Max Perilstein's blog

We can debate the merits of programs like LEED until we’re all blue in the face. The bottom line, though, is the performance and sustainability of the building when all is said and done. And while the various green rating systems are pivoting and making efforts to evolve their programs into ensuring long-range success, there’s one process that guarantees it: the Net Zero building.

Slowly but surely Net Zero is taking off. It's important in the glass industry, because the process rewards the glass/glazing performance and basically will force those pesky HVAC guys to size their efforts correctly. Too many times we get blamed (unfairly I must add) for the oversizing of HVAC units because there’s no trust in fenestration. With Net Zero, we’re all working together and the playing field does level. There’s a ton to this process, and it's still pretty raw, but I do believe it will be in the mainstream sooner than many think.

Elsewhere…

  • Speaking of sustainability, one of the great champions of the effort in our industry is Mark Silverberg of Technoform. Last week he was named to the AAMA Sustainability Steering Committee. Can’t get a better man than that to be a force in the effort!
  • The energy of the trade show/industry conference is the hottest in years. So far 2014 is showing a major uptick in attendance and excitement. A couple more regional shows are coming up to be aware of. The 27th Annual Mid Atlantic Glass Expo hits April 30th in Greenbelt, Md.  Then in Canada, the Canadian Glass Association's Glass Connections conference in Nova Scotia (would love to go, birthplace of the great Sidney Crosby) comes through on June 4-5. Both events will provide excellent learning and networking potential. And don’t forget about the granddaddy of them all, the biggest show in all of North America: GlassBuild America, in September in Vegas. That floor is filling up nicely, and it will be an incredible event not to be missed.
  • After a hiatus in doing interviews on the blog, we welcome that segment back. One area of the business that I am always fascinated by is switchable glass, specifically  liquid crystal and suspended particle products. These products are growing in usage thanks to the boom on the decorative glass side. It’s surely moving up from the “niche” category. So it was great to catch up with Anthony Branscum, director of architectural sales at Innovative Glass Corp. in New York, and talk with him about the growth of the product, some of misconceptions out there and more.

MP: What do you think is driving this positive direction and usage?

Anthony Branscum: I think it’s mainly because the products have come a long way and are now beyond the “Proof of Concept” stage. Architects around the country, and the world for that matter, are realizing the practical benefits of using these products in their designs. Perhaps more importantly, they have gained confidence that the technology will last when it gets out there. They have become educated consumers. 

MP: Speaking specifically on the liquid crystal product, there’s been talk recently in different circles about uneven performance and products failing. Do you think such talk is legitimate or is it being overblown?
 

AB: I have heard and read some of the same things you are alluding to. There’s a lot of posturing going on within the industry right now. Some suppliers of switchable glass are spending a lot of time bashing their competitors instead of talking about their own virtues. They believe it makes their product appear as if it’s “the best”, but what they’re really doing is hurting the industry at large. They’re creating a perception out there that the product won’t last.  It is simply not true.  When fabricated properly, one can expect many years of service from liquid crystal technology. Of course, there are companies that don’t produce a great product, but they are not the majority, and time will eventually run out on them.

MP: What should buyers do or look for to make sure they are dealing with the right people?

AB: They should make sure whoever they are dealing with can provide them a functioning sample. They should ask for a copy of the warranty. They should definitely ask for references and perhaps ask to see a job local to them where the glass has successfully been installed. If the vendor can’t satisfy these requests in a timely fashion, they should think twice about going too far with them. 

MP: You and your company have been in the switchable space for more than a decade. What are some of the biggest changes you have seen with the product offerings?

AB: The biggest change has been the advancement in the clarity of the LC films when they are in their clear state. The industry has come a long way in achieving better clarity. The second notable advancement would be the film widths. The product is available in wider widths than ever before. This helps satisfy most of the common architectural sizes we come across.

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.

As most of you know I am a geek when it comes to energy efficiency and the products in our industry that can improve that process. So when I saw Katy Devlin’s blog last week, I was truly excited. Actually, according to my son, I “marked out,” which comes from the wrestling world when you get overly excited about something you know and hope will happen. Anyway, the details of Katy’s blog, the focus on energy efficiency and the timeline of the many great companies looking to disrupt that space, was a breath of fresh air. I believe we are still at just the start of the process. We have a ton of innovation in the pipelines and ready to come. You can look at where we were, but just get ready, because where we are going is truly something to behold.

