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From the Fabricator

New Company, New Battles, and Lots of Kudos

The biggest news last week was the acquisition of Global Security Glazing and Dlubak Specialty Glass by Isoclima. This is massive news because it brings one of the best glass players in the world in Isoclima into the United States. Having their expertise matched with the talented and hungry folks…

Deals, Awards, Entrepreneurs and More

This is another week where there’s no lead story, but a bunch of smaller ones to comment on or catch up with. Including two stories I completely missed along with a bunch of other relevant items, including FeneTech's acquisition.

Future Still Looking Positive

Through all of the crazy and frustrating challenges we are facing, the one good index that has been on a roll, continued that this week with the latest Architectural Billings Index. The latest ABI came in at a stunning score of 56.6 which is up from 55.6 last month (remember over 50 is positive)…

Finally Getting It

I chuckle sometimes on how far ahead all of us are in this industry versus most of the world. Case in point: the supply chain. We all have been intimately involved in the massive supply challenges as it pertains to our industry for many months now, also while noticing the rest of the world is a…

New Pod, Jobsites, Careers, and the "Deathstar"

You are seeing it quite a bit online, and in the trades, but this month is Careers in Construction Month. I think all of us pushing this is more crucial than ever. We have all seen that it’s gotten even harder to attract folks to our awesome world, so time for those of us in it to step up and help…

Yes, Glass is Great

Last week Glass Magazine published a story that took off like a rocket ship and was shared a ton on social media. Honestly, this was a story that should be shared in every office in our industry and with as many people outside of our bubble as possible.

Boards, Indexes, Talking Shop and More

First, we’ll start with sad news, the passing of Thad Max Ziegler. Thad Max was great man who I had to honor of meeting back in the 90’s when our respective companies almost became partners. He was an amazing person and leader who worked an astounding 73 years in this business. My sincerest…

The Official GlassBuild Who's Who Recap

Well, that was a heck of a week…what a show we had in Atlanta. The opportunity to be back in front of people face to face really was energizing for all that attended, and my expectation of a motivated audience came true.

GlassBuild Kicks Off

This week writing this mostly from the floor at GlassBuild as we’ve finally made it, we’ve finally gotten to the show! It’s been a heck of a run since the last GlassBuild in person in 2019, and so far, so good in getting to see people and build back those great personal connections that we all…

Trailblazers and Disruptive Forces

I know in some pockets of our industry there’s stunningly no sight of a glass shortage, and all is well. In others, it’s a struggle. Well, folks, the bad news is I think things on the glass side are going to get even worse. So those of you not having issues, get ready, and those of you who are…

Articles, Ads, Reports, Pods, & More

The latest Architectural Billings Index was strong yet again but did show some slippage from last month. Possibly some of the uneven aspects of our economy is starting to catch up? The score of 54.6, down from 57.1, is still excellent but does show there’s some leveling off and the new inquiries…

It's On!

In about three weeks the industry will gather once again in Atlanta for GlassBuild. Yes. The show is on, everything is still set and hundreds of awesome exhibitors will be there ready to show off the latest and greatest.

New Pod and Stunning Closure

The Apogee news on closing the Statesboro, Georgia, facility and Velocity still has me stunned, especially the Velocity portion. Just did not see that coming at all.

Bernard and Dick Sr.

This isn’t going to be a normal post for me. This past week was a rough one in our industry. Two tremendous and important men passed away. One was very well known nationally, one was not. Both, though, had immeasurable effects on our business and I am dedicating this post to each of them.…

Focused Forward

It’s August. This year is just flying by. We are now just six weeks away from GlassBuild and I am trying to stay focused on that and not on the absolute circus in the U.S. with regards to the virus, mandates, and so on.

Big and Important Deals

What a week in our world. Two massive partnerships were announced that could really push emerging technology to new levels. Very exciting stuff for our industry for sure. 

