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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Show Review

Busy industry week for those on the east coast of North America.  Both the Top Glass event in suburban Toronto and the Mid Atlantic Glass Expo in Maryland had full houses and strong events that attracted a great range of glass professionals.  I was lucky enough to be in Maryland and experience what the fine folks at the Mid Atlantic Glass Association put together.  Good large layout that made it easy to work the room and network.  Great representation of industry companies overall and a pretty positive attitude towards the market though the event happened before the latest ABI came out (more on that below).  Of course for me the networking possibilities are the driver and I got to meet some new people and re-connect with others.   In the new category, was great to visit with Joe Sennese of Vitro Architectural Glass.  Good guy for sure and he was working their stand with my old friend Nathan McKenna who gets congratulations on his latest promotion inside the walls at Vitro! Kudos Nathan!  Also new but too quick and not enough time to talk was Trevor Elliott of Kawneer,  I wanted to spend more time with Trevor but he was the MAN in demand being the outgoing President of the  MGA and all.  Hopefully next show we can catch up more, but glad I put a face with the name. 

Meanwhile it was an awesome trip down memory lane for me at the Trulite booth.  I got to see three people that I worked with closely in various times of my professional career but really had not seen any of them once I started Sole Source years ago.  Debbie Lamer and I go very far back and it just was incredible to see she is the same awesome, focused force she was back in the day.  I worked with her when we were both young pups in the business and I look and feel like I am 70 years old and she looks 24.  April Oakley and I worked together at Arch and she was one of my favorite customer service reps ever and she was also one of the first people to ever read this blog way back in 2005.  I loved catching up with her and the fact her skills and talents are being perfectly utilized by Trulite was a daymaker. Last but not least I worked with Ken Passmore when I was at Vitro and he has not changed a bit- still smart, sharp and just an all around solid guy.  It was a great thrill for me to see and visit with these three…  So of course I am now very fired up about the next two events on my calendar… The Texas Glass Association Conference May 17 in Waco and of course GlassBuild America in September.  Can’t wait to see people and keep the networking and education going.  This week just helped keep those fires burning!


–  Speaking of GlassBuild… get ready REGISTRATION opens this week!  Keep an eye out for notification of the open and get registered.  Even bigger… go get your hotel rooms locked down, Atlanta will be busy so get in the hotel blocks sooner than later.  This show will be off the charts… you will not want to miss it.

–  Some sad news though this week on the people side.  John Lang passed away.  John was a fantastic sales professional in our world for years and I worked with him when he was at Arch in Kansas City.  Funny guy- great sense of humor and timing.  He retired from the industry a few years back and traveled the world and enjoyed himself.  I am so sorry to see him go, my thoughts, prayers and condolences to John’s family and friends.

–  Back to the industry world, I teased above the Architectural Billings Index (ABI) hit a big roadblock this month… the ABI posted its lowest score in 7 years at 47.8** 

So a few things to look at… first we knew that the crazy January score of 55.3 was a bit of an outlier and so the lower scores are corrections for sure.  The labor shortage as we all know already is very real and now the analysts pointed to that as a reason the index was underwater.   On the good side, work and future activity is still pointing to a strong year and economic experts are waving off any thought of a recession at this juncture.  We’ll keep monitoring it all though and see if we get a bounce back. 
**Note- ABI has changed formulas so the 47.1 posted in 2012 may not be an exact match to this month’s low score, but there’s no conversion chart to use otherwise.

–  On the flip side other metrics were up in March so, again we have a lot of data at play here so it all bears watching closely.  I think those scarred by the recession happen to be more keenly interested in every data point.  (I am one of those for sure)

–  Last this week…  you may have seen this… plans for a big floatable city that is big time sustainable…

The college admission scandal continues to enthrall me.  I love the argument now that the celebs didn’t realize they were doing anything wrong…. No way… horrendous excuses abound.
Just click to read the headline.. then move on.  Wild.
Sorry this guy is not as good as El Pres when it comes to Pizza Reviews.  Get the one bite app…

With GlassBuild registration about to open… time to look back at last years event… check it out!

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Comings, Goings, Forecasts, Brands, and more….

Yet another week with lots of news bits around the industry and beyond… so let’s take a look.

