Battle of Nostalgia vs The Future

By: Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect

This year’s Super Bowl ads were dominated by “future” themed ads from the multiple crypto currency ones, the metaverse and what seemed like an electric vehicle ad during every commercial break!

But my favorite commercials brought back a little nostalgia.

Here were my top 4 commercials from the big day:

1. Chevy’s Silverado all-electric Sopranos homage was ingenious. As soon as you hear that initial beat and the “woke up this morning” music by Alabama 3, you are instantly taken back to the Sopranos series. Then of course the shots of New York skyline, the New Jersey turnpike and glimpses of a woman driving…which makes you start wondering who’s driving the truck. The entire commercial did a great job at building anticipation…with no voiceover until :50 seconds into the minute-long commercial to then payoff the tagline “whole new truck for a whole new generation”. By far, my favorite commercial of the day.

2. Rocket Homes & Rocket Mortgage Dream House with Anna Kendrick and Barbie. Such a clever way to work in finding and financing your dream house with Rocket. I loved their “competitive bid” buyer characters like Better Offer Betty, House Flipper Skipper and my favorite Ca$h Offer Carl! And then the special guest appearances by He-Man and Skeletor for the “fixer-upper” castle at the end.

3. GM Electric Vehicle line with the Austin Powers cast. How can one go wrong with Dr. Evil and his infamous pinkie finger?!?! Combined with Scott Evil, Number 2, Frau Farbissina and then a special appearance of Baby-Me instead of Mini-Me. And then having classic lines from Dr. Evil like “Help save the world first, then take over the world”!

4. Irish Spring Body Wash. As soon as you hear that Irish music you are taken back to their old commercials. And then you are peppered with witty statements such as “Were stinkiness is unwelcome” and “Smell from a nice-smelling place.” And finally the payoff, with those classic white knit sweaters after the guy appears from behind a giant bottle of Irish Spring body wash as if it were a Stonehenge-like monolith.

What was your favorite commercial?

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America’s Bridges Are Falling Apart

by Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect

1 in 3 U.S. Bridges Needs Repair or Replacement

This infographic from Statista shows the Top 7 U.S. states by the number of structurally deficient bridges in 2020.


Who knew Iowa had so many bridges? I always thought of rows and rows of corn fields for them. 🙂

The full 2021 Bridge Conditions Report from the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) is alarming. Here are some key highlights and figures:

  • 220,000 of U.S. bridges—36 percent—need repair work


  • 79,500 of U. S. bridges need replacement 


  • At the current pace, it would take nearly 40 years to repair the current backlog of “structurally deficient” (SD) bridges


  • Motorists drive across structurally deficient bridges 171.5 million times daily


  • A structurally deficient bridge, on average, is nearly 68 years old, compared to 32 years for a bridge in good condition and 54 years for a bridge in fair condition.


Bridge inspections generally occur once every 24 months. Bridge ratings are updated as inspections are completed—each year some bridges are classified as poor or structurally deficient and others are removed from that category as they undergo repair, rehabilitation or replacement.

How are the bridges and infrastructure in your hometown?






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Is it an objection or a question?

Each month, Alan Sipe, a contributing editor for Professional Distributor magazine, writes a sales skill article targeted to the independent business people who own and operate the various branded tool trucks you see parked at automotive repair shops everywhere. Although this article is written for the automotive repair industry, the sales skills are applicable to everyone.

Is it an objection or a question?

Your response will make a world of difference to your wallet.

You’re right in the middle of a product presentation on a new Jenny electric 7.5hp stationary air compressor when the prospect interrupts and growls, “How much is this compressor?”

Is it a question? Is it an objection? Is the product too expensive? The prospect used a negative tone, so they must be unhappy with my presentation, right? I’m not done with the presentation and he’s getting antsy, so he’s trying to rush me, isn’t he?

First things first. Let’s understand what’s meant by the question, “How much is this compressor?”

If you think about it, the prospect probably had a compressor that was working just fine. Now the thing just died or is on its last legs and they must get a new one. The prospect isn’t happy with needing a new compressor, so they most likely won’t be thrilled with any price other than free.

In this case, even though the prospect interrupted you with a question, it’s simply that, a question. How you respond can move your potential customer in the direction of saying “yes” to the compressor purchase, or it can blow up in your face.

A simple, straightforward response is always the best. Try being relaxed, and say something like, “It will be between $X and $Y depending on which accessories you choose. Let’s take a look at the accessories and see what you decide.” (more…)

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Towering Helix Marks the Spot for Amazon’s Proposed Corporate Headquarters in Virginia

By Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter

Have you seen the renderings for Amazon’s headquarters in Virginia?

