Sunday, June 24, 2018

AIA Show Review

Fun and interesting few days in New York for the annual AIA show.  I gained some excellent insight and as always got to visit with the best and brightest in our industry.  Before I get into the show review and all that came with it, I have to say just the overall vibe of the Times Square area is craziness.  So many people, so much going on.  It never ceases to amaze me.  Also I did trek away from Times Square for lunch at what I was told was the best pizza in New York- John’s on Bleeker and it lived up to the billing.  Also kudos to my Uber driver who somehow crammed his car the tightest of spaces to maneuver through the thickest traffic ever to get me out of town and to the airport.  Needless to say I could never ever drive in that city. 

Ok on to our world and the show...

The overall atmosphere out our industry and the markets was exceedingly positive. Many that I talked with were very bullish for the next 2-3 years showing excellent metrics and a strong foundation of business and growth.  That was exciting to hear.  It didn’t hurt that the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) released during the show was excellent yet again.  So things are rolling and that is something to feel good about.  And yes I should add the disclaimer here that this is all good based on nothing happening at the political level- which quite frankly changes minute to minute anymore.

As for the show itself...

It was solid and better than past events but probably still not what it should and could be.  But for those exhibitors who suffered through Orlando’s mess last year, they at least had something to hang their hat on this time.  Probably the issue with the show that stuck me the most was the show floor was split with exhibits on the 3rd and 1st floors.  The 3rd floor was huge, well lit, and featured a lot of very big names.  The 1st floor was darker, featured lower ceilings, smaller booths, and despite having big time companies there just felt different.  There was no signage in either hall promoting there was another show floor and I know many architects & attendees had no idea that there were 2 floors.  I know a few folks on the 1st floor had good shows, but I believe those on the 3rd did much better.  I just hate when trade shows break up the floor like that- just not good or fair to anyone except the trade show organizer. 

Ok now on to the people and companies… 

NGA had their booth set up to answer code and technical questions with the brilliant duo of Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell and Dr. Tom Culp and they were swamped.  Loved the education approach because as we all know, the more education and technical we can teach the architects the better.  EFCO was back in the show with a very impressive booth and I loved visiting with Joseph Holmes for a few minutes there.  Very good guy!  It’s been a while since I have seen Jerry Schwabauer and Patrick Muessig of Azon.  They had an incredible product that they are working with Quaker Window on that featured extremely high performing numbers thanks to their product inside.  It’s a new release from them and you will surely be hearing more about that in the future.  I love the continuing innovation path there!

More innovation was on display at VIG Technologies, they had a very interactive display showing their Vacuum Insulating Glass in a heat box as well as a cool acoustical box that really showed the performance of the product.   Vistamatic also had really amazing pieces on display that impressed me on several levels.  Their booth was striking and I give them credit for making it work since much of it got damaged on the way from the holding area to their booth spot. 

It was fun meeting up with Ted Bleecker at the busy SuperSky Products booth.  Also seeing Brian Thomas there was a bonus.  Good company and great bunch of folks.  Obviously when it comes to people I consider great, that is usually everyone associated with Viracon.  Nicer to me than I deserve.  Their show performance (busy & interesting exhibit) was impressive. 

It’s absolutely awesome to have Dan Plotnick back in our industry.  Dan has been a favorite of mine for many years and after spending a decade+ overseas, and time on the residential side, he’s back at Solar Seal and the CGH companies.  Great add there for them and I will be doing a “Big 3” interview with Dan later this summer because his story is fascinating. 

I always love seeing the float people and seeing how they’ll be moving the needle product wise in the next few years.  The Guardian Glass booth was fabulous and they had at least 3 pieces of very big news (Bird Deterrent Glass, VIG, Jumbo) that will be positive disruptions in the industry.  Thanks as always to the great Chris Dolan and team for being so welcoming.  Vitro also was making news with their Acuity product (love the name, logo and look- don’t doubt the talented Rob Struble as he nailed it again) as well as their push into bigger sizes.  Plus seeing my old pal Steve Cohen there was very cool.  Over at AGC there was a bunch of activity happening but all I cared about was saying hi to my old pal Matt Ferguson.  Just hearing that voice again- that very distinctive sound and drawl, made the show for me.  Good to see him and everyone else there.

Wrapping up, I saw James Wright and his energy and positive approach is infectious.   Same with my old pal Danik Dancause of Walker.  They debuted a new booth that was so beautiful and impressive that no one noticed that incredible suit Danik rocked on day 1.  Folks that’s a good booth when that happens.   I am sure I am missing a few that I should be noting, but I think my head is still trying to acclimate to being back in my sleepy Michigan town vs. the bright lights of New York City. 

Overall very good stuff… Now all eyes turn to GlassBuild America.  That’s next and it’s going to be incredible. I am irrationally confident about it and you’ll be hearing more from me in the coming weeks for sure. 

