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.

We’re entering the final month of first quarter 2015 and there’s now an extra storyline to deal with: The renewed grip of winter hitting in more areas than normal could wreak havoc on bottom line performance in this quarter, which would be similar to what happened this time 2014. Obviously a majority of the industry bounced back nicely, but no one ever wants to start from behind. Plus, winter delays will make the glass capacity issues even more perilous; basically jobs that should be installed right now are behind and on hold, and eventually they will go as well as the jobs that were scheduled to go during that time. And what will come will be an extra dose of mayhem, if glass supply stays tight. So once again, the need for planning and proactivity is key. Bottom line for me: I hope March quickly moves from its “entering as a lion" phase and moves right to the “lamb” portion. The sooner the better…

Elsewhere…

  • Just a programming note, next week I’ll post this blog from Las Vegas, site of the GANA Annual Conference and BEC. I’ll have some recaps of the events including some insights from the annual Energy Day program that incredible people like Mark Silverberg of Technoform put on as well as code updates from Dr. Tom Culp and more. Plus the networking notes and who knows what rumors or scuttlebutt can come out…
  • If you did not catch the blog from Jeff Razwick of TGP, please check it out. As always, it’s well done and thought provoking. And it’s also a very effective argument about some of the great things our industry does.
  • A congrats to Linda Vos-Graham on her recent honor of being named a finalist for the “Top Women Owned Business Awards.” She is seriously deserving of this recognition. Linda is a tremendous asset to our industry and the few times I have seen her in a public dialogue (NGA’s GEF a few years ago, especially) she was simply amazing.
  • So a big question: a design of a new Google headquarters is out and it looks absolutely wild. With that, what are the chances that a North American manufacturer and fabricator get this work? Or will it come from overseas?
  • Good part of it finally being March? March Madness and the College Basketball brackets. Not sure anyone can beat Kentucky….
  • Last this week, the magazine Fast Company did a piece on the most innovative companies in 2015. (Actually makes me think we should do a list like that in our world; I think I will do some day soon.) The top 5 were…

#5 Instagram

#4 Google

#3 Alibaba

#2 Apple

and #1 was… Warby Parker!

Only one problem… I have never heard of them. No clue who they are or what they innovate (eye glasses from what I found). So I’m blown away that the most innovative company according to these guys is someone that surely is not near the mainstream. And if they were a computer- or software-related company I could believe it, but glasses? Wow.

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.

This week marks the 35th anniversary of one of the most amazing moments in American sports history—The Miracle on Ice. It’s something that I still get the chills thinking about. The late, great Herb Brooks assembled a true “team” of players—guys that were there, as he noted, to play for the name on the front of the jersey and not the back. They faced adversity throughout their training and then in the Olympics fell behind game after game, but worked through it and came through in the end.

Even though I knew the result before seeing the US-USSR game (it was on tape delay and CBS Evening News told me who won before it was aired), it will probably be my most revered sports memory. And it doesn’t only pertain to sports; the business angle is in there, too. Several years ago we as an industry had the honor of having team USA Captain Mike Eruzione speak at the BEC Conference, and he was amazing. He had one line that I always refer to:

“You can’t measure heart, pride or commitment…. Intangibles separate good business from great business. If you believe in something, and you’re willing to work hard for it, you can accomplish it.”

Right on...

