Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lets Blog Off - Privacy - right......

Every two weeks Bloggers unite for a day to write about a communal topic. This week LetsBlogOff asks the question what is this thing called privacy? 

I think there is a definite line that was drawn between my generation and the next youngest.  Social media wasn't prevalent when I was growing up.  If I took a picture I had to wait to have it developed before being able to see it.  I mailed checks to pay my bills.  I never completed an application, for anything, on line.  

I love the internet and most of what it offers but I am also wary of it.  I know anything I type, on any forum including this blog, is out in the universe forever.  I have a friend, age 38, who doesn't seem to mind and posts all kinds of things to her Facebook page.  Things I would NEVER post.   Personally I am not a fan of Facebook and only have a page because so many of my friends who don't live near me post pictures of their kids.  I rarely update my wall.  I am very careful with Twitter, LinkedIn and now Google +.  Potential employers, mortgage lenders, apartment complexes, credit card companies, insurance companies are all now searching social media before approving applicants.  

It scares me that since I have been shopping on line for a pair of boots for the past few weeks  I now see ads pop up on websites I visit that are all about shoes and boots.  

Other parts of my life also have less privacy.  I remember when I applied and was hired for a job at a dentist office on Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, FL.  I was 20.  In order to work in Palm Beach I had to have an ID card to get on the island.  I was fingerprinted for the first time in my life to work for a DENTIST.  These days most of us are subject to a urine test at anytime by our employers.  When I walk down a street I now assume that I am on film.  Either a business with security cameras or a person with a cell phone camera for whatever reason.  

I do feel that my privacy rights are slowly being stripped away and it concerns me.  I wonder what the United States will be like in 20 years.  Will the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights still be in effect?  Will I be able to peacefully protest for my beliefs?  Yes I wonder. 

Please take a moment to read what the other participants in Lets Blog Off feel about Privacy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bridge the Gap

I have a meeting today with a general contractor and the goal is to help bridge the gap between the budgetary number on a project and what the hardware specifications are calling for.  In this case the architect was hired by the GC and I am pretty sure the spec writing was farmed out to a manufacturer's spec writer.  There must of been a lack of communication somewhere because the hardware specs are so over the top to what was budgeted there is a $100,000.00 gap.

I understand that a manufactures spec writer's job is to spec the products of their employer.  I just don't understand why it sometimes seems as if only the most expensive line of those products are included.  These days most manufacturers offer both a Grade 1 and Grade 2 line of products.  Depending on the building I can appreciate utilizing Grade 1 at the openings that will get the most use but on those openings that don't, bring it down a notch.

Just my opinion.  Feel free to offer yours in the comment section below.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Winthrop Charter School

I am very particular about which projects I bid.  I am an A-Z type of salesperson, meaning I develop the relationships, bid, close, submit, order, tag material, project manage and if pay applications are involved I do the billing.  Yes I am very particular about the jobs I bid because I always want to make sure that both myself and the a-fabco team can provide the level of service I demand.  75 door openings or less is my typical comfort zone. 

So when one of my favorite customers, Ryan Companies US Inc, called me and asked me to bid a 116 opening I actually paused for a moment.  The thought that finally sifted out of the 100's in that 60 second span was this is a really good customer who always performs spectacularly so I said sure! (gulp)   There were actually two charter schools.  Both very fast track since they wanted to be open for the first day of school August 23rd.  I bid both projects and held my breath.  a-fabco was awarded the charter school located in Riverview!!  I was excited in that nervous, holy cow I hope I do a great job, sort of way.  My boss was ecstatic. 

The job was very fast track but with great communication from the GC's project managers Brian Smith and Eric Overgard and job superintendent, Jeff Lawler,  all material was at the jobsite when requested with only 1 incorrect door.  a-fabco was able to get a new door out to the jobsite in a few days.  Of course with any construction project there were changes and adds but all were able to be processed in a timely manner.  This is why I used the word spectacular in the first paragraph when describing Ryan Companies.  They run their projects so incredibly well it is a pleasure to be part of their team.

I received an email from Eric when the project was almost complete and let me say it made my day.  "Also, I wanted to let you know that you are by far the best door and hardware supply company I have ever worked with, and I have work with many.  Thank you very much for all of your hard work and again, excellent work all the way through this project.  I look forward to working with you again in the future."  Wow!  How awesome on so many levels not the least of which he took the time to write.  

