glassblog

Monday, July 27, 2015

Every once in a while a bunch of subjects come up that interest me, and I think would interest all of you. So in no particular order, here’s a batch from this week that may get you going.

  • I noted last week to watch the Architectural Billings Index, and if you follow me on Twitter you would know its incredible number: a 55.7! That is the highest rating since 2007. I know we all sometimes doubt these numbers, but my goodness that’s an exciting one to see.
  • I saw a great article via the Twitter feed of Kawneer’s Donnie Hunter. It’s about how architects are not overly enthusiastic about specifying new products. I like the insight it shows and quite frankly presents a heck of a challenge to product manufacturers in trying to get their materials out there. Good, quick, and interesting read. Thank you Donnie.
  • So two big mergers in the healthcare world, and rates are also going up for 2016. I think no matter what system or plan is out there (Old way vs. Affordable Care Act), and what side of the political aisle you are on, this will continue to be a nightmare for everyone involved.
  • Do you have 200 million dollars laying around? If so, you too can build an experimental “ghost city” to test new technologies. This is fascinating. I guess if the real world won’t incorporate it first, this is the next best idea.
  • How in the world “The Americans” does not get an Emmy nomination for best drama is beyond me. That show is beyond excellent.
  • I often note industry websites that impress me, and this week I point to Galaxy Glass and Stone. Eugene Negrin and company have a fantastic site. Love the use of pictures and creative layout. Well done!
  • There is now research that it “pays to be green” when it comes to building. Obviously this study will be used by many in this business, and probably by the folks at USGBC who potentially hurt the process, but that’s another story for another time.
  • Because of all of the controversy on the Confederate flag, I find myself looking for more info and insight on the Civil War. Anyone have a good documentary or book to recommend?
  • Last this week, the buzz I am hearing about GlassBuild America is really blowing me away. More and more people are planning to attend and in my research of the show floor, I’m thoroughly impressed by some of the products and services that will be on display. For the innovation/diversification angle, this event will surely provide tons of it.


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

Max Perilstein 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.

Friday, July 17, 2015

There are three levels of motivation: needs, wants and causes. The most basic drive we have is to meet the needs of food, clothing and shelter. When our needs are met, we become motivated by our wants. We have shelter, but we want a nicer house. We have food, but we want to dine at a nice restaurant. We have clothes, but we want something more fashionable.

But what motivates us when our needs are met and we have most of things we want? The highest level of motivation comes when we start focusing on causes that are bigger than our person. Every community has a school, hospital wing, and/or non-profit named after someone that served that community. These people chose to serve others. Additionally, there are many people that choose to serve without the expectation of any recognition.

When we focus on serving others opportunities appear. We can serve by participating in political elections. We can serve the community by participating actively in our churches, synagogues, or temples. We can serve by supporting, financially and actively, local non-profits. We can serve by being active in youth activities such as sports and education.

I recently had lunch with a man running for a local political office. He stated that less than one-tenth of 1 percent of county residents get involved with elections. I serve on several non-profit boards of directors. The common need for all of them is for more involvement from business people. They all have a need for people to help serve their mission. I never leave one of these meeting feeling inconvenienced. I always leave feeling excited about the opportunity to serve. Helping others never gets old.

Here are questions for you:

  • What are the needs in your community that are not being met?
  • What opportunities exist in your neighborhood for you to help somebody?
  • How can you leave your community a better place?

As Edmond Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing.”

Bill Evans is president of Evans Glass Co. Write him at bevans@evansglasscompany.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. 

