glassblog

Monday, September 30, 2013

Top of mind for the glass industry: finding and keeping skilled labor. Glass Magazine highlighted the topic in “Glaziers Wanted,” published in September, and led the conversation at the Glazing Executives Forum in Atlanta.

The glass industry isn’t alone in its struggles to find experienced tradespeople. According to a recent survey from the Associated General Contractors of America, 74 percent of construction firms report having trouble finding qualified workers. “Many construction firms are already having a hard time finding qualified workers and expect construction labor shortages will only get worse,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, CEO of the AGC, in a Sept. 4 association release. “We need to take short- and long-term steps to make sure there are enough workers to meet future demand and avoid the costly construction delays that would come with labor shortages.”

A new social networking start-up, Work Hands, is hoping to ease the hiring hardships for firms and workers by being the “LinkedIn for America’s estimated 20 million skilled workers,” according to a Sept. 24 San Francisco Gate article about the site. "We've been contacted by organizations all over the country that struggle to fill these positions, from publicly traded companies, municipal public works departments, economic development organizations and everything in between," said Patrick Cushing, WorkHands' CEO, in the article.

On WorkHands, tradespeople can create a free account that allows users to post work experience, skills, examples of past work, licenses and certifications, and additional job-related information. Employers can use the site to “hire and recruit according to their needs,” Cushing said in the SF Gate article.

It looks like the site is initially focused on the San Francisco region. However, recent activities indicate WorkHands is busy building membership throughout the West Coast and in Texas. Check out the company’s Twitter and Facebook for more updates.

What do you think? Could WorkHands work for the glass industry?

Devlin is senior editor for Glass Magazine. Write her at kdevlin@glass.org.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Each month the Architectural Billings Index comes out and I usually make a quick comment or two on it. It’s been a tremendous struggle for me to trust the numbers, because forecasting in our industry is pretty much a disaster. If you look at the various professional predictions over the last few years they have come up wrong, significantly wrong in some cases, so my confidence in relying on these efforts is not strong. So that said, when this month’s ABI was released I was very excited but also wary because I just don’t want to get let down again. The numbers coming from the ABI are showing that we are trending out of the malaise and challenged economy we have all been dealing with in some form or fashion over the last few years. Combine that with an incredibly positive trade show performance at GlassBuild America as well as expanding employment numbers and we just may be on the right path again.

Elsewhere…

  • Props to AAMA for putting together a first class fall conference coming up later in October, specifically the scheduling of Dr. Karma Sawyer of the DOE to deliver the keynote speech. I had the honor of meeting Dr. Sawyer once and she is sharp, focused, and professional. I believe she has the ability to really benefit our industry and our world as a whole. And those who know me know that I am a huge believer in “karma” so it’s only natural I would be a fan of a person with that name.
  • Nice work by Guardian on their joint white paper with the University of Michigan on the benefits of glass and daylighting. Once again Chris Dolan and his team come through with a meaningful and significant effort. Papers like that are crucial to our industry.
  • A favor to ask… Former NGA VP David Walker is doing amazing things in his new life as CEO of the Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes’ charity. Recently he was nominated for a “Rare Life” honor in which his story and others are told, and the public votes for a winner. What David is doing is significant and a win in this contest would bring tremendous benefit to the organization he now runs. So please click the link, read about David and click to vote. Thank you.
  • The Pittsburgh Pirates made the playoffs in baseball. Been a long time coming for sure… first time since 1992.  My World Series picks though are Oakland out of the AL and the Dodgers from the NL with LA winning it all. That pitching in LA will be hard to beat. Oh and if you missed Mariano Rivera’s last Yankee Stadium appearance, it’s my video of the week and it’s beautiful.
  • And while we’re talking sports… the NHL drops the puck formally this week, too. My call for the finals there: Washington and LA with the Kings winning it. Going to be a good year to be an LA fan.
  • Last this week… I noted that I’d be saying goodbye to my beloved Blackberry next spring when my contract is up. Well I may have to move that schedule up since a company I do work for switched their e-mail format to a platform that doesn’t support Blackberry at all. I guess the end really is near…

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

GlassBuild America provided a fantastic opportunity to catch up with representatives from all segments of the glass and metals industry, from manufacturers, to equipment suppliers, to glazing contractors. We were curious to hear what people had to say about the industry, its future, and its recent past, so we asked several people to play a little word association game. Watch what they had to say in this video from the show; although the video quality isn't great (it was shot on the show floor), everyone's responses certainly are. And for more word associations, check out last week's glassblog.

