Podcast Plus

I enjoy whole range of podcasts and our industry has a brand new one from the guys from Edify Studios.  Brad Walker and Brad Glauser of Edify do a great job with it and to date have had some very interesting guests and topics.  This week’s edition is close to my heart as it’s a special edition about Mercedes Benz Stadium and features Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural, Court Reece of Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope.  They give a great inside story to the glass and glazing products on this amazing structure.  Well worth the watch/listen.  You can download in podcast form via Apple or Android or for an easy watch and listen- here it is on YouTube.

–  Remember only a few more days to go to get entered in the VIP Tour of Mercedes Benz Stadium.  So if you have not registered for GlassBuild yet, do it now to be eligible.  Aside from the awesome glass and glazing you’ll also see all the great pieces of the stadium including locker rooms and field!  This is a tremendous opportunity and experience!

–  The Dodge Momentum Index was up nicely for June and that surely calmed some nerves with the way things had been trending both with this index and the ABI.  We are still slower pace and performance wise than last year and there are still signs of soft times coming in the 2ndhalf of the year but we’ll take a positive report like this any time.

–  Loving a new list… top15 vacation spots in US and there’s some stunners on here… here’s top 10 though

10- Honolulu- Higher on list if you see my main man Lyle Shimazu or the great Earnest Thompson

9- Austin, TX- For the weird in you

8- Asheville, NC- I have never been.  Guess I need to!

7- Nashville, TN- Incredibly hot now- BEC there in 2020 proves it right?

6- Chicago, IL- To me this is overrated- Sorry my pals from the Windy City….

5- New York City- I can see it, so much to do etc.  So much energy.

4- Savannah, GA- I like it but is it really 4th best??

3- New Orleans, LA- Nope.  Not for me.

2- Santa Fe, NM- Wow- help me out anyone who’s gone- is this really that good?

1-Charleston, SC- Love it, great place… Is it #1 though???

But for me… how is San Diego not in top 10??  I’d make it #1 probably. 

Big 3 Interview

Eric Fortin, General Manager, Northwestern Glass Fab

I only recently got to meet Eric Fortin and immediately I said to myself “this would be a great interview” and sure enough it was.  As you can see below Eric has got it together!  I love that this is someone that was from outside the industry and has now come in and made a serious difference.  Talent like what Eric possesses is crucial for our well-being and growth as an industry and I look forward to getting to know him better and also seeing him at the various industry events!

I have to start with your time in the United States Army.  You were a Troop Commander with some serious responsibilities.  What was that time like for you and how often do you use the lessons and experiences gained there in your daily work at Northwestern Glass Fab?

I have to first give kudos to mentors. I met a very influential gentlemen during college who helped me understand what leadership is all about. He was the first real leader I had ever met. This gentlemen’s name is Mr. Wilbur Wolf III. Mr. Wolf helped me to determine that joining the Army as an active duty officer was the right thing for me to learn about myself, leadership and how to lead people. Once I was in the Army it was a dream of mine to one day lead a cavalry troop. Over the years I worked my tail off and positioned myself to make that dream come true. I was fortunate to be a troop commander for a unit that was resetting from a previous deployment to again deploy. I say fortunate because the timing was such that I took command of the unit in Colorado and immediately prepared to deploy. As the commander the other leaders and I trained, deployed and then returned the unit to Colorado. In my opinion, if you are going to lead soldiers, this is the perfect scenario and challenge. The responsibilities as a commander are significant. As a commander of a deployed unit, you are truly responsible for people’s lives.

My apologies, but before I respond to your question I have to again be appreciative to mentors who helped me take what I learned from the Army as a leader and to apply it to the business and manufacturing environment. I was extremely fortunate to be invited to be a part of an absolute world class company in the glass business. This company has a history of taking ex-military leaders and helping them make the transition to manufacturing. The experiences they provided helped me to establish a foundation of what “right looks like” in successful business organizations. Without two mentors who offered me this opportunity, I more than likely would not be in the glass industry. That company is Cardinal Glass and those two gentlemen are Dave Pinder and Mike Arntson. Like the military, I tap into my experiences with Dave and Mike at Cardinal every single day.

The largest lesson that I learned from my time in the military and that I apply daily is perspective. As stressful as some days can be, a tough day at work today isn’t really that bad. It could be always be worse. In general, everyone will go home to their friends and families at the end of each day. I also apply the lessons of patience, but decisiveness, to maintain flexibility because most things change and do not go the way you want or planned. Also, to let leaders lead. As often as I can I try to give my leaders my intent and then let them lead their teams. This allows them to be creative in accomplishing the goal.  Everyone learns a ton when leaders are given the freedom to own and accomplish an objective with their teams. Lastly, I learned about taking care of people. We are all in the people business. If you take care of people, they will take care of you.

Your company (Northwestern Glass Fab) could be considered a “start up” still with only being 3 years old.  What are the advantages and disadvantages of being so “new” to the marketplace?  I also ask this, as I know you have “start up” experience in your past, so this was not your first adventure.

