Sunday, September 21, 2014

Confidence back, a big industry loss, hot products, and Oh Canada

Instead of the “Calm after the Storm” in our world we had the storm “during” the storm with news coming from the GlassBuild America show floor and beyond.  Probably the biggest item was Viracon announcing the opening of their St George, Utah facility in January.  That news combined with the announced positive performance by their parent company gives off serious confidence that the improved economy is more solid than we have all been hoping.  There are a handful of companies in the industry that can move the needle and Viracon is easily one.  This news is truly very positive for all.  Congrats to all involved.


--  The industry lost another icon last week with the passing of Bob Pool, founder and chairman of Thermal Windows.  Mr. Pool was a class act, loved by basically everyone who came in contact with him.  In his town and company he’ll surely be remembered for many things but from my standpoint one part of his legacy will stand with the fact that Thermal Windows has been a tremendous supporter of the industry for many years, through the best and worst of times.  Thoughts and condolences to Mr. Pool’s family and everyone at Thermal.

--  Lost in my long review of GlassBuild last week was coverage of the hot products.  There were a few things that caught my eye.  AGC North America’s Dragontrail (which I previewed here pre-show) did not disappoint.  Neat product that could be a game changer.  I am fan of solar, always have been and continue to respect and have high hopes for what Onyx Solar is doing.  Plus there may not be a nicer young man in our industry than Diego Cuevas.  The interior switchable’s were in many spots on the floor, showing that product has legs and it was good since I probably get asked twice a month where you can find that sort of product. 

--  Also at GlassBuild America I ran into Tara Brummet who just was hired by Vitrum.  Great hire for them as Tara is an extremely impressive individual.  I will be soon doing a list of my top 20 best industry salespeople and I expect Tara would surely occupy spot.  That list is going to be VERY hard to compile as at the sales level our industry has the most talent right than it ever has.   

--  This has been a theme here and elsewhere but I am seriously tempted to start a school for project managers.  The need for that position is so huge, it is not even funny. 

--  This week is the GANA Fall Conference in Toronto and unfortunately I cannot attend.  I am looking forward to hearing about it, as some subjects that will be covered, specifically the bird glazing issue, are extremely important right now.  On a side note it is great to see a GANA meeting in the awesome country of Canada.  We are blessed with tremendous industry support from so many Canadian companies, it is great to see them have a home event.


--  Actor brags on drinking 14 bottles of wine a day… I mean how in the heck does that happen???

--  Amazing story of 9/11 photo found in the rubble and now after all of these years back with its owner.

--  Serious over-reaction to more airline fees… That is our world these days folks…


The new iPhone 6 is out and the one of the first guys to get one was interviewed and he dropped it.  Ouch.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Who, What, & Where GlassBuild Recap

Another GlassBuild America is in the books and it truly was an incredible experience.  2014 featured the best crowd in years, amazing education and demos, networking and business being done.  LOTS of business being done actually.  There is no question in my mind that the momentum and enthusiasm we have in our world right now is very real.  Yes we have obstacles ahead, but things continue to progress in the right direction.  And let’s keep in mind one of the comments that the great Oliver Stepe of YKK AP said in the Glazing Executive Forum at Glassbuild….   Basically he said that hat we need to remember the lessons of the past… and I can’t agree more, as we surely do not want to go backwards in the way we operate or approach our businesses.  All in all let’s keep this positive time going!

As I have been doing for many years, its time for my seen and noticed on the show floor… so here goes… and yes this blog is usually longer than normal… so you are forewarned.

--  Overall- the level and look of the exhibits were amazing!

--  Great to see Mike Gainey of Azon again.  And he was looking great too.  The team from Garibaldi Glass were great to catch up with, Carey, Chris, Otto, and Neally- a super booth and some really cool cutting edge/impressive products on display.  Of course its not an industry show if I don’t get to spend a few minutes with Glen Miner and Joanne Funyak from PPG, though this year it had to be BEFORE the show kicked off because I could not get in their booth during the show because of the crowds.  Speaking of busy, old friend Cliff Monroe (Oldcastle BE) was in deep conversation every time I came within 20 feet of him, so never got the chance to chat.  And actually same with Tom O’Malley (Clover Architectural) and Steve Cohen (Schott), that’s the only problem with such a packed event, not getting time to chat with everyone.  All 3 guys look like they are doing quite well though.

--  Good to see Garret Henson and Seth Madole of Viracon holding court on the show floor.  Those two just stood in one place and let the show come to them.  Nice.  The Idaho State Hall of Fame football player Dave Michaeli of AGC was on hand working their booth (which was very sharp by the way) Dave looks like he could suit up for a NFL team right now. Plus AGC had the legend of Rocky Top Matt Ferguson in attendance as well; wish I could’ve spent more time with him.   Very nice to meet Vistamatic boss Kevin Roth in person, I’m a fan of his companies product, so cool to meet him in person for the first time.  And great to run into Devin Bowman from TGP walking the floor, wish I had more time to chat with him.  Getting a few minutes to catch up with Lloyd Talbert of CR Laurence is always awesome.  That company always steps up for the industry and I always make sure to thank Lloyd for that support.

