Saturday, March 31, 2018

So Much Information and Insight

Every month I review the latest Glass Magazine and I am always excited that I can learn something new.  As always, the knowledge growth was there  but the amount of insight in this latest edition is stunning.  The March issue is the annual “Top Fabricators” one and it’s loaded from start to finish.  The first major takeaway is that it comes with a pull out map of the 2018 top fabricators.  It is old school and awesome and I am sure now hanging in the glass shops and glazing operations throughout North America.  Next is the rundown and detail of the top fabricators.  I always enjoy the project profiles that come with it.  I mentioned last week the fabulous Vitrum Glass Group job and that was joined by several other amazing pieces of fabrication.  Add in the details of some of the poll questions and you get excellent visibility into the world of the fabricator. In addition this issue had outstanding pieces on buying a tempering furnace from a finance point of view, an incredible interview with Jeff Razwick of TGP on his deal with Allegion, and a nice piece on glass in health care.  And selfishly I was pretty excited to be included in an superb piece by Olivia Parker on best booth practices for trade shows.  Overall a tremendous issue, please make sure you check it out!


--  Ad of the month was a tough one yet again- lots of companies really raising their game with creative pieces but the winner was Consolidated Glass Holdings and their “line card” ad that was included in the issue in a special way- it was on thicker stock that was attached to another page.  So that immediately caught my eye- and then the info on there was very in-depth. Nice work and congrats to Angela Beach at CGH to make that all happen!

--  While I am talking about good detail and insight, I need give credit to Rob Struble and the team at Vitro on their e-mail blasts.  Their “Vitro Glass Insider” consistently delivers quick and helpful education.  I know we all get tons of e-mails, and its tough to stand out, but they do with this approach.

--  So it looks like the AIA show is following the lead of Greenbuild by pushing celebrity approaches and concert sort of settings with the news that DJ and musician Questlove will be featured at their opening party.  If you watch the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Questlove is his musical leader and is pretty well known in the musical space.  Whether this helps the always-frustrating issue of a lack of architects on the floor and in your booth remains to be seen…

--  For my friends in eastern Canada are you attending Top Glass later this month?  Looks like a solid day of education and information.  Speaking wise, two guys that I am a big fan of will be on stage.  Cody Thomas of Glass Renu will be there talking on glass restoration and Chris Fronsoe of ICD Coatings will be breaking down the spandrel world.  So those sessions and others will make it a good one overall…

--  Last this week… it is now baseball season and while I don’t follow the day to day happenings as close as I used to, I still enjoy the sport and it always signals the beginning of an awesome sporting stretch.  Baseball opening, NHL and NBA playoffs, NFL Draft, College Spring Football, The Masters, and the Indy 500- lots of great distractions from the hustle and bustle of daily life.  Oh and just for the heck of it, for baseball I’m going Yankees to win it all.  That lineup is pretty awesome.


A story you don’t see every day- guy performs on Hollywood show and then walks away from all of the parts of it.

This was a wild MMA fight- accidental knockout, flips, and reversed decisions.

Orange snow in Europe.  Would scare me too.  The video of the slow moving avalanche is wild too.


Since I mentioned Questlove and Jimmy Fallon it only makes sense to show them in action… here joined by Will Smith and doing some great old TV theme songs… Fun!!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Forecast Worries?

While the volatility on the financial markets continue I am still constantly monitoring the different indexes that track construction related activities and also talking with folks every day about the “real time” feel for the market place.  From the index side, the latest Architectural Billings Index (ABI) continued to show positivity.  With a 52.0 the index was on the plus side led by very strong efforts from the West and Midwest territories.  The Dodge Momentum Index (DMI) also showed plus numbers for last month but just barely; registering only a ½ percent gain on the previous report.  Still while the numbers overall are in the right place some analysts are starting to fret that growth on the commercial side is showing some weaknesses.  That is something to watch.  Keep in mind spending forecasts for commercial have been showing gains through 2020, so there is still quite a bit of optimism.  As for the “real time” feel- that has been on the pessimistic side for the most part.  The market had some soft spots in February that I believe most figured would go away in March but has not. For current work the horrendous weather in the Northeast has to be playing into that for that region.  Backlogs for 4Q and 1Q2019 are not where many want them to be either, so that is adding to the angst as well. I think since we all lived through those insane days of the previous recession our fear mechanism is set to trigger faster than normal.  Obviously we’ll continue to watch and communicate….


--  I have written many times on Amazon.  I am truly intrigued by that organization.  Bloomberg recently took a pretty detailed look at Amazon and it’s absolutely worth the read. 

 --  Speaking of Amazon, in the latest Glass Magazine (full review coming next week) there’s a profile on one of their new buildings in Seattle that was fabricated by Vitrum Glass Group.  The building is a show stopper.  Kudos to the team at Vitrum for a job well done as well as the folks at Walker Glass, Kuraray, Glass Coatings and Concepts, Vitro, and Walters and Wolf who all took part in this incredible project.  Awesome work by all!  Also kudos to Viracon on the tower facade glass on the towers there. Nice job.