            I want to start with how lucky I am to be a part of the Brin Glass companies. This is such a fantastic bunch of people. I truly have the very best boss in Bill Sullivan. Anyone who knows Bill understands what I mean when I say this. Northwestern Glass Fab as a part of Brin Glass has been around since 1912. Three years ago NWGF separated from the Brin Glass Company to once again be known simply as Northwestern Glass Fab, instead of Brin Northwestern. This meant moving to a new standalone location and to establish itself as a standalone profit and loss division. A lot of the changes made since I’ve joined the company were very much in order to start over. What used to work very well no longer works. We hit reset and I believe we are now postured for growth and another 100 years of success. I’m so very proud of my team during the past 16 months. Change and culture change is not easy. Our success is truly due to the team for having an open mind, patience and the will to fight through adversity.

Fun one… what is your all time favorite movie… or movies if you can’t just choose one and why? 

            I was a business and history major in college and I am kind of a space geek. With that, my favorite movies are Apollo 13 and the recent Apollo 11. I am always impressed with what it took to put humans in space and on the moon. It took fantastic teamwork, dedication and a constant fight against adversity. The people who accomplished these wonderful feats were so smart and committed. It always impresses me when I watch those movies. Before I die I hope to one day truly understand what a black hole truly is.


It is amazing that she thought that this was a good idea.
Surviving Niagara Falls!

Has to be the video of the Edify Podcast mentioned above!  Check it out!

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Free Agency

So the NBA is in the middle of free agency where player’s contracts expire and they can move to a new team.  It also seems to be the same way in our industry with a ton of folks moving from one company to another in the last several weeks.  Change can be good and refreshing but I have to say this is the most movement I have seen in a short time in my years in this industry.  It will be interesting to see if our movement continues or if this was just a blip on the radar.  And meanwhile yes I am thrilled that Kawhi Leonard went to the Clippers vs. the Lakers. 


–  The Architectural Billings Index barely stayed in positive zone last month, but it did.  The Northeast is the drag right now, which will be something to watch next year to see if they get softer in those areas.  The big news?  Firms that specialize in commercial and architectural were up nicely- so that bodes well for the majority of our industry.

–  If you are coming to GlassBuild (and you better be) time is PERFECT to register NOW because the contest that is running currently is an awesome one.  Register before July 18thand you’ll be entered into a drawing for a custom VIP Tour of the fascinating Mercedes Benz Stadium right next to where GlassBuild is held.  This stadium is incredible and well worth seeing.  Major props to the great folks from Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope and Clover Architectural Products.  The supplied their products on and inside the building and they are sponsoring this contest and helping with the tours.  This is a great way to round out your Atlanta trip- so register and get in the contest!! 
–  Also on GlassBuild… initial schedule for EXPRESS LEARNING is out and guess what… I am not on it!  So the education won’t be sullied by my presence this year.  There’s a ton there but the one right now that I think will draw a massive crowd is Chris Phillips laying out “Best and Most Interesting Shower Enclosures” of 2019. I have been seeing some of the candidates he may show and if you’re in the shower game, its worth seeing what made the lists- plus Chris is all over the trends too- don’t miss it.
Big 3 Interview

Wardi Bisharat, Architectural Glass Sales at PRL Glass Systems and Aluminum.

I was really lucky to get to work with Wardi when I was at Vitro America years ago.  Wardi is not only one of the most talented people in our business but she’s also a really cool person too.  To me she was always upbeat and positive and she has an energy about her that just exudes greatness.  When I asked her to do this interview she noted she’s different in person than on paper- but I disagree- she’s right on track with the insights. (The rise of laminated- so on target)  And she’s solves the debate that some people may have on who’s got the best French Fries out there…

Possibly an easy one to start… What are some of the biggest differences in architectural glass space now vs. when you started? 

·      The quantity of furnaces and glass fabricators.

·      The vast variety of low-e coatings and the availability of coating on various substrates; exotics (I love that word)

·      The rise in demand for laminated options.

·      I have had the privilege of exceptional training over the years to keep up with the changing products.
You’ve been at PRL for almost 2 years now after several years at companies owned by large ownership groups.  What’s it like to be back in family business style of ownership?  Was there any adjusting needed to settle in at PRL?
We have 4 owners and over 500 employees at one location. It is a very impressive operation with an amazing amount of talent. The owners are hands on and work as hard if not harder than the rest of us here.

I did not bring a backlog with me and started from zero, as you know in our commercial world it can take 2 + years from time of bid to start of a project, that was really hard for me.

Fun one to end… top 3 “must have” food choices and why… mine would depend if I am dieting or not…LOL

#1 Salads and they are not always healthy or low calorie.

#2 Avocados – love them on everything

#3 McDonald’s French Fries – what can I say, I have a weakness for them.

Thank you Wardi- you continue to be one of the best around!


Tremendous way to get attention to get something fixed!
Best penalty ever for a crime? 
This is a very cool way to help the schools


THIS is the way to do yard work!  (Click link- couldn’t Embed)

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Review and Interview

We kick off this week with the latest Glass Magazine review and it’s a favorite of mine because it combines the “Top Glazier” issue with an awesome custom GlassBuild cover.  Good stuff right off the bat!  Because the focus is the “Top 50 Glaziers” this is a jam-packed edition with everything you could possibly want data and detail wise.  Also inside this issue- a tremendous article from Greg Oehlers along with a great piece on workforce development.  Great insights and should not be missed.  Meanwhile ad of the month was tough because this is a popular issue, there’s a lot more ads… but the winner is my friends from Bohle America.  Gareth Francey designed a piece that got me to stop and look.  That is always a big key for me ad wise.  Really easy on the eyes and interests me for more info.  Well done and congrats!

