glassblog

Monday, July 25, 2016

Now that we have had a few days to let the PPG-Vitro deal sink in, I think the underrated item in this deal is that Vitro is not exactly a newbie when it comes to glass. They have been producing glass since 1909. So there’s history there for sure. I say this because the focus was on PPG getting out of glass after more than a century, and it may have been different if a young upstart company bought them. 

Another item that had people buzzing is what happens to the current PPG workforce. I can tell you that in a deal like this people are a crucial part of it. Vitro now inherits some serious talent and they surely will want to take advantage of that. Believe me, if they don’t, competitors will. On the branding side, I mentioned on a previous post that the tried and true names will be staying. That is a big move as we’ve seen acquisitions in the past where familiar names were blown out, and so were the specs that were attached to them for years. 

At this point, there will be a few months while the particulars get settled and the deal becomes official. We’ll keep an eye on it all, but I think for the most part we won’t see any dramatic change to the way business is done in our industry based on this. I do, however, see the logjam starting to loosen on other deals. While we are in a serious rumor overload right now, I do think more action is coming in the second half of this year. And there are a few with potential to be bigger than this and also have an affect on the industry, too. Stay tuned.

Elsewhere…

  • Last note for now on the Vitro-PPG deal and it’s an angle I bring up with all major deals: will the new entity still support the industry the way the old did? PPG is at every show and always willing to help. In addition, their education pieces are fantastic. Hope that continues!
  • Another note from the acquisition side, I’m surprised that the Dow and Dupont deal has not had more coverage. A lot of speculation there on what comes next specifically regarding Dow Corning. Will bear watching as well.
  • The monthly release of the Architectural Billings Index hit right as all of this came up. So it flew under the radar some. June marked the fifth straight positive month though the score trended down a bit to 52.6 from May’s 53.1. New projects also fell some to 58.6 after a scorching 60.1 in May. Basically this along with some other forecasting metrics keeps the industry on pace for a positive start to 2017.
  • Via the Twitter feed of Ted Bleecker, a great column on the economy and the metrics with it. So while I trumpet the above success of the ABI, I guess I too may be falling into that trap. Good food for thought here. And the author of this piece, Alex Carrick, is also a good Twitter follow.
  • Last this week, one convention done, one to go. Stepping away from the actual event and looking at the costs, these two events will tally more than 140 million to put on. That number just blows my mind. Yes, it’s helpful for the economy: that 140 million goes to tons of trades and companies involved with it. But it also just seems like an insane waste of resources. And my misery will just grow worse with a BILLION dollars expected to be spent on the election in November. 

 

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A rumor had been floating out there for a while about two major glass companies. In fact rumors surrounding both companies are almost like a cottage industry. Now the “rumor” has hit the main stream news. I am talking about PPG and Vitro—more specifically, about PPG selling its flat glass division to Vitro. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette acquired an independent auditors report and then released a story late last Friday night. Obviously this does not mean a sale is imminent. We don’t know exactly what sort of report it was, as the story doesn’t dig into specifics. But the fact the Post-Gazette ran with this story is very interesting. It now brings this backroom discussion to the public. We’ll see if this marriage happens or if something else swerves in its way. In any case this will be one to watch.

Elsewhere…

  • We are halfway through the year, so let’s do some looking back and some peering ahead. 2016 got underway with some early weather issues and dropping oil prices. Both of those items were especially unkind to the great state of Texas. Bird friendly glazing continued to be in the news and growing in the minds of designers, building owners and consumers. Hopefully it will find more usage as well. Also in the first half of the year, another successful industry gathering at BEC, ending an incredible run of success by Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning in the lead of that event. From an overall economic side, both residential and nonresidential starts and put-in-place are running ahead of forecasts and the analysts are bullish. The ABI and DMI also looked solid during Q1 and 2.

    Now looking ahead, will oil prices stay low or start to grow? The bi-annual glasstec in Germany hits in September, and I’ll be curious on where the vibe is there, especially given the whole “Brexit” adventure in play. GlassBuild America goes a month later than usual this year and is bigger than ever, with bigger floor space, more exhibitors, and tremendous innovation and networking to be had. That’s in October. I still expect other acquisition news to hit (aside from mentioned above), though being a major sellers’ market, there may be some delay in any of that happening with valuations a lot higher than folks would like to pay. Of course, no looking ahead can happen without the one thing that most likely will be life changing. The 2016 Presidential election. No words can probably describe that one accurately. Anyway it should be an interesting run to 2016. Buckle up! 
  • Speaking of GlassBuild, just a reminder about the Glazing Executives Forum. Two great keynotes (George Hedley and Ken Simonson) and “Solution Sessions” are lined up that will be well worth your time. Learn more and join the growing registration list. 
  • The winners of the Glass Magazine photo contest are out, and I loved the winner—a picture of glass after going through a two hour fire test. It's just an awesome shot overall. This contest was a fun one, and I expect it grow and be even better in the future. Our industry has a ton of great looking and innovative pieces. Let’s keep pounding our chests and show it off!  
  • I’m a bit late on this, but congrats to Bobby Hartong and his family, his partner and my brother Steve, and everyone at WA Wilson in West Virginia on their 175th Anniversary! Yes, 175 years. It's an amazing accomplishment and could not have happened to nicer folks too. That party in 25 years for the 200th will be a wild one. 
  • If you have the slightest interest in the growing 3D printing world, this link is for you. A ton of great insight and resources in one place thanks to Benesch Law and my good pal and industry supporter Rick Kalson. 
  • Last this week, here is an interesting article on the Las Vegas building market and how the tall residential towers are not in the future plans. I wonder if this same fate awaits Toronto? Eventually there’s just too much.

