glassblog

Monday, March 26, 2018

Window Safety Week, held next week, is observed to heighten the awareness of what parents and caregivers should do to help keep their family and visitors safer from the risks of window falls or injuries in their home, as well as how they can use their windows for emergency escape and rescue purposes.

While everyone in our industry knows that window safety is important year-round, this is a great opportunity to think about how your company can promote safety and to get crucial information out to your customers. There are many tools and resources available to you and your company to educate your customers about what it means to practice window safety.

The Window Safety Task Force developed the 2018 Window Safety Week Tool Kit to help get companies started. The tools and tips in the kit are for use not only during Window Safety Week, but all year. It contains materials to promote window safety awareness in your own company, including an email template for company employees, as well as tips regarding window safety to share with employees and customers.

Other elements in the kit that help company’s spread the word to customers are an article for your company newsletter or announcement, and social media information and sample posts. It’s also geared to share with family, friends, community, club or service organizations, and the local media with information on why Window Safety Week is so important and even a sample letter-to-the-editor. To help teach children about window safety, an activity book is available from the task force, as well as additional information for parents and caregivers.

Though Window Safety Week, observed annually every first full week in April, is an important reminder, window safety education should be ongoing. Readers can download the company kit here to help spread the word about Window Safety Week or visit AAMA’s Window Safety page for more information.

Angela Dickson is marketing and communications director for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. 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.

Monday, March 26, 2018

While the volatility on the financial markets continues, I am still constantly monitoring the different indexes that track construction-related activities. I am also talking with folks every day about the “real time” feel for the marketplace. 

On the index side, the latest Architectural Billings Index continues to show positivity. With a score of 52, the index was on the plus side led by very strong efforts from the West and Midwest territories. The Dodge Momentum Index also showed plus numbers for last month, but just barely, registering only a ½ percent gain on the previous report. Still, while the numbers overall are in the right place some analysts are starting to fret that growth on the commercial side is showing some weaknesses. That is something to watch. Keep in mind, spending forecasts for commercial have been showing gains through 2020, so there is still quite a bit of optimism.

As for the “real time” feel, that has been on the pessimistic side for the most part. The market had some soft spots in February that I believe most figured would go away in March but have not. For current work, the horrendous weather in the Northeast has to be playing a part for that region. Backlogs for fourth quarter and first quarter 2019 are not where many want them to be either, so that is adding to the angst. I think since we all lived through those insane days of the previous recession, our fear mechanism is set to trigger faster than normal. Obviously, we’ll continue to watch and communicate.

Elsewhere…

  • I have written many times on Amazon. I am truly intrigued by that organization. Bloomberg recently took a pretty detailed look at Amazon and it’s absolutely worth the read. 

  • Speaking of Amazon, in the latest Glass Magazine (full review coming next week) there’s a profile on one of its new buildings in Seattle that was fabricated by Vitrum Glass Group. The building is a show stopper. Kudos to the team at Vitrum for a job well done as well as the folks at Walker Glass, Kuraray, Glass Coatings and Concepts, Vitro, and Walters and Wolf who all took part in this incredible project. Awesome work by all! Also, kudos to Viracon on the tower facade glass on the towers there. Nice job.

  • I find myself constantly interested in the “Internet of Things,” also known as IoT. Katy Devlin and Glass Magazine have had some excellent stories on it, and Ron Crowl and his team at Fenetech have been leaders in working to educate the industry and seeing where this movement can go. There is no doubt that more automation and IoT will be in modern glass fabrication plants. It’s just probably going to take a while. As for the mainstream side of IoT, there was an excellent piece on Full Measure News this past weekend that is worth the watch as well. 

  • By the way, I am a fan of Full Measure News. It comes out every Sunday with three or four stories and it’s really well done. In a world of some “interesting” news sites, this one has been pretty solid, in my opinion.

  • Last this week, I have written on modular building and how it’s growing. Now we have the news of an actual factory in Chicago to do modular only. Interesting read and also the comment at the end asking how the building permitting process will work is one that has me curious, too.

Read on for links and video of the week…

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

E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com. The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, March 19, 2018

It's time to submit your company for consideration in Glass Magazine’s annual Top 50 Glaziers program. The June 2018 issue of Glass Magazine will feature the highest-earning contract glaziers of 2017.