Before I get to this week’s interview- just a couple of quick notes…

Long time industry leader Ron Parker is leading a charge to defeat ALS.  Here is more info on how you can help!

Ride to Defeat ALS will be held on Saturday, July 20th at Mt. Angel, Oregon. If you would like to donate to support those living with ALS and their families, please click here!

Each and every donation will:

·      Fund a treatment and finding a cure for ALS

·      Provide hands-on support to local families during their journey with ALS

·      Raise awareness for a disease that is NOT rare and occurs every 90 minutes in the US

Your gift to this worthy cause is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law
–  No blog post next week since it’s leading into the 4thof July holiday in the US.  Hope everyone celebrating and has a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Big 3 Interview

Monique Salas, National Healthcare Business Development Manager, SAGE Glass

This was a fun one for me as Monique brought totally different skill sets to our industry (She was in Pharmaceuticals) and she is a must follow/connect on LinkedIn.  In addition as those of you who read this blog consistently know I am huge cheerleader on dynamic glass, so the fact Monique has an incredible understanding and approach with it, was driving force to do these 3 questions…

You have extensive experience in the dynamic glass space.  There is great confidence that this space will continue to have significant growth.  Aside from the fact you sell it, why are you so bullish on these products?

I have a sincere desire to make spaces cleaner and more beautiful.  Our living and healing spaces are very important for our mental and physical health.  Natural light is a significant component that aids overall wellness.  Starting in the late 70’s, researchers started to study the impact of natural light on patients. Overwhelmingly, patients exposed to natural light began to heal faster, require less medication and report increased comfort in the presence of natural light.   Smart glass now offers the missing element and I find that incredibly exciting.  A façade that changes without disruption of color or uniformity on the exterior, yet provides thermal comfort and greater satisfaction for occupants inside. It is a winning combo that meets the needs of the design community, building owners and most importantly, patients.

Imagine if you will, you walk into a hospital and in the lobby, there are no blinds or curtains.  Yet, the welcome staff is not interrupted by glare or heat. It sounds silly, but these are real solutions to increase productivity and thermal comfort.  Now, take it a step further and imagine you are a patient in a hospital room with little or no mobility. You want to see outside, but that would depend on your Nurse coming in to adjust your blinds of curtains. This could be several minutes or even hours away, depending on how many patients they oversee.  In my opinion, this can be solved in designing spaces with smart glass intelligence.  I have had the unique ability to sell in both spaces, thermochromic & electrochromic.  Thermochromic being a passive technology that operates on radiant heat; Electrochromic an active technology that allows occupants to override with control (app or wall device).   I have come to respect each type or now believe that they should be used in collaboration.

Thermochromic in common spaces, where control is not necessary (lobbies, hallways, and prescription pick up).  An electrochromic in patient rooms, giving the patients the ability to use an app to control their own thermal comfort.  I hope leaders in both subcategories will start to work together on projects to meet the needs of the client.   To me, it is not a one size fits all, but a true deep dive into the building delivering evidenced based designs fusing Thermochromic and Electrochromic.

I’m a big fan of yours for a bunch of reasons but maybe the biggest is you have a sincere desire to constantly be giving back.  Where did this value come from and why should we as a society be doing more of this?

First off, that is very kind; thank you that means the world to me.  I would say that there are many contributors ranging from experiencing the adversity of a mixed raced background to the lessons of gratitude & kindness instilled in me by my Grandfather who passed away when I was 10.  I started off my career in the non-profit and quite frankly wanted to “change the world.”  I don’t think it is uncommon for young college graduates to have these ideals. The reality is the burden of education debt, often command paths.  Living in the Bay Area on a non-profit income is very difficult, if not impossible. In such, I made a conscious choice to exit and enter into a profit generating space.  However, the agreement I made with myself is to not abandon my desire to impact the world positively.

We can all do something for someone. This includes the Earth we live on and all of the inhabitants that exist together.  Recently, I have made attempts to help save the monarch butterfly population with the simple act of dedicating space in my yard for the plants they enjoy. These are the types of activities, if done by several of us, can reinvigorate an entire population of butterflies. It is birthed in the philosophy of acting locally but think globally.  I believe that many people have a sincere desire to do something but feel overwhelmed on the various choices of “volunteerism” and the commitment therein.   The truth is, we can all do small acts that can help us feel like we are making a difference.  Because at the end of our lives, we are not going to be happy with how much money we made.  We are going to remember the lives we impacted & the differences we made.

You have been associated with the health care world for a great portion of your professional career, so I have to ask which professional is more challenging (can be both good and bad) to work with- the Doctor or the Architect?

Ha! This is a GREAT question and hilarious! ARCHITECTS for sure.  In my time in the Pharmaceutical industry I had to work closely with Physicians to help meet the needs of their patient populations.  Therein, there was a clear connection to medication and outcomes. By that I mean, if your patient has an elevated AIC and I have the leading Diabetes medication on the market, there are clear evidenced based connections for our dialogue and collaboration.  However, we are not quite there with the design community and Smart glass. Even though, the data exists on natural light & we have shifted into evidenced based design as a standard, resistance remains widespread largely due to color.  I have heard from many Architects that they believe smart glass is just too dark. 