 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

When the news dropped that Jim Benney was leaving NFRC, I was curious if there would be another part to the puzzle. Sure enough there was, with news that the NFRC was renewing their commitment to the commercial fenestration industry with a certified rating system. There’s a ton I can go into, especially since I have been banging this drum for 10 years or so. But I’ll just say a few main things…

First and foremost, the industry needs a quality rating system. We’ve never been against a system, just past proposals. We need a logical system that makes sense and provides the results and details that everyone involved depends on. It’s a part of the commercial landscape more and more. And, we need a program that is not what’s best or easiest (or biggest money maker) for the test labs or councils, but one that’s best for the products involved and industry at large. (For some time, the commercial and residential industries were included in the same category.) In any case, ease of use and logic was something we hammered on for years during the process. So it’s going to be interesting to see what this new collaboration will be.  Will it be a true collaboration? I have my doubts. Regardless, I will have an open mind, because it is something that is needed.

Second, when did the “partners” listed become actual partners in the process? Three major organizations in our industry are now back in the process. I have to assume it was news to them. All will do what is right for the industry I believe, but I also found it odd that NFRC did not mention a few other players that had involvement back in the day, including the National Glass Association. I bring this up because how do you get true collaboration without all of the main players?

Finally, personally I feel vindicated in the fact that I warned (along with many others, of course) that the current program would not work, and it sure looks like we were right. I took (and still take in some areas) a ton of abuse over my role in this effort, but in the end my goal has and will always be to look out for the best interests of our industry.

Elsewhere…

  • OK from one worry to another. To my friends in the Pacific Northwest, I sure as heck hope this article on an earthquake hitting your part of the world is wrong. Really frightening read…
  • Interesting news via the Dodge Momentum Index. It trended down in June and has been relatively flat all year. This has been flying in the face of other indexes and also just the overall business climate. Especially the current put-in-place spending, which has been tremendous and has a future-facing component to it. The new ABI is due out this coming Wednesday the 22nd, so we’ll see what they say on the process.
  • Last this week, which of you awesome glaziers, fabricators, manufacturers and suppliers will be working on the world's largest “NetZero Plus” retrofit building in Los Angeles? The Electrical Training Institute in LA will be 142,000 square feet and is being promoted as the largest NetZero Plus building in the United States. They’re calling it the “intelligent building of the future” so I surely can’t wait to see what glass and glazing products are involved here.

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

Max Perilstein 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, July 13, 2015

This year, the editors at Glass Magazine have been hard at work developing practical and applicable content to help glass and glazing companies grow and profit. While we offer insight from our columnists and industry experts, and analyze industry statistics to benefit the industry, we also want to showcase what companies are already doing to improve. Glass Magazine's Here's an Idea... series does just that.

New in 2015, Here's an Idea... gives the proper recognition to industry businesses that are implementing great—though possibly small—ideas. Companies from all parts of the glass and glazing industry have implemented innovative, out-of-the-box ideas to improve business from the ground up. Linetec uses a personal protective equipment vending machine to increase shop safety and save time. Hale Glass has its own training program to constantly improve the skills of its glaziers. Syracuse Glass fabricates glass standing desks to increase the well-being of its employees, while creating efficient space.

The glass and glazing industry's penchant for innovation doesn't start or stop with products. We want to showcase industry innovation in all its forms. What is your company doing to improve customer service? Employee morale? Organization? Reputation?

Help us showcase your company's behind-the-scenes, innovative ideas in a future issue of Glass Magazine by completing our Here's an Idea... online submission form. And be sure to check out the ideas that prove true innovation starts from the ground up.

Bethany Stough is managing editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at bstough@glass.org.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Good economic news keeps coming our way. Construction spending in May broke the trillion-dollar mark, giving us the third straight trillion-dollar spend and the sixth month in a row that there’s been growth. May was very strong, as the last month with a better mark was way back in the glory days of October 2008. That of course was pretty much the last good month we had before the slide came. As we sit now, however, the “slide” doesn’t look apparent. Though concerns about the dollar, world unrest, and the financial health of Puerto Rico and Greece surely sit as a reminder that things can change quickly.