–  Coming and Going… two very good people made the news this week with updates on their careers.  First my old friend Marty Biskup was named Sales Director at GAMCO in New York.  Marty is a great guy and this seems like a perfect spot for him and his energy.  Though I must say when I saw the news he was listed as Martin and the picture showed a guy without a mustache so I have to wonder if that’s really him!  LOL.  Congrats Marty!  On the flip side, Steve Morren of Walker Glass announced he’s retiring effective at year-end.  I don’t know Steve that well- I have interacted with him on a few occasions and those times were really interesting and helpful for me.  I do know that Steve has a reputation as one of the more brilliant architectural minds in our world, so him hanging them up will leave a hole.  Congrats Steve on your retirement, enjoy the next phase of life!

–  One of the hottest subjects/exhibits at the BEC show was MyGlassClass.com and this week I noticed a pretty cool pitch on LinkedIn about it. 

MyGlassClass.com was originally created for glazing professionals. Now the curriculum has expanded to more than 60+ on-demand courses designed for fabricators, installers, sales reps, customer service reps and more.”

Preview the free courses: HERE.  Really good stuff and major steps for the industry.
–  The latest Dodge Momentum Index stayed steady- in fact the report said the index moved “sideways.”  The analysts point to many major projects being in the late stages of work for the “sideway” quote.  In any case it stayed in positive ground and the focus on public buildings and schools for the rest of 2019 should keep it in plus territory.

–  This piece of news usually comes up a few times a year but it’s been a while since my last mention.  Surging gas prices are back … and this pain at the pump is returning just in time for summer driving/busy season.  What’s frustrating for me is there’s usually never any rhyme or reason for the price maneuvers but yet here you have it. 

–  Last week I mentioned Chris Phillips incredible shower door page.  This week he had me on his podcast.   A ton of fun for sure and I really enjoyed the questions Chris asked. Thank you Chris for having me on!  I’ll be posting link here and on my social pages as soon it is live!  (So feel free to listen on that next commute or whenever you take in podcasts)

–  I love brands and I love lists… so how about a cool story that lists the most loved brands?  This is for 2019.  This is a fun breakdown but man I have disagreements all over the place.  Check it out for yourself but never in my wildest dreams would I expect the US Postal Service or Subway in the Top 20.  Well worth the read…
–  Last this week… my wife often calls me a “travel snob” because I have no patience for other travelers because I am on the road a ton.  (Honestly I try to be very patient with non travelers, I just fail a lot.  Lol)  Well this week I got my comeuppance making the ultimate rookie mistake.  I left my iPad behind on the plane, safely nestled in the seatback in front of me.  So. Stupid.  This is one of those things I am always usually 100% focused on- “do I have everything” and I check everything 3 times before I leave the plane.  This time, I completely blew it.

It’s been a week since I did it and while the lost & found forms have been filled out, there’s been no sign of it.   I have the tracking technology on it but so far nothing has been turned back online or someone trying to get in.  So who knows, maybe its in a bin at gigantic warehouse somewhere waiting for some awesome employee to find it but I am not feeling too confident. So this travel snob obviously doesn’t have all the skills…


A friend sent me this with an absolute dead on note… if this picture happens today the outrage would’ve been off the charts.  But since it was waaaay back in 1995, it didn’t even make a ripple.  That is the bigger takeaway than they article itself!
This one will be one to watch… shoplifter?  Millionaire who owns an island?  Or both?

Crème Egg Mayo?  NOOOOOOO

Skipping this section this week…. It shall return next week!

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It’s Back

For those of you who have been following this blog since its start way back in 2005 knows that one of my favorite subjects of the early years was the NFRC.  I spent tons of time and thousands of words on that organization and its movement and through it picked up fans and detractors along the way.  It truly was a time where we had massive engagement from our industry with regards to the way our products were being received and being reviewed in the marketplace.  Especially with the lack of knowledge of commercial vs. residential…  As the years went by things calmed, movements settled, and the need to be a watchdog went away somewhat.  NFRC is still out there and can still be very disruptive but its not anywhere near what it was… or is it.  See I had to laugh when I saw a blurb online about the latest members elected to the NFRC board.  I clicked the link and cracked up when I saw so many of the same exact people from 10 years ago, still in same positions of power there, meaning the same approaches and most likely the same lack of understanding of the commercial glazing world exists.  Now there’s at least one person on that board I have a ton of respect for and she knows who she is but when I saw some of the others listed, especially those who went after our industry with such rancor and disrespect, it really hit me.  The more things change the more they stay the same.  Anyway I hope the calmness will be here to stay but you never know and we always have to be prepared for any instance coming our way.


