glassblog

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Being an avid reader, I often find inspiration and focus within the pages of biographies of successful people or in discussions with people I admire. Sometimes, I even find it while enjoying a spectacular sunset. On occasion, inspiration and focus can be found in the strangest things and at the most unexpected times.

I have just returned from the Vitrum show in Milan, Italy, where I was supporting our European office in the trade show booth. Just before the show opened, our manager of the French-speaking market segment handed all of our booth personnel blue shoestrings to immediately place in their shoes.

I assumed that this was meant to be a fashion statement, as the color of the shoestrings was a very close match to our official corporate logo color. With Milan being the fashion capital of the world, I thought this made perfect sense.

Now, I've never been accused of being fashionable – actually quite the opposite – so naturally I hesitated for a moment. I watched as the rest of our team took out their old laces and inserted the new ones. I was still not sold on the fashion idea, but being a team player, I followed along.

As the week went on, I found that these shoestrings provided much more value than just fashion.

Each morning as I tied my shoes, the blue shoestrings stared me right in the face. These shoestrings provided me the inspiration each morning to approach the day and trade show booth with the proper mindset and focus on our mission in Milan.

So here it was: focus for less than a buck! No long hours of reading or deep discussions with others or even an enjoyable sunset. Focus was simply found in the strangest thing and at the most unexpected time--while tying my blue shoestrings.

Upon returning home, my wife, Tammy, took one look at my shoes and informed me that the look was certainly not a fashion statement – at least not in Cleveland, Ohio. These laces have been changed but not discarded. They now sit on my desk as a daily reminder of the focus that was found in Milan and the mission that we are on.

There is now a very good chance that blue shoestrings will be a part of our fashion statement and focus at our future trade shows! 

The author is president of FeneTech, the Aurora, Ohio, provider of software automation products and services to the glass, window and door fabrication industries. Write him at ron.crowl@fenetech.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, November 14, 2011

The big news of the week was from the International Green Construction Code meeting in Arizona. When the event ended, the United States finally had a national green building code. While creating and executing the code are another adventure, the groundwork has been formally laid. Like with any process, the final piece has positives and negatives (the excellent Dr. Tom Culp taught me that), but I think the good will outweigh the bad overall. If anything, it continues to force us as an industry to keep evolving and moving the ball forward. And this is not the end of the process anyway, as the debates for the next cycle have already begun. At the end of the day, I have always been pretty critical and focused on the code process over the years and will continue to stay on it.

Elsewhere....

  • Speaking of being critical: one of my major targets over the years has been the Department of Energy. Since the Solyndra adventure, DOE has been in a ton of people's crosshairs and now the Inspector General is investigating them for more than 100 stimulus-related issues. Here's the link.
  •  Last week in e-glass weekly, Bill Evans once again hit one out of the ballpark. I seriously love every time that guy writes. Classy and inspirational.
  • A major thank you to everyone who enjoyed the Twitter post from last week and jumped into following some of those awesome people. And thanks to the folks who decided to follow me, I am grateful.
  • Also from last week, I traded e-mails with Henry Gorry of Guardian. Henry is winding down his incredible career, and I for one will miss him greatly. Henry is a tremendously eloquent speaker, one that mixes fact with a calm passion, while keeping discussions absolutely on track. (A stickler for protocol, there was no moving beyond a task without completion when Henry was in the mix!) He made every committee and organization that he was involved in better because of his presence, style and overall professionalism.
  • A happy belated birthday to this blog's most important reader: my Mom. Without her, this blog doesn't exist... and imagine what a loss to the world that would be? Ha ha. Anyway, Happy Birthday Mom from your 5th favorite kid out of four.

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.

 

Monday, November 7, 2011

People often misuse words such as affect/effect, may/can, need/want, and urgent/important. Perhaps, the last example affects business people the most, especially this time of year.

Let’s look at the following list of tasks:

  • Important, urgent items
  • Important, non-urgent items
  • Urgent, unimportant items
  • Non-urgent, unimportant items

It is easy to prioritize items that are urgent and important, or not urgent and unimportant. But, how we prioritize the other two determines our effectiveness. Which is more valuable? Which will lead to long-term gain?  If something is urgent but not important, what is its value? Quite frankly, we all get consumed by what we consider "urgent" without analyzing its importance. This is compounded by the prevalence of smart phones and 24/7 accessibility. If it is not important, why do we feel the pressure to respond quickly?