Elsewhere....

Because this review is so long, they’ll be no Big 3 interview this week.  But stay tuned the ones I have coming up I believe are outstanding and I am so thankful for all of the positive reaction so far.   I really appreciate those who read and especially those who being interviewed for sharing their insights etc.

Quick major congrats to Dan McCrickard.  Dan is a class man and friend and he just landed and excellent gig at ASSA ABLOY.  Strong company adds talent- love it!  Happy for you Dan!

Last this week- just a programming note… no blog next week as Canada Day and the 4th of July holiday will be upon us.  I will be back in this space the week of July 8th with the latest Glass Magazine review, Big 3 interview, and more.  I sincerely hope you and yours enjoy whichever holiday you are celebrating and please stay safe!! (I hate fireworks- please be careful if you are messing with them!)

LINKS of the WEEK


--  Free train rides- but really should be for life after this right?

--  Deep and fascinating read on tracking the possible Zodiac killer.

VIDEO of the WEEK

You know me- you know I love Rocky and the now the Creed series… the latest trailer for Creed II is out… looks promising!


Sunday, June 17, 2018

AIA Week

New York City is the destination this week for many in our industry with the annual AIA show happening there.  As I have mentioned many times before it is always intriguing to see how this show is because as an industry we long to get in front of architects but more often than not this show leaves the exhibitors wanting.  And this year with education happening outside of the show building and 200 walking tours going on at the same time as the expo, it will be interesting to see and experience the floor action.  I had noted previously that I was not attending but moons aligned and I now will be there.  So I look forward to seeing everyone there and reporting back here next week.

Elsewhere….

--  Those of you coming to New York may see this sign. Not one that any of us should be a fan of!!  Thanks to my friend Ian Patlin of Paragon Architectural Products for the picture.  Still from the website it promotes I am seeing a lot of glass... so interesting yet confusing hook for me with being "anti glass" as it should be more focused on not being cookie cutter since that is the end message vs. glass usage.


--  Also related to New York- the first request for modular construction is out.  This is a trend to watch- I am seeing it a lot on the residential side, and just a bit with commercial, but I think it may gain momentum quicker than you think.

--  Last this week, congrats to my friend Deron Patterson of Vitro on his new position as Architectural Market Manager for Mexico.  Deron is such a fascinating and bright person and has been a major success in his career- something I foresee continuing with this new role!

This week’s interview… Maure Creager, Building Science Manager, SAGE Glass

Maure is a brilliant and talented person and the industry can surely use many more like her.  I wanted to find out how someone with her background made it into the glass world and get her perspectives on the always-evolving dynamic glass market for which I am a huge fan of.

When you were growing up, what did you want to do for a living and then once you got the mechanical engineering degree- did you ever in your wildest dreams think you’d end up with a long career in the glass business?

An Astronaut!  Didn’t everyone after watching the movie Space Camp?  Side note: I had a friend who was able to attend the camp.  Those dreams were dashed when I got glasses, so I decided to plan for the next best thing and go for mechanical engineering with a master’s in aeronautical.  But the job market was amazing when I finished my BS, so I decided to work for a while first.  I had amazing mentors and learned a lot about commercial and industrial design and construction during my work experience in college and in my first post-grad job.  A few years later led to my husband being transferred to the frozen tundra (I mean Minnesota) which meant finding a new job, which was with SAGE.  The product was so cool and the people I was going to work with were brilliant, mind-blowing smart.  At the time, I had no idea I would end up with a career in the glass business.  SAGE was still a startup when I joined, which meant I had the opportunity to learn a lot and work in many different areas of the business and with the product

You were one of the first people I met that was involved with dynamic glass- how much has that world changed since you started at Sage Glass in 2004?

Oh my goodness – well, for starters, we can make units larger than 18x35”! Back then we were excited to ship 5 units per week that we hand packed in custom built and padded crates – and we could ship them via UPS. Needless to say, our volume has increased exponentially.    In 2004, the iPhone was still 3 years away from being debuted, so I never would have imagined we would be controlling the glass from an app or Amazon Echo.  But I think the most interesting aspect has been the building science and occupant health research.  For example, we all knew we loved sunlight, but the biology of it hadn’t yet been proven.   Now we KNOW we humans absolutely need daylight to regulate our circadian rhythms.   We are still striving for changes for healthier people and planet, but we are getting there.  I hope a right to light mandate will be incorporated into our building and employee health and safety standards sooner rather than later. 

What ideas would you have to encourage college graduates- whether engineers or sales or marketing to get them to come to the industry?

There are so many different types of work you can do within the glass industry: fa├žade engineer, process engineer, design engineer, test engineer, R&D, product development, the list goes on and on.  Glass may seem simple, but it can also be incredibly complex and interesting.  But what I have learned over time, is that what you do is only part of it; who you work with is also important.  What I love about the glass industry are the people, both within SAGE and Saint-Gobain and within the industry as a whole.  Within the industry organizations I am part of, I can clearly see the sharing of knowledge across the industry and mentoring new professionals.  It truly is a small world and we are all working together to move the glass industry forward. 

