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A Book, an Index, a Reminder, and More...

A few weeks ago, I noted that there was a book out about the legendary HOK architectural firm. I mentioned I wasn’t going to buy it because it was pricey. Well I am very fortunate to have a very, very good friend who bought it for me and sent it my way. (I am humbled by the friendship we have and his class shown constantly.) And thanks to him I probably now read the best of the year.

The book is “Designing a World-Class Architecture Firm: The People, Stories, and Strategies Behind HOK” by Patrick MacLeamy, and it was an incredible read. This book was part inside story of how HOK was built and survived, including some serious warts and speedbumps along with parts of hardcore business lessons. MacLeamy brings a very conversational style throughout and I seriously could not put it down. I finished the book in two sittings, which these days is crazy. It was that good. I learned a ton about HOK and I seriously thought I knew them well ... nope. Especially the sports and stadium side of their business, and how that happened and then re-happened really caught me off guard. Good stuff and if any of you get it and read it, let me know what you think!


  • The next Architectural Billings Index is released this week, and it’s time to predict the scores again. We’ve been flat for two months on the main index, and I have been waiting for the drop. I think we go slightly down to 39 from 40 on that one. The one I am most curious on is the design contract score, which was up last month to 46. I have been expecting a lull to hit that and I am going to throw out 43.5 for the score.

    This whole index, as well as all of the forecasts, have been defying some conventional wisdom in when and where they are dropping. Obviously, I don’t want negative, but it is coming. Work on the books is dropping in real life, so eventually it’s going to play out here.
  • Just a reminder, all of the incredible content from last month’s GlassBuild Connect is still available on demand at So that means all of the panels, demos and products are still there for review. I find myself popping back and forth to that site to track something down or catch a product that I missed. Example, “The New Normal- Design and Construction,” moderated by the great Andrew Haring. This panel had it all, and the insights provided were top notch. You can find that (and many others) under the Outlook Tuesday’s section in the “On Demand” section of the site.
  • Also, good content on the way from the Façade Tectonics Institute (FTI) on a subject I have serious interest in: “Adaptive Capacity: Building and Facade System Responsiveness to Changing Social Behaviors.” If there is ever a time to talk behavior and change, it surely is now and with the awesome Mic Patterson leading an all-star panel, this will be one not to miss. For more info on this and the rest of the FTI event you can click here.
  • Last this week, my run of the most influential in the last 15 years of this blog. I decided that it’s 15 spots and some of those spots may include a few people that either are from the same company or were involved in the same efforts. I’ll be throwing out two of these each week until the end of the year and that will actually lead in to my 2020 MVP award. A lot of people to cover in both areas that is for sure.

    Ok, now on to two more spots in my top 15. The first one this post goes to Jeff Haber of W&W Glass. Back in my youth there was a commercial that was pretty big that was “When EF Hutton Talks People Listen.” For me, in the glass and glazing industry, when Jeff Haber talks, we all listen. Intently. And we should. Jeff and his company have been on top of the game for years and what I truly appreciate here more than anything is Jeff could just keep the knowledge and skillset he and W&W have developed to themselves but instead they are involved in the industry and willing to help make everyone better. Jeff’s influence on BEC made a solid event a ton better and he has represented our world well. Easily, he’s one of the most influential out there.

    Joining him this week is what I am calling the Advocacy Dream Team, and that has to be led by the late great Greg Carney. Greg has been gone since 2013 but I don’t think a day goes by where many of us in the industry who were influenced by him are using something he taught us or led us to. I think about him all the time. Greg for a long time at GANA was a one-man technical show until the brilliant Urmilla Sowell was added and Urmilla was able to take the ball and run with it, doing amazing things to grow the technical awareness in our industry, and protect and advance what we do. The final piece came with Dr. Tom Culp representing us nationally and fighting on the front lines of “The Battle for the Wall,” and still doing his best work these days as we continue to fight against forces who want less glass in buildings. Those three―Greg, Urmilla, and Tom―share a spot on my most influential in the last 15 years and we were and are lucky to have them in our corner.

Read on for links of the week...


Max Perilstein

Max Perilstein

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. Contact him at