The reality is that the rendering never includes blinds or curtains. Architects demo a beautiful picture that is not realistic.  In reality blinds and/or curtains are typically down when the occupants have inhabited the space, which equals little or no access to natural light, resulting a dark or artificially lit space.  I hope that more Architects will start to apply a larger lens when thinking of designing with Smart glass in SD or DD.   Money can actually be saved with using Smart glass earlier; results being  smaller HVAC systems, blind reduction/elimination and spaces can be reimagined to produced better outcomes.  I am hopeful that Architects with start to see Smart glass in the same way Physicians see medication… as a tool toward provide wellness.


This spices up a boring government meeting.
LOOK OUT- This gin got recalled for having TOO MUCH alcohol in it!
The do say everyone has a twin… and in this case that was true and huge.

With Independence Day in the US coming up- I decided to go with one of my favorite Muppets (Sam the Eagle) to take the patriotic role in promoting this holiday in the video of the week!

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Plenty of rundowns came my way about the AIA show and the majority of reports were that it was not very good for the exhibitor.  That’s never a surprise since AIA is not ever geared to take care of or support the folks on the floor, but this year I think it may push people off the bus finally.  Our industry desires architects the way I desire pizza, (intensely) but when you are spending 6 figures for minimal return, it may be time to recalculate the approach.  AIA next year is in Los Angeles, which has people tempted, but I just can’t see it being any better because the show model is what it is and always will be…  For additional perspective this very good recap (along with very helpful insight) from Mark Mitchell is worth checking out.

–  The agenda is out for the Glazing Executives Forum at GlassBuild and its dynamite.  Aside from the yearly economist talk, there’s an awesome pair of presentations- “A New Type of Glazier: From Glass Company to Building Enclosure Expert” and “Labor Power Hour: Engage Your Front Line to Increase Your Bottom Line” – both of these sessions will be worth the price of admission and then some.  Seriously look hard at this- link is HERE.
–  If you are EXHIBITINGat GlassBuild make sure you check the last e-mail you received from the show and take advantage of the free webinar on “Increasing Brand Awareness & Driving Qualified Booth Traffic” – it is a fabulous session and worth your time.

–  Personnel news… an old friend lands in a new spot.  The great Bob Cummings has taken over the role of VP of Architectural Sales and Marketing for Consolidated Glass Holdings.  Bob is one of those guys that everyone loves.  Not likes.  Loves.  So I am sure there are many thrilled folks out there especially having him back in the fabrication side of our industry.  Congrats to Bob on the new gig and it will be nice to have him back in the mix at all of our events!

–  At the end of the month the bi-annual Glass Performance Days will take place in Finland.  This event is the international home for excellent technical insight for the glass world and features education in many different ways and settings over its time period.  In addition a major award will be presented… the Jorma Vitkala Award of Merit will be handed out during the opening reception and there’s a ton of very good and interesting candidates up for it.  Click HERE for more details on the award and the nominees.  Personally I’d love to see Ren Bartoe win it as a fitting cap on his epic career in the business but there’s no bad candidate on the list…
–  Last this week I was on an excellent webinar about travel security with regards to electronics.  Learned amazing insights on the dangers in USB ports and airport boarding passes along with other dos and don’ts. (Boarding passes and luggage tags- shred them when done, the bar code contains a ton of info on you)  The moderator also put up a slide of the riskiest airports with regards to WiFi and data.  So heads up here they are:

5- Newark- having spent so much time there in my life, this does not surprise me.

4- Southwest Florida (Ft Myers) Shocking at first but then you think, snowbirds could be great targets.

3- Houston Hobby-  I have never flown in or out of there- so no idea.

2- John Wayne- Whoa Pardner… the Duke would not be happy with his name on    a “risk list” like this.


            1-    San Diego!  This stuns me.  I love San Diego- love that airport- so its amazing that your data and privacy may be more in play there anywhere else.

So fellow road warriors be aware when you are in these airports- use your VPN etc. to stay safe!


Not sure if I believe the excuse but interesting none the less

A “V Shaped” Plane… coming to your airport in 2050
You gotta read this parking space story!

I know a lot of you out there enjoyed the amazing run of “Jeopardy James” the guy who dominated the TV Show Jeopardy for weeks.  The run is done, but he recently did a fun interview that gave some new insight…

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Technical Topics

Some very good technical information hitting the streets over the last few weeks and with holidays and vacations, you may not have seen them all so I figured I would do a quick roundup for you.  Surely worthwhile information to be had…