--  I find myself constantly interested in the “Internet of Things” also known as IoT.  Katy Devlin and Glass Magazine have had some excellent stories on it and Ron Crowl and his team at Fenetech have been leaders in working to educate the industry and seeing where this movement can go.  There is no doubt that more automation and IoT will be in the modern glass fab plants.  Just probably going to take a while.  As for the mainstream side of IoT there was an excellent piece on Full Measure News this past weekend that is worth the watch as well. 

--  By the way I am a fan of Full Measure News- it comes out every Sunday with 3 or 4 stories and its really well done.  In a world of some “interesting” news sites this one has been pretty solid in my opinion.

--  Last this week… I have written on modular building and how it’s growing.  Now we have the news of an actual factory in Chicago to do modular only.  Interesting read and also the comment at the end asking how the building permitting process will work is one that has me curious.


My heart goes out to this youngster that’s learning to drive… ouch.  Maybe its me but it sure seemed like my generation took to driving a lot quicker/easier than the current one.

This is so wrong it hurts.  Sentencing guidelines like this make no sense… 4 people dead and the kid 2 years total?  This also after blowing off probation and fleeing the country too!

I still don’t get the driverless car angle- it has to be all or nothing to work in my opinion.  But the state of Arizona is on board- so we’ll see….


Lots of very good ad related videos at BEC, some of which I am looking to share here.  This one from Guardian Glass was excellent. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Next Round Of Codes

Last week’s mega blog on the BEC actually missed a few nuggets so I wanted to clean that up here.  There were some additional pieces that I found newsworthy.  As always Dr. Tom Culp provides an update with extreme value as does Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell.   First amongst the many nuggets from Tom was discussion on where the energy codes will go next… he listed 4 bullet points that I found relevant:

-- More high performance thermal breaks
-- More 4thsurface low-e, or triple glazing
-- More warm edge spacer
-- Lower SHGC triple silvers in the south

For some of us, the thought of these things are exciting and for some of us the thought in nauseating.  For those sick to their stomach, my advice is you have a bit of time to prep because it’s coming, so you may want to prep.  One thought I had is I wonder if moves like this will grow the Vacuum IG side in the commercial industry?  Regardless these are items to have on the radar.
Urmilla’s presentation did break down how much was going on in the tech side of NGA/GANA and with the merged group some things will certainly change, but what will not is the desire to make sure the items that affect our industry the most- serious ones- will be addressed.  I am excited to see how Urmilla and the technical side evolve and advance with the new set up.


--  I did run into Courtney Little of Ace Glass at BEC but found out after that he was just elected as President of American Subcontractors Association (ASA)- Courtney will be a great force there and he’s always been a tremendous person for insight for our industry.  Congrats Courtney and hope to still see you at glass events still even with your new responsibilities. 

--  Saw an interesting article  this week that was promoting the “Tesla of Housing.” Basically this was something compared to the groundbreaking like Tesla vehicle and features a contractor specifically focused on advancing the energy efficiency in the housing market. The approach noted is basically “passivhaus” which is not new but still very good and important.  Resistance in the US has always been pretty strong, since we love our “McMansions” so we’ll see if this developer can break that trend.

--  I do love the show Flip or Flop on HGTV though I do believe the pricing that they assign to things is usually woefully low.  Especially on shower enclosures.  (Please anyone who’s worked on that show with glass weigh in) I find it very interesting to get into the minds of the players.  And another show in that genre is “Fixer Upper” and from time to time Dustin Anderson of Anderson Glass plays a role.  In the new episode that aired last Tuesday, Dustin had to fabricate a huge glass wall and install it on the 3rd floor of an apartment building.  The wall was weight bearing as well and Dustin and his team had to move materials up the old fashioned way- through the stairwells!  Overall it was interesting to watch the players view what Dustin and his team did with amazement.  Glass and glazing is so cool and so many don’t realize it.  Kudos to Dustin for showing off what we do to the masses.

--  Last this week… my favorite show…The Americans returns for its final season on the 28th.  Lots of loose ends to tie up and I simply can’t wait!


Sometimes cool things happen from mistakes online and with texts.

Tracking of students by their ID cards- not surprised in the least

Wonderful.  A mystery disease is on the horizon. 


As mentioned above the final season of The Americans comes on March 28th.  Here’s the preview…

Sunday, March 11, 2018

BEC 2018 Recap

Well another great BEC Conference is now in the books and once again it was a major winner.   Like the many I have attended previously I left very fired up about what I learned and whom I got to meet and spend time with.  This year the attendee numbers were strong, more than 500 were there and they were active, either in the conference area or in the mini trade show spot.  This was the first year since those crazy pre-recession days that the numbers were that impressive. 