I recently ran across an article on Building Design & Construction Magazine’s website from John Caulfield which outlined some of the key features of this new campus. Amazon’s proposed design for the second phase of its corporate headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, includes a $2.5 billion investment that will encompass five office buildings for 25,000 employees. 

Here are some of the key highlights:

  • The Phase 2 site, called PenPlace, will be anchored by The Helix, a 370,000-square-foot, spiral-shaped building


  • 2.8-million-square-foot campus with three, 22-story buildings that target LEED Platinum certification


  • PenPlace’s sustainable features include an onsite water reclamation system for reducing cooling, irrigation, and flushing demand by 50%


  • 2.5-plus acres of public open space and connected walkways, a dog run, a 250-seat amphitheater, woodlands, and art installations


  • Over 950 onsite bike spaces, including 180 for visitors; there will be one-quarter mile of new protected bike lanes


  • All-electric central heating and cooling system that runs on 100% renewable energy from a solar farm in southern Virginia

What other cool building renderings have you seen recently?

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Happy Holidays from the Sonnhalter Team

Happy Holidays from the Sonnhalter Team

Whether in Cleveland, or on the North Pole, 2020 was the year the world recognized just how much we need our professional tradespeople to keep the lights on, the water running and the reindeer fed. We’ve all experienced major changes to our way of life, but Sonnhalter would like to extend our appreciation to all essential workers for whom the job never stopped.

We are also grateful for another constant in a most unpredictable year: the support we receive from our wonderful clients, business partners and friends like you. We thank you for another successful year, and we hope you and your family have a safe, wonderful holiday season.

Sonnhalter, your B2T partner – let’s build something together.

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Virtual Happy Hours, Makeshift Offices and a Million Zoom Calls: Team Sonnhalter Checks in from Home

by Andrew Poulsen, Content Engineer

It has been more than five months since the Sonnhalter office transitioned to an indefinite work-from-home (WFH) policy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. And like thousands of companies and millions of employees all over the world, we have both struggled and thrived as we learn to live with this massive paradigm shift. While our stories may not be unique, we thought it would be a fun exercise to have a team roundtable and let everyone reflect and share the ways they’ve adjusted to life in quarantine and learned to thrive as best as they can in the “New Normal.”

When Sonnhalter initially started working from home, what were some of the initial adjustments you had to make to your daily routine in order to be productive?

Rosemarie Ascherl-Lenhard, PR Foreman: I was fairly used to WFH from my time independent contracting for a few years. So, although I stopped getting up quite as early as I used to (5:45 a.m.), I still got up early every morning and took a shower and got out of my PJs. I tried to step away from my computer at lunch time and take a walk after lunch to break and refresh myself. It is proven that taking a walk can reduce stress, and studies have shown that going for walks can not only improve your ability to focus, but it can actually boost our creative problem-solving skills!

Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter: I had to get used to both my wife and I working in a two-bedroom apartment, which was not designed for having two people work remotely! Other adjustments include keeping in daily contact with my fellow employees (when I was in the office it was easy to just walk around the office and say “hi” and catch up with employees) and trying to figure out good natural and/or virtual backgrounds for video calls.

What have been some of the upsides of your experience working from home?

Andrew Poulsen: I had about a two-foot stack of books I was finally able to get around to finishing. I want to come out of this experience with some positives, so I’ve tried to fill the hours I used to spend going out, watching sports and shopping with educating myself. Also, my girlfriend and I had discussed converting our spare bedroom into an office for months, so quarantine forced me to stop being lazy and finally put the desk and shelves together to make it happen.

Sandy Bucher, Media Engineer: No commute! I never really worked on a laptop before, so I now have experience doing that. I am able to take the laptop out onto my back deck and work outside if I want. I can concentrate better with fewer distractions and noise. I’m able to spend more time with my dog, Charlie. I can do household chores throughout the day. I’m able to retrieve packages right away, so they’re not sitting outside.

Robin Heike, Production Engineer: Being able to login in as early as 6:30a.m. to start the day since I am up early. Not having to drive into work.

What have been some of the downsides of your experience working from home?

Angela Ruland, Design Engineer: Not being able to have in-person meetings with clients and coworkers. Emailing back and forth for everything can get old.

Matt Sonnhalter: Sometimes, the days start to feel like the movie “Groundhog Day”… (more…)

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