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GlassBuild America Displays Industry’s Resilience

Exhibitors, suppliers return to in-person event with high energy and a focus on meeting industry challenges

Joseph Machine booth

Show Highlights

  • Attendance: 5,100 attendees from 48 U.S. states and territories and 35 countries
  • Exhibit floor: 114,874 net square feet at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta
  • Education: GlassBuildTV featured more than 3.5 hours of industry programming from about 20 glass and fenestration industry associations
  • Glass product trends: Larger glass sizes, higher thermal performance, protective glazing, custom offerings
  • Equipment trends: More automation, integrated machines, safer handling, ease of use, labor-saving solutions
  • Industry headwinds: Labor shortage, supply chain delays, freight and other material costs

Save the Date

The next GlassBuild America will take place Oct. 18-20, 2022, in Las Vegas.

Future GlassBuild Dates

From the Floor

With fewer exhibitors than usual due to the global pandemic, and pre-registrations tracking lower than normal, officials from the National Glass Association, organizer of GlassBuild America, and exhibitors report they were pleased with the final participation. “The attendance and energy on the show floor exceeded our expectations,” says Nicole Harris, NGA president and CEO. “We are grateful to everyone who made the extra effort to show up in person to see each other, their suppliers, and the most exciting products and services our industry has to offer. Having such a good turnout is a testament to this industry’s resilience and forward-thinking attitude.”

“Even if it was a smaller scale, all attendees were absolutely focused on improving their business and business relationships,” says Florian Doebbel, business development manager, Facades, from exhibiting company Sika Corp. “All of them showed up with specific interest and demand. It was very effective and exciting for our team.”

“Even during the pandemic, we never stopped innovating or providing the machinery and resources our customers relied on to meet production demands,” adds Laura Fiegelist, marketing communications coordinator, GED. “GlassBuild 2021 showed the strength of the window, door and glass industry, and the commitment to customer service and product advancements during difficult times.”

The In-person Advantage

After the pandemic forced events online for much of 2020 into 2021, GlassBuild America offered an important opportunity to get back in person for face-to-face connections with customers, suppliers, colleagues and friends.

“People are social animals. They need to be together and that was evident at the show,” says Gary Hartman, vice president of sales and marketing, Chelsea Building Products. “Folks who made up their mind to attend were glad they did. Those who were hesitant to attend, and did, were glad. Those who didn’t attend probably wish they did.”

“GlassBuild America is a chance to meet and learn something from other people. The last two days I met many good people with something to say about our industry and the current business environment,” says attendee Tom Whitaker, president and owner of Mr. Shower Door. “The energy and enthusiasm of the attendees was palpable,” says Chris Kammer, vice president of marketing for A+W marketing coordinator, A+W North America: “People were happy to be meeting in person again and ready to socialize and engage. It seemed that this energy fed people’s drive to be there and execute on business.”

The face-to-face interactions put investment top of mind for many attendees, according to a number of exhibitors. “If you came to the show as an attendee, you obviously were there to conduct business,” says Mark Imbrok, vice president of EDTM. “Many of the attendees came to our booth with a mission, to either place an order for a product they had been researching, or to gather the information they needed to take back to their business to make a purchase decision.”

“Everybody who has come to our booth has had an intention, a reason. It has blown our expectations,” says Syndi Sim, vice president of marketing and business development for Diamon-Fusion International.

GlassBuild 2021

Attendees from 48 U.S. states/territories & 35 countries

Industry associations providing GlassBuildTV

Net square feet at Georgia World Congress Center

Trending at GlassBuild

GlassBuild America puts trending technology in the spotlight. Exhibitors share the biggest factors for market trends to come.

“The need to diversify products to protect against supply disruptions is on the top of most of our minds. This will lead to some interesting shifts in how people approach vertical integration in an organization.”—Morgan Donohue, vice president, sales and marketing, Erdman Automation.

“Customers are looking for all things automation: loading, cutting, sorting, line utilization and solutions that bridge island processes to eliminate unnecessary handling, quality issues, streamline overall process flow are at all-time highs and in more demand than ever before.”—Tom Bechill, sales manager, Hegla.

“Last year was an incredible year for equipment sales. People are buying equipment.”—Carey Brayer, vice president of sales, Intermac America.

“We’re seeing vertical integration for mid-size fabricators. More are bringing tempering in-house. Part of the reason for this is glass quality—they can fix errors themselves—and lead times, getting product out the door faster.”—Rick Dominguez, president, Jordon Glass Machinery.

“The future of IG and vinyl equipment is in high-speed, automated systems that offer labor savings while maintaining great quality and precision. In software, immediate data feedback and analysis of manufacturing processes, as well as web-based software, offer flexibility and reliability to manufacturers in fast-paced production environments.”—Laura Fiegelist, marketing communications coordinator, GED.

“Software was very popular with people asking about contractor/glazier software and manufacturing/fabrication software solutions. Some [software solutions] can help companies address the current labor shortage, for example.” —Chris Kammer, marketing coordinator, A+ W Software North America

“Companies now expect cloud capabilities from providers, much more so than before the pandemic.”—Darryl Huber, vice president, global customer strategy, Soft Tech.

“The major trend is heavier glasses—double or even triple-laminated glasses becoming more common. This poses safety issues for workers trying to lift it manually.”—Flemming Storm Nielsen, president, Smart Lift US.

“The biggest trend we’re seeing is the evolution of jumbo glass. The demand is there. Architects want better sightlines, more light.”—Alan Kinder, regional architectural manager, Guardian.

“Over the past year, we have seen an increase in architects endorsing glass a lot more as an intricate design feature. We are also seeing an uptick in glass canopies, interior glass walls, skylights, and glass railing on new building structures.”—Syndi Sim, vice president of marketing and business development for Diamon-Fusion International.

“Lamination has really skyrocketed over the past couple of years. Visitors in our booth were anxious to discuss both current and future trends. By the end of the show we all came away with new ideas and some direction about where we are heading.” —David Harris, product manager – exterior solutions, American Renolit

Best in Show

Magid receives the award for Best New Exhibitor booth at GlassBuild 2021

Above: Magid accepts the Best in Show award for Best New Exhibitor Booth.

The following companies received Best in Show Awards for their exhibit booths at GlassBuild America 2021. Winners are chosen through voting by an independent and anonymous group of industry representatives.

  • Machinery BoothForel S.p.A.
  • Small BoothDreamwalls Innovative Glass Products
  • Large BoothContinental
  • Software BoothOrgadata / LogiKal
  • Medium BoothQ-railing North America
  • New ExhibitorMagid

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Katy Devlin

Katy Devlin

Katy Devlin is content director for the National Glass Association and editor in chief of Glass Magazine. E-mail Katy at


Norah Dick

Norah Dick

Norah Dick is the associate editor for Glass Magazine. She can be reached at