A strong GlassBuild in a weak economy
In the face of hard financial news, GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo gave the industry reason to hope business conditions could improve. Many exhibitors and attendees deemed the show Oct. 6-8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center a success.
Show management reported its verified visitor figure as 8,019 and total registration figure as 9,292. The 2008 show featured 485 exhibitors, including 112 new companies. For next year’s show in Atlanta, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 168 companies have already signed up for exhibit space.
"We are so pleased with the turnout this year," said Denise Sheehan, vice president of Industry Events for the National Glass Association, McLean, Va. “It's definitely a sign of the current economic times that not everyone was able to join us this year, but we had 8,000 decision-makers in the aisles and a lot of happy exhibitors."
While product introductions and reviews are staples of every trade show, education about pending government mandates was a key theme at GlassBuild. For instance, the Edgetech IG booth focused on informing attendees about new requirements from the National Fenestration Ratings Council, Greenbelt, Md., and the Department of Energy. The “Edgetech University” featured experts from Architectural Testing Inc., York Pa., the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance, Ottawa, and the National Fenestration Ratings Council to answer questions, and distributed an IG certification manual describing actions to take to safeguard Energy Star-labeled products. The company also launched its new Web site, edgetech360.com.
"Mostly what we did was dispel myths and misconceptions about what is coming and what manufacturers have to do to qualify," said Margaret Webb, IGMA executive director.
Live glass cutting demonstrations by “Big Frank” drew crowds at Bohle America Inc. of Charlotte, N.C. a first-time exhibitor. “We have been overwhelmed at this show,” said CEO Gary Dean. “We ran out of catalogs, bought a printer to print more literature, then ran out of ink. So we spent two hours uploading PDFs on USB sticks to give away. Now [midday Oct. 8] we’ve run out of everything--literature, give-aways—and we still have a crowded booth.” The company launched its American office at the show. “We’ve taken 25 orders …and we’ve gotten about 300 good leads,” Dean said.
Investing in new equipment is another barometer of an industry’s future health, and GlassBuild America exhibitors reported sales by the second day of the show.
“We’ve sold seven machines [on morning of Oct. 7], and we exceeded our sales goal a couple of months ago,” said Jason Miller, service manager, Emmegi USA Inc., East Rutherford, N.J, a metals and PVC machinery maker.
Showing one of its three direct-on-glass digital printers sold recently in the United States, DIP Tech vice president of marketing and business development, Tommi Salenius, noted the potential of the Israeli company’s new, smaller version GlassJet Novo for the growing decorative glass fabrication market.
Carey Brayer, North American glass product manager for Intermac, Charlotte, N.C., said his company was able to show its Genius Series up close. “Intermac had many decision makers see our Genius Series cutting table and the Master Series CNC work center in operation,” Brayer said. “For some of them, this was their first time seeing an Intermac in person.”
Beyond the show floor, the NGA's Glazing Executives Forum attracted about 200 industry professionals, up from 143 in 2007. NGA is considering a one-day session for auto glass leaders in 2009.
“We've seen a lot of success with our Glazing Executives Forum at GlassBuild America, where we bring together the leaders and future leaders of the glazing industry for a day of learning and networking, and we think that same concept will benefit the leaders of the auto glass industry,” said David Walker, vice president of Association Services for the NGA.
In the auto section of the show, Jeff Olive , an NGA Master Certified Auto Glass technicians from Glasspro, Mount Pleasant, S.C., took first place in the 2008 American Master Installer Auto Glass Championship.
Seminars at the show, "New Age of Trends in Decorative Glass -- Options and Trends in the Market" and "Marketing That Works," encouraged attendees to think of other ways to grow their businesses.
GlassBuild America trade association partners hosted several events. The American Architectural Manufacturers Association, Schaumburg, Ill., held its popular seminar “Architects of a Better Mind.” The Glass Association of North America, Topeka, Kan., and Hurricane Test Laboratory LLC, Riviera Beach, Fla., sponsored live impact demonstrations for every glass breakage that drew crowds. At its annual membership meeting, management of the Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association, Topeka, Kan., told members that the organization submitted its voluntary standard for the manufacture and installation of bath enclosures for adoption this past week to ASTM Subcommittee C14.08 on Flat Glass.