all major regions and construction sectors,” said AIA chief economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “The construction industry continues to show surprising momentum heading into 2018.”

So we are geared up nicely… so as I noted above I am saving my recaps and predictions for the next weeks, and one reason is I want your input.  I have a poll posted on my twitter feed at @maxpsolesource that you can add your vote (and feel free to comment below that poll or here) that will add into my thoughts.  This obviously is very unscientific and my twitter reach not huge, but an interesting angle to me nonetheless. 

--  Last but certainly not least this week… there was some very sad news to report out of the gate as well.  Peter de Gorter, President & CEO of DeGorter Inc. passed away right before the new year.  The news was incredibly sad to me, the
de Gorter family has such a strong positive presence in our industry and have been so active- that a loss like this shakes you.  My thoughts & condolences the entire de Gorter family.


Scary stuff but it is the world we live in now… digital tracking.

I think I could eat at the same place for 428 straight I think I did that in College.  Seriously though this guy did it… at Chipotle.

Gotta be more to this story, but biggest question is “why bring the date home?”

VIDEO of the WEEK 

Too long of a video but some great pieces here.. the Top 100 viral videos of 2017….