Sunday, May 17, 2015

Quick Hits

A lot of quick hitting items for me this week, so I’m going to eschew the normal format and just get into them…

--  Great Tweet of a link from John Wheaton (who is a must follow on Twitter- @JohnLWheaton1) about the decision in California to grant land to LinkedIn over Google.  I don’t think Google loses many battles, so this is truly an interesting one.   Google was planning an intense new global HQ (which I wonder now if they will redesign to try and match or top Apple) and now without the land they’ll be going to plan b. 

--  Tremendous feedback from my piece last week on the renovation needs by 2030.  Thank you to all.  It will be an issue to continue to monitor and we as an industry need to support any and all efforts to be involved in the process.

--  I ran into a computer magazine from 1977 that had a great story in it… it was an article on how computerized statements will be a key to getting paid faster.  I have to laugh since I don’t think that ever made a dent in the pay process, and even now, with electronic statements, those who want to pay quick do… and those who don’t or can’t… won’t.

--  The NFL was in hot water yet again, but this story did not get the same amount of attention as “Deflategate” did.  The story is how the NFL takes millions of dollars from the armed forces for advertising, but they try and play it off with “honoring the troops” during pre game and halftime.  It’s very disingenuous.  If you want to take money to promote signing up for the National Guard or Army etc. that’s fine.  But honoring of any troop should be free and done with respect, not because it’s a sponsor. 

--  Hiring is always a crucial need and one thing that came up this past week was that with the shortage of skilled employees some companies are just hiring any warm body they can.  That is a dangerous approach as sometimes it’s really better to let the job go unfilled than to hire someone who could cause major harm.  And in an industry where the primary product is pretty dangerous when not handled correctly, that’s even a bigger reason why it’s better to be focused on the hires you make.

--  I made the extremely quick visit to AIA.  Did not get to all I wanted to, but still good to see who I did.  Reaction on the floor traffic was mixed; some folks were thrilled, some not so much.

--  One thing at AIA that I caught wind of via social media ahead of time was View’s announcement on their new “Intelligence” product.  It’s a predictive glass that will do many things including react to the environment.  It’s no secret I love the dynamic glass space and this is yet another reason why. 

-- Kudos to Jeff Razwick for a tremendous blog on last week.  I believe the blog “format” has many uses, but pieces like Jeff’s that in 500 words or so provides such great and important information is crucial to our world. 

-- Not sure of my publishing schedule for next week, with Memorial Day in the US and also the weekend wedding of my nephew Josh.  Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday (And a Happy Victoria Day this week for my friends in Canada who celebrate that) and please those in the US take some time to pay respect to the men and women of the armed forces, both alive and passed for their commitment and dedication to the country they served.   Thank you.


--  This is when Twitter is truly fun.  Creative and light hearted trolling.

--  Mixed feelings on this.  I am very familiar with the 504 policy and I respect and am thankful for it, but also think there’s more to the story here as well. 

--  The “overbooked” generation.  Count me as someone who likes when kids don’t have too much time on their hands.


And here are your monthly news bloopers.  Like all months, some good, some bad, some unfortunately tasteless. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Major Rebuilding Needed

Interesting statistic this week to lead things off.  According to the Build America Initiative approximately 75% of the infrastructure in the United States will need either renovated or replaced by the year 2030.  At first glance I see the year 2030 and think, that’s a long way off, then it hits me, time is flying, that is not really that far away anymore.  As for the actual stat, I can truly believe it.  Massive growth in the 70’s and 80’s already is seeing signs of decay, and in our little world of glass and glazing, the amount of structures with old and poorly performing materials is mind blowing.  So what’s the plan?  Well that’s another problem… there doesn’t seem to be any cohesive or leading plan out there to address the issue stated above.  The Build America group is surely a start and it has the backing of the Rockefeller Foundation and the White House, but that is not going to be enough.  Not even close.  To truly get in front of this situation and do what needs done, this needs massive buy in from trade groups across the spectrum (not just glass, but builder and development bodies) code organizations and the government.  Will it happen?  My guess… not any time soon.  But the issue is out there and hopefully this start spurs some action.  


--  Maybe I shouldn’t be too hopeful to get government involved after all… especially after this past week and a special election in Michigan.  The very off-season election, at a cost of 10 million dollars, featured a complex and confusing proposal that would increase one tax, reduce another and spread money around to several needs including roads and schools.  The proposal was so poorly written and communicated that it went down to defeat 80 to 20!  Think about that for a second… In this day and age of strict lines of right and left, this was something that a mass majority agreed on.  Not sure you will ever see anything like that anywhere any time soon.

--  The AIA show is this week in Atlanta.  I am only hopping in and out for bit, so probably no big recap from me.  Looking forward to seeing the floor though and getting a feel for the attitude of the attendees and exhibitors I do get to run into.