Trex Commercial Products had a fantastic release- “Three Glazing Myths Debunked” which was very impressive.  The team there did a nice job addressing some big issues on the railing side and they did it in a sharp and concise way.  Well done!
Meanwhile the National Glass Association (NGA) released THREE new Glazing Informational Bulletins (GIBS) that are all complimentary!  These GIB’s were developed by your peers in the industry (an incredible list of talent that is for sure) and was led by my reigning Industry MVP Nathalie Thibault of Prelco Inc.  The subjects were systematic updates to the “Recommended Applications for Heat-Treated Glass” and “Approximate Weight of Interlayer Used in Laminated Architectural Flat Glass” along with a new release “Thermal Stress in Heat Treated Spandrel Glass.”   The last one has gained notoriety thanks to some incidents in the field, so having a GIB at the ready is only making us better as an industry.  Kudos to everyone involved and THANK YOU for volunteering your time and knowledge.  To get these docs along with tons of other technical pieces, click this LINK and you’ll be directed to NGA’s technical website.  
NGA also announced the launch of its new Glass & Glazing Academy and it’s an online portal that will be work in combo with the fine folks from Architectural Record.  This is a huge addition for our industry and credit to Andrew Haring and his team at NGA for spearheading it.  More info can be found HERE
Obviously things are happening all the time in our world and keeping up with them can be a challenge.  So do yourself a favor and make plans now to get to events like Fall Conference in Toledo (Register before 6/15 and save $150!) or GlassBuild America in Atlanta.  Don’t get left behind!

–  The annual AIA show was last week in Vegas and I was not there- I’m looking forward to hearing feedback on it and anything relevant I’ll share here next week…

Big 3 Interview:  Joanne Funyak, Vitro Architectural Glass

So now it’s time for the kick off my summer interview season.  I am very excited about the folks I have lined up and I’m still chasing a few.  So if you get an e-mail from me asking, please give it a consideration! 

The format is this- I ask 3 questions to folks I have chosen that I think have some interesting backgrounds and approaches.  Also I try to choose people that may not get the regular publicity that others get. 

To kick things off I interviewed Joanne Funyak of Vitro Architectural Glass.  I have been a fan of Joanne’s for a long time but I had absolutely no idea of her incredible background and I am glad she escaped the chemical side to be in the glass world- our industry is better for it!

Max: In reading your LinkedIn page I was fascinated by some of the positions you held at PPG (and then Vitro) before you ended up on the glass side of things.  You spent a ton of time in chemicals and coatings before you landed in the glass world.  What have been the biggest differences in working with glass and glazing vs. your previous roles?

Joanne: They are quite similar, especially the metal coatings and glass side for building products.  The value / supply chain starts with the project architect looking at performance and aesthetics.  Then it goes down the chain to general contractors to fabricators / metal coaters to the material supplier.  Due to those similarities, my experience in metal coatings and glass made my role as PPG’s Construction Market Team Manager a little easier. 

When it comes to the products… it’s the same; performance and aesthetics.  When I made the transition from coatings to glass though I thought to myself “How difficult can glass be?”  It’s just melted sand.  In coatings we had thousands of formulas for different applications.  We made coatings for what we called cradle to grave.  We made coatings for baby swings to caskets and everything in between (golf balls, washers & dryers, Harley Davidson, etc).  So glass had to be so simple, right?  Boy was I surprised!

What are the some of the biggest glass and glazing trends going right now in your opinion? 

Right now, jumbo (over-sized) glass is a major trend.  The addition of our jumbo Coater in Wichita Falls which can produce our Solarban Low-e Coated Glass has positioned Vitro well to serve this market.  One of the main purposes of this jumbo coater is to provide more efficient yields to our Vitro Certified Network Members.  Architects are also designing with larger vision glass units which this will service.  However caution must be taken when designing on things such as wind load, thermal stress and cost to handle the weight and size of such large units.

Other areas that are trending include decorative (printing on) glass and bird avoidance to name a few. 

If you could have dinner with 3 other people, whether they are currently dead or alive, who would they be and why?

Well of course my dad, He passed away 5 years ago and I miss him dearly.

Someone from the pioneer days.  I often wonder as I watch old movies of how they survived… how they determined which terrain to travel, land to homestead, etc.  How did they survive the heat during those hot, dry summer months, and cold during those freezing winter months?  I think to myself if I had to go back to those days, could I do it? 

And I think Mario Lemieux would be one.  I have been a Penguin season ticket holder for 30 years.  I met him once in an airport but only to say thank you.  I respect what he has done as a player, owner and community leader. 


Honestly I only read the headline here.  Still laughing.
Is this real life?  A real story?  My goodness.
Love this- High School delivers 100% graduation rate.  Even my kids HS, which is idiotically easy, didn’t graduate everyone. 


You know me- I love the movies and this week a trailer was released for one coming this November that looks fabulous.  Based on a true story “Ford vs. Ferrari” is about the two famous carmakers battling for the title of fastest car and includes all the politics and insider stuff going on at the time… good trailer too! (Anytime you can use “Gimme Shelter” by the Stones, is a winning play in my book)

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Gone but not Forgotten


So this post is a special one… and they’ll be no other news or links in it, so if anything breaks I’ll share on next post or via social media.  The goal of this post is to follow what the headline says… “Gone but not Forgotten.”  It dawned on me after Doug Nelson passed away a few weeks ago that we pay homage to the person who passes and then we move on- we rarely if ever look back and remember those folks who made a difference in our world.  So I decided that with this post, I’d start to change that approach.  I want to look back at a few folks who are no longer with us and remind/educate the readers of what they did to advance our universe.  They all played significant roles in the glass and glazing industry and while they may be gone; in my mind they are not and will not be forgotten.

I’m remembering 2 incredible technical guys, 1 manufacturers rep who set the bar very high and 2 fabrication leaders who left us a legacy that thankfully continues still today.

