The Tide is Turning

May 24th, 2012

There was a time when the evening news was filled with story after story of the decline of the housing market and commercial construction. If that weren’t enough, all of my business associates seemed to be on a constant vigil for dire predictions on construction spending to share with me, along with their condolences. That […]

Survey Respondents Say Good Things about Housing

May 7th, 2012

It seems that the key statistics affecting the building products industry waver between good news and bad news on a monthly basis. However, there is a growing sentiment that the industry is improving. A recent survey by Brooke Chase Associates underscored the improving outlook of industry participants ranging from building products manufacturers to distributors and […]

“Innovate or Suffocate”

Apr 17th, 2012

Industry gatherings typically represent a microcosm of the overall industry itself. Fenestration Day, held last week in San Antonio, was no exception. This was a particularly interesting event, since it brought together both manufacturers and dealers in one spot. I tend to call more often on manufacturers, so it was interesting to get a chance […]

Employment, Housing Stats and the Mild Winter

Mar 19th, 2012

Economists estimate that, in order for an economic recovery in the United States to be self sustaining, it is necessary for 200,000 jobs per month to be created. The February employment figures were released recently and 227,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy last month. This is especially significant because it is the third […]

Thoughts on the Plight of Gorell Windows

Feb 16th, 2012

It was with sincere regret that I learned last week of the placement of Gorell Windows & Doors into receivership. I learned this news as I was preparing to leave an otherwise upbeat Builders’ Show and it served as a reminder that we’re not completely out of the woods yet. Wayne Gorell is a statesman […]

Good News for the Year Ahead

Jan 10th, 2012

I wrote in January 2011 that it was easier to be an optimist at that time than a year earlier. This week’s positive economic news is helping make it easier to be optimistic about the year ahead. Employers brought on 200,000 employees in December. This hiring surge helped to lower the unemployment rate to 8.5 […]

That Used to be Us

Nov 22nd, 2011

I recently attended a forum featuring Thomas L. Friedman, author of the 2004 bestseller The World is Flat. He attended the forum to discuss his new book, That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back. His earlier book is a discussion of the […]

The Bright Spots Most Headlines Miss

Oct 24th, 2011

I recently attended a round table discussion between chief investment officers and senior economists from three significant financial institutions, who have purview over billions of dollars in client assets. There were several key points of interest to participants in the building products industry. One of the economists keeps a careful eye on the tie between […]

Do Manufacturers Know the $1,500 Credit has Expired?

Jul 18th, 2011

I had occasion recently to review the websites of more than three hundred window and door manufacturers. I was surprised by the number of residential window manufacturers’ websites that still contain references, right on the home page, to the tax credit. They talk about consumers getting a $1,500 tax credit and the benefits of energy-efficient […]

The Future of Manufacturer/Dealer Relationships

Jun 21st, 2011

I had occasion recently to attend an industry event in the overhead door market. I believe that some of the key thoughts I took from that conference apply to the door and window market as well. In an amusing bit of finger pointing, I heard from large and small manufacturers who each believed strongly that […]