–  I know for many people Facebook is something not to utilize anymore, but I will say if you are in the shower door world, being a part of the Shower Door Installers and Manufacturers group (search for it) is awesome.  Incredible pictures and stories there.  Major props to Chris Phillips of Showcase Shower Door Company for starting it and to all of the folks posting on it- great job!

–  Heads up marketing friends… last year we had GPDR for e-mail and communication to Europe… now we have a new wrinkle from California with the California Consumer Privacy Act.  This goes into effect January 1 and from all that I am reading will have a serious effect on how you market in the golden state.  Here’s a quick link with some details. 
–  Congrats to my friend Tim Finley on starting his own business T.Fin Building Solutions.  He is now a full scale, high-end manufacturers rep with an absolute powerhouse of lines under his roof.  Very happy for you Tim and you will do great with this business!

–  April 17th I will get to do another first for me… a visit to The Mid Atlantic Glass Expo.  I have never gotten to attend this legendary event and hopefully I’ll even get to see people like the great Michael Albert of S Albert Glass… (one of the best people in our world)  More info on this event can be found HERE

–  For folks in Canada and eastern US- the next edition of TopGlass in suburban Toronto is coming also April 17.   Very good educational event and trade show.  Among presentations there will be strong presentations on contractor certification and the adventures of anisotropy.  
–  Really cool building here that is looking to meet some serious sustainability goals…
–  Last this week… so full disclosure…. GlassBuild America is a client of mine and has been for years.  This year I am taking on a larger role in promoting the show.  So be prepared there will be more mentions here than normal.  But also please consider coming to the show and share that message around.  What is being planned for this year is very exciting at so many levels.  I truly believe we will have an event to cherish because of the education, innovation, and networking along with incredible displays by the best companies in the world who will be exhibiting.   So this is the heads up… and get ready… more to come!


I do love dogs and so this site would be helpful for me when I am watching movies
When you read about kids like this it surely gives you hopefor the future!
Interesting- the Meatless burger from Burger King

Cobra Kai season 1 was incredible… the flash forward of the Karate Kid series was so good it is exciting we get a season 2!  Its coming in a few weeks and here’s the trailer…

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Retirement of Glenn Miner

So the news of a major retirement in our industry has been floating out there for several weeks now.  I had heard that Glenn Miner of Vitro was hanging them up back in January.  It initially did not connect for me, after all Glenn is blessed with youthful looks and personality so I couldn’t even fathom retirement talk attached to him.   It was true however, he told me himself and I had the obvious emotions.  First and foremost I was so happy for Glenn and his family.  Happy that he’ll get out of the industry and now do all of those things he’s wanted to do…  next though was sadness because he is such a good man and such a major part of our world.  Glenn is  in my opinion one of the most well rounded folks in our world with regard to knowing so much about every product line that went into a building and understanding its value and place.  No tunnel vision there at all.  In addition to his great knowledge, Glenn’s desire to push for advanced education at all levels of our world is something that I hope gets carried on at Vitro (I am confident it will) but more than that- Glenn always made time to catch up with whomever crossed his path.  For me personally, he always cleared some time to chat (though he would skillfully push off any of my video requests to the great Joann Funyak) and I will always be grateful.  We as an industry will miss Glenn a ton and his impact will not be forgotten.  Go enjoy the heck out of that next phase of life Mr. Miner- you have absolutely earned it!


–  As I noted last week, this week the industry had two events happening at the same time.  I was at the Glass Processing and Automation Days (GPAD) in San Antonio and it was an excellent event.  Ron Crowl and the awesome Fenetech team did everything first class and the education there was off the charts.  The technology and innovation that is out there on the fabrication side is mind blowing to me.  Over the course of GPAD- I saw so many pieces of machinery and software that fundamentally would change the way we all work… very exciting stuff.

–  In addition to the education side of it, the networking was top notch and a great chance to catch up with some of the great technical and business minds in our industry.  Plus because of the operational nature of it I met a ton of new people from across our world.  That was really cool expansion of the network!  It really was like a BEC for the fabricator and it’s a conference I don’t plan on ever missing again.

Staying in Texas for three more items… (I do love the great state of Texas by the way.)