--  The Dip-Tech booth was awesome- and being here early and seeing it go up from nothing, makes you appreciate it all the more.  And that goes for the entire show- to see the floor a few days before the show opens; it’s an epic disaster.  Then by show open its absolutely pristine.  Kudos to EVERY exhibitor.

--  A fascinating moment for me? Being in the Bottero booth and meeting Kristin Hayes of Luminous Glass Distributors in Miami.  She just closed a deal there for a machine and was rightfully fired up.  It was very nice to meet her and witness first hand this exciting move for her company.  Very impressive businesswoman for sure. And I loved watch business being done on the floor!

--  Best shirts again this year go to Salem Distributing.  Whoever is making the clothing call there keep it up looks great.  2nd year in a row for them.  Close 2nd to Lisec, the maroon/black look is strong.  (I think that color is maroon- whatever it is it’s sharp) Speaking of Lisec, was very nice to catch up with Hans Hoenig, Bob Quast and run into Chris Brooks as well.   And you can’t mention fashion without mentioning Walker Glass of course.  In a few weeks I’ll share a story about me, fashion and the industries most stylish man, Danik Dancause that some of you will get a kick out of.

--  Best booth idea/promotion?  Dressing up in zebra printed sport jackets by the guys from Lite Sentry. Mark Abbott and Eric Hegstrom looked dapper and a good way to get their message across for sure.  Also really liked what PRL did with their booth, super use of product.  And the same can go for HMI Cardinal; they had some product on display that really blew people away.

--  Safety really matters, and so seeing Tuff-n-Lite having a packed booth the entire show was exciting for me.  If I were still a fabricator, I’d surely be trying out their safety gear in my shop, really neat advancements of safety technology there. Props to Mary Olivier of Tubelite for her golden touch on booth selection, she hit the jackpot with what seemed to be a perfect spot with traffic coming in from all ends.

--  Bloggers galore.. Bill Evans did a tremendous job with his Express Learning spot and Bill Briese of GED was nice enough to step out his booth for a moment to catch up with me.  Love when either of the guys write- wish I could be that good. And yes it was great to see my brother Steve.  Healthy, happy, and strong and doing amazing things with Bobby Hartong (who refuses to come to GlassBuild for some reason, I think its me) and their team at WA Wilson. 

--  Not seen: Unfortunately Ralph Aknin had to cancel out last minute, you were missed for sure Ralph. Also because of the crowded show/meeting landscape Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning had to miss out.  And since he doesn’t read this blog, someone tell him he was missed!  I believe Joe Carlos from TriView was there but missed him too.  Plus the show was not the same for me (or others I am sure) with Chris “Megatron” Dolan not being in the Guardian booth. (Though the gang there did a great job of showing off their product and services as always)  

--  There’s other news from this week including a good friend of this blog getting a new position and Viracon opening back up in Utah… those and other stories I will hit next week as we get back to normal.  Or whatever normal is in my life…. 


--  Airlines banned the “Knee Defender” so while that will stop some fights the misery of air travel will continue- especially for those who like or have to work during flights.  

--  The movie Frozen is so popular even characters from other TV shows are being confused with them. 

--  Yet another reason why Facebook can be so frustrating.  Updates that make it worse…


Basketball player Jeremy Lin recently hung out at the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and was able to play some pranks on the visitors who thought he was a wax statue.  Fun video.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The GIGANTIC GlassBuild Preview- from my perspective

We’ve basically reached that time; we’re now one week out from the biggest event in our industry and on this special GlassBuild edition of the blog I wanted to first touch on a few things I have NOT hit on previously.  The Glazing Executive Forum, backed once again this year by industry heavy hitters YKK, Guardian, SAPA, Pilkington, Dow Corning, and FMI will be solid.  Kicking off with very strong panel featuring Mic Patterson of Enclos, Jay Phillips of Guardian, and Oliver Stepe of YKK concluding with the industries favorite economist Dr. Jeffrey Dietrich, and timely and needed break out sessions in the middle, it’s an extremely interesting agenda.  Check it out here.
Meanwhile GlassBuild will also be home to a very important session being hosted by the Department of Energy.  Yes the DOE will be on site with a forum being led by Dr. Karma Sawyer. (I am huge fan of her personally, check my archives) Participants in this event will be able to provide feedback direct to the DOE Building Technologies Office on their needs over the next 3 to 5 years, and to provide input about the facilities that will be critical to moving their energy efficient products to widespread application in residential and commercial markets, in new construction, replacement and retrofit.  More simply said, it’s an awesome opportunity to reach people in our world that can make a difference.  So while there are the typical opportunities to come to the show and do business, there are also these other events that make the overall show even more monumental.


