Sunday, February 07, 2016

Glass In Schools

This week a really interesting debate popped up over the usage of glass on the interiors of a new elementary school in Boulder, Colorado.  The issue at hand was that the design is calling for a very open floor plan (which as we know is very popular these days in business structures) and some believe that would potentially put the children at extra risk if there were a school attack.  I struggle with this on many levels.  First... the protection of the children needs to happen from the exterior entrances.  Once someone with evil intent enters any structure any layout could be exploited.  There have been great strides with exterior protective systems specifically for schools (Childgard via Global Security Glazing is one I am familiar with) and more designers are laying out the entrances of schools with attacks in mind.  Another other issue is the “living in fear” factor.  Shouldn’t we want the best possible educational environment for our children?  So if this is it, then we should not penalize them by forcing the kids into thoughtless, boring shelter like structures.  If we want to keep them safe we need to do it in other ways. The glass on the interior can be beefed up to offer extra protection, but obviously if someone gets through the doors and wants to do harm, nothing will stop them.  Regardless I hope this school moves forward and does what it needs to in meeting the educational and safety needs of its students.  By the way this story should give pause to the glass industry that our product is once again looked at as the weak link in the building.  That too is not good.


--  A hearty congrats to old friend Scott Hoover after he signed on with Solaria as their VP of Sales, Building Solutions for North America.  I was not at all familiar with Solaria but after digging into it I am excited for Scott and for what this company will bring to the industry space.  As everyone who reads this knows I am a big supporter of advanced technology, so I’ll surely be rooting for success here. 

--  Speaking of things I have been hitting on, the North American Contractor Certification (NACC) organization released a new Program Procedure Guide.  This new document is helpful in understanding the process and requirements for this important industry program.  Check it out HERE.

--  Fun visual of the week?  Tweets from Brian Savage of Viracon.  He tweeted the following pictures before a blizzard rolled in and then halfway through the blizzard

And you know those Minnesota people are tough, blizzard rolls in and they still work their entire shifts- no rushing home for them!

--  Friend of the blog and all around good guy Joe Carlos of Triview Glass sent me a wild link.  This story on a Burger King having all of its windows broken is one to check out.  After I watched it, my thoughts were surely that a glass company needing some business was behind it!

--  Next week I’ll have my Super Bowl commercial thoughts.  I am sure you can’t wait for that! 

Last this week; my favorite airport rankings brought a lot of discussion and other options.  A major thank you to everyone who reached out via Twitter, comments, and e-mail.  Some of the airports that came up in the various discussions…

Raleigh-Durham- I do like this airport, agree for a mid sized one its good.
Minnesota-St. Paul- A few hit me on this and it probably should be in the top discussion.  It’s gigantic but it does have tons of amenities/option and I totally forgot about that. 
Flint- Flown out of there many times- easy airport to work through, though food options are a bit light for me.
Portland, OR- For me it’s decent- nice open concourse but not top 5 worthy.
San Jose, CA- I have never been through there, I assume it has to be better than going through SFO or Oakland if you are going to that region.
John Wayne-Orange County, CA- Been awhile since I have flown through there.
Denver- I have never been a fan; to me it’s always cramped, and not great options.  Plus for some reason I always lose the rental car battle there- in the winter, all that’s ever available are rear wheel drive cars.  In the summer, giant SUV’s. 
Hopefully I’ll hit some new and different airports this year and we’ll look at this again in 2017.


Did you have or attend a Super Bowl party?  If so, you may be at extra risk for the flu!

I can’t believe Amazon is actually going to have retail stores.  Makes zero sense to me.

The Burger King Extra Long Buttery Cheeseburger.  I am absolutely sure it’s good for your diet!


Young man plays a high school hockey game just hours after his dad passes away… and scores the winning goal in overtime.  Got chills just typing it, teared up while watching it.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Is This New Technology Real?

I pride myself in always trying to learn something new each day.  The internet surely helps with that as do friends and colleagues sending me notes and info to review.  So when I ran upon a story talking about “Perovskite cells” and improved glass performance I immediately jumped in.  Evidently these are similar to photovoltaic cells that can harvest the suns energy and turn it into electricity- but more efficiently and effectively.  I have always been a proponent of doing all we can to maximize our space on the building to make glass more useful and intelligent so this appears to be another source.  However like the past solar products this looks like its not exactly main stream yet. Anyway, for my solar friends out there, if you have some insight on these cells and technology please drop me a note, I’d love to learn more and also share here.