The Top 50 Glaziers report recognizes leading North American glazing firms based on annual sales, and will include glazier profiles, industry statistics, project spotlights and more.

We want to feature the glass industry's achievements. In order for us to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information, we rely on direct submissions from the industry. If your company should be included in the Top 50 Glaziers report, please complete the nomination form. The submission deadline is March 30, 2018.

Please contact me with any questions or comments.

Norah Dick is the assistant editor of Glass Magazine. Contact her at ndick@glass.org.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Last week, my mega blog on the BEC missed a few nuggets, so I wanted to clean that up here. There were some additional pieces that I found newsworthy. As always, Dr. Tom Culp provides an update with extreme value as does Urmilla Jokhu-Sowell. First amongst the many nuggets from Tom was discussion on where the energy codes will go next. He listed four bullet points that I found relevant:

  • More high performance thermal breaks

  • More fourth surface low-emissivity, or triple glazing

  • More warm-edge spacers

  • Lower SHGC triple silvers in the south

For some of us, the thought of these things is exciting, and for some of us the thought is nauseating. For those sick to their stomachs, it’s coming, but you have a bit of time, so you may want to prepare. One thought I had is I wonder if moves like this will grow the vacuum insulating glass side in the commercial industry? Regardless, these are items to have on the radar.

Urmilla’s presentation did break down what’s happening on the technical side of NGA/GANA, and with the merged group some things will certainly change. But what will not is the desire to make sure the items that affect our industry the most will be addressed. I am excited to see how Urmilla and the technical side evolve and advance with the new set up.

Elsewhere….

  • I did run into Courtney Little of Ace Glass at BEC, but didn’t find out until after that he was just elected president of American Subcontractors Association. Courtney will be a great force there and he’s always been a tremendous person for insight for our industry. Congrats Courtney, and I hope to still see you at glass events even with your new responsibilities. 

  • Saw an interesting article this week that was promoting the “Tesla of Housing.” Basically, this was compared to the groundbreaking of Tesla vehicles and features a contractor specifically focused on advancing the energy efficiency in the housing market. The approach noted is basically Passive House, which is not new but still very good and important. Resistance in the United States has always been pretty strong, since we love our “McMansions,” so we’ll see if this developer can break that trend.

  • I do love the show Flip or Flop on HGTV, though I do believe the pricing that they assign to things is usually woefully low. Especially on shower enclosures. (Please, anyone who’s worked on that show with glass weigh in.) I find it very interesting to get into the minds of the players. And another show in that genre is “Fixer Upper” and from time to time Dustin Anderson of Anderson Glass plays a role. In the new episode that aired last Tuesday, Dustin had to fabricate a huge glass wall and install it on the third floor of an apartment building. The wall was weight bearing as well and Dustin and his team had to move materials up the old-fashioned way—through the stairwells! Overall, it was interesting to watch the players view what Dustin and his team did with amazement. Glass and glazing is so cool and so many don’t realize it. Kudos to Dustin for showing off what we do to the masses.

  • Last this week, my favorite show The Americans returns for its final season on March 28. Lots of loose ends to tie up and I simply 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.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Last week, more than 500 attendees gathered in Las Vegas for the 2018 Building Envelope Contractors Conference, the annual event targeted at providing in-demand industry education for glazing contractors. The conference, held March 4-6, drew leaders from across the industry—from glazing firms to glass fabricators to equipment suppliers and more. Glass Magazine interviewed a range of attendees about the health of the industry, the biggest challenge facing companies, the recent combination of the National Glass Association and the Glass Association of North America, and more.

Katy Devlin is editor in chief of Glass Magazine. Contact her at kdevlin@glass.org.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Another great BEC Conference is now in the books, and once again it was a major winner. Like the many I have attended previously, I left very fired up about what I learned and who I got to meet and spend time with. This year the attendee numbers were strong, with more than 500 there who were active, either in the conference area or in the mini trade show spot. This was the first year since those crazy pre-recession days that the numbers were that impressive. 

To recap, here’s what stuck out for me. 

Presentations 

  • The opening panel that featured leaders from the design, manufacturing, installation and contracting world was off the charts. It could have easily taken up the entire morning session, especially with quite a few questions that were still waiting in the queue. Lesson learned on the planning end: something that good needs more time. 