Recently, I attended a two-day meeting with peers in the glass industry. Most of us own glass shops, and one owns a fabricating company. I really didn't have time to go to the meeting because of the daily, urgent demands of my business. However, this meeting was important, even if it wasn't urgent.  I always learn something at these meetings, and my employees ask me what I learn that is applicable to the business. They are excited about ways to improve. So although the meeting wasn't urgent, I still chose to attend because it was important.

When we place urgent, unimportant items in the No. 2 slot on our priority list, we ease present situations. But it also keeps us forever focused on the short-term. Growth will be a result of working more hours, not smarter.

When we proactively plan, we place important, non-urgent items in the No. 2 slot. This allows us to look to the future, strategize, and implement plans for growth and survival. The fourth quarter of the calendar year is a great time to work on important, non-urgent items. Use this time to plan for the next year, five years, and 10 years. Do not be consumed by the urgent, nonimportant. Success is dependent upon having a priority list that looks like this:

  1. Important, urgent items
  2. Important, non-urgent items
  3. Urgent, unimportant items
  4. Non-urgent, unimportant items 

The author is president of Evans Glass Co., and chairman-elect for the National Glass Association. 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. 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back in mid-2009, I debuted the "Twitter Top 10" on my blog, and since then, I have spotlighted various "tweets" of the week. Well, it is time to update the list. More and more people have joined Twitter, and it's becoming a way of life and communication for many. Twitter itself has also changed; it's not used as much for personal updates but for the sharing of news and information. Some of that information normally would not see the light of day, so it has become valuable.

So, if you are on Twitter and you are not following these folks, it is time to do so. You will thank me later. If you are not on Twitter yet, keep these folks in mind for when you do jump on in. This list is for industry-related folks and companies. In the next few weeks, I will highlight non-industry "must follows."

These are in no specific order:

  1. @SouthwallTech: This feed is run by Bruce Lang of Southwall, and he mixes in some super links with a daily news piece.
  2. @JChaseGlass: The wonderful Jenni Chase (Hey, I mean it, even if she is my editor when the blog appears in e-glass weekly) runs this one and it's a great way to stay up on the news as she posts when it happens.
  3. @Glassandglazing: Run by Greg Carney. It's no secret that I am fan of Greg, and his tweets, while more sporadic than usual lately, are always worthy.
  4. @GlassBuild: This feed is the best way to stay ahead of the news about the premier industry show. And from what I hear, this feed will really be ramping up in the next few weeks.
  5. @Glasslam: Run by Matt Hale, this is probably the most active, interesting and diverse feed on Twitter as it relates to our industry. It's very rare that a story gets by Matt.
  6. @RavenBrick and @Sage_Glass: These two powers of the dynamic glass world both have strong, growing and interesting Twitter feeds. And with both companies constantly making technical strides, Twitter is a usually a great outlet for that news.
  7. @HeatherWestPR: Heather is a PR icon who I have mentioned here before, and her feed lives up to her stature. Tons of interesting links and stories. How she finds some of the stuff, which has great relevance to our world, is beyond me.
  8. @ArleneOnEnergy: Arlene Stewart, as I have noted here before, has made news with her feed and she is very good from an information dissemination standpoint. She really uses the medium effectively.
  9. @YKKAPAmerica: Very green news-focused but mixes in fun links and pictures. Also a very conversational feed. I'm not sure who is behind it at YKK, but that person deserves a pat on the back.
  10. @EnclosCorp: One of the largest glaziers around runs a very sharp and effective feed. They use it well, and the reader benefits.

Honorable mentions (and still worthy of a follow of course):

@DanPompeoAGS, @GGIGlass, @GuardianGlass, @ICDCoatings, @Kawneer, @GANATechnical, @PPGIndustries

Of course, if you want to follow me, I am at @MaxPSoleSource. But, I am nowhere as fun or interesting as any of the above. I save it for this blog!

Elsewhere...

  • The new Apple store design really is amazing. I'm not sure how the other glass geeks out there feel about it, but I really dig it.
  • College football is getting interesting. Wild game with Alabama-LSU (sorry, gang at Coral, tough one), and now we head down the stretch with the last few games and conference championships. Gonna be fun to follow.
  • Last this week, Glass Magazine has their latest edition of "G3" out. This is where industry folks weigh in on a question, and this month features three absolute heavyweights in David Petratis of Quanex, Lloyd Talbert of CRL and Mark Silverberg of Technoform. Three paragraphs from three interesting and well-put-together men. Check it out.