Elsewhere…

  • By the way, I know I have a very prominent Canadian audience (who I love as anyone who reads this knows) and the 1980 Olympics probably annoys them some, as their boys were beating the Russians 3-1 halfway through their game just a few days before the US played them. Then the Russians scored three goals in three minutes and that dream was dead. But if Canada somehow would’ve held on, history would be so different.
  • The “Ad of the Month” in Glass Magazine goes to Salem Distributing. What a smart, clean and effective ad. Gets your attention and keeps it. Congrats to the team at Salem on a job well done. And by the way, this issue “Growing Pains” is absolutely fantastic. A ton of interesting stories and good research material as well.
  • The Architectural Billings Index came out for January and it was down, barely below the success line, (49.9) but I don’t believe it's time for any concern. The overall numbers still had some very positive parts to them.
  • Ran across an interesting piece this week on the challenges that a construction company will face in 2015. The top two were finding enough qualified skilled workers and landing enough work to be profitable. Quite frankly these are challenges that I am sure our world has as well. I am surprised that things like managing cash flow was not higher.
  • Last this week, just some quick reminders of a couple big industry events on the horizon. GANA Annual Conference and BEC are coming in early March, and the GPAD event is coming mid-March.  I’ll be at the GANA events and I am looking forward to seeing folks that I have not seen in a while—like the movie star Cameron Scripture of Viracon, the prolific runner Joe Erb of Quanex, and old friend Marty Richardson of Metropolitan Glass. And of course, many others. Can’t wait.

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.

So I have been banging on the “glass capacity” issue for a while now and this week I chatted with several people who are dealing with this growing problem. First, there are still folks unaware that glass, especially ¼-inch clear, is getting harder and harder to get. That is on everyone in the supply chain—suppliers, fabricators, glaziers and the media. Communicating about what is happening in the industry is a must. And while this issue has not affected the entire industry yet, the way it is heading I am pretty sure it will. So as I have said before, be proactive.

On that note, I did hear from a few people who are struggling with the best ways to be proactive. Some fabricators are developing programs to reserve glass but some of those programs carry risk (penalties if you don’t take the glass when scheduled is one), and with the volatile schedules of the general contractor, the glaziers are wary about commitments. The fear is, by struggling to get glass, we as an industry could be setting ourselves up for losing that part of the building to other materials. Now while I don’t see “glassless” buildings, designers could choose to go with less glass area, which is scary and ironic since we fought so hard to deflect efforts to limit glass usage in the codes. So again, communication through the chain is key as this is a legitimate issue and one that is not going to go away quickly. Make sure everyone knows what the obstacles are, be truthful with lead-times, push for guaranteed sizes, etc.

In the end, all of these things, as well as other proactive measures, will help and also make everyone more efficient. And if you have not been touched with this tightening of materials, congrats, but be prepared as I have a good feeling you will.

Elsewhere…

  • I know I say it over and over, but sometimes when something is so good, it deserves constant repeating. Katy Devlin’s blogs on Glass Magazine are not to be missed. Last week’s recap of a facades conference was incredible. So good that I think I may need to take a few months off to recharge because my stuff is not even in the same stratosphere.
  • In my last post, I noted one of the buildings that was chosen as “the coolest” in 2014 and wondered who fabricated the glass. Well sure enough it did not take long for the always-excellent Bill Coady of Guardian to pipe up with the info. The glass used was Guardian SunGuard Neutral 40 on No. 2 and Neutral 78/65 on No. 5. The glass was fabricated by Garibaldi Glass. Congrats to all and thank you Mr. Coady for reading the blog and replying!
  • Great news this week about a good friend of mine, Steve Cohen. PPG announced that Steve has joined as National Architectural Manager-Northeast. Quite a coup for PPG since I believe Steve is one of the most talented guys in our industry. And while I am biased since I like Steve personally, I can tell you from a professional side in dealing with him, the guy is fantastic. Great move for both sides here.
  • Last this week, two more sets of lists since I love those things…

The top 25 Architectural “fails” and the top 5 commercial construction trends. The “fail” piece is just mindless fun, but the trends piece is pretty interesting and does relate to our world.

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.

In one of my predictions for 2015, I noted that the “Bird Safe” glass revolution would grow. One key area of growth is to get a stronger voice in the code process and that seemingly is happening. I think I underestimated the bird safe lobby and their desire to get safe glass specified and installed—probably because this has been an issue on the radar for several years. I remember being at a meeting where the always-on-top-of-things, Julie Schimmelpenningh (then of Solutia, now of Eastman) brought it up as an issue to be aware of and approach. And basically companies did; but the drumbeat for it to take off never took place. But now with easily available bird-safe glass products, and a possible push on the code side, we’re about to see the revolution grow.

