My first GlassBuild America was in 2005. I was fresh out of college, new to the glass industry and absolutely stunned by the size and scope of the show. GlassBuild provided a three-day glass industry learning intensive like no other. I watched glass machinery run in person, I walked the floor with longtime industry experts who pointed out new and exciting product innovations, and I interviewed representatives from every facet of the glass industry supply chain.
I haven’t missed a GlassBuild since that first one 15 years go. The show and its education and networking opportunities have made it the most important industry event each year for me personally and for Glass Magazine. It provides an opportunity to check out the new innovations, to sit down and connect with industry collaborators face-to-face, to learn about new trends and potential market headwinds and more.
COVID-19 has turned 2020 plans upside down for us all. It has asked us to adapt and change; to find new ways of connecting, working, collaborating, problem solving. Now it’s forcing us to pivot once more when it comes to our industry’s gathering place.
The National Glass Association, Glass Magazine’s publisher, announced today that the in-person GlassBuild America 2020 has been canceled. “We are deeply disappointed by the COVID-19 impact on our trade show,” said NGA President and CEO Nicole Harris. “This loss will not only be felt by the buyers and sellers who look forward to coming together each year to do business at GlassBuild.”
I will greatly miss the in-person GlassBuild America this year. I will miss the connections—the crowded aisles and the accidental meetings they present. I will miss the after-hours celebrations and events. I will miss the discoveries of surprising and exciting innovations while walking the floor. And, I will look forward to coming back together in Atlanta in 2021.
In the meantime, of course, we’re adapting. With this news came the announcement of a month-long glass industry event from the NGA, GlassBuild Connect. GlassBuild Connect will present 30 days of glass and fenestration industry innovations, education and product introductions throughout September.
While COVID has derailed so much for our industry, it hasn’t stopped innovation, research and development, market trends and more. These are the stories GlassBuild exhibitors will be sharing to a global audience throughout September during GlassBuild Connect. And we’ll be closely watching at Glass Magazine.