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, November 1, 2011

There are three things you can always count on if you are lucky enough to attend Vitrum, the Italian glass show in Milan, Italy: high style, great food and new product introductions, especially machinery.

This year's event lived up to all three. Everything from the decorative entrance displays fashioned of glass chips and plantings, to the people (business suits, please!) conveyed an elegance most trade shows don't even try to approach. Milan is, after all, a leading fashion capital of the world.

As for the food, my taste buds and their memories attest that Vitrum 2011 was the all-time best show I've ever attended in 20-plus years, thanks to the first annual Vitrum Gourmet Festival. Usually, I shed a pound or two making trade show rounds, too busy for anything but a granola bar on the run. This show was different; make that Michelin- star-chef-spectacularly-different. Four prominent Italian chefs each prepared a multi-course feast for each of the four days. A special and very elegant "restaurant" was set up in Hall 22 with white linen tables surrounding a glass art showcase and a full-wall screen projection of the chefs and their edible artworks.

Right. So now I come to the third and most crucial item you can count on: new product introductions.

Now in its 17th year, the GIMAV-sponsored Vitrum is renown for being the venue where Italian exhibitors introduce truly new products. Call it, orgoglio, the Italian word for pride. Not surprisingly, most of the other exhibitors from around the world follow suit.

New product introductions are the core of any trade show, but these lean days, it's so much more impressive when you see it first-hand. The buzz and energy when you walk into a stand and start talking to the salespeople and technicians who want to show you what they have is jet-lag dissolving. It even helps you refocus when you're waiting for the espresso shot to kick in after the three-course lunch (with wine, no less). It's a fine thing that Vitrum and GlassBuild America are marketing partners. I'm proud to note, too, that NGA's print and electronic publications are highly regarded in a worldwide marketplace crowded by so many industry magazines.

So, if you missed Vitrum this year, I strongly encourage you not to make the mistake in Fall 2013. I'll be marking my calendar as soon as the dates are set. 

In the meantime, you can read about the products on display at the 2011 event here, as well as take a photo tour of the trade show floor.

Harris is publisher of Glass Magazine and vice president of publications for the National Glass Association. Write her at nharris@glass.org.

Monday, October 31, 2011

This week, I decided to start with something light. After the last few weeks of negativity, surely it's time for something different. So, here it is. Last week, I was watching the West Virginia/Syracuse football game. The announcers kept pronouncing “Syracuse” two different ways. One guy called it “SaRAH-Cuse” while the other called it  “SEAR-a-Cuse", slightly different, but noticeable and annoying. Honestly, I don’t know much about that town other than John Dwyer of Syracuse Glass is the mayor there. So, I'm not sure what the right pronunciation is. But this did make me think of our industry and its two most commonly mispronounced company names. Example one is Viracon. Most people say “V-EYE-ra-cahn.” But you still have many that call it “Vear-ah-cahn.” So which one is right? I believe it’s the first. Example two is tougher; it's 50/50 out there. Tubelite. Is it “Toob-light” or “Toob-ah-light”? I also lean towards the first here, but I am not as sure. Anyway, these are major issues that I will get to the bottom of and report back on if I ever find out!

Elsewhere…

  • The cover of Time Magazine this week was “The China Bubble,” and it had some OK reading in it. The story basically talked about how the success or failure in China will have a massive effect on the world. The scariest comment was that China’s growth came “on an economy built on real estate mania and easy money… sound familiar?” Ironically though, October somehow was the best month on the stock market here in the U.S. since 1974. The analysts were calling it “Rock-tober”. So, how come it didn’t feel that good to me? Best since '74? Shouldn’t the mood and attitudes be better?
  • Book of the week: If you want a seriously, non-politically-correct easy read, then check out Adam Carolla’s book, “In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks.” It's a fun read and great pop culture, but he is nowhere near politically correct on anything: gender, race, creed, nothing.
  • Congrats to my friends in St. Louis (mostly the Solutia troop) on the Cardinal win. What a wild series!
  • Massive snow in the Northeast this weekend. My gosh, Mother Nature is not happy with that region … earthquakes, floods and October blizzards. Yikes.!
  • Normally, this would go in the links, but I had to include it here because it’s about a guy who made more than $300,000 playing fantasy baseball last year! The football version of this guy I believe is Scott Surma.
  • Last this week, we’re headed into my favorite personal stretch of the year. Personal, not business! Though I am looking forward to my first non-news-cycle Turkey Day in a few years! Starting with Halloween, to my birthday, to Thanksgiving, to the Chanukah/Christmas combo and finishing with New Year's. It’s an awesome stretch. And while there’s tons of pressure and frustration out there, it’s this stretch that gives you pause and fills you with hope that things can be on the right track. So I say, bring it on!