Elsewhere…

  • Those of you who know me, know I have not been a fan of the USGBC green rating system LEED for a while now. Well it looks like I am getting more company on that front. First, a Turner Construction survey shows that interest in alternative green rating systems is up 250 percent in the last two years. And then we have Alabama, Georgia, Maine, and Mississippi that have now essentially “banned” the use of LEED for state-funded projects due to one of the credit items in the old 2009 criteria. Now I think green and sustainable building is a must (I prefer Net Zero), and having a solid, reliable and logical green rating system is crucial. So I am surely not against the concept, but against at least the set up of the biggest guy on the block. What will be interesting now is to see if any of these alternative systems can truly step up and be a significant competitor to LEED.
  • Not sure where these stack up energy or “green” wise, but a very neat piece on the “5 coolest buildings” completed in 2014. None in the United States, but one is in British Columbia and I am curious which of the awesome glass fabricators in the Pacific Northwest supplied the glass for it…
  • I’m still in shock over the Super Bowl… That ending. Wow. Anyway, the commercials are the best part for me, so a quick rundown here. Obviously the one that made the most news was the bizarre Nationwide “kid” commercial. If there was ever a PR and marketing combined fail, it was that one. Killing off a kid in front of 114 million viewers in efforts to sell insurance is simply wrong. To defend it by saying you were trying to “educate” is a joke as well. Best commercials for me: the Budweiser dog returning home (we have four dogs; I’d be a mess if one left); and the comical Bryant Gumbel/Katie Couric BMW flashback to 1994. I laughed even more as that was the year I got my AOL e-mail address that I still have and use today. Last, the Doritos middle seat commercial was great; all of us have been in that position in one form or another. Great twist.
  • Last this week, I have noted here many times that following the Glass Magazine Twitter feed can be just as good as being there. And this past week that was true again during a Facades+ Conference in Los Angeles. The stream of tweets were quick and insightful. And once again, while I wish I could have attended, I was able to get some of the flavor needed thanks to the feed. That is where social media really pays off—the ability to real-time an interesting event. Or being able to review the feed at the end of the day and see it all at once. Nice work!

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 all of us in this industry know, it's not without its troubles. If asked, most people will mention the need for qualified employees such as manufacturing help, maintenance and--on the glazing side--project managers. But the next need mentioned is usually education and it’s nice to see the efforts one company is putting towards that effort. The PPG Glass Education Center is an incredible resource. I visited it again this week after the release of their newest video on Weather Resistant Design, and I was once again blown away. There is simply a ton of info on there from the basic to the very advanced. It can be a training center for new employees and a great resource for seasoned veterans. In the end, it’s a very impressive vehicle for our industry to use. Major kudos to Paul DiCesare and the tech team at PPG on the content, as well as Paul Bush on that regard and of course, I must give props to the marketing guru Rob Struble for his efforts on making this fly. Well done, folks!

Elsewhere…

More props for companies doing good things…

  • How about Viracon? The folks there raised more than $112,000 for the United Way of Steele County. That is simply an amazing and awesome total. Congrats to Carla Kern who chaired this effort for Viracon and every employee there for giving of themselves.
  • And another one while I am at it, Garibaldi Glass announced their intent to have their annual “Glass Day” program on May 1. This is going to be the fifth edition of an event that provides tremendous education and insight into our industry. I have heard so much about this event over the years and my goal this year is to finally be there in person. And yes, while an event like this has a great benefit to Garibaldi, it also does wonders in educating the region (glaziers, architects, owners, etc.) on the world of glass and glazing.
  • Education will also be at the forefront at Glass Processing Automation Days in San Antonio in March. Info on this event was just released and it has the potential to offer some great insight for the fabricator. I’ll surely have more on this as it gets closer. 
  • The NFRC is possibly getting some competition. It's not in our actual industry, but this could lead to openings elsewhere. The Window Covering Manufacturers Association with support from the Department of Energy is starting the Attachments Energy Ratings Council. So now the NFRC, which has always been the one and only group with the ability to rate window film and attachments, could be getting some competition if this takes off. And it's competition with the backing of the DOE, which is huge. So this will be one to watch. 
  • Next week I will have my Super Bowl commercial likes/dislikes since that is now my favorite part of the game. I'm also still trying to figure out why the Seahawks passed instead of ran at the end. Amazing failure there. Wow.