Podcast Deep Dives

I noted last week that we’d have a mid-year forecast coming out, and it was an interesting one. We are in a slow stretch (some feel this more than others) and the outlook for the future is positive, but concern on the virus and the lack of vaccinations in the construction trade are a worry as is…

Mid-Year Check In

It is now mid-year forecast time, and this coming week we’ll have a big release on what some of the main analysts are seeing for the rest of 2021 and into 2022. My approach is still the same, we knew 2021 was a “donut” and for a lot of the industry, but not all, we are in the hole right now. …

10 Years!

This week is a milestone week for me as my little company will turn 10 years old on Friday. I simply can’t believe it’s been a decade on my own, but here we are. Obviously, a major thank you to all of you who have trusted me to work with you on your communication strategy, and gratitude also to all…

June Bloom

June brings the annual start to Hurricane Season. For the next few months, we’ll be on high alert with regards to storms moving into the east coast or up through the Gulf. The glass and glazing industry has truly made a major impact, no pun intended, on this space.

Yes on the Future, Meh on the Current

The ABI's immediate analysis pointed to pent up demand and to retrofit. I have been hammering the retrofit side for a while as a huge growth area, and it’s great to see the experts agree. The only bad news here is this is future-based, so we’ll get to enjoy this run later this year and into next,…

The Road Back Begins

The road to being “back” took a major step forward this past week in San Antonio, Texas, at the TEXpo event there. The organizers and the incredible Texas Glass Association did a wonderful job with the setup and layout, and it was great to be back on a show floor again!

New Pod, Great People and Products

The news came down this week that 2022 will be the International Year of Glass! That is tremendous stuff, and should only be good for all of us going forward. I expect a lot more details to come, but as the great leader of this effort, Alicia Duran, noted in her announcement of this happening, “…

Supply Chain Scaries

Every few months a complete supply chain update for the building product world is published by Gilbane. It is an excellent resource and for the longest time glass was always listed as “stable” in the three main categories of price, inventories, and deliveries. That is no longer the case as in the…

The Vax

Since the pandemic started, I have pretty much made it a mission not to talk specifically about anything directly connected to it. This post however I am going to break that approach. Reason being is I am curious on what companies are doing with regards to the vaccination process. 

Forecasts, Podcasts, and More

The next release of the Architectural Billings Index comes out Wednesday. There is a ton of anticipation for this one given how great the last report was. I’m going in with the attitude of hope for the best but expect the worst. I don’t think there’s any way the March results will beat February,…

Labor Pains

The challenge of finding labor is now the biggest it has ever been, and is not getting easier. As the economy starts to come back and companies of all types are returning to “normal” business, there is a shortage of willing people to work.

Big Company Moves

We heard the news of the assets from Columbia Commercial Building Products being divvyed up between two companies, with the window system going to Arcadia and the architectural aluminum to FHC. Nice moves for both of those companies, especially with regards to expanding their products lines. Again…

Positive Report

The ABI came in at a stunning 53.3! The score of 50 is the break even and so this score not only shot past that but did so for the first time since this pandemic began. New project inquiries also went through the roof, posting a 61.2 and new contracts posted a nice 51.6. All in all, a super report.

The Tightening of Supply

It has been on the radar for a while, and now it’s time to say it again. Everything is getting tighter. What I mean by that is there’s not many areas in the supply chain that are chock full of inventory.

Impressive Industry Minds on Display

The March edition of the From the Fabricator podcast is now live. This release is a bit earlier than normal because I didn’t want to conflict with the episode drops from BEC Presents coming next week, so I hope you’ll still make room in your listening/viewing schedule for all!

The Man, the Myth, the Legend

In the next issue of Glass Magazine there is a story I am very proud to be associated with. It is a “Take 5 with Randy Steinberg” of Glasswerks, and it really was a fun one to dig into. Getting this chance and digging into what makes Randy tick really was special.

On the Bumpy Road

As always, a couple keys for our world continue to be a push to make sure you are as diverse as possible and communicating at the most effective level with your supply chain. We knew the bumpy road was out there and we’re looking at it straight ahead right now.

Interesting Innovations and More

I sat in on the latest construction forecast for 2021 this past week and so far, the initial predictions for the year are panning out. Slowdowns expected to the middle half of the year with pick-ups at the end.

