Tours, Trends, Awards, and Football
Touring facilities, catching up with friends, and thoughts on the ABI release
Checking out facilities
This past week I had the opportunity to tour some incredible facilities and it really drove home the pure talent and drive we have in our industry. As you know, I love seeing different operations, I always learn something. This time it was a chance to see plants that were truly built from the ground up and in constant evolution mode.
First, I was at Frameless Hardware Company (FHC). This company is only a few years old but they are absolutely rolling like a group that’s been doing it for years. The work ethic of all involved there is driving that train. I was impressed by the layouts of their space, the focus on quality, and the constant push to innovate. Plus as an old marketing guy, I was jealous of their process there, so impressive and thorough. It was great to visit with Chris Hanstad and Barry Sutherland during this time. I had them on my podcast last year and to see where they were then to where they are now was very cool.
Then I stopped in at Glasswerks. For me, that was a bucket list thing going back years. Once upon a time I was in the same organization as Glasswerks but never saw their plants. First thing that caught me was the drive through will-call setup. That was something I have never seen and it made me think of Chik-fil-A in the way that it was organized and run. Then seeing all of the operating centers, with an incredible variety of machinery all producing at a very high level. This was not the typical plant, with everything under one roof, there were several areas broken up by buildings and yet the collaboration and communication going on had everything rolling in perfect rhythm.
It’s funny, our industry takes so much heat from those that don’t know us, but over the last month I have now seen Quaker, FHC, and Glasswerks and those operations would change the mind of any skeptic of what we do. High quality, great cultures, and strong leaders. Good stuff all around and thank you to the teams at these companies for inviting me in, I truly appreciate the time and hospitality.
Catching up with old friends
I was in Southern California for a college reunion wrapped around a great concert at SoFi Stadium. Amazing structure and cool to see all the glass and glazing I’ve heard about previously. Loved that switchable from Privacy Glass Solutions and pal Kevin Roth! I was also very lucky to get to catch up with Joe Green of GlasPro, Scott and Kendal Rowe of Rowe Fenestration, and the OG #GlassNerd Andrew Haring. Tremendous time chopping it up with them with some excellent hospitality and fun video recording for GlassBuild. Very memorable for sure.
This week's pod
In case you missed it, and especially because I was off of the blog last week, my most recent podcast with Tim Widner of Lippert and Dan Shields of Fabricated Products Group is up. The reaction here has been great and I am thrilled these talented guys took the time with me and also shared what they did. Tim’s comments attracting people to our world and Dan’s project breakdowns were standouts in the feedback, check it all out! Watch the video here, or listen here.
Major deal possibly in the works
On the rumor mill the smoke is turning to fire. Keep your eyes open, a major deal is getting close to going down in our industry. This deal could go a few different ways, so we’ll see what happens, but some excitement is coming. I will say this same deal has been left at the altar a few times, so nothing is a lock.
GlassBuild coming up
By the way, my travels are garnering a lot of interest in GlassBuild. Obviously I am biased and obviously that makes me very happy, GlassBuild gaining buzz, not me being biased. The new “Main Stage” with many special programs really has people fired up. The Women in Glass program, hot off an amazing and impromptu gathering at BEC is going to be game changing. Then the updates, awards, education, and a very important session on mental health is not to be missed. Register today and use MAXPOD as your code for a free floor entry!
Thoughts on ABI release
Last week we did have a new Architectural Billings Index release and it’s still above water at 51.0, but the cracks are now showing. I have been worrying on this for a while, really questioning how this index could keep performing and maybe I was just ahead the lag.
In any case, it was positive this month but down from last and analysis is pointing towards the trend continuing in that direction. I don’t like negative but I want to be able to prepare properly and I think we have some choppy waters coming. Between this and that weakening residential sector, the red flags are starting to raise. You know the drill folks. Communicate, learn, diversify, and work your own business versus worrying about your competition.
Glass Canada's top 10 under 40
Recently Glass Canada announced a list of their top 10 under 40 years old and two of the people caught my eye. Ryan Spurgeon of Antamex and Laura Little of Goldray. Ryan is a very smart guy who has an energy level that I wish I had. He’s an outside the box thinker too, the status quo is not for him and I love he’s done things like throw his group in very early with new trends like modular attachments in Sapphire Balconies and transparent PV from Ubiquitous Energy. The PV one especially looks brilliant in light of the latest tax incentives and Ryan’s companies push into the US with high performance fabricated glass.
I have talked about Laura and her company quite a bit here, props also to Lisa Maragh who really is a great communications conductor of that train, and Laura’s inclusion is so deserved. Great passion and enthusiasm for our space and that shows in every presentation or event she is involved in. Laura will also push for innovation and collaboration which are areas we need to keep improving on. Both Ryan and Laura will be great ambassadors for our world for many years to come! The others on this list obviously deserve recognition I just don’t know them, but please check them out here.
Football is back! Now I am not thrilled that time is flying but it is what it is, so time to make my absolutely guaranteed picks for winners this year. In college football, no one is beating Ohio State. Notre Dame will end up being the closest and they couldn't do it. I am a Michigan guy and yes I hope this jinxes them, but OSU gives me nightmares.
In the pros, coming off two straight correct Super Bowl picks, I am going with Baltimore over Green Bay for the call this year. And simultaneously Matt Verderamo (Ravens) and Jon Johnson (Packers) are mad at me. No one is paying attention to the Ravens and they are well coached with good D and a tough QB to defend. Good luck everyone with your favorite teams!