–  First it was great to spend some time in San Antonio before the GPAD Conference kicked off.  Getting to visit with my old friends, the Luna’s of Champion Glass was awesome.  I am such a huge fan of David, Ray, Joe, and Davey Luna- they are just awesome people and I am honored to be a friend.  Class acts and great for our industry.  In addition I got to see some old friends I had not seen in forever- David Shaw and Rod Pistokcha of Complete Line Glass.  Both guys are simply tremendous and their hospitality towards me and the team from NGA in town for the event was nothing short of spectacular.  It was great to catch up with them both and I was very impressed what they are doing with the Complete Line plant and brand. 

–  Second, it’s been recently finalized that I will once again be speaking in Texas at the Texas Glass Association’s TGA Glass Conference II.  The conference is May 17thin Waco and I’ll be giving a piece on the state of our industry.  So please my Texas friends, I would love to see you at this event.  The agenda is fabulous and you can view that and sign up at this LINK.  Oh and the picture they used for me is no doubt old- but its nice to remember that once upon a time I had hair and could actually fit into clothes that weren’t marked “tent size” 
–  Third… Texas Tech!  Congrats to the fans of the Red Raiders… my pal David Shaw (mentioned above) and especially Bowie Neumayer of Cardinal.  He is a gigantic fan and no doubt will be floating all week until the Final Four begins Saturday!

–  Reading wise… This piece on lessons learned from past hurricanes and ideas for new hurricane builds… am I crazy or did it leave out or skip over hurricane glazing?  Maybe I missed as thanks to twitter my reading comprehension is not great, but I didn’t see it.  Hurricane glazing is an incredible product area- the aluminum and glass are superstars in a field that is till trying to catch up…
–  Last this week… I am so far behind in my sports… missed the start of baseball season and I know you all need my prediction on who’s going to win it… So here goes- It’s the Yankees to win it over the Braves in the series.  So congrats to every other city but NY and Atlanta- you have a chance now…


Tough one here… it does violate the rules but he did save a cats life.
The ultimate perils of storm chasing
This story (like so many others in these days of awful journalism) is a mess.  It completely blows by the point and also references quickly a bizarre previous experience.  I just shake my head… 

I’m old school and one of my favorite announcers ever is Verne Lundquist.  Someone out there compiled his best play-by-play calls and there are some classics on here!  This was a guy that did it right that is for sure…

Click the link https://youtu.be/cO_pKjui0p0 if you want to see… blogger is not being nice to me today and allowing me to embed!

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Worry on the Index Front

It was an interesting week with regards to forecasts, indexes and predictions.  As I expected…  the monthly Architectural Billings Index (ABI) came back to earth.  That big positive total in the previous month made no sense.  The ABI total still was in the positive range but just by a hair.  No we wait to see if this settles into a trend or if it seesaws high again next month.  Based on the on the forecasts coming into the year with regards to that report, growth was supposed to be positive but no by much, so seeing a big gain again soon would be odd.  The key of this process is that this is a picture of where our economic standing will be in a year from now… and that year- 2020 has many of us in a fog.  Trying to get a feel for it has been tougher than any forward looking forecast since the middle of the recession.  Also rough news from the Associated Builders and Contractors with their backlog indicator down to 8.1 months.  Those are 2014-like numbers.  Ouch.  But it has to be noted the report had serious bright spots including the Midwest.  In any case I am going to keep digging and working the angles to see what we have upcoming but it sure is murkier than expected…


–  Speaking of forecasts… good read here- what happens if the auto business starts a downward trend?
–  This week is a big one for events- in New York it’s Glass Expo Northeast and in San Antonio it is the Glass Processing Automation Days (GPAD) event.  I will be in Texas for that one… first time attending that event and looking forward to learning and networking there.  Whatever insights I can gather that are good for the blog I will share here next week… those of you in Long Island, please let me know the same!

–  Exciting news for a very popular industry figure and long time friend of mine… Jon Johnson.  Jon was named National Sales Manager at Architectural Grills & Sunshades.  Congrats my friend!  Super company and you will do great there.   I am sure I am not alone in looking forward to seeing you at all of the industry events again!

–  Speaking of new positions, a trio of people at Tristar Glass picked up promotions recently.  Tim Rome, Derrick Williams, and Erica Couch all moved up the ladder there and it was good to see.  While I don’t know Tim very well- I have always been a huge fan of Derrick’s (I can’t tell you how many people would rave about how great Derrick is when I traveled through Oklahoma over the years) and Erica is a true talent- a very positive force at shows/conferences and in our industry- her approaches and insights will be very appreciated for sure.  Congrats to all of you there and to Tim Kelley for making the call.

