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.

With this being my last “scheduled” blog of the year, it’s a great opportunity to look back at 2014 and review our world. The big take away for me is that this is the year the industry came back. While not everyone is swamped, I would say most are experiencing their best performances in a quite a while. That is truly a relief, as I know there were some people riding this storm out wondering if it would ever come to an end. I sincerely believe the positive momentum will continue into 2015.

2014 was the year that most trade shows came roaring back. GlassBuild America was very strong as were several other trade conferences. It was good to see the momentum and numbers returning, as those of us who always supported knew that these were “must attend” events no matter what. Participating in these events will be even more crucial in 2015, because we have a glass and transportation situation on our hands, so knowing the answers that only a show or a conference can provide will be extremely important.

Also, there are a couple of other highlights from this year I want to quickly touch on. We had the always-incredible Dr. Tom Culp leading the industry to a victory in the code arena. And our industry got a major boost with Nicole Harris taking the reins at the National Glass Association; her effect will surely be felt in 2015 and beyond. It's with people like that on our side that truly keeps me optimistic.

As for the year itself, I think the most surprising story, and most under reported, is pretty recent: the crazy drop in oil prices, sending gasoline prices in the United States to levels that I don’t believe anyone ever thought would happen again. While I am stunned seeing gas prices in the mid- to low-$2.00 range in some places, I can’t help but think this is temporary. But, regardless, that is a pretty major hole busted in the oil bubble that looked impenetrable forever.

Overall, I am feeling bullish about 2015. Yes there’s the glass and transport issues I have been nagging everyone on, but I think the smart end of this industry will make it work, and in the end I see things going well in the next year. Bring it on!

Elsewhere…

  • Congrats to my old friend Kirk Johnson who has taken on a new role as vice president of business development at Glasswerks. He will do a great job with them without a doubt.
  • Pretty interesting in depth story on the energy efficiency adventures at the Freedom Tower. It was supposed to be the “greenest” building in the United States. It's not happening... Nothing to do with the glass, but actually the fuel cells and the effect from Super Storm Sandy. Great inside story to read.
  • My ad of the month in Glass Magazine goes to the gang from Safti First. I absolutely loved the two-page holiday spread and seeing the faces to go with all of the names. And fun for me to see some faces I had not seen in years. Good to see old friends Tom Olson and Joe Marini in there, among others. This was an excellent layout and execution--overall really well done.
  • OK, so that’s all for me for 2014. So, please allow me to wish all of you a happy holiday season and a healthy and profitable new year! Thank you for allowing me into your world each and every week; I truly appreciate it! See you in 2015!

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.

Last week, I noted the handful of people who were considered for the 2014 Industry MVP award, but did not come away with the title. The time has now come to recognize the winner, and like some other mainstream publications have done in the past, I went a little non-traditional with the choice this year. Instead of picking a person, I picked a company. I looked at everything this company did this past year—its continued support of the industry and its growth—and it was a slam-dunk. Because it’s a company known for its team effort, I couldn’t just pick one person out. So I decided to recognize the whole lot (though I will mention one individual below).  

The 2014 winner of the “From the Fabricator Industry MVP” is ... C.R. Laurence Co.. From an industry standpoint, CRL is always there at every show and event, always supporting, even though, in many cases, they probably don’t have to. But I believe, and have been told, they do it because it’s the right thing to do for the industry. I sincerely hope it continues. From a product standpoint, CRL released more excellent innovations this year including a unitized curtain wall and window system unveiled at AIA that has game-changing potential. Plus, their software releases are huge as well. And yes, when it comes to people, CRL delivers there, too. So many make a difference, case in point a guy like Brad Thurman, who is as impressive as they come. I've seen Brad in action and he represents his company and this industry with absolute class. And he’s just one of many there that do a great job, led by excellent ownership and management. So, there you have it, a little different than the typical, but in my opinion, a company that deserves the props.