From the Fabricator: Huge Benefits

There was a lot of news that came out of the NGA Glass Conference last week, but the biggest to me was the announcement of a huge members benefit: the members-only Codes & Standards Help Center. That is something we’ve needed in this industry for a long time. It is finally here and it’s…

What Happens Next?

The big news of the week was all surrounding what is going on with JE Berkowitz and the CGH brand. JEB has suspended operations and Columbia in Texas is closing, and that was tough news to take. Good companies that had some super people.

Down But Not Out

Recently AIA released their “Consensus” forecast update that takes eight different indexes and averages them out. The prediction for 2021, when all is said and done, is a 5.7 percent decrease in nonresidential spending in the new year.

The New Addition: A Podcast!

I am excited to announce a new addition to the “From the Fabricator” family. I have launched a new monthly podcast! Yes, as if once a week my writing was not enough, now once a month you can see/hear me talking up the industry.

Predictions for 2021

Hot off the presses, it’s time to dive into my predictions for our industry in 2021. This should be a very interesting year (understatement alert) as we continue to hopefully move further and further away from the 2020 virus.

And so we begin!

Has there ever been a new year where there is an absolute unanimous agreement that it is great to move on to the next? I think obviously this is the one with all of us now looking forward with hope and positivity to 2021.

Get Ready for The Glass Age

Will 2022 be the year of Glass? I have mentioned this a few times, but there is an excellent international move afoot to make 2022 officially the year of glass and would begin the “The Glass Age” in our world. Obviously, I love it.

Rough Week

We start this week some tough news. A few days ago, word came that Cliff Monroe passed away. Cliff was a leading technical mind in our industry for many years, and held important roles at Arch Aluminum, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope and eventually his own consulting company. Cliff was also a main…

Forecast Season Begins

The first of two major construction forecasts were released this previous week, and leading off was the annual Dodge Data & Analytics Conference. This forecast says the commercial sector for starts will finish down 23 percent this year and only gain back 5 percent of that in 2021.

The Battle Continues

It may have been forgotten, or at least minimized, in light of all else going on in our world, but our industry is still “battling” for the wall. There continues to be movements out there for less glass and it is one that the NGA and its dream team of leaders and advocates are fighting at every…

BOD, PR, and Q&A

I have written a few times on the book "Designing a World-Class Architecture Firm" by Patrick MacLeamy former CEO of HOK. I was lucky enough to get an email interview with Patrick and here is Part 1. You’ll see how his passion comes through here and the book was the same way.  

Better News

The latest Architectural Billings Index was released this week and it was an absolute stunner. The scoring was way beyond what I expected or what conventional wisdom was pointing to. After a few months being stuck at 40―remember a score of 50 is break-even―the index shot up to 47 this month.…

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

This whole Architectural Billings 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. 

Continuing the Comeback

FGIA's economic forecast featured a prediction that the airline and hotel industries will come back. I hope this call on the return to success by airlines and hotels happens and happens soon.  

15 Years!

It was in October of 2005 that I started this blog. Never in my wildest dreams did I think 15 years later I’d still be plugging away, week after week posting, but here I am. Fifteen years this month. Allow me to please take a quick look backwards, especially for those of you new folks who found me…

Finishing Strong

Well here we are, another month down as we steam toward the end (thankfully) of 2020. And, also, with the end of the month comes the end of the awesome GlassBuild Connect event. It has been a heck of a run, and this week it finishes strong with some amazing panels. 

Huge Retirement

The big news from the industry this week was the announced planned retirement of Apogee CEO Joe Puishys. I have been a huge fan of Joe’s from the first time I heard him speak at BEC and believe he is an excellent leader and representative of our industry. 

Time to Act

This past week at GlassBuild Connect, Connor Lokar from ITR Economics delivered an incredible performance―more than 75 minutes of detailed intel and dives in the economic landscape. For all of us though I think the thing to focus on is “how are we going to deal with it?” How are we going to pivot…

Big Week Ahead

There are two major, can’t-miss presentations coming this week. On Tuesday, the most comprehensive and independent economic forecast focused on our industry happens. Connor Lokar is a tremendous speaker with impressive credentials on the economic side of things. Then Wednesday, Jorma Vitkala makes…

It Is Time! 