Elsewhere…

  • I think these are the dog days of blogging. Not much news happening, but it will pick up with glasstec coming up.
  • My day was made the other day when I saw this news on a former co-worker of mine. Dan Wagner was recently named vice president and general manager of Global Door Controls. I had the honor of working with Dan for several years and I hold him in the highest regard. I am sure he will do a fantastic job in his new position, as he has done everywhere he has been.
  • I am convinced that if you wanted to and had the money/time to do so, you could attend an industry-related function for every week of the year. Our landscape is so packed with seminars, conferences, shows, roundtables, squaretables--it’s absolutely incredible. It brings to mind two questions: How do you decide which event is more worthy than another, and how can you follow the action and information without attending? On the decision of which ones to attend, time really has to be taken to determine if the audience and reach is relevant to your business. For instance, there are quite a few events that promise “architectural interaction,” but they all can’t deliver at a high level and sometimes the smaller ones turn out to be better. You truly need to research who’s there and the conference schedule before deciding. As for following along, thanks to electronic and social media, it’s never been easier. This past week there was an event in New York that I was able to follow via Twitter and I felt like I got a good feel for the discussion and flavor of the event. While nothing will ever replace face-to-face networking, at least from an education standpoint, being able to follow along from afar is truly doable in our current society.
  • I happened to go through the San Diego airport last week and again noticed the glass. The usage inside was decent, but it was the outside, especially some of the curtain walls that really were impressive. Clean design, and the glass and aluminum looked tremendous. I know (from looking at the spacer band) that Viracon supplied the glass, but no idea on the framing and who installed. So whomever did those jobs (and Viracon, too) congrats to you. It looks amazing. Unfortunately my picture does NOT do it justice!
  • The ups and downs of the construction forecasts continue. Non-residential construction only added 3,200 jobs last month which was considered modest growth. Meanwhile, the Dodge Index slipped for the 3rd month in a row. While that index is up 8 percent year over year, this little trend is starting to concern.
  • Last this week, normally I would put this in my Links of the Week, but it’s a pretty cool look inside the McDonald’s Monopoly promotion going on right now. It is amazing how heavily the odds are against you.

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.

It was in October of 2005 that I started blogging. So much has changed in the nine years since, it's actually pretty mind blowing. If you told me when I started this blog that in 2014 I would be on my own and preparing to go to Germany for a trade show, I would have never believed you. Not to mention if you told me HOW some of those nine years were going to play out. That too would have floored me. I guess it’s a good thing to not be able to predict the future sometimes! In any case, to those of you who have supported me and read this blog etc., thank you. I will always be grateful!

Elsewhere…

  • Speaking of exciting milestones, a Happy Anniversary to the gang at Morse Industries. The company turned 32 this week. I have a lot of respect for the way they do business and the way they step up to support the industry. Here’s to many many more years!
  • A good friend of mine, and one of the most talented guys in the industry, has a new position with a company making some moves into the market. Donald Press, formerly the general manager for Schott Architecture & Design, is now heading up the new subsidiary of Okalux GmbH called Okalux North America. I know he will do great.
  • Forbes last week listed 1,645 billionaires in the world. Rumor has it one of them is former glass industry wiz Scott Surma. Maybe time for me to call him for a loan…
  • The Efficient Window Collaborative just launched a new app for their window selection tool. As you may know, I am a huge fan of Kerry Haglund and her team, and this app is absolutely off the charts in terms of information and ease of use. Another great tool for the public to use! Props to everyone behind this excellent effort.
  • One issue that Kerry (among others) has hit me up on is the bird control issue with the new Minnesota stadium. Last week the bird issue actually came up, somewhat quietly, with another stadium. Levi’s Stadium, the new home for the 49ers, will pay $70,000 over three years for “bird control” at their new stadium. All I could find on this was a lonely tweet from a local beat writer, but it surely begs the question of exactly what is happening. And could this too have been avoided with glass? Could the Vikings be planning the same?