Elsewhere…

  • The new Glass Magazine is fantastic and one column is a must read. Please check out Katy Devlin’s piece on the transportation issues facing our industry. It is worth your time.
  • I know I am harping on the transportation issue and on the glass capacity issue (and I am told other writers are taking the opposite of my insight on a few of these items). But I continue to talk with people every day—people who are in the trenches—and these issues are real. I guess you can choose which magazine or writer to believe, but when it comes to the best interests of this industry, I feel like I have your backs. And, what’s the worst thing that can happen...you get ultra organized?
  • Well just one more blog scheduled for 2014. Will the big deal I have been talking about for the last few weeks happen? Things got very quiet last week. Maybe it’s the calm before the storm, or maybe we have a “runaway bride” and the deal was iced. We shall see. If/when the deal does happen, I’ll blog about it.
  • Last week, I attended a semi-interesting webinar on green building. For the most part the confidence of continued green building growth is still very strong. A few tidbits I found interesting: China’s 3 Star energy program passed LEED to become the second most popular energy related standard in the world. (EnergyStar in the United States is No. 1); plus, did you know that Singapore offers a rebate for retrofitting buildings to become energy efficient? (an incentive here surely would be nice); finally, the analysts on the webinar felt that the move to green growth was now more about financial advantages than environmental.
  • Last this week, for the first time in my life I hurt my back. And I can tell you I have no idea how those of you with chronic back problems do it. You all are my heroes. My goodness this is brutal, and I hope temporary, as I have little to no pain tolerance…


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 time for our annual look at who the most valuable player is in the glass and glazing industry for 2014. There are quite a few great candidates but there is only one winner. I have selected the winner and that announcement comes next week, but I did want to run through the other candidates in contention. I do this mostly because I believe in shining the spotlight on those extremely deserving people. So here goes, the runners up for the “2014 From the Fabricator Glass and Glazing MVP.”

  • John Wheaton, Wheaton and Sprague: Whether you do work with him, follow him on Twitter or hear him speak, you've surely noticed John's incredible passion and care. He shows great interest in the industry and its future. This is a guy who is always promoting awesome projects and work in the field, even if he didn’t have anything to do with it--unselfish and classy to the core.
  • Rick Wright, Oldcastle BE: Similar to John Wheaton, Rick shows passion for the industry. He can sometimes be on the other side of popular opinion on issues, but always has a reason and solid logic. Rick cares for how we (the industry) are presented in public and is extremely active in the trade organization world.
  • Tom O’Malley: Tom’s on this list because he went out on his own this year, seemingly 10 minutes after the recession lifted, and built a business, Clover Architectural Products. So basically this is a guy who could’ve done anything, anywhere, yet stuck his neck out big time. Folks, that’s serious confidence in our industry (and himself). Plus he’s always on the edge of innovation and bringing new and positive items to our world.
  • Bernard Lax, Pulp Studio: When I think of Bernard, I think of this famous quote: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” Basically while Bernard is not front and center at trade meetings, when he does express his thoughts they carry a ton of weight. He is not afraid to speak his mind, especially when it comes to health of the industry and the safety of our stakeholders. I probably get to talk to him once or twice a year, but those conversations always have meaning and value. Plus he has an insanely creative mind, which is also a plus.

Now of course there are many others that would be up for this that I have noted in previous editions and awards like Julie Schimmelpennigh, Valerie Block, Chris Dolan, Kris Vockler and so on, but I wanted this list to be of people I had not nominated and noted in depth before. The winner comes next week!

Elsewhere…

  • For those of you who only read my blog when it's reposted on GlassMagazine.com and published in e-glass weekly, I did post last week on my original site, so if you want more insight on the latest deal talks, green stats and some cool links, please check it out.
  • So which states had the biggest year-over-year gains (October) in construction employment? The winner may surprise you as it did me. The top 5…

5. Utah
4. Illinois
3. California
2. Texas
1. Florida

Yes, the Sunshine State led the way and I do find that surprising for sure. Could be a signal that the slow-to-recover market there is starting to perk up.