LINKS of the WEEK

I love dogs- coolest animals- and this one just did his thing at the ballpark!


Domino’s.  Great work with the potholes.  Super marketing play

VIDEO of the WEEK

I am huge Barstool Sports guy- and I do love the Pizza Reviews… in fact in NY this week for AIA- I must get to one of these places to do my own review.  Anyway- this review is hilarious as you have 5 pretty big stars and the fan on the street basically misses them all at first…. But then she realizes… and its all so cool.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Growth Areas- By Population

I am a sucker for lists of all types and this one really got me going.  The latest report from the US Census Bureau was released and it featured the fasting growing cities by population from 2016 to 2017.  The great state of Texas keeps growing.   Three of the top 5 growth areas were from Lone Star state.  Here’s the top 10 with some comments:

1.     San Antonio- I would’ve bet Austin- they were 12th
2.     Phoenix
3.     Dallas
4.     Ft Worth- I seriously always just considered Dallas and Ft Worth as one. 
5.     Los Angeles- I guess we’ll see if all of the reports of people fleeing California this year is true when updated reports come out
6.     Seattle
7.     Charlotte
8.     Columbus- Grads from Ohio State have to live somewhere I guess.
9.     Frisco, TX
10. Atlanta

--  Congrats to all of you out there who have High School and College graduation celebrations happening right now.  Exciting and nerve wracking times for parents and kids alike!

--  Last before I get to this weeks awesome interview, kudos out to the team at Britt & Tilson Glass in Asheville, NC.  They do not let things like horrible weather and massive floods slow them down.   Billy Britt posted this picture on Twitter from outside of their shop- but also posted an awesome   That’s what I love about so many in our industry- nothing can stop them from getting the work done!
kitchen and shower enclosure just completed.









Now onto week 2 of the “Big 3” interview series.  I am truly touched at the reaction I got from last weeks interview.  I believe everyone I have lined up will keep that momentum going.  This one features Syndi Sim of Diamon-Fusion International (DFI) – Syndi has this incredibly positive and upbeat approach that truly is something to admire.   And I especially loved her last answer- such a great lesson there.
So let’s learn more… the Big 3 with Syndi Sim, Vice President Marketing & Business Development DFI

You have been in marketing for what looks like a majority of your professional life.  How is marketing the glass and glazing world different than to the other areas where you were focused?

Marketing in the glass and glazing world is not much different than other products/services I have marketed. The key is truly connecting with people, in ways they want to be communicated with. People engage and receive messaging in various forms – some like to use LinkedIn while others prefer phone calls or face-to-face conversations. If you can find out what is important to your audience, how they want to receive information, and most importantly, learn how to connect on a human level, then you will begin to develop solid relationships. This will inevitably open the door to more honest, conducive conversations.   

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment to date at DFI?

Having worked at DFI for almost five years, my greatest accomplishment has been strategizing with new and current customers about the marketing leverage DFI’s FuseCube offers. My team and I have worked tirelessly on creating various marketing models that have differentiated the recipient’s glass coating business. In my eyes, not only is the glass fabricator receiving an excellent low-maintenance coating application system, but a team that will stop at nothing to help them succeed.

We don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all strategy for our customers, but instead take the time to learn about each company’s marketing/sales demands, then formulate a tailored model that best fits those goals. This concept has really positioned us as a reliable business partner.

You are very active with shows and also customer visits (I see you on LinkedIn all over the world). From being out there so much and seeing so many different ways of doing things, what are some takeaways you can share that we as an industry should be doing more of to become better?

This is an exciting time to be in the glass industry - people are sharing ideas and glass is becoming more ingenious. My best piece of advice would be to just spend time with customers. Ask questions. Learn. And above all – listen. You wouldn’t believe how the effective having an open, honest conversations really is.

My passion and, coincidentally, my success have come from face-to-face opportunities – whether it is attending shows, meeting with customers at their fabrication facilities or, at the very least, sharing successes/stories via LinkedIn. For many years, the industry really did not market or interact as much as they are doing now. Seeing and talking with the customer at their plant is a great educational process and opportunity to find out firsthand the customers’ needs and wants.

LINKS of the WEEK

I don’t know standing on a flight may end up being more comfortable than being stuffed so tightly into a seat.

Modern journalism is a mess.  Stuff like this- not helping that opinion.

As a great friend of mine pointed out on this headline…“Startled” surely doesn’t cover the reaction if a snake all of a sudden appears in your car!!