Greg Carney is probably the one guy who’s no longer with us that still gets spoken about the most.  So many folks at the trade level had deep and meaningful relationships with Greg that his name and memory are brought up on many occasions.  Greg was the technical conscience of our industry.  He was passionate about the products and the people and the approaches that were developed and perfected through the 90’s.  Many technical standards Greg led remain in place today.  Personally I miss him a ton, he was fun, unique and caring and was not afraid of the fight. I hope that we keep invoking his name and theories for many more years to come.

Lowell Rager was not as industry popular as Greg (not many people were) but Lowell was the personification of pure class.  He was a technical mastermind and was a guy who saw the huge future of soft coat low e when so many of us were still trying to figure it out.  He was ahead of pretty much every technical curve despite finishing his career for a company that only sold tinted glass.  I just loved how cool Lowell would be under any condition.   He deflected heavy compliments to him the same way he smoothly dealt with any jobsite complaints.  He was class to the end.

I saw Lindsay Price recently at the Texas Glass Association event and it immediately had me thinking about her dad Dave Helterbran.  Dave was awesome.  I knew Dave as one of the best manufacturers reps in the US, one that immediately added legitimacy to your product when he added it to his companies line card.   Every time I ran into him he had a warm smile on his face and encouraging words- even if things weren’t going great.  Dave battled and beat Cancer and then somehow got the West Nile disease and beat that too.  Eventually he couldn’t outrun the health issues but during that entire time, he kept plugging away and fighting.  I’ll never forget that because I don’t think I’d have the strength to fight on the way Dave did…  In addition Dave had massive fan club of people who really legitimately loved the guy and honestly I think the feeling was probably mutual.  

Last ones to mention this time around are fathers of two sons who to this day carry on the amazing class and style that their fathers were known for.  I’m speaking of Jim Dwyer and John Mammen.  Both were incredible people, top notch businessmen who did things the right way and they both brought sons in to the business (John Dwyer and Syracuse Glass and Chris Mammen at M3 Glass Technologies) who are carrying on the same sincere approaches today.  As an industry we are lucky that the lessons from Jim Dwyer and John Mammen are continuing and I am personally glad that I can call John and Chris friends of mine. 

In the end I wrote this because I don’t want these folks to be forgotten by the industry at large.  (As well as others who may have passed that I did not mention, and there are quite a few industry titans on that list)  Take a few minutes today and think about someone who passed who made a difference in our industry and do right by them- I know I am inspired to do so daily.

Thank you for reading through this non-traditional post, next week I’ll be back with my traditional insight and details.

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Potential Roadblocks Ahead

So a few weeks ago I was extremely honored to give the keynote address at the Texas Glass Association Glass Conference II.  It really was a wonderful experience as the folks from great state of Texas are some of the best around.  They are truly classy and hospitable to the end.  The theme of my hour-long presentation was “State of the Industry” where I spent around 30 minutes on economic forecasts and then the rest on trends, concepts, events, and conclusions.  On the forecast side I pulled data from 11 different sources and went through many different segments and applications.  The main takeaway I provided after all of this research was that there is a softening of the markets coming our way. It doesn’t look like it will be a long stretch and there’s no indicators that show the weaknesses being 2008/9-like bad, but it was interesting for me to get into all of the data and see this is what we have coming.  Basically some lighter volumes into 2020 but things improving towards the end of next year and into 2021.  One of the things I told the attendees was to look at technology and innovation NOW vs. later.  If you can improve yourself or your operation now- meaning efficiencies etc. this is the time to do it.   Don’t wait until next year that is for sure. 

The event overall was fantastic.  Dustin Anderson of Anderson Glass had an incredible presentation on the workforce of today and how to reach them.  He’s become a very polished and natural speaker- so he’s more than just a TV star these days.  In addition I really enjoyed what Nathan McKenna of Vitro and Erica Couch of Tri-Star delivered in their spots.  Great stuff all the way around.  Kudos to Felix Munson, Sam Hill, and everyone at the TGA for a job well done!


–  I did also talk about the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) and was waiting to see if we were back in the black this month after our first down month in 2 years.  Sure enough we climbed into positive territory- barely at 50.5.  I had a feeling it would pop up from its low number in the previous month and now I see it treading water for while. 

–  Glass Magazine review time… the issue has “Protector” on the very snazzy cover and is the May 2019 edition.  The main theme is Glass & Metals 401- Guide to Protective Glazing.  With how important this segment is in our world right now, I strongly recommend you grab the issue or check it out online as the info in here is absolutely fabulous and necessary. 

–  Ad of the month goes to CR Laurence.  “The Building Envelope Simplified” was an excellent ad piece that truly shows the power of glass and smartly showed where CRL’s contributions were.  The picture and callouts did the heavy lifting and impressed me.  Kudos to the minds behind that one!

–  I never fly in or out of JFK in NYC- but I may have to make an exception some day to get to the new TWA hotel there.  Looks incredibly cool!

– Last this week… another GlassBuild plug from me.  Don’t click away- read on please… have you registered yet?  Have you gotten the hotel taken care of?  If not do it now… we have now passed Memorial Day and we all know this summer will fly by.  There’s a ton of good pieces in the works for the show and you will need to be there and especially if you are looking to the advice I laid out at the top of the post- you HAVE to be there….  Any questions on it- please reach out to me!


