Jul 23

A Gold Fish?

Maybe it’s worse than I thought. Or at least it is happening sooner than we were warned. I refer here to the approaching “skilled labor” shortage which I reported on a month or so ago in this very blog. I say that is happening sooner than was expected (at least in the glass and metal side of the construction industry) because I am getting more and more calls from old (and new) contacts who are looking for people … and some of the calls have a tone of desperation in them. If you are an employer, I think you need to know that your better employees might be getting “stalked,’ and if you are an unhappy employee, this might just be your chance to make the move you have been contemplating for the past few years. It’s going to get interesting!

Don’t Do It … cause it’s not worth it!

I refer here to a report out of China that says that many employers are now offering a 15 percent pay bonus to workers who are willing to live and work in some of that country’s most polluted cities. Chinese residents are not eligible for this bonus, but the many foreign workers that are employed there are. Many of the companies involved in this “hazard pay” arrangement are American firms with offices or factories there that are having a hard time keeping their employees. The employers call this pay increase an “environmental hardship allowance.” In some Chinese cities, the air pollution levels are 25 times or more than what’s considered acceptable by U.S. standards. My advice … don’t do it. No amount of money is worth risking your health!

Thank You

… to those of you who responded to my request last week for comments or stories about your bosses. In particular, the things you would like to tell your bosses but still need to get a paycheck every now and then. Some of your comments were great, and a couple quite humorous, as well. My goal, as stated last week, is to put together an article about this and publish it (hopefully) in September or October … assuming it gets an OK from my boss … the very kind and understanding Ellen Rogers who I could not possibly say one negative thing about because she is just so good … let’s make that great … in every way.

The Gold Fish Thing

My daughter Beth attended a convention last week in Salt Lake City, Utah and while there, she stayed at the Monaco Hotel. While she was standing in line to get checked in, she couldn’t help but overhear the lady in front of her ask for a fish for her room. When it came time for Beth to check in, she asked what the fish thing was all about and was told that guests could have a free gold fish delivered to their room if they so desired. Beth, the only one in the family to have jumped out of an airplane – with a parachute on of course – is always one to try new things (especially if they are free), so she ordered a fish. She named him Oscar. I have no idea why I am including this story in today’s blog other than the fact that I just thought it was quite different and in some odd way, unique and interesting. And while I’m on it, what oddball memorable thing are you doing for your customers these days???

Lylefish

On A Sad Note

I’m sorry to have to report on the passing of Al Shapiro (owner of Active Glass – Pittco Metals). I knew and dealt with Al for more than 35 years. I knew him as a supplier, competitor and co-committee member when we worked together with the Chicago Contract Glazing Association many years ago. He was also a very active trustee (representing employers) to the Glaziers Union of Chicago (local 27). I received a call from a reporter asking me to sum up in a word or two what Al Shapiro was, relative to the glass and glazing industry. The word I chose was “progressive,” because I always thought Al was ahead of the curve in most areas of the business. Always ahead of me for sure. He was also a legendary hard worker, and his success in a very tough industry was in large part due to his incredibly tireless efforts to build his businesses. He’ll be greatly missed by many.

Just Another Day … at the office!

I think sometimes we in the glass industry forget just how big the replacement side of the business really is. Every work day, thousands of pieces of glass (both automotive and flat/architectural) are replaced across the country. And thank goodness that glass breaks (hopefully not hurting or injuring anyone), because thousands of people make their living every year in that side of the industry. Below, a crew from Arlington Glass in Chicago replaces a broken piece of glass at O’Hare Airport. Just another day at the office … kinda.

Lyleagm@O'Hare 108

The Sports Thing

Hey how about those Irish? No, not Notre Dame, who I think gets way more press than they are entitled to. I’m talking about 25-year-old Irishman Rory McIlroy, who won the British Open (17-under par) this past Sunday. This was his third majors win, and only Nicklaus and Woods also had won three majors by the age of 25. And you thought the Irish were only good for singing, writing, baseball, basketball, stand-up comedy, football, rugby, boxing, soccer, politics, law enforcement, leadership, swimming, education, deep thinking, music, medicine, scientific discovery, etc., etc. …………………………….

The Quotable Thing

This week’s quote comes from the very talented, witty and wonderful Beth Rush. Thank you Beth.

“The amount of sleep required by the average person is five minutes more” … anonymous

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”

Jul 16

Tell Me What You Think!

For the past 12 months or so, I have been working on an article I want to do for USGlass magazine. I know that sounds like a long time, and no doubt many of you who read my USG columns concluded long ago that I probably put those things together in about 15 minutes, but I am sincere about this 12-month thing. You see, during the past few years, after I more or less retired from active duty in the contract glazing industry, I started doing some consulting work. Hard to believe, I know. At any rate, as those of you who know me best will attest, I ask a lot of questions, and I think the health of a business is not always learned by simply looking at the numbers. In fact, I think that financial reports are often very temporal … You’ve gotta talk to the people who make a business run to really know what’s going on.