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, October 25, 2011

You lock the doors to your business. You're insured against fires and floods. You teach safety, and warn your employees against taking unnecessary risks in the shop or in the field. But, what are you doing to protect your company against fraud?

Yesterday, we ran a news item on GlassMagazine.com about a six-year embezzlement scheme at Architectural Glass Art and Glassworks. The former chief financial officer of the businesses was indicted by a grand jury of stealing more than a half a million dollars from the companies, according to an Oct. 20 article from WLKY.com. The embezzlement was devastating to the companies, forcing executives to lay off employees and eventually turn Glassworks over to new ownership, officials said in the article.

"We trusted her," an AGA and Glassworks official said of the former CFO in the article. This rang eerily similar to something Gloria Hale, president of Hale Glass, said to me last year during an interview about the embezzlement that occurred at her company. "If I was listening to this story last year, I would have said 'that would never happen to me. I have a trusted employee handling money,'" Hale said in the interview.

With all the pressure glass companies are under in this market, I imagine business owners have less time and energy to spend monitoring activities inside the company, keeping alert for fraud. Hale offered some tips to other glass company owners that we published in the December 2010 issue of Glass Magazine. Take a look to make sure you are protecting yourself by instituting policies and procedures at your company that make embezzlement impossible.

This news story about AGA and Glassworks came on the heels of an email I received from a glass shop owner about a different, but equally dangerous, type of fraud—ordering scams. I've spoken about this topic many times during the last four years, like here and here, for example. However, I think it needs to be reiterated frequently, particularly since I receive regular emails from business owners in and out of the industry saying they've been targeted. (And I've received a number of fraudulent orders myself). These scammers are out there and constantly pursuing businesses. Do your customer service reps and sales employees know the red flags for fraud? If they (or you) need a refresher, here they are.

If you have any other tips, or if you want to talk about fraud (or being the target of fraud) at your company, please comment below or send me an email. 

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

Monday, October 24, 2011

Ok, so two pieces of bad news last week: first, the Architectural Billings Index took a nasty tumble. Then, Canada's nonresidential building statistics came out lower than they have been. So, it wasn't exactly an uplifting few days.

The ABI continues to be a hard one to swallow, especially since our industry wouldn't see any effects from these lower totals until mid-2012. It will bear watching, because if 2012 is solid or at least like 2011 has been for some patches of our industry, it will blow the whole theory/report out of the water.

As for the Canadian report, all I could think of after reading it was the reaction of people in Toronto when I complimented them for being busy. They were seriously afraid that I'd jinx it, and gosh, I wonder if I did.

Elsewhere...

  • Our industry has great new app joining the excellent Glass Magazine app that I mentioned last week. Guardian released its SunGuard mobile app, and I loaded it up and was very impressed. It's very sharp, clean and easy to use. Major props to Chris Dolan and his team on a job well done. If you want to download it from the iTunes App Store or Google's Android market , enter "SunGuard" in the search field instead of Guardian; it will be easier to find.
  • I hated missing the GANA Fall Conference last week. I heard many good things, and the worst part for me was missing a chance to hear the always intelligent and interesting Stanley Yee of The Façade Group. Stanley is as engaging as they come and a good guy, for sure. Evidently, his presentation on air leakage was a showstopper, and I hated missing that and the rest of the event.
  • I had my 900th airport delay of the summer this past week but in a new airport for me: Cincinnati. I must say, it's a very nice airport. I've been stuck in much worse places.
  • Last week, I linked to an article in Forbes about a possible water shortage, and soon after my blog was published, I got an e-mail from John Fallon of Water Treatment Technologies. John's company does yeoman's work in trying to get people to use and re-use water smartly, and I am big fan of him and his company. Anyway, John pointed out that the Forbes piece is accurate (shocking to me in reality) and he went on to note the insane wastes of water from our industry. It is truly food for thought. If you are not recycling your water in your facility, you need to. It's a no brainer and the right thing to do. Thanks again to John for getting my mind back on it.
  • I am biased on this one because I like the product line and people involved, but there's a great article here on how General Glass International (GGI) produced the glass for the Harlem Hospital (installation by W&W Glass and insulating by JE Berkowitz: what a high-powered group). Very intense stuff. Also interesting is that the job is actually not complete yet even though it seems like the glass has been up for years.
  • Congrats to PPG on their awesome third quarter. As I have noted here before, they have some awesome people who make a difference out there. I'm happy for all of those who worked so hard to achieve it.
  • Last this week: in my new life, I have been running into other quality folks who call consulting their career. Some great ones like Greg Carney and Arlene Stewart I knew, but I did not know Rick De La Guardia. Well, now I do. The guy is a tremendous asset from the engineering side, and it's pretty awesome to be in the same realm. You learn very neat things when you find yourself in a new world, that is for sure. 