--  As for recapping there were a few things that stuck out.  The opening panel, that featured leaders from the design, manufacturing, installation, and contracting world was off the charts.  It could have easily taken up the entire morning session, especially with quite a few questions that were still waiting in the queue.  So lesson learned on the planning end- something that good, will need more time.  Tom Jackson, President of Steel Encounters did an absolutely fantastic job on the world of employee relations, culture, finding and retaining the workforce. He had one stat that I discussed with a lot of attendees and so I need to share here…

“95% of job candidates believe culture is more important than compensation”

--  That still blows me away but also shows I am old fashioned…. And speaking of old, the keynote (thanks to Guardian Glass and an inspired choice by Chris Dolan) was Jeff Havens and he provided an incredibly energetic and entertaining approach to generational differences in the workplace… old vs. young… and my gosh I am now officially old. 

--  Overall the presentations were excellent with a ton of different subjects to satisfy so much of what the modern glazing contractor or installer could need.  The technical meeting, chaired by the impressive Matt Kamper of Woodbridge Glass was interesting.  I always enjoy the ins and outs of it but the fact that NFRC was covered in detail cracked me up.  I have been in the NFRC mix since 2004!!  And we’re still talking about the same basic things.  Just incredible really. 

--  As always the networking makes the event. The Sunday night reception was awesome- the room was jam-packed and when the reception ended it was still busy with the hotel management trying several different moves to get people to clear out.  That is always the sign of a good party.  And yes I stayed til the end. (That never, ever happens if you know me.)

--  Before I run into whom I visited with, I have to give props to Gus Trupiano of AGC for leading this event as the chair of the BEC division.  Gus is not only an excellent and classy man, but he’s also a great leader who did the industry proud once again.  Kudos as well to Sara Neiswanger of GANA/NGA for her tireless work on this- she does so much behind the scenes, and does it with great care & skill.

--  As for the networking… it was fun to fly on a plane loaded with industry folks, poor Joe Erb of Quanex got stuck in the middle seat next to me for 4-1/2 hours.  He deserves a medal.  Plus the team from Guardian Glass was on board and I do sincerely enjoy chatting with them any chance I get.  Once in Vegas it was great to see Bill Sullivan of Brin Glass, he’s a tremendous supporter of the industry and it is appreciated.  In that same boat are people like Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP and Jon Kimberlain of Dow- I love what they do and getting a few minutes with each of them is a great honor for me. 

--  The talent on display at this event is really crazy- people like Gary McQueen of JE Berkowitz, Rob Carlson of Tristar, and Ian Patlin of Paragon are so impressive to me.  And my friend Shelly Farmer of Trex Commercial never disappoints, she’s always top of her game and doing great things.  It’s well known I am a fan of the Viracon guys, Garret Henson, Seth Madole, and Cameron Scripture- brilliant and good people too. 

--  I like meeting new people and learning new things too… It was great to meet Charles Alexander, the newest addition at Walker Glass (though saying goodbye to Marc Deschamps was VERY hard for me) and meeting Joffy Thompson and John Vissari of United Plate Glass was incredible.  Good, sharp guys for sure.  As for new things, I learned about the new, exciting unitized product from Kurt Levan and Joel Phelps of Entekk- that was very cool.  Best of luck to them.

--  Got to chat with Chris Knitter of Oahu Metal & Glazing for the first time in a few years and same with Maure Creager & Tim FInley of SAGE Glass  (Side note- SAGE has the coolest business cards- props to Derek Malmquist on that) I only see Tracy Robbins of Walters & Wolf at this event, and I am glad I always do, good guy!  Running into a former co-worker of mine Wardi Bisharat of PRL was fantastic- she rocks as always.

--  Any time I get with the great Rich Porayko is a blessing for me.  I got to tell the “how I met my wife” story to Bob Burkhammer of Giroux and his wonderful wife, and I spent some quality time with Bernard Lax of Pulp which I value a ton. 

--  The event was so huge I did not see a lot of people I wanted to see.  I barely saw Tim McGee of Glass Coatings and Concepts and I missed Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural completely.  I so badly wanted to hear how great things are going for him, as I see Clover everywhere these days!  I also missed visiting with the Vitro folks and missed a few opportunities to catch up with old friend Tim Moore of Standard Bent.

--  So it’s now on to the next events… for me its most likely GlassBuild as I do not think I am attending AIA…. And I am very excited about GlassBuild based on the vibes just experienced at BEC.  We have a lot of positivity flowing in our industry right now, so let’s keep at it!


You don’t always get rewarded for doing something nice or right, (as that’s not why you do nice things) so it’s very neat to see when it does happen!

If any of you think you can be stealth and private?  Not a chance… everyone is watching.

Jury Duty needs… and if anyone wants to hear my classic jury duty story, just ask… it’s a favorite of mine…


I mentioned how energetic and entertaining the keynote was at BEC and found a quick video of him online… this gives you a flavor.  Good stuff!