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.

It’s nearly October and it looks to be an extremely busy month. The business climate is very positive right now, and optimism may be at its highest level in several years, leaving everyone at varying levels of “hectic.” Though, I have to admit, I can’t get “don’t repeat the mistakes of the past” out of my mind. Hopefully lessons were truly learned from earlier years.

Several trade shows are also happening, all at the end of the month. The two main shows are Greenbuild in New Orleans and glasstec in Germany. In my estimation, Greenbuild has not been a good show for a while. The lack of floor traffic, exacerbated by minimal quality of said traffic, is a big issue. But since there is a hope of an architect sighting at Greenbuild, people will still exhibit and attend. Given the way business is going right now, Greenbuild should have a good show, but we will see and I’ll wait to hear from those who will be attending.

Across the ocean in Germany is the largest glass show in the world, glasstec.  And for the first time ever, I am attending. From everything I have heard and read, this show is beyond belief. I can’t wait to see it for myself and then report back to all of you. If you are going to glasstec, let me know. It would be great to run into friendly faces while navigating that monster of a multiple-hall set up.

Elsewhere…

  • October also happens to be Breast Cancer Awareness Month and while I despise the NFL’s blatant “Pinkwashing” of this effort, I do believe in supporting it where I can, and believe it has a need. It was very cool to see what the folks at Dip-Tech are doing by creating a special breast cancer awareness sample for their customers’ sample kits. It’s a tremendous idea to cross their product with a noble charitable effort. Great idea to raise awareness in a truly creative way.
  • Time for my ad of the month in Glass Magazine. The latest issue, with a focus on decorative, was tremendous, by the way. We have some seriously talented companies in this industry. Anyway, the ad award for the month goes to GLG Canada for their neat and informative piece on where their glass handling machines can fit into the glass and glazing world. Very eye catching and well done!
  • The Glass Magazine People Award winners were announced in that issue as well. Major congratulations to all of the winners. A special shout out to Dan Pompeo who took the title in what I’d have to assume to be a very competitive Best Sales Rep category. I have known Dan for years and he’s a terrific person all the way around. So happy for him to get this award, but also credit and props should go to his wife, Stacey, who happens to be pretty awesome, too!
  • Mixed results on the various monthly forecasting reports…

The Architectural Billings Index continues to be strong though down just a bit from the previous month. So far the past indicators of the ABI have held true. The biggest months in 2013 were the July/August/September combo and that forecast held in the 9-12 month window. But I know many of you will say of this forecast that even a clock is right twice a day; did they just get lucky? Possibly. I can’t rule that out, but for now I’ll take it. 

On the flip side, McGraw Hill’s latest report showed a sharp decline from the previous month though the analysts expected the decline given some of the projects that were incorporated into the previous month's totals. Still, no one wants to see anything with the word “decline” in it. Heading into the winter months it will be very interesting to see how this all continues to progress.

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.

Probably the biggest news coming on the heels of GlassBuild America was Viracon's announcement that it will reopen its St. George, Utah, facility in January. That news, combined with the announced positive performance by Viracon's parent company, gives off serious confidence that the improved economy is more solid than we have all been hoping. There are a handful of companies in the industry that can move the needle, and Viracon is easily one. This news is truly very positive for all. Congrats to all involved.