--  Congrats to the gang at Guardian on the expansion of their Science and Technology Center.  I have gotten the opportunity to visit and tour the original structure and it was amazing.  Now this new addition sounds even more intense.  I love that they went with Bagatelos Façade System and look forward to seeing it in action some day.  Practicing what they preach is a great concept.

--  Last this week… our industry had a cool connection to the first round of the recent NFL Draft.  The first round pick of the Cleveland Browns, Danny Shelton is the first cousin of Jimmy Hanczor of Binswanger Glass.  I’ve gotten to work with Jimmy over the years and he’s an incredibly good guy, so I’m obviously thrilled for him and his family on one of their own making the big time.  Oh and our video of the week features Mr. Shelton and his reaction after he was picked.  Good stuff!


--  Oh just going to the bank to cash this little 368 Billion dollar check…

--  Interesting piece on the effect of the “Fitbit”- some people I know absolutely swear by it…. And my daughter wants one badly, maybe I’ll make her read this!

--  IKEA as a relationship killer?  As a friend said to me.. if your relationship can be harmed by IKEA, your relationship is not in a good place.


Here’s the previously mentioned Danny Shelton grabbing and lifting the NFL Commissioner in total joy after being selected round 1 last week.

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Working to Meet Industry Needs

Education and communication.  Both crucial needs in our industry and both were among the major themes at the excellent event I attended last week at the annual Garibaldi Glass Day.   This is the 5th year of a really unique and well-run event that gives architects, engineers, glaziers, glass shops, and industry at large opportunities to learn more about the fabrication business.  It was very apparent to me from the questions I heard throughout the event that there’s a serious need to educate the masses about what we do and how we do it.  I give the ownership and staff at Garibaldi a ton of credit for stepping up yearly to provide it.

I was honored beyond belief to be on a panel discussing all things glass and glazing. The other guys on the panel were awesome.  Industry icon Joe Marks of Global Façade Solutions was incredible with his depth of knowledge on so many aspects of the building envelope.  Brian Hubbs of RDH providing strong insight into the building engineering side, and Steve Thomas of Guardian dazzled the crowd with in depth and detailed information on all things glass.  Steve was like a human version of Google for glass, just ask him a question and BAM, you get everything you need answer wise.  I think in the end I was there for the comic relief because these guys were intense, but in any case it was a great thrill to experience and be involved in this fantastic event.  Thank you to Carey, Chris, and Craig Mobius and everyone at Garibaldi for their hospitality.


--  Just some other notes from the show… my day was made when Tish Oye of Glassworks Architectural Art Glass approached me and mentioned she enjoys reading the blog.  That was awesome and appreciated greatly! Getting to see Steve O’Hollaren of ICD is always great, and he was with ICD’s newest player Chris Fronsoe.  Chris is the type of young and energetic person this industry needs involved, so its great he’s out and about.  Also spent a ton of time bending the ear of Dean Borys of All Weather Window in Edmonton as well as Matt Hill of Guardian.  Both are a major credit to our industry and doing things right.

--  Oh and the design of the Garibaldi facility was surely something to see- exterior and interior usage of glass and glazing that ran the gambit.  Really a smart way to promote what our industry does in real life applications.

--  I gotta say I do love Canada.  Have never had a bad experience anywhere or with anyone in that country. 

--  Glass Magazine broke two pretty big stories last week.  The closing of the Southwall Insulating and personnel changes at HMI Cardinal.  Those stories both will have major repercussions in the industry, one of which is that there’s now some serious talent available for hire.

--  Last this week… a movie to recommend… on the plane ride home I caught “Now You See Me” – it came out a couple of years ago, but I never heard of it.  Glad I got to watch it- pretty cool and creative movie.  And evidently a sequel is coming out soon too.  Hope it lives up to the first one.


--  Guys its not yoga… its “broga”

--  This may be the goofiest infographic ever.

--  A really stupid teen.  Lucky to be alive really.


While the nation watched Mayweather-Pacquiao I had to go back and watch on youtube one of the greatest fights ever- Hagler-Hearns.  So those of you who spent the $$ on the PPV, here’s a fight that was worth paying for!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

2015 Cruising Along

Basically April is now in the books and 2015 is just screaming along.  I can’t believe we are four months in already.  Of the stories I have been monitoring, the biggest being the capacity tightening of glass continues to be the most interesting.  Some pockets of North America have been affected more than others, and with this cold, bizarre spring about to morph into a hot summer, we’ll see how things hold up.  I know my contacts are telling me it’s going to be rough, so we will see. 
The one cool thing?  The fact that so many fabricators and glaziers have raised their communication game.  I am seeing an unprecedented level of dialogue on leadtimes and planning.  That is great at so many levels and a good business practice no matter what. 


--  The Architectural Billings Index continues to provide good news for the commercial industry.  The main rating was up a point and the new project index up 2.  The worrisome news is that multi-family residential has had 2 negative months in a row. That bears watching for sure. 