  • Last this week, it's December which will seemingly go very quickly, and while that’s good from a personal standpoint, from a business view these last two months are tough ones. After the 18 work day November, the holiday season may not have as much cheer with such little time to get work done!

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 acquisition part of the glass industry has been pretty quiet in the last few years. While some smaller deals have taken place, the mega deals have not. But I can tell you that if the hot rumors blowing up my phone and e-mail are true, there is one such mega deal coming soon. If this deal happens, it will change the landscape of the industry again. Back in my past life I could throw the names out there (like I did when I broke the EFCO-Pella and Oldcastle-Vistawall deals), but things are different these days. People are more careful (me included), and companies like to float things to throw me off the scent (yes, I have been told as much). So, I’ll just leave it at the teaser above. In any case, I’m grabbing the popcorn and sitting back waiting to see if/when this one happens. It should be very interesting.

Elsewhere…

  • Guardian announced the closing of its Floreffe, Pennsylvania plant, which will be the third domestic float plant to go off line in the last year now. Add that to the many (nine at least) gone since 2006. In some circles word is this whole tightening of glass supply may be made up. All I am saying is it's now down to pure math and logic. We are facing A LOT less capacity matched to better and improving business conditions. As a consumer of glass, you have two choices: look for a conspiracy and start arguments, or plan to be proactive and be on top of your game with active communications and prepared logistics. Your choice, but math and logic are on my side on this one. And if the tightening does not turn out to be serious, guess what? Your business actually got better because you had to become even more efficient than before. No downside at all to that.
  • There is one other major potential tightening of supply in the world right now that could be a concern. A potential shortage of chocolate. Even a product like this suffers from many supply chain issues, too. Glad I am back on the diet again because when I get off, M&M’s may be $10 per bag.
  • I have to ask my readers in California for some insight into what I am hearing is a massive mess with Title 24. Evidently, municipalities are developing their own codes, which are confusing and beyond the current written code in place. This “wild wild west” mentality is throwing the various code inspectors into a bit of a flux and thus delaying code decisions and actual occupancy of buildings. I’d love some input on what is happening there and if it’s as crazy as it sounds. Or is it just the good ole California way of doing business? At the end of the day though, it’s already tough enough to do business when you are dealing with codes and ratings as it is, but a moving goal post is surely not fun.
  • Speaking of energy, this time in Washington, D.C., it will be interesting to see if the change in the make up of the Senate will help the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill get off the ground. There are some positives in that bill that would be good for our industry for sure.
  • Coming soon will be my list of potential Industry MVPs. Last year’s winner was Tracy Rogers of Quanex. Who will take home the prize in 2014?

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 first major 2015 forecast was released last week and it was chock full of positive news. According to the Dodge Data & Analytics report, commercial building will be up 15 percent next year. In addition, the forecast predicted some nice gains for the institutional and public works segments. The public works business has been stuck in a bad place for a while, so gains there are not only good for our industry, but for overall life as well. The only hesitations now are pretty simple: Will this report be accurate? (as we all know these projections in the past haven’t exactly been picture perfect.) And, if it is correct, will there be glass available, and drivers available to deliver said glass, to meet these additional needs?