Elsewhere…

  • Saw an interesting study on the fact that larger office buildings are taking more advantage of green building practices than smaller. So I am curious. Why do you think that is? Scale? Cost? Ego? I just find it surprising because the study shows that less than 5 percent of US office buildings smaller than 100,000 square feet are qualified as green. I guess I can also question the study because smaller offices may be green or even more "green" than any standard, but choose to save money and not be certified. But I just find the big vs. small angle interesting.
  • I pretty much prop the great work from Glass Magazine every month, but this latest issue is different. This content is off-the-charts incredible. Great columns, great insights and amazing projects to look at with the Glass Magazine Awards section. And once again, in what is becoming my favorite section, the “Here’s an Idea…” piece was stellar with a look at AGNORA’s health and fitness efforts. Great work.
  • And while I’m being biased towards this excellent magazine, I should add that my ad of the month is the one for GlassBuild America. Loved the format and layout of it featuring a question/answer set up. Go check it out; it gets you thinking, and those who “get it” will be on the floor at the show ensuring they don’t end up like companies in the Question.
  • How cool was the US Women’s Soccer team winning the World Cup? I loved it. I don’t watch sports like I used to, so this was a really enjoyable one to take in. And a 5-2 soccer game? That just never happens in that sport.
  • I just started to watch the new mini-series on CNN called “The Seventies” and it’s tremendous. The first episode was about TV and they spent quite a bit of time on the shows of that era. Most notably “All in the Family.” After watching clips of that, it dawned on me that show, which was so groundbreaking, could never happen today. It’s pretty mind boggling if you think about it. Anyway, if you want excellent one-hour looks back at that decade, check it out.

Read on for the video of the week...

Max Perilstein 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, July 6, 2015

As the Baby Boom generation leaves the workforce, the construction and fenestration industries are feeling the effects. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that between April 2006 and January 2011, the construction industry cut its workforce by more than 40 percent, eliminating 2.3 million jobs. On top of this, skilled professionals are retiring and taking their knowledge bases with them.

Construction in the commercial sector is especially in need. NASDAQ reported in June that there’s a race going on to find quality craft workers in the field.

So, what would turn things around? What does any industry need to flourish? Trained labor to properly manufacture and install quality products. With this trend taking place across our industry along with others, there’s more of a need for training than ever before. Companies may be unsure of where to go for such crucial skill building since the trade schools of our parents’ days are practically extinct as more young adults are pushed to community colleges rather than trade schools. To really stand out from the competition, companies and individuals may wish to validate their experience with certification credentials.

As the labor force continues to dwindle, companies may need to re-think their training budgets. Apprenticeships and peer training are less likely to be relied upon in the coming years of business, as workloads increase and trained employees leave the field. Plans of attack for this issue can vary, but one thing is clear: a fully-trained staff is the bedrock of any successful enterprise, but especially an industry that relies so heavily on the importance of products being created and installed safely and properly.

Companies can look to the industry associations for support in training. For example, understanding the need for industry education, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association has made training a priority. The association started its educational efforts with the InstallationMasters program that helps installers avoid costly callbacks, improve energy efficiency and work more effectively while optimizing both time and money. This goes a long way to maximizing product benefits for happier, more satisfied customers. While the two-day program focuses on residential information, it does include education about light commercial installation as well.

Expanding into the non-residential market, the Commercial InstallationMasters program is based upon the AAMA document, Standard Practice for the Installation of Windows and Doors in Commercial Buildings. The training includes accepted installation techniques, job site safety, quality control, proper material selection and installation of components, as well as product care and cleaning. Architects, building owners, construction managers and general contractors can be assured that Certified Commercial Installers have been properly trained and have met the certification program requirements.

What is your company’s strategy for coping with ongoing labor shortage? Let us know in the comments.

Angela Dickson is marketing manager for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. She can be reached at Adickson@aamanet.org.

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, July 6, 2015

A bit of an odd week as a couple of emotional things occurred. First the news of the passing of long-time industry rep Pat McIntosh really threw me for a loop. Pat was an excellent man, always friendly and dedicated, and always smiling when I saw him. He will truly be missed. My condolences to Pat’s family and friends.

