Well another great BEC Conference is now in the books and once again it was a major winner. Like the many I have attended previously I left very fired up about what I learned and whom I got to meet and spend time with. This year the attendee numbers were strong, more than 500 were there and they were active, either in the conference area or in the mini trade show spot. This was the first year since those crazy pre-recession days that the numbers were that impressive.
-- As for recapping there were a few things that stuck out. The opening panel, that featured leaders from the design, manufacturing, installation, and contracting world was off the charts. It could have easily taken up the entire morning session, especially with quite a few questions that were still waiting in the queue. So lesson learned on the planning end- something that good, will need more time. Tom Jackson, President of Steel Encounters did an absolutely fantastic job on the world of employee relations, culture, finding and retaining the workforce. He had one stat that I discussed with a lot of attendees and so I need to share here…
“95% of job candidates believe culture is more important than compensation”
-- That still blows me away but also shows I am old fashioned…. And speaking of old, the keynote (thanks to Guardian Glass and an inspired choice by Chris Dolan) was Jeff Havens and he provided an incredibly energetic and entertaining approach to generational differences in the workplace… old vs. young… and my gosh I am now officially old.
-- Overall the presentations were excellent with a ton of different subjects to satisfy so much of what the modern glazing contractor or installer could need. The technical meeting, chaired by the impressive Matt Kamper of Woodbridge Glass was interesting. I always enjoy the ins and outs of it but the fact that NFRC was covered in detail cracked me up. I have been in the NFRC mix since 2004!! And we’re still talking about the same basic things. Just incredible really.
-- As always the networking makes the event. The Sunday night reception was awesome- the room was jam-packed and when the reception ended it was still busy with the hotel management trying several different moves to get people to clear out. That is always the sign of a good party. And yes I stayed til the end. (That never, ever happens if you know me.)
-- Before I run into whom I visited with, I have to give props to Gus Trupiano of AGC for leading this event as the chair of the BEC division. Gus is not only an excellent and classy man, but he’s also a great leader who did the industry proud once again. Kudos as well to Sara Neiswanger of GANA/NGA for her tireless work on this- she does so much behind the scenes, and does it with great care & skill.
-- As for the networking… it was fun to fly on a plane loaded with industry folks, poor Joe Erb of Quanex got stuck in the middle seat next to me for 4-1/2 hours. He deserves a medal. Plus the team from Guardian Glass was on board and I do sincerely enjoy chatting with them any chance I get. Once in Vegas it was great to see Bill Sullivan of Brin Glass, he’s a tremendous supporter of the industry and it is appreciated. In that same boat are people like Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP and Jon Kimberlain of Dow- I love what they do and getting a few minutes with each of them is a great honor for me.
-- The talent on display at this event is really crazy- people like Gary McQueen of JE Berkowitz, Rob Carlson of Tristar, and Ian Patlin of Paragon are so impressive to me. And my friend Shelly Farmer of Trex Commercial never disappoints, she’s always top of her game and doing great things. It’s well known I am a fan of the Viracon guys, Garret Henson, Seth Madole, and Cameron Scripture- brilliant and good people too.
-- I like meeting new people and learning new things too… It was great to meet Charles Alexander, the newest addition at Walker Glass (though saying goodbye to Marc Deschamps was VERY hard for me) and meeting Joffy Thompson and John Vissari of United Plate Glass was incredible. Good, sharp guys for sure. As for new things, I learned about the new, exciting unitized product from Kurt Levan and Joel Phelps of Entekk- that was very cool. Best of luck to them.
-- Got to chat with Chris Knitter of Oahu Metal & Glazing for the first time in a few years and same with Maure Creager & Tim FInley of SAGE Glass (Side note- SAGE has the coolest business cards- props to Derek Malmquist on that) I only see Tracy Robbins of Walters & Wolf at this event, and I am glad I always do, good guy! Running into a former co-worker of mine Wardi Bisharat of PRL was fantastic- she rocks as always.
-- Any time I get with the great Rich Porayko is a blessing for me. I got to tell the “how I met my wife” story to Bob Burkhammer of Giroux and his wonderful wife, and I spent some quality time with Bernard Lax of Pulp which I value a ton.
-- The event was so huge I did not see a lot of people I wanted to see. I barely saw Tim McGee of Glass Coatings and Concepts and I missed Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural completely. I so badly wanted to hear how great things are going for him, as I see Clover everywhere these days! I also missed visiting with the Vitro folks and missed a few opportunities to catch up with old friend Tim Moore of Standard Bent.
-- So it’s now on to the next events… for me its most likely GlassBuild as I do not think I am attending AIA…. And I am very excited about GlassBuild based on the vibes just experienced at BEC. We have a lot of positivity flowing in our industry right now, so let’s keep at it!
LINKS of the WEEK
You don’t always get rewarded for doing something nice or right, (as that’s not why you do nice things) so it’s very neat to see when it does happen!
If any of you think you can be stealth and private? Not a chance… everyone is watching.
Jury Duty needs… and if anyone wants to hear my classic jury duty story, just ask… it’s a favorite of mine…
VIDEO of the WEEK
I mentioned how energetic and entertaining the keynote was at BEC and found a quick video of him online… this gives you a flavor. Good stuff!