Elsewhere…

  • Despite the optimism above, there were mixed messages from the various monthly reports. The ABI was strong and has bounced back from a soft middle of the year, but the Dodge Momentum Index has not been stellar recently. However, it is in the positive territory, just not as solid as it was earlier in the year. Spending on nonresidential construction also dipped, which could be a red flag as well. 
  • A few of you out there may have heard me tell the story on how I desperately wanted to be selected for jury duty a few years ago and was passed over, making me the only person at the courthouse that day mad at being sent home at 11 a.m.  Well there’s a jury trial coming up that's so massive, so major, and quite frankly so unreal, that even I want anything to do with it right now. Although I actually find the subject to be fascinating because it involves our industry in a way. What I am talking about is the breach of contract trial regarding the Harmon Hotel at CityCenter in Las Vegas. The trial is expected to last a whole year, with more than three million pieces of evidence and 35 lawyers. The trial actually involves 12 separate cases wrapped into one. Now if I were retired, I would LOVE to be on this jury. Heck I have felt for years now that an oral history/book on the CityCenter project would be riveting, so doing this trial would be the icing on the cake. But it's not meant to be, and given the numbers of the folks brought in, my odds would’ve been long anyway. Over four hundred prospective jurors from an initial pool of 6000 will be whittled to 8 jurors and 12 alternates when all is said and done. This surely will be one to watch.
  • I was delayed in giving my Glass Magazine “best ad of the month” award. So in the awesome October issue, some previous winners continue to stand out (Kawneer, Cardinal, Quanex), but the nod this time goes to PPG for not only their clean and catchy back cover ad, BUT the companion specialty website to go with it. PPG has been very active creating specialty websites for specific products and promotions, and they did one as well with this ad. It’s a sharp and forward thinking maneuver. Well done and major props to Pat Kenny, Rob Struble and everyone there who had a hand in this.
  • Last this week, big time congratulations to my friend Jim Ventre on his promotion at Gardner Glass Products. Jim is now vice president of Flat Glass Sales at Gardner and that basically means he’s now big time… That also means he’ll probably never talk with me again! Seriously though, Jim is one of the industry's nicest guys, and it’s great to see him rewarded for his talent/efforts.

Read on for video and links 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.

With glasstec done, we are now in the final stretch of 2014. The next eight weeks will set the tone for 2015 because of the various economic and industry conditions that are in play. The most major, and the one you will certainly hear the most about, is the primary glass supply concern. Certain styles of glass are already harder to get than they have been in recent times, and that issue is going to get worse. Add in the transportation issue that I touched on last week, and we’ve got a challenging road ahead. It is somewhat depressing that we find ourselves in this ordeal. We’ve waited for a more normalized run of business and now that it is here (in most places), we have to deal with these other obstacles. Enjoy the end of the year, celebrate the holidays, but get ready (and prepare to be more organized than ever), because 2015 is shaping up to be a very interesting year.

Elsewhere…

  • Because I was away, I missed the passing of Phil Blizzard, most recently of YKK AP. I was so saddened to hear the news. Phil was a great man and truly a unique character in our world. My condolences to his family and his friends and co-workers at YKK. He will be missed.
  • News this past week that the USGBC will delay the closing of the older LEED rating system (LEED 2009) until 2016 is no surprise at all. The new LEED version is starkly different, and once again the USGBC had no idea how long jobs take from the initial stages until product arriving on site. It was obvious that the new LEED version could not be the only program offered, and they had to make a move. Plus, this gives me time to try and understand the new version better; that will be a challenge for sure.
  • Speaking of green, I heard some so-so reviews on Greenbuild. Many felt that attendance was off and the lack of true decision makers was noticable. To me, there have never been many decision makers there, so that is not a surprise. Next year the show is in Washington, D.C., so I am sure everyone involved is hoping to get the attendance boost that a show in a heavily populated area like D.C. brings. Whether it brings actual decision makers, I still have my doubts.
  • One leftover from glasstec, I was very impressed by the products that Dow Corning had on display. Some serious out-of-the-box thinking happening there. Obviously Jon Kimberlain must have a hand in all of that greatness.
  • Also, the experience of flying Delta, and of flying through the Atlanta airport could not have been any smoother. The Atlanta airport blew me away from the moment we landed at the international terminal. The layout, instructions and helpful people were spectacular. Obviously much different than flying through Atlanta domestically where it is so crazy.
  • Once again following the Conners Sales Group on twitter (@ConnersSales) paid off with a link to an interesting story on mock-ups for glass. It was a well-done piece by Vivian Volz, and her blog looks like one to add to the reading list, especially when she’s writing about building products.
  • Am I dreaming, or did it really snow in several parts of the country this past weekend? Winter is predicted to be a bear, and I guess its getting a jump on things.
  • Last this week, thanks to the LinkedIn notifications I get, a happy birthday to three great industry guys...Have a good one Ryan Kerch of Quanex, James Wright of Glass Coatings and Concepts, and Kelly Townsend of Tubelite. Normally I don’t note all birthdays, but figured it would be nice to give a shout out to these excellent folks. Plus, for some reason I like November birthdays!