So during my consulting assignments, I always make a point of talking with a company’s key people. The “performers,” if you will, and it is amazing what they will tell you if you can gain their trust and assure them that whatever they tell you will stay between you and them. And being trusted and showing integrity means a great deal to me, so unless someone tells me they plan to shoot their boss the next day or that they have embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from their employer, I would never put anyone in an awkward position that could impact their job status.

To this end, I am amazed at what I have been told. And my plan is to put an article together entitled, “What Your Employees Really Think But Will Never Tell You.”

Yes, it’s a little long and I’ll work on it, maybe. Of late, there is a popular trend for articles such as this. I have read, during the past few months, articles titled “10 Things Your Waitress Thinks About You But Will Never Say,” “10 Things Your Dental Hygienist Wants To Tell You But Won’t,” and so forth and so on. I kind of intend mine to be along the same lines. Sooooooo, if you have something you want to contribute to my efforts, send it to me at lhill@glass.com and if it is usable, it will be included. I promise anonymity. And thanks!!!

One More (And The Last) Hot Dog Thing

Blog reader and old friend John Flannigan called me after reading last week’s hot dog report and asked me if I knew who sold the most hotdogs (on an annual basis at the retail level) in the United States. I guessed the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley field, and my second guess would have been Yankee Stadium. I’ve been told thousands of hot dogs can be sold at any one game at either park. Well, I was way off! Turns out that 7-11 serves approximately 100 million fully prepared dogs to its customers every year. That comes out to an average of 273,972 hot dogs per day coming out of those stores. I don’t know about you, but I find that absolutely incredible!

Ralph Ross Update

This past Monday I had the chance to sit down to lunch with old friend, former competitor and glass industry legend Ralph Ross (Service Glass, North American Glass). Ralph’s long career in the glass industry was remarkable on many levels, but I came to respect him as much as a person as I did an industry icon. It was great to see him, and I want to report to his many friends in the industry that he is doing very well … has not aged a bit, is in great health and as busy as ever.

The Pleotint Thing

With less than 20 minutes left to go at the recent AIA convention in Chicago a couple of weeks back, I saw a guy, who later introduced himself to me as Geoff Brown of Pleotint, blankly eyeing a carefully stacked pyramid of plastic cups that were Pleotint’s “giveaway” item at the show. The cups are kinda neat. They are about 5 inches tall and change color depending on the temperature of the beverage in the cup. I actually got one of them, and my grandkids are fascinated by it. It’s a good giveaway for the company because they produce a nifty interactive glass interlayer referred to as innovative Suntuitive technology that lightens and darkens itself depending on the changing of ambient heat and sunlight. Now, before this starts to sound like a commercial for Pleotint, let me just give you their website if you want to know more … it’s www.pleotint.com. Now back to the story.

I asked Geoff what he was thinking as he stared almost trance-like at the cup pyramid display. He told me that he had been stacking and restacking those crazy little cups for three days and as soon as the show ended, he intended to “wipe them out” with one carefully placed hit. And you know what? He did and I captured it live. The evidence is below and I certainly hope the revealing of these pictures doesn’t get Geoff in any kind of trouble. Because you know, those poor little cups never had a chance!

Lylefourthing

The Sports Thing

S,o LeBron James returns home to Cleveland, and Carmelo Anthony stays home in New York. I think a lot of people, including me, were a little surprised. But it is what it is, and apparently in both cases, the star players turned down more money to do what they did. Apparently, they both thought they had enough. Now before you get too cynical here, I want you to know that I have known and currently know people who spend almost every minute of their day pursuing more money and trust me, they have more than they will ever need and as much … actually more … than James or Anthony. So I have to give some credit to these guys for not grabbing every available buck and doing what they did. By the way. If Derrick Rose stays healthy, the Chicago Bulls will meet San Antonio in the NBA finals next year, and at that point, either team could take it. Remember, you heard it here first and you know how good I am with these sports predictions!

One more thing on sports. The MLB All-Star game was decent last night, but the highlight for many was watching Derrick Jeter go two for two in his last ever All-Star game. The American League won 5-3. But now comes some controversy over whether or not he (Jeter) was served up some easy pitches to tee off on when he took his swings. You know, baseball does not need this right now. The game does have implications at World Series time and I don’t think the thought of helping someone on the other team, no matter who they are, is what the league wants to have portrayed to the general public. And don’t forget, there is a lot of money gambled on these games too. Some of those bets are on the total runs scored, hits allowed and so forth. Another black eye for MLB? We’ll see.

The Quotable Thing

OK. This week’s quote comes from my personal trove of sayings and such. I was actually looking for something else when I came across it. I like it … I think it’s accurate … and I have a feeling a couple of people might benefit from it. It was said by Trisha Yearwood.

“What’s meant to be will always find a way”

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”

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