It is finally here. GlassBuild Connect kicks off this week, and for the next month we’ll be focused on the best that our industry has to offer. Obviously, this year is like no other and GlassBuild being an online experience is like nothing else out there. I am honored to work on the team there to…

Trends Up, Down, and All Around

The latest Architectural Billings Index results were released this past week and they came in pretty much like I expected. Still not great, and not what we had been used to, but they were better than what they were and what they could be. 

Happy Trails

The next release of the Architectural Billings Index will be released this week and this one will be more interesting than normal. As you may remember, last month was a “good” report (relative to the time we are in) and had some momentum.  

Blip on the Radar?

An interesting and unfavorable trend appeared this week in my normal communications around the industry. For the first time since the virus started locking us down, I am getting reactions that business has slowed down for many. This week, though, I heard from more than a few people in different…

Clearing Off The Desk

FTI’s month of tremendous content leading into GlassBuild Connect for a month is flat out awesome for the industry. So much learning at so many different levels. Two events back to back that are difference-makers. 

2020 Mid-Year Forecast Notes

Starting off this week with some forecasting news. There was a good economic mid-year update presented this week and some interesting nuggets came from it. The analysts see us being past the bottom now and rising. The metrics are all pointing at least in an upward direction.  

Hanging Tough

Resilience. If there is a word that accurately describes the glass and glazing industry right now, it’s that one. While I hear about other industries having companies fall by the wayside or have several actively looking to sell, for the most part our world has followed a dogged determination path…

The Mental Game

One of my best friends is a professional coach. He works with business people and athletes and helps them on the mental game. He’s given me tips and directions along the way that have made a huge difference in how I am able to operate. 

The Massive Importance of GlassBuild

I think for all of us in the industry we may take GlassBuild for granted. It’s always been there, but it’s actually more than a show―it’s the lifeblood of the industry and the NGA. It’s what is needed to be able to have the technical chops, guidelines, bulletins and conferences.  

From the Fabricator: Surprising Code Watch

We had a double blast of code dives this week with webinars from the National Glass Association and from Glass Canada. Both webinars did sound at least a minor alarm about the next area of concern for the commercial glass world when it comes to codes; that would be the spandrel area. This is…

Back at It

More details came through on the July Glass Conference that will be all online. I mentioned the Conference on my last post but the extra particulars on the schedule got me going. The agenda is loaded and the value for three days of education―$150 for members and $200 for non-members―is off the…

The Glass Conference

I’ve noted this previously but here goes again; there’s a ton of content out there right now and it’s a challenge to determine what is worthy and what is not. One event that is absolutely worth it―even more than ever this year―is the Glass Conference coming in July.

Being Ready

So many times, I hear “Well as soon as things change we’ll push more, we’ll go then,” and that attitude is chasing the wave, instead of being on top of it. The play should be: Ready. Stay Ready.

Quick Hits

The Dodge Momentum Index was only slightly down in its latest reading for May. But before we get too positive, this report is a 3-month moving average, and so expectations are that this index will see some serious drops in the next month or two. It bears watching for sure.

Forecast Updates

I sat in on the ConstructConnect webinar this week that was an update to bring folks up to speed on the current construction forecast landscape. Bottom line? We all have to keep being strategic, diverse―design and code changes will help glass―and active in fighting and marketing for our businesses…

What the Recent Index Means

If the ABI continues to scuffle, and we expect it will, the angle of strategy and diversification takes a much bigger role. If you are not looking hard at what you can do to be ahead of the game right now, you are missing out.

The Work Doesn't Stop

The latest Architectural Billings Index was released, and I think we all expected bad. And dreadfully bad is what we got. The index came in with a 33.3, which is way below the break- even index of 50. 