–  Glass Magazine review time…  the new look really took another strong step this month with the focus of the magazine being “green.”  The cover shot was a stunner!   The best article and section for me was the “The Green Building Maze” – a very well done walk through what can be a very confusing area.  I have to give major kudos to Katy Devlin and Wendy Vardaman on the entire section.  There was a ton of intel to be had there and its something that is worth keeping bookmarked for future reference. Also of note this issue had a couple of my favorite recurring writers, Joe Schiavone and Matt Johnson with must read pieces and I enjoyed once again the “Trendhunter” segment- this time with Ryan Park at Sage.  Those who know me know I love the dynamic glass space and Ryan did a fine job of laying out the innovation.

–  Ad of the month was a challenge- especially after last month raised the bar very high… still some wonderful pieces but only one winner this time… the nod goes to Tremco.  Great use of a building image that immediately catches the eye and then a big call to action statement in the middle.  Both were great hooks to get me to stop and read.  Well done to the folks at Tremco that made this one happen!

–  Last this week… March Madness is underway and I missed making my picks before the tourney started.  So I’ll make it now… and it was the pick that most expect… Duke.  The Blue Devils are loaded… but I will admit I’d be quite happy to be wrong here as I am not a fan…


Feel good story of the week
Hudson Yards tried to own every photo you take on their property…  and then they changed gears…
Good story on “Dark mode” and its growth.  Personally I do prefer some of my sites in that setting- especially heavy texts ones.

You get done hang gliding and someone “special” is there to meet you!  Look out!

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Catching Up

The last few weeks have been a real whirlwind… so time to get caught up and clear off my desk…  Here goes…

–  The annual “Top 50 Glazier” issue is coming soon from Glass Magazine and to make the 27th annual list as best as it can be, please take a few minutes to do the survey. (if you are a glazing company of course) Click HERE for link.  I love that issue- always great to see the who’s who on that list!
–  The Dodge Momentum Index went down again in its latest report.  That index has been pretty volatile of late but I think the one takeaway here for sure is that things are a bit murky in the construction world.  I am staying positive but I would like to see this index find some consistent trends.

–  I am enthralled with the whole “college entrance scandal” that broke this week and ended up in the arrests of high-powered businesspeople and entertainers.  It really is amazing that when you have the sort of money and power that these people have you would go to illegal lengths to get your kids in to college.  In many cases the kids DID NOT WANT to go to college but the parents wanted them to go…  It’s an incredible story that I have feeling still has a few more chapters to it.

My pal Ted Bleecker had a tremendous quote on this whole scandal:

“Considering what people are doling out just to get their kid’s into college, I feel content paying six figures the old fashioned way… No entrance fee required”

Considering what people are doling out just to get their kid’s into college, I feel content paying six figures the old fashioned way… No entrance fee required pic.twitter.com/XJfHDzjJog

— Ted Bleecker (@TedBleecker) March 13, 2019

–  Off topic- one movie to see and one to get excited to see…. First up “Free Solo” the Oscar Award winning documentary about a guy who free climbed “El Cap” was incredible.  The last 20 minutes will have you on the edge of your seat.  Insane.  The other is coming in the next month or two- called “Yesterday” it’s a creative look at a world without the “Beatles”- check my video of the week for a preview!

–  Speaking of videos… go to this link and see a glass door in “action”… thank you to my good friend Jon Johnson for sharing.   The glass “worked” the hinges and install?  No so much!
–  Thirsty Thursday alert… March 21 the legend Bill Lingnell and the great Urmilla Sowell will have a presentation on edge grinding of laminated glass.  I was honored to work on a session with this topic at the 2018 GlassBuild with Bill.  It’s a deep, interesting and important topic if you are dealing with laminated glass.  Register HERE
–  Last this week…  We as an industry and the world itself lost another great person recently with the passing of Ruben Huerta of Glasswerks.  Ruben was a part of the management and ownership at Glasswerks and was absolutely loved.  Great guy and a huge loss.  My thoughts and condolences go out to Ruben’s friends and family and the entire team at Glasswerks. I know Ruben will be sorely missed.


–  Best owner ever and when I am Raleigh next I am going to this restaurant!
–  It amazes me how people ignore boundaries with regards to animals.  This lady is lucky to be alive.
–  Really fascinating story on the “fine print” on contracts and agreements. 

Here it is the trailer for “Yesterday” – and yes my excitement for this may be because I love the Beatles but my gosh its an incredibly cool concept and I can’t wait to see how they pull this off.

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