--  Oh and I’m hearing that the folks from Vetrotech Saint-Gobain will have something really memorable in their booth this year.  So go download the GlassBuild App, and make a note of their location. 

--  Speaking of the App, it really makes the show experience more complete.  Three ways to get it... either search for GlassBuild 2014 in the iTune App store/Google Marketplace.   Or click here and follow the links/codes. Or if you like to wait til the last minute... when you get to the show, they’ll be QR codes on signage everywhere that you can scan and the app will load from there.  If you are going you have to have this on your phone.

--  Otherwise I’ve previously hit on all of the other cool things with GlassBuild this year… the Express Learning, FREE 20 minute sessions on the floor… the demonstrations, the innovation (some amazing products that should not be missed) and the ability of just being with thousands of people covering every bit of our industry is pretty cool.

--  You may wonder why my passion for the show.  While I do work for this show (so for some that’s the obvious reason), I also am an industry guy and believe (and learned over the years) that a strong industry benefits from the success of a major event like this.   The education, the business possibilities, and the innovation on display are crucial for this industry to evolve, grow, and be healthy.  So yes, I am full-throated promoter of the show, but with serious beliefs of the incredible value it brings.

--  As always I will be working the floor, shooting video, interviewing people, and networking.  I’ll be wearing my bright yellow media vest, please stop me and say hi.

--  I won’t have a formal blog next week since we’ll be in the middle of show coverage, but the week after I’ll be back here with my traditional Who’s Who of the show.  For those of you new readers, that’s where I call out people I got to meet, see, and chat with and looks at the best products and exhibits at the show.

See you at the show!!!


--  Just a brilliant sign.  Wow.

--  The at home IV. I actually like this idea… could use it after the tough week at the show.

--  The mind-blowing list of banned and recalled toys.  Just crazy.


Since this is a GlassBuild focused blog, the video of the week is look at the show for this year… Can’t wait!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Cold Winter Ahead, Low Gas Prices Here for now, Open Office Problems and Potential Bad Designs

The casino/hotel that is housed in one of the more fascinating glass and glazing projects in recent times is closing down.  And among the excuses out there is the actual design of the building.  The Revel Casino in Atlantic City closes its doors September 1st and while the building envelope looks spectacular, the layout and flow on the inside allegedly caused major issues.  Online there’s been some interesting discussion on what went wrong with this property and while I think that the overall gambling downturn in AC is a bigger reason (among many others) than the building design, I was amazed that people did jump on the layout issue.  Building layout is a major factor in the success and failure of businesses every day.  Yet so many times it does not get the focus it deserves.  And further more, the desire for a great exterior aesthetic has taken more priority than what the process inside will look like and work as.  I have never seen this property in person and am depending on the stories and views I see online.  Any of you that have been there and seen it feel free to e mail me your thoughts- do you think the layout was the biggest factor in this properties demise?


--  Speaking of design… does the open office layout cause more theft and confusion?  Good story on that here.  Personally, while I like an open floor plan, the lack of continuity like mentioned in this tory (i.e. you don’t have your own desk) would make me crazy.

--  The Farmers Almanac is out and the prediction for this winter is for cold and misery yet again.  The almanac is working with an 80% success rate, so I tend to believe what it says when the predictions call for similar in 2015 as we saw in 2014.

--  I usually am one to hammer when gas prices go high, so I should note that gas prices right now where I am at are shockingly low.  3.36 by me this week… now hopefully that continues but with the holiday coming I am sure it will spike up.  For the life of me I have no idea how this all works and its pretty comical that I am happy with a 3.36 price but its sure better than the $5 I thought we’d see!

--  Props and thanks to a couple of great regional trade organizations.  The Colorado Glazing Contractors Association and Washington Glass Association are class acts and both worked this summer to help promote GlassBuild America to their members.  So a major thank you to Rebecca Graves (CGCA) and Maryanne Howell (WGA) and their members for their support.  Those who know me know how I feel about industry support for major events and these groups certainly did their part in jumping in the way they did.

--  I shouldn’t have to remind you about GlassBuild America coming in a few weeks, but may as well.  Still time to get flights and get there.  I for one am pumped when I see new exhibitors still signing up daily including a game changer for interior switchable glass that will garner a ton of interest.  Anyway you will not want to miss this event!

--  Last this week… college football kicks off this week.  Crazy prediction… if Wisconsin beats LSU this Saturday, they will win the National Championship.  (That sound you hear is all my friends in SEC country moaning that I am nuts…and I am)  I do love college football and can’t wait for it to get going!


--  The guy behind the dreaded “pop up” ad.

--  Fellow road warriors… a windowless plane with some cool technology.. yes or no?

--  Great class by Justin Timberlake with a special birthday wish


Well as you know from reading this blog and being alive basically, the amazing ALS Ice Bucket Challenge continued to grow.  What an incredible run and the money being raised is off the charts.  So in between all of the heart-felt videos, there have been a few bloopers.  Video of the week has a bunch here, though once you watch  the first minute or so you get the picture!