  • Tom Jackson, president of Steel Encounters, did an absolutely fantastic job on the world of employee relations, culture, and finding and retaining the workforce. He had one stat that I discussed with a lot of attendees and so I need to share here…

    “95% of job candidates believe culture is more important than compensation.”

    That still blows me away, but also shows I am old fashioned. The keynote (thanks to Guardian Glass and an inspired choice by Chris Dolan) addressed this topic. The speaker, Jeff Havens, provided an incredibly energetic and entertaining approach to generational differences in the workplace. And, my gosh, I am now officially old. 

  • Overall, the presentations were excellent with a ton of different subjects to satisfy so much of what the modern glazing contractor or installer could need. The technical meeting, chaired by the impressive Matt Kamper of Woodbridge Glass, was interesting. I always enjoy the ins and outs of it, but the fact that NFRC was covered in detail cracked me up. I have been in the NFRC mix since 2004! And we’re still talking about the same basic things. Just incredible, really. 

Networking

  • As always, the networking makes the event. The Sunday night reception was awesome. The room was jam-packed and when the reception ended it was still busy with the hotel management trying several different moves to get people to clear out. That is always the sign of a good party. And yes, I stayed ‘til the end. (That never, ever happens if you know me.)

  • Before I run into whom I visited, I have to give props to Gus Trupiano of AGC for leading this event as the chair of the BEC division. Gus is not only an excellent and classy man, he’s also a great leader who did the industry proud once again. Kudos as well to Sara Neiswanger of GANA/NGA for her tireless work on this. She does so much behind the scenes, and does it with great care and skill.

Familiar Faces 

  • It was fun to fly on a plane loaded with industry folks. Poor Joe Erb of Quanex got stuck in the middle seat next to me for 4 1/2 hours. He deserves a medal. Plus, the team from Guardian Glass was on board and I do sincerely enjoy chatting with them any chance I get. Once in Vegas it was great to see Bill Sullivan of Brin Glass. He’s a tremendous supporter of the industry and it is appreciated. In that same boat are people like Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP and Jon Kimberlain of Dow. I love what they do and getting a few minutes with each of them is a great honor for me.  

  • The talent on display at this event is really crazy. People like Gary McQueen of J.E. Berkowitz, Rob Carlson of Tristar and Ian Patlin of Paragon are so impressive to me. And my friend Shelly Farmer of Trex Commercial never disappoints. She’s always top of her game and doing great things. It’s well-known I am a fan of the Viracon guys Garret Henson, Seth Madole and Cameron Scripture. Brilliant and good people, too. 

  • Got to chat with Chris Knitter of Oahu Metal & Glazing for the first time in a few years and same with Maure Creager and Tim Finley of Sage Glass. (Side note: Sage has the coolest business cards. Props to Derek Malmquist on that.) I only see Tracy Robbins of Walters & Wolf at this event, and I am glad I always do, good guy! Running into a former co-worker of mine Wardi Bisharat of PRL was fantastic. She rocks as always.

  • Any time I get with the great Rich Porayko is a blessing for me. I got to tell the “how I met my wife” story to Bob Burkhammer of Giroux and his wonderful wife, and I spent some quality time with Bernard Lax of Pulp, which I value a ton. 

  • The event was so huge I did not see a lot of people I wanted to see. I barely saw Tim McGee of Glass Coatings and Concepts, and I missed Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural completely. I so badly wanted to hear how great things are going for him, as I see Clover everywhere these days! I also missed visiting with the Vitro folks and missed a few opportunities to catch up with old friend Tim Moore of Standard Bent. 

New Faces, New Things

  • I like meeting new people and learning new things, too. It was great to meet Charles Alexander, the newest addition at Walker Glass (though saying goodbye to Marc Deschamps was VERY hard for me); and meeting Joffy Thompson and John Vissari of United Plate Glass was incredible. Good, sharp guys for sure. As for new things, I learned about the new, exciting unitized product from Kurt Levan and Joel Phelps of Entekk; that was very cool. Best of luck to them.

It’s now on to the next events. For me, it’s most likely GlassBuild America, as I do not think I am attending AIA. And I am very excited about GlassBuild based on the vibes just experienced at BEC. We have a lot of positivity flowing in our industry right now, so let’s keep at it!