VIDEO of the WEEK

The video of the week returns because I love dogs and this one somehow sings…. Seriously different here…


Sunday, June 03, 2018

End of an era and Big 3 Debut

Longer post this week with the debut of my new interview series, not every post will be this long, but thank you in advance for checking it all out!

--  A subject we hear a lot about (and will be below in the interview too) is attracting workers to our industry.  At BEC the highest rated presentation was on the matters of the workforce and this article recently had some nice tips on recruiting and retaining our next gen of the industry.

--  Congrats to Brian Leizerowicz on his new gig at Western Window Systems.  I have been a huge fan of Brian’s for years- talented guy and good to see he’s continuing to climb up the ladder in our industry.  He’ll do great things with the product line at Western.

--  This week saw the end of my favorite TV show of recent times- “The Americans” – it was an amazing ride and finale was fabulous.  It made me think about how I got into that show… The one and only Greg Carney was who tipped me off- in this e-mail from January 31, 2013.

Hello Max,

Just a quick note to see if you watched "The Americans" on FX tonight?  If not, knowing your enjoyment of shows such as 24 -- I would highly recommend checking it out (Wednesday nights @ 10:00 pm).  Awesome premiere tonight.  

I think of Greg often and with this show ending it’s another connection we had going away.  He lives on though in all we try to do to make this industry the best it can be!

--  OK… so now on to my new interview series- The Big 3.  So to kick off this segment, I went with the person responsible for me being in this business.  Steve Perilstein.  My brother Steve is the guy you can get mad at if you hate me, its all his fault.   Anyway, I thought this would be the best person to start with as my brother is a fascinating guy and has had amazing success through his life long (and I mean life long) career in the glass business.  He was also way ahead of the trends with pushing into tempering and IG, developing sales people and building businesses overall.

So here goes the debut of the Big 3…. Steve Perilstein, Executive Vice President, WA Wilson

Because I know you so well… I know you wanted to be a “glass jobber” since you could walk.  What was your path like always wanting to be in this industry and going from those early days at the original Perilstein related companies all the way to now at WA Wilson?

It started with me in preschool when I drew a picture of me with window glass.  It was just something that I always wanted to do.  When I was growing up I always looked forward to Saturdays so I could go into work with my (our) Dad.  I just wanted to be around it all.  When I was in High School I worked every day after school in the warehouse and learned something new daily.  When Dad started Perilstein Distributing Corp. in 1977 I was there to help get it started and after a year away for college I came home to work full time while pursuing my degree in night school.  It was amazing to work with my Dad- he was and will always be my hero. 
Eventually I gained more and more knowledge and leadership responsibility and it was important as my Dad fought off some health issues- it was during those times that I moved the company forward… when he had cancer, we bought an IG line, when he had open heart surgery, we purchased a tempering oven.  Sounds funny but it just worked out that way.  We grew the company no matter what and pushed into underserved areas. 
Family businesses are tough but I wouldn’t change a thing in my life.  In fact at this point in my career I have a soft spot in my heart for family operations and do whatever I can to help those there.  After we sold PDC I moved on to Arch and then to GGI.  Both were incredible experiences where I was able to work with the best our industry had to offer people wise.  I will always be grateful for those times.  I count myself as very fortunate and blessed to now to be a part of the ownership group of WA Wilson and to get to work with a true class act and great man in Bobby Hartong.  Bobby and the folks at Wilson are really wonderful and I am honored to be working along side of them.

What’s the biggest change you have seen in the glass fabrication industry since you started?

I have been in and around the industry for more than 50 years, working full time the last 41.  The biggest change- ¼ Tempered glass was 3-4 weeks leadtime and was very expensive.  It was run on a vertical line that left tong marks on the glass.  Those marks that would absolutely be rejected by customers today.  Also when I started no one knew or was producing much insulating glass.  In addition the product mix now is so vast.  We went from mostly selling only clear and 2 tints to seemingly having thousands of varieties of glass make ups that can go into structures.

Biggest industry challenge?

Finding labor to do it all.  Too many people think the industry is not “sexy” enough- I wonder will my grandchildren want to be in the business?  What will attract the youth?  Its worrisome as when I visit companies I am noticing that we are not getting young people in the business- not getting kids out of school to get in here.
At WA Wilson we’ve tried to engage trade schools and they have no desire to work with our industry- it’s very frustrating that career placements don’t consider the glass world.
I am excited that the new NGA-GANA with the single voice may be a great a road for addressing this. We need to find people to get in our industry and stay in the industry to keep it going!

LINKS of the WEEK


As someone who has flown in and out of ATL a ton… man I would hate if I got caught up in this mess over slippers…. But I am good with being overly cautious.

In many parts of North America we skipped spring and went right to summer.  Even the animals are hating it.

VIDEO of the WEEK


With the interview series adding so much to the blog, on weeks like this I am going to skip the video unless I have something amazing… sorry to the 10’s of you who look forward to this!  It will be back though….