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 2014 edition of glasstec is in the books and quite simply, it was amazing. Having never been to this event I did not know what to expect, and despite studying like crazy I was still caught off guard by the pure size of everything. Mostly every booth (or stand as they call them at this show) was monstrous.  The equipment on display was breathtaking, and as a glass geek, I just was in awe at so much of it. If there was a disappointment (other than horrendous Internet at my hotel), it was the weakness in glass technology. I did not see the innovation that I expected, and honestly I think we had more innovation with glass products at GlassBuild. But that was minor, because the equipment, the software, and the ability to see how people do things from all over the world was more than enough to make this an incredibly memorable week.

Overall, the show was packed, and people were very positive about the future. The only scary part was the scuttlebutt about tightening glass supply in North America, and the very obvious and frustrating lack of trucking that is causing delivery delays. The themes of 2015 will be logistics and planning, because our industry is not the same as it was five years ago. We have fewer float plants, fewer available trucks and drivers, and now major improving economic conditions. If you are a fabricator, you need to plan and inventory differently than you have in the past, and if you are a glazier, make sure you and your fabricator are communicating lead times effectively, because they may be disrupted due to transport issues. I will have much more on this in the coming weeks.

As I always do after a show, here is the seen and heard:

  • Hardware was everywhere, and great usages and advancements continue. That all-glass look with classy hardware is just awesome, and it’s only going to get better. What was the “in” product that seemed to be everywhere? Blinds in-between glass.  Stunning, since that is not exactly a new technology. Also, quite a bit of decorative, though I heard from many that the styles on display were not eye-catching, and I must agree. 
  • The busiest booth? Guardian. Especially on day three of the show. The place was like a Vegas nightclub, with people jam-packed in there. Somewhere in that mass of humanity I did get to chat with the super Amy Hennes, who now has helped point me the right direction at yet another show. Thankfully, I got in on day one of the show before the masses descended on their spot. Also, great to visit with Chris Dolan, Jay Phillips, and Matt Hill. I feel horrible I never could spend time with my favorite Chinese connection, Dan Plotnick. He was just too busy. But not seeing me is best for his street cred in China. 
  • Coolest machinery? Everything I saw was awesome, but two stood out for me. First, the loading/unloading robot that the tremendous guys from Salem showed me at the Bovone booth. That will help efficiency in plants for sure. Second, the cutter from Turomas Tecnocat was incredible. Fast, quiet, and seriously effective. I watched in awe for a while, including a part where it cut 1-inch thick glass like a hot knife through butter. Thank you to Juan Pablo Herrera of IGE for getting me my own private demo there.
  • Seen out and about:

I visited with Doug Marren at Eastman and even saw Aimee Davis as well. She no longer works on our side of the industry, so I never get to see her. So, that was a treat. I met, for the first time, Ruby Singh of Glassfab, who is a seriously good guy. And it was nice to see Mike Goldfarb, also of Glassfab. I had not seen Doug Studt from Torstenson Glass in quite a while, so it was super to run into him. And, it’s always a pleasure and honor to see Bernard Lax of Pulp Studios.

Pat Kenny of PPG was stationed right across from the NGA\WDDA booth, so catching up with him was excellent. It was his first glasstec in many years. Meanwhile Max Hals was making yet another triumphant appearance at the show. He has been at the show every year since 1982. Such a good man, and glad we have the same name, as people confuse us sometimes. I benefit from that deal that’s for sure! Getting to chat with Ren Bartoe of Vesuvius is the best. He interrupted a conversation with others to say hi to me, and I appreciate that. I was able to spend time with Manny Borda of IGE, which was fantastic—pure class, that man is. And speaking of class as well as “cool,” Michael Schmidt of Forel fits that description. Meeting with him in the massive Forel exhibition was a neat experience. And while in that booth I visited with Steve Bouchard of Glass Distributors Inc., which was totally enjoyable.