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 are very early into the New Year, but the economic indicators and predictions are all quite bullish. The Architectural Billings Index and Dodge Momentum Index both have been plugging along in the positive. In addition, cash flow predictions are finally improving and pointing to a healthy bump in nonresidential construction starts. So, while we have legitimate concerns on supply and transport, at least for the near future, the business climate is still looking to be very ripe.

Elsewhere…

  • Excited to say there’s a new blog out there for everyone to check out. One of the industry's true influencers, John Wheaton of Wheaton-Sprague, has joined the blogosphere. Check out his initial efforts. With the incredible insight that John is always sharing, usually on Twitter, his blog will easily become a must read.
  • Speaking of must-reads, major kudos to Katy Devlin of Glass Magazine for the coverage she provided from the BAU event last week in Munich. Katy went solo to the show and cranked out incredible, timely coverage via Twitter and on GlassMagazine.com. She made the show come to life, allowing all of us unable to attend at least have the ability to follow along in real time.
  • I mentioned this a year ago, but was at this airport again this week. Dulles Airport is absolutely a masterpiece for a glass geek to take in. Simply awesome applications everywhere.
  • It was on the trip to D.C. this week when for the first time ever I had a cab ride where the cabbie did not have a GPS. So I’m running the directions from the GPS on my phone. I am still scratching my head on that one. How can you be in that position without that tool? Another reason I try and do Uber instead; those guys HAVE to have GPS.
  • I was doing research this week and I ran into an old Glass Magazine article penned by Greg Carney. Man I miss that guy. With the annual GANA events coming up in the next several weeks, I have a feeling I’ll be thinking about Greg a ton.
  • Those GANA events I speak of, the Annual Conference and BEC, are scheduled for early March in Las Vegas. BEC, thanks to the incredible leadership from Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning, is really primed to be another excellent edition. The agenda this year is very strong with some great speakers including Joseph Puishys, the CEO from Apogee. A few people in the know have told me that Mr. Puishys is an incredible public speaker. So I am looking forward to that for sure. In the coming weeks, I’ll surely highlight more of the agenda as well.
  • Last this week, I have to ask, outside of the New England fans (including the great Dan Pompeo of Architectural Glazing Solutions who is off the charts with his support of Boston area teams), is anyone rooting for the Patriots next week? I am on record already with my Seahawks support and prediction, so that’s not changing. But I just wonder if there’s anyone who’s not a normal fan of either team rooting for New England. Regardless, I will be watching the game for the commercials as much as the game itself.

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 a different post than normal this week, as I am just talking one subject—books. Over the holidays I read one of the best books ever: What Did Jesus Drive: Crisis PR in Cars, Computers, and Christianity by Jason Vines. The book is an extreme look inside the world of public relations at the highest level, where the media spotlight seems to be on 24/7. The majority of this book is how Vines, the PR lead for Ford and Chrysler (among others), handled major public relations issues with his companies, and the strategies and thoughts behind the decisions. Plus there's some great background on the most successful marketing plays ever pulled off in the auto industry. The best part of this book was the style of writing; it was written like you were having dinner with the author who's just telling you stories about his days in the trenches. No “political correctness” scrubbing, just the whole story in a conversational manner.

So what does this have to do with the glass business? Basically my immediate thought was that we are pretty fortunate as an industry that for the most part our PR crises do not go mainstream and if they do they surely peter out quickly. In addition it gave me perspective on how to handle events if they came up. Overall it’s just a great business read on the inner workings of the car, computer, and Bible industry. (Yes, a portion of the book is dedicated to a company with the task of reprinting the Bible and that was pretty fascinating to me. I never expected that industry to have any issues that is for sure!) Those of you who know me and have been reading this blog since 2005, know that my favorite all-time business book is The Disney War by James B. Stewart. I have to say that this one may knock that from the top.

