May 21

Coming On Strong

I have talked with three glass industry subcontractors in the past 10 days (one each from the Midwest, Southeast and DC area) and in each instance, I was told that they were quite busy. In fact, the Midwest subcontractor told me his company was no longer looking to bid any project that would have to be completed by year’s end. Only jobs starting next year in the spring or thereafter were being pursued.

To be clear, this is not a small-time player. So when he tells me he is sold out for the rest of this year, the news is significant. My Southeast contact told me they still had some capacity for this year, but not much. The DC company also reported a solid and growing backlog. What wonderful news! I know there are some pockets where things have not recovered to the extent we would like, but overall, an industry that has been beaten down for far too long appears to be coming back, and coming back strong. However …

Here’s (one of) Your Problems

I just finished reading an article in Engineering News Record about a construction project in Wisconsin that was pretty much finished in 2010 and, after all kinds of legal maneuvering, is finally getting ready to issue final payments to the subcontractors that worked on it. Apparently, the general contractor failed during the construction process, and that’s when the problems began. However, the job’s subcontractors stayed with the project and got the job done. And it has now taken these subs over three years to get paid.

The work was for a new hotel which opened in 2011 and has apparently been operating without problem, drawing a steady stream of customers. The amounts due the subs were not necessarily large (one sub talked about being owed approximately $28,000) but as those who have worked in the business know all too well, slow payment—and sometimes very slow payment—is extremely common, regardless of how much or how little is owed. Quite often, the lowly subcontractor finances a good portion of a new construction project and then gets to spend more valuable money on attorney fees to collect what is owed. A vicious cycle for many.

Tough business, for sure, and just one of the reasons I say that the subcontractors of the world are not appreciated or understood for the role they play in building and maintaining America! Sure, there are some bad ones out there, but by and large, the subcontractors in this country work too hard for what they get paid and often suffer unfairly because they are regularly viewed as being at the bottom of the construction industry food chain. Maybe, although I don’t see it happening soon, this will change.

SO – How Quick Are You???

My daughter Amy, like all three of my kids, has a unique and sometimes wry sense of humor. The following picture is one that she sent to me about 10 months ago … before I went through five rounds of chemotherapy and four straight days of full body radiation treatments. Last week, she sent it to me again to see if I was as quick (or as slow) now as I was before all of the treatments. A test, so to speak, for the old man to see if he had completely lost it.

At any rate, a man’s face is mixed in among the beans. Supposedly, scientists have concluded that if you find the man in the beans in three seconds or less, the right side of your brain is better developed than most people. If it takes you 3 seconds to 60 seconds, you are pretty normal. Anything over that indicates you are slower than normal and probably working in the glass and metal industry … most likely in management. See how you do. I’ll give you my scores next week.


And While You’re At It

In the photo running below and excerpted above,  there is a turtle. If you did well with the coffee bean man, then see how long it takes you to find the turtle. If it takes you longer than 5 seconds, stop fooling around with this stuff, and get back to work. You’re wasting time, and there is always oh so much to do and never enough time to do it!

Can you find the turtle?

Can you find the turtle?

Sorry I Missed You

Took a vacation day last Wednesday, so that’s why there was no blog. Actually, I spent three straight days in a DuPage County, Illinois courtroom (including blog day) last week and it played havoc with my schedule. Hardly a vacation. It was an incredibly interesting week and I certainly learned and benefited from the process although I am not too anxious to go through something like that again. Anyhow, I actually missed doing the blog. While it’s a little bit of time and effort to pump these (blogs) out, I really enjoy the feedback, so they can be kind of fun for me. Thank you to those of you who make them so!

It Happened Again

And I was amazed. No … shocked would be a better way of describing it. You see, I met up with John Luckett (Glass Designers) yesterday for a mid-morning breakfast, and he paid!!! That’s right, John Luckett paid. For the second time this year … and actually I believe only the second time in 20 years … he reached into that bulging wallet of his and picked up the tab. Amazing! Shocking! And appreciated!

The Sports Thing

My Blackhawks continue to roll along and so do the Rangers of New York in this year’s NHL playoffs.. I’m starting to think maybe its destiny. By the way, a very good ticket to the Stanley Cup Finals (if held in Chicago) will cost you $380.00 each (face value). This would not include parking or any food/drink. Isn’t this a little crazy? Although if any of you have an extra ticket available, please call me! As for the NBA playoffs, I have honestly lost interest.

The Quotable Thing This week’s quote is from Bobbie Rovner, who I had the privilege of working with for 35 years. Author is unknown. And I don’t think (at least I hope) she did not have me in mind when she sent this suggestion in. I’m meeting her for lunch today, so I’ll ask her. Depending on her answer, I’ll decide whether or not I’m paying!

“It’s not whether you win or lose-it’s how you place the blame.”

“Have a Wonderful Week Everyone”





  1. Richard Voreis


    It took me about 30 seconds to find the coffee man, so that makes me “normal”; however, you may dispute that statement. I found the turtle instantly. Many years of practice as I was growing up in Culver, IN and hunting turtles in the summer in Lake Maxinkuckee.



    1. Lyle R. Hill

      Rich … from the first time I interacted with you many years ago, I have never considered you “normal”. Lyle

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