Elsewhere…

  • The industry lost another icon last week with the passing of Bob Pool, founder and chairman of Thermal Windows. Mr. Pool was a class act, loved by basically everyone who came in contact with him. In his town and company he’ll surely be remembered for many things, but from my standpoint one part of his legacy will stand with the fact that Thermal Windows has been a tremendous supporter of the industry for many years, through the best and worst of times. Thoughts and condolences to Mr. Pool’s family and everyone at Thermal.
  • Lost in my long review of GlassBuild America last week was coverage of the hot products. There were a few things that caught my eye. AGC Glass Co. North America’s Dragontrail, which I previewed pre-show, did not disappoint. I am a fan of solar, always have been, and continue to respect and have high hopes for what Onyx Solar is doing. Plus, there may not be a nicer young man in our industry than Diego Cuevas. The interior switchables were in many spots on the floor, showing that product has legs. This is a good thing, because I probably am asked twice a month where you can find that sort of product.
  • Also at GlassBuild America, I ran into Tara Brummet who just was hired by Vitrum. Great hire for them as Tara is an extremely impressive individual. I will be soon doing a list of my top 20 best industry salespeople and I expect Tara to surely occupy a spot. That list is going to be VERY hard to compile as at the sales level our industry has the most talent than it ever has.  
  • This has been a theme here and elsewhere, but I am seriously tempted to start a school for project managers. The need for that position is so huge, it is not even funny.
  • This week is the Glass Association of North America Fall Conference in Toronto and unfortunately I cannot attend. I am looking forward to hearing about it, as some subjects that will be covered, specifically the bird glazing issue, are extremely important right now. On a side note, it is great to see a GANA meeting in the awesome country of Canada. We are blessed with tremendous industry support from so many Canadian companies; it is great to see them have a home event.

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.

Another GlassBuild America is in the books, and it was an incredible experience. 2014 featured the best crowd in years, amazing education and demos, networking and business transactions. LOTS of business transactions, actually. There is no question in my mind that the momentum and enthusiasm we have in our world right now is very real. Yes, we have obstacles ahead, but things continue to progress in the right direction. And let’s keep in mind the comments that the great Oliver Stepe of YKK AP said in the Glazing Executive Forum at GlassBuild: "Do not forget the lessons of the past. It would be a mistake to go backward. Keep doing more with less. The market is better, yes, but your competition is better, too."

I can’t agree more, as we surely do not want to go backward in the way we operate or approach our businesses. All in all, let’s keep this positive momentum going!

As I have been doing for many years, I share with you here what I saw and noticed on the show floor. This blog is longer than normal, so you are forewarned.

  • Overall- the level and look of the exhibits was amazing!
  • Great to see Mike Gainey of Azon again. And he was looking great, too. The team from Garibaldi Glass was great to catch up with--Carey, Chris, Otto and Neally. A super booth and some really cool cutting edge/impressive products on display. Of course, it's not an industry show if I don’t get to spend a few minutes with Glenn Miner and Joanne Funyak from PPG, though this year it had to be BEFORE the show kicked off because I could not get in their booth during the show due to the crowds. Speaking of busy, my old friend Cliff Monroe of Oldcastle BE was in deep conversation every time I came within 20 feet of him, so never got the chance to chat. Same with Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural and Steve Cohen of Schott. That’s the only problem with such a packed event, not getting time to chat with everyone. All three guys look like they are doing quite well, though.
  • Good to see Garret Henson and Seth Madole of Viracon holding court on the show floor. Those two just stood in one place and let the show come to them. Nice. The Idaho State Hall of Fame football player Dave Michaeli of AGC was on hand working their booth, which was very sharp by the way. Dave looks like he could suit up for a NFL team right now. Plus, AGC had the legend of Rocky Top Matt Ferguson in attendance as well; wish I could’ve spent more time with him. Very nice to meet Vistamatic boss Kevin Roth in person; I’m a fan of his company's product. And great to run into Devin Bowman from TGP walking the floor; wish I had more time to chat with him. Getting a few minutes to catch up with Lloyd Talbert of C.R. Laurence is always awesome. That company always steps up for the industry and I always make sure to thank Lloyd for that support.
  • The Dip-Tech booth was awesome. Being on the floor early, and seeing it go up from nothing made me appreciate it all the more. And that goes for the entire show. To see the floor a few days before the show opens; it’s an epic disaster. Then by show open, it's absolutely pristine. Kudos to EVERY exhibitor.
  • A fascinating moment for me? Being in the Bottero booth and meeting Kristin Hayes of Luminous Glass Distributors in Miami. She just closed a deal there for a machine and was rightfully fired up. It was very nice to meet her and witness firsthand this exciting move for her company. Very impressive businesswoman for sure. And I loved watching business being done on the floor!
  • Best shirts for the second year go to Salem Distributing. Whoever is making the clothing call there, keep it up--looks great. In close second is Lisec. The maroon/black look is strong. Speaking of Lisec, it was very nice to catch up with Hans Hoenig, Bob Quast and run into Chris Brooks as well. And you can’t mention fashion without mentioning Walker Glass, of course. In a few weeks I’ll share a story about me, fashion and the industry's most stylish man, Danik Dancause, that some of you will get a kick out of.
  • Best booth idea/promotion? Dressing up in zebra-printed sport jackets by the guys from Lite Sentry. Mark Abbott and Eric Hegstrom looked dapper, and it was a good way to get their message across. Also, I really liked what PRL did with their booth--super use of product. And the same can go for HMI Cardinal; they had some product on display that really blew people away.
  • Safety really matters, and so seeing Tuff-n-Lite having a packed booth the entire show was exciting for me. If I was still a fabricator, I’d surely be trying out their safety gear in my shop. There are some really neat advancements of safety technology there. Props to Mary Olivier of Tubelite for her golden touch on booth selection. She hit the jackpot with what seemed to be a perfect spot with traffic coming in from all ends.
  • Bloggers galore. Bill Evans did a tremendous job with his Express Learning spot and Bill Briese of GED was nice enough to step out of his booth for a moment to catch up with me. Love when either of the guys write. And yes, it was great to see my brother Steve. Healthy, happy and strong, and doing amazing things with Bobby Hartong (who refuses to come to GlassBuild for some reason; I think it's me) and their team at W.A. Wilson.
  • Not seen: Unfortunately Ralph Aknin had to cancel out last minute. You were missed for sure, Ralph. Also, because of the crowded show/meeting landscape, Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning had to miss out. Since he doesn’t read this blog, someone tell him he was missed! I believe Joe Carlos from TriView was there, but I missed him, too. Plus, the show was not the same for me (or others I am sure) with Chris “Megatron” Dolan not in the Guardian booth. (Though the gang there did a great job of showing off their product and services as always.) 
  • There’s other news from this week including a good friend of this blog getting a new position and Viracon opening back up in Utah. Those and other stories I will hit next week as we get back to normal. Or whatever "normal" is in my life…

