GlassBuild America 2015 is now in the books and it surely confirmed that we are in the midst of a very positive or “up” cycle in our industry. Whether it was the busy show floor, including a 2nd day that had action rivaling some of the best shows I have attended in my 24 years in the industry, or the insight from the experts that were provided via forums and express learning, or possibly just the multitude of meetings and social gatherings throughout the center and town, you walked away from this event feeling very good about the current economic landscape as it pertains to our world. Obviously we have massive challenges, including workforce, supply, and transportation to name three, but at least we are sitting on what appears to be a very solid base.
The other main overall takeaway I have is that this is no surprise. The last few editions of GlassBuild have been momentum builders with increasing enthusiasm each year. Sharp companies and attendees have been taking advantage of this and growing their business, 2015 just added more people to the mix. With the indicators strong I do expect 2016 in Las Vegas (October next year instead of traditional September) to be off the charts in regards to exhibits, attendees, and most importantly, business done!
Now on to my annual show review of the people, products, and adventures on the floor…
Clearly one major stop was the CR Laurence booth because of their news making last few weeks. It was enjoyable to get a few minutes with Mr. Friese and Lloyd Talbert to personally congratulate them on the deal. Also at CRL spending a few minutes learning from Jeff Phillips and Joe Schiavone was incredible for me. I love gaining knowledge however possible! Visited for basically a split second with old friend Matt Hale of YKK as he had people lined up waiting to catch up with him. Never bad to see Dan Poling of Schott though once again I failed to get a picture of him with me to show my wife I was hanging with a James Franco lookalike. Ran into Jim Gildea late in the show and that was great blast from the past. Speaking of the past I had not seen Dave Alexander of Guardian in quite a while, so that was surely an unexpected plus. Two of the coolest guys in our world? Devin Bowman and Dave Vermeulen of Technical Glass Products were there and I am always blown away at everything that company does.
There was lots of discussion about the now debunked article in the Wall Street Journal throughout the floor. Was great to catch up on that with the always-on point Pat Kenny of PPG. More PPG, the legend Rob Struble was at the show so that could be why things went so well…. Speaking of “doing well” that would pertain to Ralph Aknin, as it was great to see him and see him looking healthy and well. Plus getting to meet Sandi Jensen and Leslie Idems at the same time was a show-maker for me. Good people.
GlassBuild allows me to meet people who may read this or industry people I have admired but spent very little time with. In that category, getting to talk with Greg Abrams and Chris Murphy of 310 Tempering was great. Smart and focused guys who will do well. I was humbled that Dip Tech VP of Sales Erik de Jongh noted that he read my blog- that was unanticipated but appreciated! And getting a chance to meet the new CEO at Dip Tech Alon Lumbroso was an honor for sure. Wanted more time with Gus Trupiano of AGC but failed there. Next event for sure. Thank you to Dave Hull of Glass Guru for stopping me to say hi and introducing me to a few of his new franchisees he was shepherding through the show.
The show always has a reunion feel for me as well as I run into so many former coworkers I respect tremendously. People like Cliff Monroe of Oldcastle Glass, Tony Kamber, Joel Smith, and Scott Sallee of AMG, Mike Dishmon of Virginia Glass, Henry Taylor of Kawneer, Erik Stumpf of CGH, Scott Cook of GGI, and Manny Valladares of Aldora.
I missed tons and heard from them after, hated not seeing Rodger Ruff and Scott Goodman of AGC and Tom O’Malley of Clover. Though Tom’s doing so well right now I don’t think his handlers would allow me near him. I can always say I knew him before he got big.
One note on the Glazing Executive Forum… the panel that I had promoted here on the blog was very good. The key takeaway this excellent group presented was communication at every level. So needed, so crucial, yet so under-rated and under utilized. The companies and people that are aggressive communicators will be better off in challenging supply times than those who are not. As for the members of the panel… I did not know John McGill of YKK and he was impressive. I do know Chris Cotton of Dlubak/CGH as we share a distinction of being the “other brother” to more powerful and popular industry siblings. Chris was great too. But the star was Garret Henson of Viracon. I joke a lot with Garret, but in all seriousness, he was incredible in his presentation and his insight. Strong, clear speaking style that resonates with our audience. Only Joe Puishys at BEC this year was a better speaker in my opinion. Sorry in advance Garret for the abuse that you will get within the walls of Viracon, but you deserve the props.
From a product standpoint- Software was really notable, including some excellent solutions for the glazing contractor I had never seen before. Labor saving equipment continues to be robust, specifically the glass installation/handling machinery. My old favorite Dynamic Glass had a good show as well; Pleotint smartly landed in the bustling “Dream Showroom” and was busy from start to finish, while Sage had several well-attended demonstrations on how to install their product. It was a very intelligent move to educate the installers and get them familiar and comfortable with the product.
Best clothes… Past winners PPG and Salem were decent, but not enough to beat Quanex. Great colors for women and men, really clean and classy. On that note, I only get to see fine people like Brian and Kim Kress, and Ryan Kerch once a year at the show, so was nice to visit them and not only chat but admire/envy the look!
The show was also strong social media wise. I enjoyed running the GlassBuild feeds for a few days and interacting with some great companies. The periscope piece is a work in a progress but was fun to do. Just wish I had an extra hand or two so I could do all I wanted to do with this stuff!
So that’s the wrap up… bottom line is we are in a good place, let’s keep moving on it. Communicate strong and make it happen while the climate is ripe!!
No Links or Video this week because of the insane length of the main blog. Those will return next week.