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Material selections and light play an important role in architectural design. These elements are essential to making a human connection to our built environments, helping to shape our emotional wellbeing. With the generation of progressive ideas for new uses of materials, an entire space can be transformed.

Art glass can do this in many ways. It can allow us to experience the exterior and interior in tandem, while various lighting conditions can change the perceived experience of the glass and its reflection on the space around us, and it’s a material that gives a look of luxury with its glimmering surfaces and depth that no other material can offer.

The possibilities with art glass are endless. Enhance a storefront window, create a curtain wall for your business or loft, add vibrancy to your residential windows, or simply make a statement with the boldness of a fine art piece.

Aside from all the creative reasons to utilize art glass in your project, there are practical reasons, too. Utilizing art glass is an easy-to-maintain option to enhance your space. Art glass is a strong, safe and energy-efficient way to personalize your space and create a sense of identity and style.

  1. Art glass provides a sense of place that is unique. 
  2. For a business or institution, art glass conveys a permanent grounded and established expressive presence rather than a temporary fleeting existence. 
  3. Art glass can be a beacon or landmark identity. 
  4. Along with being non-toxic like all glass, art glass can be specified to contribute to gaining LEED points, including Platinum designation. 
  5. Glass artwork can be designed and specified to meet safety codes.

 

Nancy Gong is owner and director of Gong Glass Works, an art studio that focuses on the design and fabrication of contemporary architectural art glass. Gong serves on the Board for the American Glass Guild, is AGG’s 2017 Conference and Program Chair, is a member of the Glass Art Society and Stained Glass Association of America, and an Allied Member of the American Institute of Architects Rochester. She can be reached at Nancy@nancygong.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.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Do you see value in professional development? Most people would answer yes, but how many would follow through? During the housing downturn, many expenses that didn't directly correlate to a revenue line item were put on hold. However, the industry is now doing better than it has in many, many years. So, how do you stand out from the competition to ensure you're at the top of your customers' lists?

According to the latest AAMA market study, the U.S. total non-residential vision area in 2015 increased 5 percent compared to 2014 and 10 percent compared to 2013. The excuse of lean times is over. Those who invest in their employees, invest in their business overall. Knowledge is king! When customers ask a question, they want to know they can count on you for an immediate, accurate answer.

Even Congress sees the value of education. The House Education and the Workforce Committee has introduced draft Perkins Reauthorization legislation and is expected to debate, mark up and vote on that legislation before the House adjourns in mid-July. Let's all pause here. Our government is acknowledging a gap. If both sides of Congress can come together on the issue of education, surely we can all agree that it is one worthy of action.

The conversation below from Joe Erb's blog on investing in professional development sums up how our industry should view education. 

CFO asks CEO: What happens if we invest in developing our people and they leave?

CEO: What happens if we don't, and they stay?

Joe certainly put words into action by becoming one of the first FenestrationAssociate certified professionals, acknowledging that knowledge is power. In a highly competitive market with well-educated customers, it’s important for industry professionals to maintain a broad knowledge base. I challenge you to evaluate how to strategically strive toward professional development. The effects on your culture and customers will be worth the investment.

Angela Dickson is marketing manager for AAMA. Contact her at adickson@aamanet.org

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

When I think about relationships, I first think about the bond I have with my immediate family. Undoubtedly, these three individuals forge the most significant and meaningful relationship in my life. I can only assume that the rest of the world also sees relationships through this familial lens.

As I’ve matured, I have discovered that I tend to value relationships with everyone else outside of my family in much the same way. As a businessman, I count these connections not only as an entry in the asset column but as a testament to how a business should be run. Without cultivating the relationships I’ve built with my partners, my employees and, most importantly, my customers, I would either be a lousy business owner or I wouldn’t be in business at all.

Which makes the decision to be a people person rather simple.  

At FeneTech, our mission statement is all about providing the best products we can create and develop then providing for our customers ongoing, sustained, and meaningful support for those products.  It follows that building strong, lasting and valuable relationships with our customers is paramount to remaining successful. 

How do we do this?  First, all FeneTech employees strive to bring our best to the table when we’re sitting down with our customers, whether it’s a live meeting, a virtual meeting, a telephone call, an email, or over a few beers. During special events, like the FeneVision User Conference, we take the opportunity to treat our customers as the treasured guests they are. It is usually here that our customers connect—in person—with the developers and support personnel. To this end, it’s satisfying to see our customers connecting with our people. 

All of this is accomplished in a setting that is conducive to conversation, camaraderie, and just a little bit of crazy fun. It is gratifying to experience the fellowship that comes along with having customers and vendors who have become like family to us. Equally rewarding is developing new friendships among newcomers. 

Ron Crowl is president and CEO of FeneTech Inc.

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.