Get Updated

One thing is for sure right now and it’s there is a lot of information out there on loans and assistance but how do you know what is right or wrong? I was thrilled that the National Glass Association was able to setup a must-attend webinar with financial expert Marco Terry to talk about things like…

Strategic Planning

We all have to be mindful of what is going on now, but if we are not constantly in motion with plans for the future we are missing out. Eventually things are going to break here―do you want to be chasing that curve or on top of it? 

Remembering the Positivity

BEC was a little over a month ago and I never in my wildest dreams would’ve thought we’d be where we are at right now. The reason I bring up BEC is because the positivity and the focus there is something we can’t lose sight of. We have brilliant people and companies in our industry and we have an…

The Meaning of Essential

Obviously, we all have felt what we do is essential and that we provide an incredible and very important building product. However, for years we had always been beaten down either in the codes or by random glass bashing articles. Now during this time of crisis we get our answer and in a majority of…

Watching Other Items

On March 18, the latest Architectural Billings Index was released.The latest report is for February and it was compiled before things turned upside-down. The index came in with an excellent score of 53.4. 

From the Fabricator: BEC Recap

BEC was a massive success. The largest attendance since 2008, and the new location, brought an amazing amount of energy. For years, those of us who were BEC originals could never fathom moving it from Las Vegas. Now, it’s pretty clear that rotating this event around gives it a new and fresh flavor. 

From the Fabricator: BEC 2020 is Here

It is BEC week! Each year, there are two events for me that are above all others. The Building Envelope Contractors Conference in the spring, and GlassBuild America in the Fall. I live for these events because of the ability to grow business, and myself. 

The Virus

It is time to talk about the Coronavirus and what could be next for all of us. This obviously is very frightening situation on many levels and one that many of us in North America have not felt yet but probably will…soon. 

American Factory

Several months ago, the documentary “American Factory” was released. I immediately watched this documentary and when it was over, I said to myself, there is no way I will ever blog about this.

Looking at 2040

Lots of think pieces out there asking where the world will be and what it will look like in 2040, so I decided to do the same thing briefly with our industry in mind. I think we are headed into an incredible run because glass is about to grow dramatically on the interior of a building, while still…

The Consensus Forecast Says...

We begin this week with another economic focus, with the release of the American Institute of Architects Consensus Forecast. AIA’s consensus for 2020 is showing the nonresidential world slightly up for the year.

Get Ready for the Year of Glass

How cool would it be if our industry, our little world, had the honor of having a year named for it? Well, if we all can come together and push, maybe 2022 will be known as the International Year of Glass by the U.N. 

From the Fabricator: The 2020 Predictions

We’ve reviewed past predictions and now it’s time to break out the trusty crystal ball and look at what I see ahead in the next 11 1/2 months of 2020. I am pretty confident about this grouping, and ready to go five for five when I review at the start of next year.

2019 Prediction Review

Before we can look forward into 2020, time for one more look back at 2019 and specifically at my predictions for the industry posted one year ago. Let’s see how I did!

From the Fabricator: 2020 - First Look

Happy New Year! We are off and running in 2020, and I am excited about all to come this year. Each year on this blog I start off with reviewing my predictions from the previous year, and then I go to my predictions for the year ahead. Next week is when I’ll look back, and the week after is when I’…

And the Industry MVP is....

And here we are ... the end of the year and my final scheduled post for 2019. As is my tradition, it’s in this post that I reveal the runners up and MVP of our fine industry during the past year.

My list of Best Buildings of 2019

The year’s end always brings “best of” lists and in our world, there are usually best building and project lists usually put out by architectural trade magazines. I went in search of those articles, found a few, and have to say I’m pretty bummed on the selections that some of the pubs made for “…

BEC Registration Opens, Job Moves, Cool Website and More

Registration is now open for BEC 2020. This year the event is in Nashville, and the early schedule is incredible. Topics that are crucial for the glazing contracting community are on tap. This year the schedule is different than past years. DO NOT skip the second day, as it’s loaded with content.…

Glass Getting a Positive Push

At the end of last month Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote a pretty fascinating blog post. The post was headlined “Buildings are Bad for the Climate,” and he went deep into the issues he sees the traditional building causing our world going forward.