–  We see this every year and I never get tired of it!  Dogs in the yearbook!
–  Another story we always see yet people seemingly don’t learn. Please don’t leave your kid or pets in hot cars with the windows up! 
I love good news!  Good job young man!

This is a classic song, classic clip and just awesome dancing… just brings a smile to the face!

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Award and Interview Season

A couple of fun ones to cover at this top of the post this week… first the single most prestigious award program in the entire glass industry is now open for nominations.  The Glass Magazine Awards for 2019 launched last week and I am so excited to see the process play out.  There are so many great categories that will really show off the extreme talent in our industry.  So check out thelink and get your projects and products in!!
Also my summer interview series- “The Big 3” is back again… Last summer I interviewed several people from many different walks of life in the glass and glazing universe and I’m doing it again this year.  I already have 9 people on my wish list and I am starting to reach out now.   If all goes well I’ll start rolling out the first one in the next few weeks and it will run through the next few months. 


–  Congrats to the folks at Guardian Glass on their new website.   A nice advancement on the previous version, layout is solid for user experience and video piece in center of screen works well.  Tons of info on there too.  Good job to all involved!

–  New fun follow on Twitter is “Cursed Architecture.”   Find it here and follow along as the post some of the craziest layouts and mistakes you could ever imagine.   

–  Fall Conference registration is open and its being held in the great town of Toledo.

Unfortunately I have to miss it and that’s killing me as there’s a load of VERY important technical items on the agenda and there’s also the “Old Guard Group” which brings together some of the best folks our industry has ever had and they share their wisdom. 
–  Speaking of the Fall Conference, a staple at events like that was Doug Nelson.  Sadly the word broke at the end of the week that Doug had passed away.  No doubt that was some rough news to hear.  Doug was the owner of the Brin group in Minnesota and was a force in the Flat Glass Manufacturers Association (FGMA) and then into the Glass Association of North America (GANA) back in the day.  I will always remember Doug for just holding court amongst the crowd.  He was bigger than life to me as I was just a pup learning the ins and outs.  I admired what he had built then and his legacy is still alive today with the companies he built still thriving in the Twin Cities.  My thoughts and prayers to Doug’s family and friends as well as everyone that worked with him at Brin.  A tough loss for sure.

–  I’ll be shocked if this is the design in the end but this look for the new Notre Dame rebuild is pretty fascinating.
–  As I am sure you know GlassBuild registration is open but also do not forget to book your hotel room.  GlassBuild gets a great block of rooms at favorable rates- so book through the GlassBuild site to take advantage!  Click here!
–  Last this week… programming note- no blog post from me next week… unless of course some sort of major story breaks.  Otherwise I’ll see you back in this space week of 5/26.


An iguana as a weapon?  Really?
Frightening but the guy I believe is OK.
Met Shaq once- such a nice guy. See stuff like this about him all the time.  Great to see!

Not sure if I posted this trailer or not- but the next MUST SEE movie for me is Rocketman- the Elton John Story and that comes out at the end of this month… can’t wait!

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Opportunity is Ours

Last week I briefly touched on the story from New York City and the Mayor there commenting on glass and glazing.  Since then it’s been a very interesting ride to follow the various stories and reaction to it.  First as the news got some legs folks from the Mayor’s office tried to soften it some with some much needed clarifications on what he meant.  Then we got some excellent takes on the issue from Glass Magazine editor Katy Devlin, View’s Rao Mulpuri, and my old pal Dr. Helen Sanders of Technoform.  But even with the smart comments coming in, the initial damage was done.  The narrative that stuck was: a “ban” on glass was needed because glass is bad.  So here we go again.  I even chuckled when I looked at these two e-mails back to back in my inbox

So it is now back to us to be better at how we communicate our products and how our industry represents ourselves.  This is an OPPORTUNITY for us.  We all know that we have GREAT products that can meet and exceed the energy needs and provide benefits that brick and other products do not.  We can rise to the challenge and show we are not the problem here and actually bring positive solutions with us.  Older buildings that desperately need energy upgrades everywhere are where this effort should start.  Glass needs to be the driver and the solution.  Let’s go get it.


–  I missed noting the annual “Take Your Child to Work” day on last weeks post.  It was really cool to see so many companies in our industry showing off what they did on social media.  When you think about the whole “ban” issue and also the fact we need youth in this business, it’s really important to get kids interested in our world sooner than later.  So big props to everyone who brought their kids in and to all the companies who pushed and supported it!

–  So has everyone seen Avengers End Game yet?  Super movie.  Don’t worry I won’t spoil it but I do want to say I loved the glass usage in the movie- and I got a kick out of some of the breakage too- looked like in some scenes the glass broke more like annealed.  So while others will go see that movie again to experience it another time, I’ll go back to study break patterns…

–  Never thought I’d see Wal Mart as the next leader in store innovation but here you are… interesting piece on a test store in NewYork. 
–  Travel nugget… I swear I have a Joe DiMaggio like streak of picking the wrong security line at airports.  I have the awesome TSA pre-check but once you get through that and have to pick a line…. I think I am 0 for my last 30 on choosing the faster one through.   So if you see me at that part of the airport go opposite of my choice!