No Diego Cuevas of Onyx, as he had to work Greenbuild, but their booth was busy, and I got to meet the very sharp and intelligent Mila Plaza who was covering the stand for them. I love that solar is gaining traction. Getting a few minutes with Steve Weidner of NSG/Pilkington was awesome. He treats me better than I deserve. Always good to see Scott Hoover of Tecglass/Arrow as well as spending a little time with Carey and Chris Mobius of Garibaldi.

As for the not seen... I saw Devin Bowman of TGP at the airport in Atlanta, but never saw him at the show. Rob Botman and Jordan Richards of Glassopolis were at the show, but never saw them, and rumor has it they owned the town at night with legendary outings. Nice.

  • Last, on my final day there, I went for a nice (but icy cold) run along the Rhein. Portions of my lungs I think are still behind in Germany floating along that river. Somewhere my running idol, Jeff Ziesche of CRL/US Aluminum, has to be smiling about that one.

I’m sure I missed more than one thing and we’ll catch that next week as we return once again to normal. 

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 is the big glasstec show in Germany, and I have to admit some nerves are banging around inside my stomach right now. For me the double whammy of a gigantic show and a foreign country really puts me out of my element. But the preparation has been done. Between studying the landscape of the show location, loading the translator on my phone with every question I could think of so I could try and learn how to say it, and going through a list of almost 1,000 exhibitors, I believe I am ready. Hopefully I didn’t either over study or miss something obvious.

Next week, we’ll have my often imitated but never duplicated show review, and the gang at Glass Magazine will have some serious top-notch coverage in e-glass weekly. If you are on Twitter, make sure you are following Glass Magazine (@GlassMag) as the updates will be coming throughout the show.

Elsewhere…

  • The crazy and volatile week on Wall Street surely has added some nerves to many. Our economy still has some fragility, and even things that us “regular” folks take enjoyment in, like lower gas prices, are actually having a negative effect on some parts of the market. With the price of oil actually tanking, this good news of sub $3 gas is now not as joyous. I guess we just can’t win for losing sometimes. 
  • Last week I wrote on the San Diego airport, and I missed an amazing piece of glass work that was so notable, Glass Magazine did a Great Glazing feature on it earlier this year. Thanks and props to my friend Joe Carlos of Triview for the heads up. Great work by Joe, his team and everyone involved on this project. 
  • Catching up on reading this week, I ran into two interesting stories, the first from Laser Focus World.

    Sometimes innovation is not quite ready for prime time, but it’s released and promoted anyway. That’s the case with this clear glass that can collect solar energy. The story is worth a read but check out this quote:

    The big advantage of the Michigan State University design is its lack of hue; the device looks like a piece of ordinary clear plastic. “No one wants to sit behind colored glass,” says Richard Lunt, one of the researchers. “It makes for a very colorful environment, like working in a disco.”

    Yep NO ONE wants to sit behind colored glass. Seriously? Has this guy ever seen the way glass in the year 2014 works? Anyway, I hope this technology eventually works, because it would be good, but surely not because of the "colored" glass issue.

    Also this week, the Washington Post did a piece on spray-coated solar panels. I’ll be curious to see what the esteemed Ted Bleecker says about it (since Ted is a true solar guru). While I am intrigued, this also seems incredibly premature and just not ready for prime time at all. Make sure you read to the comments at the bottom, they surely give some solid perspective. 
  • As I post this, the results of the Columbus Marathon are not in yet, but I’m sending positive vibes and extra lung capacity to my pal Dean Mead of Virginia Glass Products. I give tons of credit to guys like Dean and Joe Erb from Quanex who can just get out there and run... and run...and then run some more... I hope the race was awesome, my friend. 
  • Last this week, to those of you going to Greenbuild, please feel free to drop me a note to let me know how that show is and the pulse of the attendees there. Hopefully all will be positive, though you all know my opinion on that event already. For the good of the industry, I’ll happily be wrong. 

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.

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