Read on for links and clip 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, October 18, 2011

After recognizing New York City's Dillon condominiums―a 2011 Crystal Achievement Award nominee for best curtain wall project―on Bravo TV's "Work of Art: The Next Great Artist," I finally came to terms with the fact that I'm a glass geek. I love to see buildings featuring creative uses of glass on television, as well as shows spotlighting glass companies and their products. What can I say? It's exciting to see our industry highlighted in the popular media.

It's also exciting to be able to share those moments with you in the form of video content in e-glass weekly and on GlassMagazine.com. Although not a substitute for the comprehensive written articles, this video content complements them. A recent "Great Glazing" article, for example, features a shower enclosure that uses Trattini glass from Bendheims' Architect Series I collection. The enclosure also happens to be the star of a DIY Network "King of the Throne" episode. While you can read about the glass characteristics here, you can watch its challenging installation in the accompanying DIY Network episode below. The install begins around the 10-minute mark.

In addition to spotlighting glass company appearances on popular television shows, we also offer original videos of product demonstrations at industry events―such as those from Greenbuild 2011―interviews with glass company executives and tours of glass-centric buildings in e-glass weekly, on GlassMagazine.com and on The Glass Magazine Channel on YouTube.

So please, send us your videos! While we will continue to provide original video content such as that from Greenbuild 2011, we'd also like to feature videos of recent projects, new products or equipment from readers. If you have a glass industry video you would like to share, please e-mail me at jchase@glass.org for more information on our criteria.

 

Chase is editorial director of Glass Magazine, GlassMagazine.com and e-glass weekly. Write her at jchase@glass.org.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Glass Magazine recently linked to an interesting report from FMI that is surely worth the download and read. The key takeaway is that FMI projects 2012 will be like 2003. My memory is not great, but 2003 wasn't awful, and if we're headed that way, I'd be OK with that. The breakdown of industry segments and the growth--or lack thereof--was also something to digest. How much will the school/institutional construction be affected by current budget shortfalls and the battles in the government? That segment weathered the storms pretty well and remains the wildcard that no analyst really can accurately portray. Overall, a good read; check it out.

Elsewhere...

  • After weeks and weeks of a pretty heavy news cycle, things finally calmed down last week. It was probably one of the slowest news weeks I have seen in a long time. As an industry, I think we deserved the breather! However, there's a lot of movement and news percolating in the background, so the cycle is going to start going full blast again soon.
  • Have you downloaded the Glass Magazine App yet? If not, do so, it's really nicely set up. Kudos again to the folks who put that together. A job well done!
  • Want to know what the realistic house of the future will look like? Check this story out. I agree with some of it, but not all, especially in regards to the skylights. There's too much technology out there that the writer obviously hasn't researched yet.
  • This week is the Solar Power International show in Dallas. A few years ago, this show had a lot of desirable targets for our industry, but you can tell that things have certainly changed and many of the folks that should/could be there are not. Good to see though that Konarka WILL be there and will benefit from the lack of competition on the floor. They deserve to stand out.
  • Forbes Magazine rang the alarm on what could be another crisis: a water shortage crisis. The article does get you to think but also seems so unlikely. In any case, I still hate the fact we use up so much clean water for waste disposal. That one gets me crazy.
  • Last this week... Speaking of drinks, have you seen the new Dr. Pepper product geared for men only? The folks there feel that a "man" won't want to be seen with a "diet" drink, so they needed to create something new. Now I don't think that's a bad thing. A bad thing for a guy is having your favorite alcoholic drink be Malibu and Diet. Take it from me; you never hear the end of it. 

Read on for links and clip 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. 

 

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