--  Major kudos to the folks at Giroux Glass.  Their social media and website effort (with really strong blog takes) are absolutely fantastic.  Overall well thought out and strong content.  Very impressive stuff and worth checking out for sure.

--  This coming Saturday is as loaded as a sports day can be.  NFL Draft (which I used to live for, not so much anymore) NBA and NHL Playoffs, Major League Baseball games all day… the Kentucky Derby (major bucket list item for me- some day I’ll visit the Louisville legend Tony Kamber and attend) and ending with the long awaited Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.  If you are a sports fanatic I am not sure it can get much better than that.

--  By the way, my heart wants a Pac-man win, but the head says unfortunately Mayweather will take it.

--  Also this week is my trip out west to the Garibaldi Glass Day.  I am so excited to experience it and be involved on a panel while there.  I’ll surely provide some thoughts next week. 

--  I wish I had more time when I head to Vancouver, regrettably it’s an “in and out” for me- so getting to see the sites or visit with good friends like the awesome Chris Ketchum (who will be out doing a super job pushing RavenWindow, so he told me he wouldn’t see me anyway!) won’t happen this time…. Then again with the Canucks eliminated in round 1, not sure anyone will be in the mood to visit!

--  Congrats to a few companies on the recently announced expansions.  Onyx Solar is opening a location in Avila, Spain.  Plus they are hiring 60 more people.  That is great news for a very cool and needed technology.  Great credit to Alvaro Beltran, and my pal Diego Cuevas on the positive moves!
Meanwhile, Dip-Tech is opening up a service center in Shanghai- which is a smart move to handle that side of the world for sure.  No question that this is a company that just continues to press all the right buttons.   Last, the team from Alliance Glass is moving into a new facility and I loved how they promoted on Twitter with everyone in matching Ric Flair “Wooooo” t-shirts.  All good news and “Wooooo” to all!


--  Great story on all students opting out of an un-necessary test

--  Absolutely awesome story about the Boston Marathon and when a woman tried to run it when it was against the rules.

--  This is some serious theft of painkillers.  Wow.


Another big movie trailer this week… Batman vs. Superman coming in 2016.  Not sure I am into this one… but trailer looks interesting. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Green Building Still Growing

The “Green” building process is a favorite subject of mine.  I believe that effort is still very immature and has tons of growth still to go, especially in North America.   So when I saw a recent report on the world’s twelve “greenest” buildings it was exciting to see our continent well represented.  Five of the twelve were in North America and they were:
  • Arizona State Health Services
  • Manitoba Hydro
  • Bud Clark Commons
  • SUNY-ESF Gateway Center
  • Packard Foundation Headquarters

If you supplied the glass and metal on any of these I’d love to know and learn more of what you provided and any challenges you faced.  And congrats for being involved in something both incredibly cool and important.


--  Another aspect of the “green” side of things is solar and I have been on record saying that product line is still in line to make an impact.  And now thanks to a link from always excellent twitter feed of Ted Bleecker, there’s some evidence of growth on the residential side.  While the business is not in the greatest of shape yet, and this story surely leaves a lot to wonder about, the positive undertone is there. 

--  Got tremendous news this week that the extremely talented Dan Plotnick of Guardian Industries got promoted to a new position in the Asia Pacific region.  Dan is now the Architectural Sales and Marketing Director for that area and I am thrilled for him.  Plus he’s at least one person on that side of the world that doesn’t hate me.  It’s a great thing to see when good things happen to good people.  Congrats Dan. 

--  I started my research into the AIA show and the immediate thing that jumped out at me?  Birds.  Or more specifically bird protection.  They’ll be several non-industry companies there with different options to protect the birds from the building envelope, as well as industry folks like Walker Glass showing their option for the architectural community to consider.  This trend may actually grow faster than I expected.

--  I’ve written a few times on how I love the glass usage at Dulles Airport, so when I was there this week, I snapped a picture.  Doesn’t do it justice, but believe me its amazing.  Glass everywhere and on everything.  And I noticed several different logos this time, so the supply was surely spread around too.  Overall just fantastic for a glass geek.

--  The great news from Apogee Enterprises on their strong year is also a good indicator for the industry at large.  It’s surely a positive that one of the big signature players is experiencing significant success.  And as for the Viracon segment and their great run, it’s no surprise given how dialed in Garret Henson and the sales team is there. 

--  Last this week, on a personal level; my teenage son has had his own blog focused on the world of professional wresting for a year or so.  Well this week, he started to write for a big publication in that industry and got his first piece published.  So incredibly cool and I am beyond proud.  


--  A napping worker gets a flight to remember.

--  A 70K minimum wage.  Going to be very interesting to see how long this lasts and how it works.

--  I love this story- a great grandmother foils a mugger.  Awesome.


Coming this Christmas a movie that will break all the records… Star Wars- The Force Awakens.  The new trailer came out this week and it.. is… awesome…..