Also, right before the holiday, the NFRC announced that CEO Jim Benney left the organization. As many of you know, I’ve battled the NFRC for more than 10 years and many times drove Jim up the wall--even debated him once in Boston at a trade show. Despite me being a true pain in the rear, Jim always treated me well and always kept a cool and calm composure. I am not sure where Jim will end up next, but I wish him only the best. It's interesting that in the same week the USGBC had their CEO resign as well. Could Jim be headed there?! Crazier things have happened…

Elsewhere…

  • My last post on the issue of birds and glass was one of my most popular posts ever. Obviously this is an issue that is more intense than I realized. I heard from so many diverse people, both in and out of the industry, and got tremendous leads and insights on the process. The best part was people really wanting to be a part of a solution, and that was nice. In the meantime I plan on staying on this and learning more (and sharing here of course) from some of the new friends I just made.
  • Congrats to my friends at GGI on the launch of their new website. What a fantastic piece of work there.
  • Also congrats go out to my old co-worker and friend Scott Goodman on his new gig with AGC. Good to see him land there and probably get to work with another old friend Matt Ferguson. That would be a fun road trip to be on if those two make calls together.
  • I have to stress that if you are on Twitter and you are not following Glass Magazine, you need to stop what you are doing right now and do so. For every big event the live tweeting is so great and so informative. This week was the AAMA conference and once again I felt like I was there. Great to get the flavor and no other feed comes close to the live content that Glass Magazine’s provides.
  • Last this week, if you watched and liked the show “The Men Who Built America” then you will probably like the new one out called “American Genius.” Same sort of historical look at the men and women who made their marks on many facets of our lives. Some episodes better than others (the Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates one was not great), but still worth the watch if you enjoy history and the analysis of it.

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

Max Perilstein 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, June 22, 2015

I had a feeling the issue of bird protective glazing was going to be a big one this year, and it surely has been. And now with the latest news from Duke University, our industry has to be even more prepared to deal with some of the blowback. Before I get into the last part, I will admit that I struggled last year with the process and intentions on some of the bird-related issues surrounding the Minnesota football stadium. In the end, I surely misread the situation and the objectives of the people involved who wanted consideration for the bird population that will be affected by the structure. So it’s been a learning experience for sure.

Now fast forward to this past week and to where our industry now has to be prepared. At Duke University, one of the “green” buildings on campus is being blamed for the 85 bird deaths during three migration periods in the last year. There are many ways I can go with this story, but I’ll just say this: There are options for bird-friendly glazing. And it’s time for the focus to go from the glass being an issue to the glass being a solution. The owner/architect needs to be on some of the hooks here. The materials are there, and the designer needs to take into account bird migration paths and design accordingly. While you’ll see in the linked article that glass is listed as the bad guy, I sincerely hope that we as an industry can stand up and note that it simply shouldn’t be all on us.

Elsewhere…

  • By the way, I have to think Julie Schimmelpenningh, who brought the issue of bird protection up years and years ago at a GANA meeting to mostly giggles, has to be shaking her head right now and saying “I told you so…”
  • An interesting new market study was just released about the glass industry. According to a blurb from a study by Grand View Research Inc., the global flat glass market will register a compound annual growth rate of 7.1 percent over the next seven years. It noted “High performance flat glass will drive the market.”  Wow.
  • I am trying to raise my level of organization. I have cleaned my desk with the goal of it looking like Russ Ebeid’s. (His desk, perfectly clear; with me, it will never happen, but I will try.) I am also trying to go “Inbox Zero” with my emails. Slowly but surely I am getting there. I know a few of you are doing the “Inbox Zero” thing, so any other tips are welcomed.
  • Just wrapping up my search for someone in the industry with an Apple Watch. Tom Lee of Lee & Cates hit me up on Twitter to say he has one, so he’s the visionary! I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing him at GlassBuild America to see how it is still going. Meanwhile, I did hear through the grapevine that my good friend Kris Vockler also has one. That does not surprise me as Kris is always on the cutting edge of everything.
  • Last this week, gas prices are going back up. My guess is $4 in most places by mid July. I know that the low prices had some negative effects on the economy, but man I enjoyed it personally.