Next up on the list is Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo! by Nicholas Carlson. Should be interesting to read especially right after the Vines book.

That’s it for this post; I apologize for no links or video of the week. We’ll be back to normal next week!

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

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

It's a  very packed blog this week, but before I get to the news portion, I want to remember a great man who passed over the holidays. Lowell Rager, formerly of Libbey-Owens-Ford and best known from his days at Ford and Visteon Glass, passed away at the end of last month. Lowell was absolutely one of the nicest and classiest gentlemen in our industry.  A technical icon, he knew everything and what he did not know he learned with great ferocity. He was, among many other things, the guy behind educating the industry on the turtle code. The code was so bizarre that many could not believe it, but Lowell knew everything there was to know about it and the glass that was needed to save turtles and other marine life. Lowell carried himself with style, always dressed nicely, with a smile and solid handshake.

One of the last times I saw him was a mid-summer day in Detroit, at a jobsite that had the always fun “quench marks” on the glass. Lowell deftly explained and handled the issue better than anyone I have ever known. He did this all while not breaking a sweat—wearing a suit and tie—in the searing Michigan humidity. Cool and in control. No one else could pull that off.  Whenever I would compliment Lowell in my blog or in person, he would tell me I was “much too kind.” Well, I can say he deserved every compliment and then some. The world and our industry is not as good today and in the future without Lowell. Rest in peace, my friend.

Elsewhere…

  • No doubt the fall out from the Trulite-AGC deal dominated the industry last week. The biggest surprise was the immediate closure of some of the acquired facilities. I had totally misread that. Maybe I am naïve or just plain clueless (don't answer that!), but I did not expect facilities to close so fast. I figured some would, just not on day one. Probably the only silver lining is the fact that those who are losing their jobs should be in major demand since qualified employees are very hard to find in our industry. Still sad. And now the watch begins to see how the rest of the industry reacts to markets being consolidated.
  • Also there was a tremendous comment (and my attempt at a reply) posted on my blog on the Glass Magazine site that talked about how the industry has changed. Great take; worth reading and considering.
  • Last week I recapped my 2014 predictions. Now it's time for my five fearless predictions for the glass and glazing industry for 2015.
  1. Instead of one big acquisition in our industry, I am predicting several smaller ones, maybe along the lines of five or six this year. I do think one sale will be a company who no one expected would sell.
  2. The “bird safe” revolution for glass will grow with more and more architects starting to ask for it.
  3. With North America now loaded with more digital printers for glass than ever, 2015 will be the year where their usage in several industry segments takes off.
  4. At least two major companies will return to participate heavily in GlassBuild America this fall. With the show being a premier attraction, some companies who have skipped will realize they can’t miss it again.
  5. The glass shortage will have an effect but the transportation issues will be even worse—items that the industry will have to be very creative and proactive to deal with.
  • Speaking of transportation issues, this is another angle on what we are up against, from the Detroit Free Press on January 4th: 

For example, a nationwide shortage of truck drivers recently forced Ann Arbor Township-based shipping company Con-way Freight to launch its own driver school. The firm provides 12 weeks of training at no cost for prospective drivers, who spend half of that time earning compensation for dock work until they receive their certification.

Con-way expects to train and hire 50 Michigan-based truck drivers in 2015 — all of whom return to their homes at night, unlike long-haul drivers — and about 1,600 nationwide. The company gave a "significant" raise to its current drivers in June and plans to deliver another one in January, said Con-way Freight President Greg Lehmkuhl.

"More than anything else in the next few years, it's a war for qualified and safe drivers," Lehmkuhl said. "The whole industry is raising wages to attract people into the driving profession."