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.

We’re now one week out from the biggest event in our industry. In this special GlassBuild America edition of the blog, I wanted to first touch on a few things I have not hit on previously.

The Glazing Executives Forum, backed once again this year by industry heavy hitters YKK AP, Guardian, SAPA, Pilkington, Dow Corning, and FMI, will be solid. The forum kicks off with a very strong panel featuring Mic Patterson of Enclos, Jay Phillips of Guardian, and Oliver Stepe of YKK; concludes with the industry's favorite economist Dr. Jeffrey Dietrich; and features timely, needed break-out sessions in the middle. It’s an extremely interesting agenda. Check it out.

Meanwhile, GlassBuild America will also be home to a very important session being hosted by the Department of Energy. Yes, the DOE will be on site with a forum led by Dr. Karma Sawyer. (I am a huge fan of her personally; check my archives.) Participants in this event will be able to provide feedback directly to the DOE Building Technologies Office on their needs over the next three to five years, and to provide input about the facilities that will be critical to moving their energy efficient products to widespread application in residential and commercial markets, in new construction, replacement and retrofit. More simply said, it’s an awesome opportunity to reach people in our world who can make a difference. While there are the typical opportunities to come to the show and do business, there are also these other events that make the overall show even more monumental.

Elsewhere…

  • I’m hearing that the folks from Vetrotech Saint-Gobain will have something really memorable in their booth this year. Go download the GlassBuild America App, and make a note of their location.
  • Speaking of the App, it really makes the show experience more complete. Three ways to get it: Search for GlassBuild 2014 in the iTune App store/Google Marketplace; click here and follow the links/codes; or, if you like to wait 'til the last minute, QR codes will be on signage everywhere during the show, and you can scan and load the app from there. If you are going to the show, you have to have this on your phone.
  • I’ve previously hit on all of the other cool things with GlassBuild America this year: the Express Learning FREE 20-minute sessions on the floor; the demonstrations; the innovation (some amazing products that should not be missed); and just being with thousands of people covering every bit of our industry.
  • You may wonder about my passion for the show. While I do work for this show, I'm also an industry guy and believe that a strong industry benefits from the success of a major event like this. The education, the business possibilities and the innovation on display are crucial for this industry to evolve, grow and be healthy. Yes, I am a full-throated promoter of the show, but one with serious beliefs in the incredible value it brings.
  • As always, I will be working the floor, shooting video, interviewing people and networking. I’ll be wearing my bright yellow media vest; please stop me and say hi.
  • I won’t have a formal blog next week since we’ll be in the middle of show coverage, but the week after I’ll be back here with my traditional "Who’s Who" of the show. For those new readers, that’s where I call out people I got to meet, see and chat with. This blog will also look at the best products and exhibits at the show.