 

Glass Magazine presents "Word Association" with: Rich Walker, AAMA; Mark Decker, Cardinal Shower; Chip Steele, Emmegi USA Inc.; Tim McGee, Glass Coatings and Concepts; and Jeff Swoboda, H.B. Fuller.

Monday, September 23, 2013


How important is energy efficiency to you? Would you pay more for it? If you were a bigwig developer and had a gaggle of new buildings to build, would you spend the extra money to make it the most energy efficient it could be? Those are three questions that have recently been bandied about, and here’s what I think the majority of owners/developers would say:

“Yes, energy efficiency is important to me. If this were a public poll then ‘yes’ I would pay more for it. Confidentially, not a chance. And as for the question of spending extra money, well, I didn’t get to the point of developing buildings by spending ‘extra’ on anything!”

This is our problem: We build the products and push the attributes, but if they cost more, a lot more, it will always be a struggle to get them into applications. We have a society right now that, no matter what it says publicly, will always defer to the bottom line when it comes to financial decisions.

Last week, issues like this were discussed at the GANA Fall Conference, and it was fascinating on several levels. First, one of the leaders of the discussion was an anti-glass industry guy. Unreal. The other fascinating thing was the codes issue. As we have seen with other battles in the code arena, the codes can have a tremendously negative effect on our industry if implemented incorrectly. They also could raise costs even more. Heck, groups like the NFRC account for additional costs now that, in my opinion, do not make sense or pay off. (Go ask a window manufacturer.) So what does this rambling rant mean?

Basically, we have to get past the money proposition by having clear and concise arguments regarding  why the new technology coming from our industry is better and how it works. It is essential that we demonstrate the improved energy modeling, be aggressive with technology and work with every component to ensure the quality of the products we deliver. As an example, people buy expensive cars all the time not because of status (though some do) but because they have a belief system that the expensive car is BETTER, will last longer, and at the end of the day, will be worth the investment. We have to convince owners that our products--the glass, the frame, etc.--offer that kind of value. Building owners will change the carpet every few years, re-paint every few years, tear out interior offices and remodel every few years, but the curtain wall will be there forever, so why not make it the best? Let’s prove it.

Elsewhere…

  • There’s more to say on the above, and in coming weeks, we’ll get to it. And with GlassBuild over, I plan on a few more interviews (with people MUCH smarter than me) to keep this discussion going. It’s an important one; it is a part of our future.
  • One of my past interview subjects and one of the most intelligent people when it comes to talking about our future, Mark Silverberg, had a great link from his Twitter account recently on the top 10 green building practices of 2013. This list was pretty interesting overall and something for everyone to be aware of.
  • Very sad news last week with the passing of Arthur Balik, retired Chairman of GGI. Arthur, along with his brother Al (who passed away last year), were pillars in this industry and were a huge part of building the infrastructure we all work in today. I’d assume Arthur had to be extremely proud of the advancements his company made over the years. My thoughts go out to the Balik family on their loss.

On the lighter side, to end this week…

  • I did see people still using a Blackberry at GlassBuild America. So I am not alone. But come May, I am moving on… very scared…
  • I saw the movie Pain and Gain. It was the re-make of an amazing newspaper series I covered here a while back. And of course Hollywood ruined it. Only Hollywood could take a story that is built for a movie and screw it up.
  • Finished the latest College Football expose by John Bacon called 4th and Long, and it was a decent read. If you are a college football fan, it’s worth looking into. By the way, I see a work stoppage or some sort of major protest coming to college football soon. Some seeds were planted this weekend, and I have a feeling these players who are being exploited badly will start to band together. And yes, that is a story for another time too.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

GlassBuild America provided a fantastic opportunity to catch up with representatives from all segments of the glass and metals industry, from manufacturers, to equipment suppliers, to glazing contractors. We were curious to hear what people had to say about the industry, its future, and its recent past, so we asked several people to play a little word association game. Watch what they had to say in this video from the show, and visit glassblog next week for part two of "GlassBuild America Word Association" 

Word Association with: Mike Otis, Double O Supply and Craftsman; Matt Harper, Nu-Vu Glass; Mark Imbrock, EDTM; Chris Dolan, Guardian Industries; and Michael Spellman, IGE Glass Technologies.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Another GlassBuild America is in the books, and the key takeaway is pretty apparent: There is serious optimism in our industry. The good news from the show floor was that machinery sold at an amazing pace, whether it was fabrication or glass handling equipment. People would NOT be buying (especially in the numbers they did) if they didn't think we were headed in the right direction.

