From the Fabricator: BEC Recap
March 9, 2020
The 2020 BEC was surely one for the memory bank. Obviously, first and foremost, the tornado that ripped through the city and affected so many people there has my thoughts and prayers. Many of us from the industry have been going here to make donations. Thank you to Bill Sullivan for direction there. From an industry standpoint the fury that a storm like that can bring can never be underestimated and does continue to bring in the thoughts of more protective glass and glazing—as well as other building products.
Moving to the event itself, BEC was a massive success. The largest attendance since 2008, and the new location, brought an amazing amount of energy. For years, those of us who were BEC originals could never fathom moving it from Las Vegas. Now, it’s pretty clear that rotating this event around gives it a new and fresh flavor. Nashville was an incredible and fun venue, and perfect for this sort of conference.
Next week on this blog, I am going to break down some of the key presentations in more depth, but overall the education this year was top notch. We had so many interesting deep dives into complex subjects, it truly was a great opportunity for growth. I knew the kick-off keynote by Joe Puishys would not disappoint. He was really interesting on so many levels—some of which I will talk about more next week. I also loved the YKK case study lunch. Mike Turner from YKK is a brilliant guy and getting an inside story about the awesome hotel you were at—including a sample to touch and feel was a cool touch. I am biased about Jake Gaddis of United Architectural Metals as I have been a fan of him and his company for years and I thought he and the powerhouse panel he was a part of delivered. Next week more on this, but now time to get to the fun stuff: Networking.
- I love to meet new people, or grow relationships from LinkedIn contact to industry friend. I got to meet a couple of people in that level. Juan Gallego of Extrusiones SA chased me down to say hi, and that was cool—then I watched him work the room like a champ. Pat Pennington of Kovach was a man in demand, and I was glad he made the show given how busy he and his company are in Nashville and elsewhere. Cool to meet him!
- Always nice to visit with Seth Madole of Viracon—I love his social media game and he had some cool video of unitized curtainwall being installed over the weekend in downtown Nashville. Work is never stopping there. Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural is a good man from a great company—I am just thrilled he gives me a few minutes of his time each time at BEC. I love catching up with Jon Kimberlain of Dow, and now I must get to “Lex Vegas” next year for a U.K. game. That Kentucky flavor also pertains to Brad Thurman of GGI. Been a long time since I got a few minutes with him and I enjoyed catching up.
- Maure Creager of Sage is a one-time interviewee of mine on this blog, and this was first time I had seen her in person in a few years. Very awesome. Chris Bole, the chairman of the board of National Glass Association and owner of Pikes Peak Glass is just a great presence to have at this event. Someday, I will remember that he’s coming off an Achilles injury instead of knee (I always screw that up).
- The Tristar Glass team had a nice reception that I was honored to be invited to, and just spending time with the legend Greg Oehlers there was fabulous. At that reception I was also able to catch up Sam Hill of Oak Cliff Mirror & Glass, and that was a valuable experience as always.
- I was also fortunate to go to the Vitro reception and while there seeing good friend Mike Dishmon was awesome, plus visiting the trendsetter Glenn Davis, who was rocking a cool beard that all of his coworkers were trying to imitate, was neat. While there, it was also old home week for me getting to see several folks from Binswanger Glass—loved that and thrilled they had a great contingent at BEC.
- A customer that goes way back with my family is DM Products in the Pittsburgh area, and I’m so thrilled that I get to see them yearly at this event. Dick and Mike Macurak along with Mike Stroupe and Tim Mackin—all just awesome people. Tom Nesbitt of the aforementioned United Architectural Metals is another great one who has always been a staple in my professional life. Just great to always see him at BEC.
- The high-end talent and brainpower that we get at this event is something. Getting a guy like Jeff Haber of W&W Glass involved in the conference is tremendous. Incredible approaches he takes, and always so good the way W&W supports the industry and this event. Stanley Yee of Dow and Bernard Lax of Pulp Studio also fall into that category. Just love the angles/innovations they are always bringing to our world. Oh, and if we are talking brain power and skill, can’t forget about Chris Dolan at Guardian Glass—one of my all-time favorites and was thrilled to get to attend the Guardian Glass event while at BEC.
- Catching up with Brian Thomas of Super Sky was fun—love the signature jobs he and his company are doing. It was fun to see panelists showing Super Sky work while Brian was in the crowd; I am sure he was pretty pleased. Seeing Brendan Brown and meeting Rick Alexander of Tom Brown Inc. was a worthy experience. They have a strong organization, and they pointed me to Rick’s fabulous blogs online. (He is a technical force!). It is always good to visit with people I have worked with at different junctures in my life, like Tony Kamber, Scott Sallee, Jack Wickstrom, Connor Leahy and Scott Goodman. Tremendous as always.
- Last, it’s just nice to see people who are very classy and cool. Shelly Farmer of Trex is a major favorite of mine. Carl Christ of DFI fits that mold (missed Syndi Sim though!) as well as my guys Max Halls and Ian Patlin of Paragon. Love them, and they brought the future with them with Matt Halls and David Montoya. Young, energetic guys like those two give me hope for our future!
- I know I probably missed mentioning many I visited—and I am sorry, I try to keep track and this year was a tough one to do so. Plus, there were people I wanted to see like Tyler Hall of Dennison Glass that I never saw the entire time but I know was there (saw him in the BEC recap video!) as well as industry MVP Bill Sullivan, Brin Northwestern Glass, and John Wheaton, Wheaton-Sprague. Too many great folks and not enough time!
Speaking of the recap video: if you haven't seen it, look at it here!
Thank you to all that came and all I got to visit with and catch up with. Truly appreciate everyone’s time and I am grateful for so many amazing people in our world!