See you at the show!

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.

The casino/hotel that is housed in one of the more fascinating glass and glazing projects in recent times is closing down. And among the excuses out there is the actual design of the building. The Revel Casino in Atlantic City closes its doors September 1st, and while the building envelope looks spectacular, the layout and flow on the inside allegedly caused major issues. There’s been some interesting discussion online regarding what went wrong with this property. While I think that the overall gambling downturn in AC is a bigger reason (among many others) than the building design, I was amazed that people did jump on the layout issue. Building layout is a major factor in the success and failure of businesses every day. Yet so many times it does not get the focus it deserves.  And further more, the desire for a great exterior aesthetic has taken more priority than the interior look and functionality. I have never seen this property in person and am depending on the stories and views I see online. Any of you who have been there and seen it, feel free to e-mail me your thoughts. Do you think the layout was the biggest factor in this property's demise?

Elsewhere…

  • Speaking of design, does the open office layout cause more theft and confusion?  Here's a good story. Personally, while I like an open floor plan, the lack of continuity mentioned in this story (i.e. you don’t have your own desk) would make me crazy.
  • The Farmers Almanac is out and the prediction for this winter is for cold and misery, yet again. The Almanac is working with an 80 percent success rate, so I tend to believe what it says when the predictions call for similar in 2015 as we saw in 2014.
  • I usually am one to complain when gas prices go up, so I should note that gas prices right now where I live are shockingly low. This week, $3.36. Now hopefully that continues, but with the holiday coming I am sure it will spike. For the life of me, I have no idea how this all works and it's pretty comical that I am happy with a $3.36 pricetag, but its sure better than the $5 I thought we’d see!
  • Props and thanks to a couple of great regional trade organizations. The Colorado Glazing Contractors Association and Washington Glass Association are class acts and both worked this summer to help promote GlassBuild America to their members. A major thank you to Rebecca Graves (CGCA) and Maryanne Howell (WGA) and their members for the support. Those who know me know how I feel about industry support for major events, and these groups certainly did their part in jumping in the way they did.
  • I shouldn’t have to remind you about GlassBuild America coming in a few weeks, but may as well. Still time to get flights and get there. I for one am pumped when I see new exhibitors still signing up daily including a game changer for interior switchable glass that will garner a ton of interest. You will not want to miss this event!
  • Last this week, college football kicks off this week. Crazy prediction: if Wisconsin beats LSU this Saturday, they will win the National Championship. (That sound you hear is all my friends in SEC country moaning that I am nuts…and I am.) I do love college football and can’t wait for it to get going!


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.

Does being very busy almost everywhere mean the industry is back and healthy? Was the industry ever really that healthy to begin with? Regardless of how you may feel about the second question, it’s the first question that needs to be examined. While many people report to me that their sales levels and backlogs are excellent, and the booming registration of GlassBuild America lead me to the conclusion that people are busier/happier than in the past, there’s still a nagging fear. That worry is couched in two areas: cash flow and the overall international economic conditions. Cash flow, as I have written here a few times, is still a challenge for many. There does not seem to be an easy fix, given that banks are still not providing that safety net that many companies were used to.

The overall economy still has issues and holes that are worrisome. This recent run is not built on a very solid foundation, and world (and in some cases domestic) volatility makes one very skittish. Regardless, this is the time to make it go. But keep an eye on all that is going on, so if the foundation cracks open, the fall may not hurt as much.