As for the show, I would deem it a major success. Yes, not every one of the more than 350 exhibitors had a great show, but a heavy majority did. The vibe was great, and the support that so many of the exhibitors showed our industry truly was tremendous.
The Glazing Executives Forum went extremely well. The “state of the industry” panel really delivered, and economist Jeff Dietrich came through with a great presentation, as always. I will have more comment/details in my next post.

I thought the in-show demonstrations were spectacular. The multi-laminate cutting demo by Putsch & Company was something I had never seen before, and I thought the “Are you Smarter Than a FenestrationMaster?” event hosted by AAMA was creative and smart. Plus, the digital printing demonstrations by Dip Tech drew great crowds. And of course, the impact testing demo hosted by  ATI never fails to impress and wow the audience.  That is truly a GlassBuild staple.

As for seen and heard on the floor…
  • I did not see Jeff Cothery to congratulate him on his new role at Besana Lovati, but I'm happy for him. I did see and spend time with the great John Rovi of Sapa; he is a credit to our industry for sure. I was very impressed with the effort and team at AGC; they really brought their “A” game to the show. The C.R. Laurence booth was a massive hub of activity all show long. I did get to chat with Lloyd Talbert of CRL and was again struck by his commitment to support the industry by going all-out every year at this event.  Speaking of going all out, as always, the folks from Quanex did not disappoint, and a special thanks is due Ryan Kerch there for his help and hospitality.  It’s not a show for me if I don’t visit the guys from Glasstech; Dave and Tom are always in top form.  A couple of other Tom’s were also running around doing good things: O’Malley from Doralco and Herron from NFRC.  And so happy for Michael Schmidt in his new role with For El. He’ll do great things there.
  • I finally met Russ Slaybaugh from DFI in person after YEARS of communicating by e-mail. That is another company that gets it when it comes to supporting the industry. 
  • GlassBuild attendees voted in the “Best in Show” awards program, and while the winners were extremely impressive and award-worthy, there were a couple of exhibits that didn't win that I found stunning: M3 Glass Technologies' booth was a stunner.  Loved what the gang at Salem Distributing had going, and in fact, they win this year's “fashion” award with best golf shirts. They offered me one for $19.95 too…. I’m going to save up to buy one for next year.
  • Old friends: seeing Scott Goodman from afar, getting a few minutes with Cliff Monroe, and chatting with Dean Mead.  Running into Tom Marsh was fun, but basically missing Tony Kamber, Joel Smith, Scott Sallee, and Manny Valladares was depressing. I saw all four of them but never got to talk to them, which bummed me out. I only got a couple of seconds with Oliver Stepe of YKK, but was glad to at least get that considering he is a man in demand.
  • New friends: met artist Christopher Reisert of Reflective Collections in West Palm Beach and his ideas and creativity look to be a major breath of fresh air in our world.  I had always known of Trent Hartley of Coastal/Aldora, so it was cool to meet him in person.  And I finally met Mason Harper from the very smart Nu Vu Glass out of Idaho, who made the trip with a team of folks from his office.
  • A few kudos to go around: first, a major thank you to the team at NGA and GlassBuild America.  I have said it before and I will say it again: There’s no group more talented, and their drive and dedication to make this the best show possible is impressive.  Plus, they put up with me, and that alone takes a ton of effort.   And a massive thank you to every exhibitor who came out, expended resources and made the show great.  The support of the show, and thus the support of the industry, means a ton.  We are all better for it!
Next week we return to normal…whatever that is….

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, September 9, 2013

This isn’t a typical blog this week. I am in Atlanta already preparing for GlassBuild America, so I'll be short. This show is incredibly important and exciting. Our industry needs to show it is back and healthy. Having wonderful and classy exhibitors like those at GlassBuild makes that happen. The floor is absolutely loaded this year.

Meanwhile, it's exciting for me, because I just love the action. Getting to see people from all over the world and renew acquaintances is awesome. I am pumped.