--  Once again the latest edition of Glass Magazine was outstanding.  Excellent article on trends in transport (crucial these days) as well as a good read on engaging the millennial workforce.  Whole issue was super though.  Check it out!

--  My ad of the month in that issue was a tough call.  Former winners like GGI and CRL came through again, but I like to notice folks here who have not gotten the credit yet.  So with that in mind, this month the honor goes to Ergo Robotic Solutions.  Jerry Nudi and company had what I feel was an eye catching ad with a good memorable message. 

--  Since it was a very slow week in the glass and glazing world, this is the perfect time as promised previously to unveil my top 5 airports.  I know several industry road warriors read this blog and so I’m curious if I hit all the right notes here.  What I considered was ease of getting around, food and bathroom options, places to sit and charge equipment, and just overall feel.  I did not include security process because that can be a day-to-day adventure anymore.  Also this is only airports I have visited.  So someday when I get to visit the living legend Lyle Shimazu and fly into Honolulu International that could change things. So here goes…

#5- Boston-Logan- Yes maybe I am crazy with this one but I always had good experiences and think highly of this place.  Once I leave the airport and hit the roads and traffic, that’s another story…

#4- Madison, WI- There’s a lot of smaller airports that people seem to love.  Madison though is the best of that bunch.  Clean, bright, easy to get around, comfortable and creative seating. 

#3- Seattle. WA- This one probably depends on what terminal you fly out of.  The A/B sides are nice, with everything you can imagine and an amazing view through an incredible curtain wall.  The S terminal leaves you wanting.  But in the end the layout is simple and comfortable, plus the view is worth it.

#2- Detroit, MI- Sure it’s a homer pick.  I’m there as much as I am at my house some times, but as airports go this place is strong.  Easy layout.  Clean.  Tons of food choices including the always awesome Chick-fil-A.  Tons of seating and charging stations.

#1- San Diego, CA- Excellent layout, many food choices, clean and bright.  Nice people too.  Plus when you go there you are pumped that you are going to one of the nicer places in this world, and when you leave you are usually relaxed. 

Just missing the list- Charlottesville, VA (tiny airport but an outside deck to watch planes come and go is very cool) and Cincinnati, OH.

--  Last this week it is Super Bowl time and despite my absolute dislike for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell I will watch the game.  Though at this point I enjoy the commercials more than the game.  I really wanted New England to win it so Goodell would have to hand the trophy to Tom Brady but that did not work out.  So who wins the big game?   I’m going with Carolina, so get ready Denver fans, a title is coming your way!


--  After the big snow this person shoveled a maze for their dogs.  I can honestly say I do the same for mine.  This one is really good though.

--  Smart legislation… This is so logical you know it won’t pass.  On another note our political system is so broken… it’s a downright shame.

--  The Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 30 years ago this past week.  One of the engineers that tried to stop the launch is still obviously haunted by it. 


Well the highlight of a major snow was the annual appearance of the NYC snowboarder.  Gotta have some skill to not get killed out there.  Also proves you can put almost any video to Sinatra singing “New York” and it will be awesome.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Snow & Economic Storms

Mother Nature flexed her muscles for the first time in 2016 with the massive snowstorm crushing a healthy portion of the eastern US.  Storms like these can sometimes have an effect on the economic performance of the industry depending on how long the event lasts and the cities it hits.  We’ll see next month when the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) and Dodge Momentum Index come out.  Both metrics came in positive for the month of December which was obviously good news.  On the ABI, two main takeaways… first the overall 2015 was pretty much equal with 2014’s performance which should lock in a solid 2016 actual performance for the industry.  Second, the new projects inquiry number was very high, giving some confidence to the rosy predictions for 2017.  But…. That was all done before we had the correction to the stock market… so aside from seeing if there’s any storm related declines, watching to see if positivity on the new project inquiry side will be key.


--  Another fear is the cratering cost of oil.  If you read this blog (thank you) you know I usually mention gas prices- especially when they seem abnormally high or whenever prices get raised for the flimsiest reasons.  (Like someone at a refinery having the flu… raise the prices!) However we’re now on the opposite side of the spectrum with prices too low.  Yes it’s amazing to fill up so cheaply, but it’s actually economically unhealthy by a lot.  So there’s got to be a happy medium and for whatever reason we rarely can get to it.   By the way I saw a graphic that really threw me.. a bucket of chicken from KFC right  now costs more than a barrel of oil.  Never thought that comparison would ever happen!

--  Interesting move by PPG corporate as they are getting rid of voicemail systems.  From an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Instead of being prompted to leave a message when no one at PPG picks up, a recording informs callers that the person they are trying to reach is unavailable and that they should call back later or “try an alternative method to correspond.”