Thanks to the entire Ryan Companies team for such a great project.  I also want to give a special shout out to Joe Gray with Ryan.  Though he wasn't part of this project I wouldn't have been a part of it without him.  It was his recommendation that got me in the door.  I have done many many projects with him through out the years, with current employment and previous.   His level of professionalism, organization and support is outstanding.  Joe is truly an exceptional human being.  

I will continue to be particular on which jobs I pursue but I feel a lot more comfortable having broken the 100 opening mark.  

Below please find a few pictures of Winthrop Charter School.  The photographer on noted pictures is Richard Steinmetz.  Ryan Companies - Tampa has been using him for 6 years to photograph all of their projects.  Richard's contact information is: Tel: 813-935-3293 and email: richardsteinmetz@hotmail.com.  Thanks to Jody Byler with Ryan for putting up with my constant requests and getting me these great pictures. 

Photo by Richard Steinmetz - Exterior  HM Frame installed

Photo by a-fabco.  Exterior HM Transom Frame x HM Doors

Photo by a-fabco.  Exterior hm doors rim x rim x removable mullion

Photo by Richard Steinmetz  Exterior HM Opening - finished

Photo by Richard Steinmetz  Exterior of school

Photo by a-fabco  Interior Rotary Natural Birch Door

Photo by a-fabco  Pair of interior rotary natural birch doors

Photo by a-fabco  Interior hallway of doors

Photo by Richard Steinmetz  Interior

Photo by Richard Steinmetz  Office

Photo by Richard Steinmetz  Cafeteria

Photo by Richard Steinmetz  Exterior Shot


Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Every two weeks Bloggers unite for a day to write about a communal topic. This week LetsBlogOff asks the question would our followers actually read a blog about thumbtacks? 

I looked at the subject for this week’s Lets Blog Off and said what the heck? So I did what has now become the norm when I am not sure of a subject…I Googled it.  Google does not differentiate between push pins and thumbtacks.  There were some cool sites that people used push pins to create art but I am pretty sure someone will write a blog post about the difference between push pins and thumbtacks so I didn’t go there.

What I did fine was a very interesting Thumbtack Experiment  where teachers actually allow the kids to play with thumbtacks.  The students keep track of how many times the tacks land point up versus point down.  I wondered how many land in the ceiling (maybe Fox Mulder conducted this experiment in school hence the pencils).  Anyway the students have to report on it.  It was pretty interesting so please check it out.

I also found an article about the most stupid and cruel use of thumbtacks and was very dishearten by the human race.  Apparently some idiot(s) felt inconvenience by a large group of bike riders and left a BUNCH of thumbtacks on the road.  Won’t hurt a car’s tires but will puncture bicycle tires.  Stupid.

Further searching found a business named Thumbtacks.  It is a web directory listing service.  Apparently it also has some intrigued attached to it.

If the thumbtack has a magnet on it is it still a thumbtack?  See this is why I love LBO – for the philosophical questions.

Who said to always leave your audience wanting more?  Well here you go.  I know you will want more of this thumbtacks jewelry!   Hey it would stay in place!!!

Feel free to leave your thumbtack story in the comment section.

The best part about this week’s LBO is that Rufus’s corporation will be donating $10.00 for every LetsBlogOff post published today to Jane Devin’s Kickstarter fund.  If you don’t know who Jane Devin is she wrote a phenomenal book called Elephant Girl.  I know because I read it.  In 2 days.  Yes it really is that good. 

There are many other participants in LetsBlogOff that are much more creative than I.  Please check out their blog posts also:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Social Media Relationships

I am asked all the time from my friends why I tweet.  In my local sphere of friends only my BFF uses social media.  My yoga chickees nor my co-workers or anyone else that I hang with uses social media.  They can't imagine any real relationships being formed without the face to face time put in.

This week, more than ever before, has shown how important social relationships are. Two people, both very important in the social media world, passed away.  The shock and sadness is very real.

I didn't know Trey Pennington but from all the tributes he was a kind and generous soul.  He embraced social media to the fullest.  Trey's website is full of tips and suggestions on how to get the most out of your social relationships. Shock and sadness filled the Twitter stream on Sunday and Monday as word of his passing spread.  Hopefully some important dialogue will follow.

Imad Naffa was part of my world, the AEC world: Architects, Engineer and Construction.  Imad was an engineer who's specialty was building codes and breaking down the lingo so a person could actually understand it.  He was available and generous with his time and knowledge.  The man rocked all of social media and on his website he used the word Twitterologist.  You know what?  Imad was just that.  He mentored so many.  Again the Twitter stream filled with shock and sadness as news of his death spread on Wednesday and Thursday.  I didn't interact with him a lot but my heart was heavy...for his family, for his friends and yes for the social media world.