Here's a quick video that shows some of the action in the set up process and a handful of the almost 400 exhibitors that will be on hand.

My next post(s) will be the typical review of the show, and my "page 6" style review of who was seen and heard on the floor. To all of you traveling to Atlanta, be safe and get ready... THE TIME IS NOW for the biggest and best trade show in North America.

Links and video of the week will return next week!

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, September 9, 2013

This isn’t a typical blog this week. I am in Atlanta already preparing for GlassBuild America, so I'll be short. This show is incredibly important and exciting. Our industry needs to show it is back and healthy. Having wonderful and classy exhibitors like those at GlassBuild makes that happen. The floor is absolutely loaded this year.

Meanwhile, it's exciting for me, because I just love the action. Getting to see people from all over the world and renew acquaintances is awesome. I am pumped.

Here's a quick video that shows some of the action in the set up process and a handful of the almost 400 exhibitors that will be on hand.

My next post(s) will be the typical review of the show, and my "page 6" style review of who was seen and heard on the floor. To all of you traveling to Atlanta, be safe and get ready... THE TIME IS NOW for the biggest and best trade show in North America.

Links & video of the week will return next week!

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Warning: This is not the most high-brow blog you will read today. But as we all recover from a long holiday weekend, it just might be a good way to ease back into the work week. While I’m always excited to see glass used in new and innovative ways, I have to say that I question the taste level of these projects, the first of which was recently featured on CNN. As for the second video, it has been around longer. Still, I hope it's not the start of a new trend.

Labor Day also marks the official start of Fall, and so, storing summer whites. If you are a Seth Godin blog fan, and missed his “Making costumes” blog on September 1, click here.

See you next week from Atlanta!

Chase is editorial director of Glass Magazine. Write her at jchase@glass.org.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy Labor Day week! First, I want to pay tribute to a great industry man and class act who announced his retirement last week.  Bob Lawrence is hitting the golf courses full time, and I for one will miss him greatly. In a lot of ways, Bob was one of those “conscience of the industry” types: never afraid to give his opinion or hear the other side, and always wanting the best for our world.  He served the industry and his customer base with absolute class.  While I will miss him and his approach, I am thrilled he is starting the next chapter of his life and know he’ll be making a difference for someone, somewhere.

Elsewhere…
  • The Farmers Almanac came out and it's predicting bitter cold for the winter, with lots of snow.  Given the crummy summer, this is not a surprise. Hopefully, the weather will not be a detriment to the building world though.
  • LEED was back in the news this week with a fawning article about it in the Atlantic.  To me, this article was over-the-top positive like I am over-the-top negative. So I guess it’s the ying to my yang.  It's worth the read though, and the comments are fascinating.
  • Happy Birthday to my brother Steve. If you see us together at GlassBuild America, try to guess who’s older.
  • Some updates for GlassBuild America. First and foremost, GlassBuild America now has an APP!  It’s a very cool addition that will make your show experience that much better. No longer will you have to scramble to find that booth you want to visit or seminar you want to attend. Just use the app, and you’ll be set.  If you are attending the show, download this now.  It works on Apple, Droid and even the rickety old Blackberry that I carry.
  • I have to extend a major thank you to Guardian after the team created and launched a video to promote their appearance at GlassBuild America. You can see the video here, and it's great work from Earnest Thompson and Paige Plant Coates.
  • Over the past few weeks, I’ve covered some of the stuff to hit at the show, so just a few more:
  1. Stop by the AGC booth to see what they have going on, and you might even get lucky and see Glass Magazine interview star Rodger Ruff. 
  2. Check out the “smart” or dynamic glass options all over the floor.
  3. If you are looking for equipment, there’s no better place to explore your options than on the GlassBuild America show floor. Rumor has it that one major equipment company is planning to make a major splash.
  4. Make sure you get to the opening night reception. It's always worth it. 
  5. Check out the floor demos throughout the show. 
  6. Attend the seminars September 11 and 12. One example: If you are a fabricator of safety glass, don't miss the "Safety Glass Process & Training" session. It is an absolute must!
  7. And seriously, make sure you visit and support the exhibitors. These companies spend significant time and resources, and deserve as much attention as we can give them.  Some amazing new products are being launched and old favorites shown. 
  8. Last, look for me in the bright yellow “media” vest and say hi. I’ll be shooting video all over. 

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

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