Wow.  I'm at that point where I remember when voicemails were first introduced... now they are obsolete.   Anyway this new move is on the landline corporate office only as far as I know… and I have to assume those with cell phones will always have voicemail working.

--  From time to time when someone launches a new website or I come across one I have not previously seen, I mention it here.  This time around props to the folks at MyGlassTruck for their excellent upgraded site. I never thought you could make a glass rack truck look like a super model, but they did.  Beautiful visual and informative site.  Congrats to Rustin Cassaway, Michael Frett and the team there for a job well done.

--  Very interesting story here on mold at the Winnipeg IGA Stadium.  You read this and you seriously have to wonder if the designers had any idea where this stadium was going OR if they even knew what they were doing.  Then again you also wonder did the proper materials get value engineered out?  In any case just a baffling situation that won’t be easy to fix. 

--  Just a heads up- we are one month away from GANA BEC.  Should be a good conference with some interesting speakers.  For me I look forward to hearing the “Innovation in the Industry” piece from Kai-Uwe Bergmann from BIG Architectural.  Love that insight.  Plus baseball legend Johnny Bench is speaking too and being an old school sports guy, that should be neat.

--  Last this week… if you are an NBA fan and you have not had the opportunity to see Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors in person yet, do yourself a favor and try and catch him.  Truly an amazing player with the sweetest, and smoothest shot I have ever seen. 


--  Just an amazing story of a 71 year old woman who’s lived most of her life in the wilderness.

--  Nice work here by a Target cashier.  Very rare stuff these days.

I really can’t stand this “affluenza” kid.  His latest story or excuse makes no sense.


From Saturday Night Live last week.  A great take off of the goofy TV show “Undercover Boss” using Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) of the new Star Wars.  Classic stuff.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Pull of The Glass Industry

Whenever someone new joins our industry I usually tell them that they are here for life.  For whatever reason, glass and glazing has an amazing pull to keep folks around, albeit in different jobs for different companies, but still same industry. Now there’s been some exceptions, incredible people like Tony Clark and Scott Surma were able to pull themselves away from this world and do extremely well in other industry realms.  But in the end, the pull here is real.  Why do I bring this up?  Because an excellent blog postby Glass Magazine’s Bethany Stough was dead on.  If you are not in this industry you care about the new or remodeled buildings differently.  Basically when you are an outsider and that new store or doctor’s office opens, you are happy about the new options or the convenience.  But when you are in this industry, you are focused on what glass did they choose, what metal system, who supplied it, who sourced it and more.  Only those of us in the industry can understand the feeling and NEED to bend down in front of total strangers to look for a logo on tempered glass or a spacer marking on an insulated storefront.  So Bethany, great piece, welcome back (and CONGRATS!) and I’m pretty sure you are here in this industry for the long run!


--  The industry lost an absolute icon last week with the passing of Ed Berkowitz.  Ed was a great person, class act and excellent businessman.   His impact on the industry will always be felt because he positively influenced so many and his son Arthur has carried on the class approach that the Berkowitz family has had for generations.  I count myself as fortunate to have been able to chat with Ed on a couple of occasions.  He truly will be missed.  Continued thoughts and condolences to his family, friends, and company.

--  Pretty brutal week on the stock market and fears of a recession are out there.  The initial feeling for many is this is part of a “correction” and things will settle.  If you attended the Glazing Executive Forum at GlassBuild America this past fall you would’ve heard economist Jeff Dietrich talk about the coming corrective actions to the market.  So at this point I am going with that… and I am making every effort to not look at the stock market numbers.

--  At this point I am assuming no one in this industry won Powerball?  For my fellow road warriors I felt like I had a moment almost as good as winning Powerball this week.  I had an empty seat next to me on a long flight.  That never happens… 

--  And speaking of flying, I was not aware that there’s now a new “class” of seats being sold.  Welcome to “last class” which will be a step below coach and really no frills.  So the experience of flight is already difficult, tiring, frustrating etc… and now we’ve somehow found a way to make it worse.  Yikes.  However I did find one article that made some points about how this could be a good thing… so there’s that.


Did you know Powerball once had a rigging scandal?

Love this list of banned words for 2016.  I need to check and make sure I don’t use these….

I am NOT a fan of cruises.. but this is good news for those of you who are…


The great David Bowie passed away this week.  Conan O’Brien did a fantastic and funny tribute to him.  What a cool sense of humor Bowie had as well.