So glass haulers, already short on qualified people, now have to take on nimble companies looking to control the game themselves. Not to mention, fabricators who need to hire or keep drivers face the same pressures. This is a tough one, folks.

  • Last this week, a crazy one. I am pretty much a protectionist when it comes to North America, so what to do when the United States and Canada get in a fight over building material supply? This is a bizarre story involving steel: who makes it and where it goes. Reading it makes me feel like a kid between divorcing parents. Make sure you scan some of the comments, too; some wild takes there. Let’s hope diplomacy, compromise and logic take hold here instead of backbiting.

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.

2015 is off and running. But before the calendar turned, the deal that I hinted at finally came to life. The purchase of the AGC fabrication locations in the United States by Trulite is a big deal. Whenever you have one large operation buying another there’s going to be disruption in the marketplace. For both organizations, in my opinion, there are positives out of the gate. For AGC, the deal allows them to focus efforts on the company's core competency of float manufacturing and coating. For Trulite, it gives them more critical mass in terms of locations and talent.

As for the industry, it’s another major consolidation to deal with, and the fallout that comes with it. That fallout will possibly/probably include reactions from other companies looking to keep pace, or fill territorial holes. That process surely won’t be a dull one to watch. In the end, deals this size will be judged a year from now when integration is complete and all of the parts and pieces are where Trulite wants them to be. Until then, we’ll be watching the ripples and also keeping mind of a few other deals that are percolating out there. A new year is underway and it's going to be fun.

Elsewhere…

  • In my first blog in 2014, I made predictions for the year. How did I do? Below are the predicitions with my comments in italics:
  1. There will be one major acquisition in the glass fabrication side of the business that will have the industry buzzing. Otherwise, 2014 will be light on the merger/acquisition side. But look out, 2015 will be crazy with them.  

    – It took until the last days of 2014, but I got this one right!!
  2. Both GANA BEC and GlassBuild America will be hugely successful. And yes I have worked or do work with both of these so consider my bias, but I will say both are primed for big years. The BEC 2014 has a very strong agenda, and I have seen the plans for GlassBuild America, and I promise you that you will be impressed and WANT to be there.

    - Count me as 2 for 2. Both events were fantastic and must attends, as they will be this year as well.
  3. A new green rating system will start to take hold. Right now LEED is beyond dominant and will continue to be the major player, but look out for one of the smaller organizations breaking through.

    – Unfortunately despite some good efforts out there, LEED is still the monster; I am not sure anyone will knock them off soon. This also may have been more of a wish than a prediction.
  4. The code battles will continue and I believe an unlikely ally (another industry) will join forces with the glass industry giving us a stronger voice in the proceedings.

    – This actually was somewhat quiet. We had the win early in the year and not much else happened. So count this as a miss.
  5. The use of 4th surface low-E will continue to grow and become a much bigger player in the specification process.

    – I am seeing more of it but not as much as I thought. Give me a ½ right here.

So, final tally: 2 dead on, 2 misses, and 1 almost. Not bad. Next week I will run my predictions for 2015. Stay tuned.

  • Congrats to my friend Donald Press over at Okalux North America as he continues to build a nice team there, with the latest being the addition of Peter Stattler to the team. Peter brings even more talent (on top of everything Donald and his current team posess) to this group. Nice move!
  • Speaking of talented friends, Ted Bleecker fits that description and he’s one to follow on Twitter (@tedbleecker) for insightful and interesting links on energy and solar related matters. Last week, he linked a good one worth sharing here on the top 5 reasons 2015 will be a positive year in the energy world. Good stuff. 
  • Another interesting article I found while enjoying the holidays was this one on the Miami Heat suing the architect of their arena. Some neat insight into construction overruns and egos. 
  • Last this week, my fearless and sure-to-be-wrong choice for the Super Bowl… the Seahawks. Yep, going the easy route of a No. 1 seed. Since I like the Seahawks and their fans so much, I hate to even put them in such a jinxed position. Though on January 5th, 2014, I picked the Seahawks to win last years' game and my stink did not stop them then.

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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