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

Max Perilstein 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.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

While electric utilities and power plant operators have been up in arms about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) forthcoming Clean Power Plan, very little has been said by members of the building industry. The fenestration community should take note—and quickly—because one of the hallmarks of this new plan is a “beyond the fence line” approach to reducing carbon emissions.

The Clean Power Plan, set to be released this summer, is a sweeping set of regulations designed to reduce total U.S. carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. According to a draft version of the plan released last summer, each state must meet a specific reduction target, ranging from 71.6 percent in Washington state to just 13.5 percent in Maine.

To meet these targets, the EPA is recommending “building blocks,” one of which is increasing demand-side energy efficiency by 1.5 percent per year for the next 15 years.

Whether states implement tighter energy codes or create incentives patterned after the Energy Star program, one thing is certain: developers, architects, contractors and building owners are going to be a lot more interested in boosting the energy performance of their buildings.

Despite the uncertainty of looming changes, the fenestration industry is well positioned to meet this new challenge. Since the founding of the National Fenestration Rating Council 26 years ago, the average U-factor of manufactured windows in the United States has improved by 50 percent. This and other improvements have helped total U.S. energy usage remain steady during the same time period, despite a population increase of 30 percent.

Decision makers responsible for reducing a building’s carbon footprint will have a range of options to improve energy efficiency. In response, the fenestration industry must redouble its efforts to demonstrate the cost-effective value of high-performance windows, doors, skylights and curtain wall systems.

The key to making fenestration a central vehicle for state compliance with the Clean Power Plan will be continued cooperation and transparency within the fenestration industry. While the majority of fenestration products on the market have been rated and certified by NFRC, this service gives little value if would-be buyers are unfamiliar with the information provided.

The fenestration industry as a whole must work to communicate the importance of accurate, impartial performance ratings to those seeking to qualify for state incentive programs, comply with energy codes or achieve LEED certification.

The Clean Power Plan is coming and will undoubtedly impact a wide swath of the building community. These changes offer a unique opportunity to the fenestration industry, provided we respond with unity and transparency. By promoting the energy-saving benefits of efficient fenestration and drawing attention to NFRC’s independent ratings, the fenestration industry will be able to thrive during a time of great change and uncertainty.

Jim Benney is the National Fenestration Rating Council’s chief executive officer. He has been involved in developing product and performance standards for the window and glass industry for more than 25 years. He can be reached at jbenney@nfrc.org.

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, June 15, 2015

If you’re reading this, you are interested in growing or improving your business. Often, the words “growth” and “improvement” are used as synonyms. They are not synonyms. Inflation will allow growth to occur without improvement. In this case, it is possible to grow without making more sales or improving profit. Frequently, improvement requires changing habits; changing habits probably involves learning new skills.

Suppose a company decided to implement new software. This software will improve customer service, increase efficiency, and improve cash flow. The company must make a commitment to train its employees. This commitment involves:

  • Assigning someone to be responsible for training
  • Developing the training material
  • The CEO setting an example by learning the software first
  • Setting aside several blocks of uninterrupted (confiscate the mobile telephones) time for group training over several weeks
  • The trainer spending one-on-one time with the students as the students practice (to occur immediately after the group training)
  • Following up with each individual until they have mastered the software.

What’s your first impression as you look at this list? It looks like a lot of work, doesn’t it? It is. It requires commitment to improve, but it’s worth it. In the process of learning keep your eyes on the benefits, not the inconvenience, and remind your team of these benefits.

Bill Evans is president of Evans Glass Co. Write him at bevans@evansglasscompany.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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