–  Last this week.. the glass industry someday could be known as the place that spawned the next awesome social media network!  Check out this great article on Jeff Meyer of White Bear Glass as he and his family and partners have launched a new social and file sharing site called “The Horn”  - This thing has incredible potential and the key is privacy.  While Facebook just decided that privacy is important, Jeff’s site is all over it.  Wouldn’t it be awesome that a Minnesota company with a major connection to the glass industry makes inroads in the tech world of Silicon Valley?  So combining with the top story- not only is the glass world great but we also do social media better than anyone else too…. Good luck Jeff!!

Very interesting story here on a good thing done but a delay needed in publicly thanking.
I don’t go to doctors to begin with but no way am I going if it’s a screen with an “Artificial Intelligence” doctor.   Look out.
This takes data mining to an incredible level

This video is absolutely fascinating.  It is a mouse who is cleaning up small tools on a workbench.  Yes. Seriously.  And evidently this mouse does it nightly too.  I’m floored here.  (Yes I am easily amused and entertained)

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Get Involved!

One of the most important approaches we have going right now is the NGA Advocacy and Technical Services department.  It is here, where so much that can affect our day to day world, is worked on, debated, pushed, delayed etc.  This takes on a larger role when you think about the comments made by the Mayor of New York last week with regards to glass buildings.  (There are others in our industry, like Chuck Knickerbocker, who covered this much more eloquently than I could ever, so I’ll their words stand for me)

We are used to people taking shots at our industry and livelihood and we will continue to fight on all fronts but we surely could use more people involved and following along.   Go to this page HERE to see what’s happening currently and reach out to add your help to it.  If we don’t keep working together as an industry comments that are directed at going to less glass will start to become more real than we want them to be!  We can’t sit still, so please get involved!!

–  It has been a while, so time for the latest Glass Magazine review… I’m looking at the April edition, which has cover of an incredible entrance that was fabricated by AGNORA.  This issue was dedicated to the “Top Fabricators” and delivered as always.  The special section included a list of the top companies; focus on women owned operations, standout “partner fabricators” as named by their customers and some excellent stats about the market place.  It’s truly an incredible section of reading for anyone who has interest in the fabricated glass world.  Also for the 3rd month in a row, the “Trendhunter” article delivered thanks this time to Michael Spellman of IGE.  Awesome piece on automation on the fab floor that has me wishing I had a plant of my own to put some of this innovation in.  Oh and the “take 5” with Andrew Haring was super.  I am getting to work closely with Andrew on GlassBuild promotion and the guy is absolutely brilliant.

–  Ad of the month choice was tough yet again, very thick issue with a lot of contenders.  My winner this month is Sika.  I usually don’t like text heavy ads- but the Sika ad jumped out at me because of the awesome picture they chose and the color matched Sika logo.  The picture was a very sophisticated structure that made me want to study it.  So when you stop on an ad like that it’s a winner.  Kudos to whomever at Sika did this- I think I only know the great Kelly Townsend there, so Kelly you can take the credit…lol!

–  Congrats to McGrory Glass on their new website launch.  The site setup is very unique with regards to layout and optimization.  It works nicely on the user experience for sure… check it out here- and congrats to the team there on a job well done!
–  The Texas Glass Association Glass Conference II is coming up quickly…. If you are involved in this industry and in Texas, you need to consider getting there for it.  More info can be found HERE.  Personally I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new people.  As I previously noted I am honored to be speaking at the session, and I’ll be sharing some interesting forecast news amongst other nuggets.

In addition the other speakers and topics are very strong.  Learn more here.
–  I have been hearing that black matte hardware- of all styles and applications are getting extremely hard to find.  I’m even hearing that from the millwork side of the business.  That look is hot right now and maybe too hot for everyone to keep up.

–  GlassBuild registration is now open.  Don’t procrastinate… register now and also grab your hotel room.   By the way my Philadelphia friends both the Eagles and Phillies will be in town during the GlassBuild run up and show, so you can mix a little sports with your show of the year.
–  Last this week… one of the coolest things to see architecturally in Michigan is at Michigan State University and the Broad Art Museum.  The exterior is stunning thanks to a great design by Zaha Hadid and glass from Guardian Glass.  Now this summer on the inside of this amazing structure will be an incredible glass sculpture in the exhibition named Oscar Tuazon-Water School.  Instead of me screwing up the description I’ll just use this from Guardian Glass:

“Tuazon’s “water window” uses more than 200 square feet of monolithic, tempered lites provided by Guardian Glass. The four trapezoidal shapes, which weigh in excess of 800 pounds, are installed in a steel frame connected to a post and bearing, which allows the water window to also rotate, further transforming the window into a door. A digitally printed image – a reference to the original water window by Baer – was placed on the 3rd surface and fired into the glass.”

More info can be found here- but if you find yourself in the great state of Michigan this summer- this is worth seeing!

There’s usually some dumb political move each week- here’s one for this post.  This can’t be true right?
The length that folks will go to for tickets to the Masters is amazing
This one is the ultimate “hmmmmm” article.  Interesting battle on parking tickets andenforcement. 

So did everyone binge the 2nd season of Cobra Kai on YouTube yet?  I did- thought it was good- of course not as good as season 1, but solid nonetheless.  Regardless of it you watched the show or not- if you saw the original Karate Kid movie- this “mock” 30 for 30 is a fun watch.  Check it out. 6 great minutes of content!

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