Elsewhere…

  • Some great reading in the most recent Glass Magazine. First off, major kudos to the three great industry pros in the G3 section who answered this month's question about expectations for GlassBuild. All three folks, Mike Wallace of Quality Metalcrafts, Lloyd Talbert of C.R. Laurence, and Alysa Hoffmeister of Dip-Tech gave thoughtful answers to the question and they all made a point to note that this show--the biggest and most important in our industry in North America--is a must to support. Companies like these and the hundreds others displaying in the show really GET IT.
  • Also my monthly award for best ad of the month was a tough one. Some excellent and creative work in the issue, but we can have only one winner and that goes to Kawneer for their smart “hole in the wall” piece. Very eye catching and well done! Love the picture and idea.
  • This very interesting and disturbing story on why some states are keeping the spread of solar panels down. This is surely not the direction our country needs to head!
  • An architectural message board I monitor had a wild thread this week. Actually, the thread started in 2009 and somehow was resurrected. The discussion was on annealed vs. tempered glass and the differences. Something we take for granted as a no brainer in our industry did garner some dialogue on this site. Even the great Bill Coady of Guardian jumped in and tried to educate, but discussion continued. In any case, the point here is what we take as simple may not be as such in other areas of the building product universe.
  • The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has been one of the most amazing grassroots charitable efforts I have ever seen. Basically people of all walks of life are challenged to donate or dump buckets of ice water over their heads. Most now are doing both to spread the word. To date, reportedly more than 15 million people have taken part. It is everywhere. The Atlantic wrote about why this process just exploded and provided more background if you are interested. This is a charity close to my family’s heart since our dad passed from this disease in 2001. My brother did the challenge (figures the smarter, more successful one of us led the way) and passed it on to my kids and me. We did it. And man it was cold. The evidence is my video of the week; please feel free to check it out. Also a thank you to the always-classy Mike Cully of United Plate Glass who did the challenge in honor of our dad.
  • Please, in the end, whether you donate to ALS or you have another charity or charities that you support, continue to do so. It is ALWAYS appreciated!

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.

Recently the ranking of the top revenue producing architectural firms was released. The good news is that in 2013, total revenue grew at these firms from $10 billion to $11 billion. Obviously the uptick that our industry is seeing right now started on the boards of these groups last year. The #1 firm in the country, by revenue, in 2013 was not even close to the #2 firm. Bringing in more than $800 million in sales last year was Gensler. They doubled 2nd place CH2M Hill and 3rd place AECOM. Well-known names like HOK (8th) and Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (9th) also showed well. Nine of the top 10 were the same in 2013 as they were in 2012, which shows that those big players do have their ways of getting the work and holding their spots. Overall the growth is the best news of this story for sure.

Elsewhere…

  • Last week’s bird glass story surely hit home for many. I received some incredible and helpful feedback from great minds like Kerry Haglund and Frank D’Aprile among others. One of Kerry’s points was about the new law in place in Minnesota is that the stadium is basically skirting due to the time it was designed. (Also as Kerry pointed out, it was noted in Katy Devlin’s piece). Meanwhile Frank provided some excellent insight on the codes in various cities and things that we are all not paying attention to in this process.  Plus he left me with this excellent quote:

    “City folk love to encourage Mother Nature and her kin to visit their urban neighborhoods, while the very buildings in which they live may harm her."

    And while my issue was with the press aspect of the story, there’s no question we’re only touching the surface here. And with great minds out there on the case, this will be a problem that will be addressed well and hopefully solved in the long run.
  • Have to give props to Kevin Roth, Arbel Martin and the team from Vistamatic on their excellent new website. Believe me building or refreshing a website is not easy and these guys did a tremendous job with their new approach. Congrats!
  • Speaking of new sites, PPG also did an upgrade of their GlassNET site that was very strong and well done. It incorporates positive changes, including the fact that there’s more information, and it’s simpler to use than before, making this upgrade a winner. 
  • My weekly GlassBuild note… Have you registered yet? Made those plane reservations? Hotel? You are a month away. And a reminder, I will be on the floor in my bright yellow media vest (or looking like an airport worker as my brother Steve pegged it last year), so please stop me and say hi.
  • Last this week… if you have not seen Guardians of the Galaxy- give it a shot. I saw it and loved it. Funny, different and creative. Really worth the movie ticket that is for sure.

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.

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