I consider my tweeps my friends.  They cheer me on when I tweet something good and cheer me up when I tweet something not so good.  Friday mornings I know the first tweet with a mention will be from Sean with SLS Construction.  It always makes me smile.

It isn't just 140 characters.  It is the first 140 characters of a conversation.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Historic Shed

The cool thing about writing a blog is being able to toot a horn when you come across a great company.  So this is me tooting about Historic Shed.

I met Historic Shed on Twitter.  I am not sure how our tweets crossed but I am glad they did.  I do remember seeing a tweet with a picture attached and given the name of the business was intrigued. Once the picture came up I drooled.  I am sure I have mentioned I have a large backyard and in my vision a cute shed with a little porch, and a couple of chairs out front sits on the southeast corner.  I could pick any shed from their website and be happy.  I told my BFF about it, she checked it out and drooled. Seriously some incredible workmanship.

Months past and @HistoricShed became Jo-Anne as we got to know one another.  What was funny is how we hadn't crossed paths before.  Jo-Anne is very involved in preservation and since I live in Seminole Heights with 1920's bungalows all around that word carries importance here in the 'hood. We know some of the same people.  Heck they have even  advertised in previous Seminole Heights Home Tours.

We finally ended up meeting a few months ago when a day trip came up between Jo-Anne, Amanda (BFF) and myself.  We went to Lakeridge Winery in Fl but that is for another day.   We decided to meet at Historic Shed in Brooksville since that was a good middle spot and it meant Amanda and I were able to take a tour!

I had never been to Brooksville so naturally I got lost.  Once I was on the right road I was able to find their shop quickly because out front is the cutest little shed!  Isn't it nice to meet people for the first time and yet feel like you have known them forever!  Jo-Anne, with her husband Craig, gave us a tour and luckily for us they were in the middle of two projects.  The first will be a guest cottage for a client in Ybor.   The quality of material and craftsmanship is just superb.
Front Door to Guest Cottage

Side of guest cottage
The second project was born knowing how challenged homeowners are these days. Jo-Anne and Craig wanted to come up with a shed that was more economical without giving up the quality.  A few tweaks here and there and here it is!
Great details
Another aspect of working with a customized company is if you want to make modifications Historic Shed is willing to work with you.  You can't get that from the box stores.  All the sheds are Florida Wind Load approved.  Also offered are some delightful garden accessories (think Christmas and Birthdays people).

Someday I will own a shed from Historic Sheds and until then I will continue to dream.    

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Chihuly – Part III A door really isn’t just a door

How many doors have you walked through today?  Did you notice the door?  What type of material was it? What type of handle was on the door?  As long a door works it is just a door, right?  Well it doesn't have to be. 

A door definitely should be functional so get you through to the other side without hassle.  However a door can be a piece of art.  Did I just hear a scoff? Well let me share with you a door that is, without a doubt, the most beautiful and functional door I have ever seen.

That door is at The Chihuly Museum located in St. Petersburg, FL.  When plans fell into place to visit the Chihuly (see Part's One and Two) all I could think about was THE door.  It had been discussed with fellow local industry professionals so I was anxious to see it. 

This door is 10’ x 10’ of steel which hangs on pivots and I think is quite the manufacturing marvel!  The door handle is wood and installed within a cutout of the steel.  

Wayne David Atherhold, Director of Marketing/Communications
The door hangs on both a top and a bottom pivot that are installed through the piece of metal that is being used as the door frame. I have no idea what this door weighs but I would think it is comparable to some of the lead and vault doors the company I work for, a-fabco, inc., makes.  We use pivots to hang our doors also.

Top Pivot

The thickness of the steel door
Not only were Alfonso Architects the architects and designers on the project but also served  as the contractor.  They were able to conceive, design and build their vision. There is nothing standard about this door.  On Interior and Sources blog   the steel fabricators are listed as Alfonso Architects and Stack Design.  I would have loved to have seen the this door being fabricated.  

Top of door in a almost closed position 
The bottom of door also in an almost closed position
The very slick looking door floor stop
This is a very simple but streamlined looking door stop that, as you can see, is installed into the floor.  

The combination of steel for the door, marble floor and wood walls along with the fantastic wood door pull really makes this whole opening a feast for the eyes.  Ok maybe just my eyes because I like doors but it really is beautiful! 

The doors in your office or home don't need to be this elaborate but you also don't have to settle for the off the rack door either.   Feel free to post any cool doors you have seen along your way.