Read on for links and video of the week…

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

E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com. The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

Monday, March 5, 2018

I recently worked through one of the most interesting business milestones of my career. It was one of those educational “baptism by fire” learning experiences that makes you wiser but can only be appreciated in retrospect. I found myself leading my company through an industry acquisition—something business leaders read and hear about often but live through relatively infrequently.

Bohle had been looking for a simple solution to many market-related requests and we were able to accomplish this by indentifying, approaching, convincing and ultimately acquiring Portals—an established company in the shower door hardware business—all done over the better part of a year or so.

I wouldn’t have expected this milestone eight years ago when I came to the U.S. glass market. I have always been involved in organic growth and hadn’t planned on this. But what I learned is that you have to be open to the future, to options you might not expect. Relationships that started years ago might turn into something unexpected.

Back when we first came into contact with Portals, it was clear for both companies that we shared similarities and had a common thread that we could relate to. We were competitors in the shower door hardware industry. We competed for similar customers and shared adversaries. The setting could not be more dynamic.

As competitors, there was always an arm’s-length distance between us, but we managed to keep each other as close as possible. This ultimately helped to know each other on an operational basis and learn from each other’s best business practices.

There was always a non-exclusive relationship we kept with each other. This meant using each other for information and leverage when it came to customer angles, products and potential industry maneuvers to get ahead. We had respect for each other, but I didn’t expect it to translate to anything else.

Over time, we started to bump into each other more, and in some instances helped each other out. I started to think there might be another aspect to the relationship I hadn’t contemplated before: the ability to use our existing resources to complement each other’s customer base and build something stronger and better.

Consolidation is the natural occurrence where companies look into the industry for growth and understand the logic that one plus one equals three. I didn’t start out with that as my objective, but by keeping myself open to changes in the market, I was able to come up with an unexpected option and move forward. Done correctly, the end result is an efficient way of gaining market share and delivering more value to the customer.

Gareth Francey is the president of Bohle America, a supplier of glazing & handling tools, hardware, consumables, and machinery, for all levels of the glass industry. Francey has been with the Bohle organization since 2001 and led the American division since 2010. Contact him at gareth.francey@bohle-america.com.

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

Monday, March 5, 2018

This week, I am in Las Vegas at BEC, and I will have my review and wrap-up on the event on my post next week. With more than 500 people in attendance I truly expect some very interesting conversations and great insight into our world. And as always, I look forward to sharing some of my experiences here with you.

One person who is usually at BEC and won’t be here will be George Sultage of Vitro. As I wrote a few weeks back, George is battling a health issue and can still surely use all positive thoughts and prayers. We will miss you at the conference, George. Hang in there!

Elsewhere…

  • The economy has been pretty volatile since my last post. The stock market had some terrible days and some less-than-cheery forecasts came out. The possibilities of tariffs were openly discussed by the United States, and that was not accepted well by many. In the meantime, I point to a post from ITR Economics (you may remember them from having a yearly speaker at the Glazing Executives Forum), noting that five leading economic indicators are now trending lower and this came out before the stock market saw its declines. Add in some fears with regards to the homebuilders and the residential forecasts, and quite frankly, it was a skittish week. Hopefully this week will be better, but it’s surely now more important to keep an eye on all of the metrics out there.

  • My good friend Marc Deschamps of Walker Glass announced his retirement, and that is going to be a huge knowledge and personality loss to our industry. Marc is a wonderful man who was extremely dedicated to his company and industry. A tremendous volunteer; the amount of time he gave up to help push industry topics forward was amazing. His departure will leave a hole in a lot of efforts, that is for sure. Personally, I am really going to miss seeing him and his awesome suits and style at the various glass industry events. Best of luck and fortune to you Marc and ENJOY retirement, my friend. You earned it!

  • Recently I wrote on licensing and certification and I got a few questions on the process and the organization. A very good overview handout is here.

  • Also, this week a pal of mine called to ask me about the Silica Rule via OSHA. It is real, folks, and as frustrating as can be. Glass Magazine has written some excellent pieces about it. In case you missed them, you can click here and here.

  • Last this week, I have one kid in college and one about to go in the fall. So, I had to laugh when I was told about a major being offered at Northern Michigan University. It is in Marijuana. Yup. But it’s not as easy as it sounds: interesting story here. It will be fascinating to see how this takes off.

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.