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The Massive Importance of GlassBuild

By now, the news of GlassBuild America in Las Vegas being cancelled is everywhere. Those of you who know me know that the news of this happening absolutely gutted me. See there are two events each year that drive me and they both hold various amounts of real estate in my heart. BEC in the spring is my baby. I was there pretty much at the start, helped build it and have been along through all of the ups and downs. GlassBuild, though, is really on a whole different plane. This is the event where the entire industry gathers and I, and all of us, can see and catch up with so many people. It’s the once a year event that makes me feel “whole” in the glass world. It also has played a significant role in my professional life. As an exhibitor years ago, the successes there allowed my companies to grow. Then, when I struck out on my own, GlassBuild became one of my first clients. The people there took a chance on me, and I’ve been grateful ever since. When I started to work for GlassBuild, I got to see how massive it was―how many moving parts and pieces there were, and how this was not an easy event to pull off. I was able to watch the networking up close, and see business happening in real time. Each year was better than the last and I got deeper and deeper into it. 

In March at BEC, someone mentioned to me that this new virus issue may cause GlassBuild to get cancelled. I was dumbfounded by that suggestion. GlassBuild was in the fall―we’ve got to be better by then right? Well, sadly we were not, and are not. It’s devastating for so many on so many levels (the virus, its effect on all lives not just this show obviously). I never seriously thought we wouldn’t have a show in person but here’s where we are now―and how do I, and we, as an industry react?

From that aspect, this is my plea to all before you read what’s next. I think for all of us in the industry we may take GlassBuild for granted. It’s always been there, but it’s actually more than a show―it’s the lifeblood of the industry and the NGA. It’s what is needed to be able to have the technical chops, guidelines, bulletins and conferences. Without GlassBuild, a nonprofit like the NGA can’t perform at a solid level and surely would struggle to provide the absolutely crucial details we all need day-to-day. (You know, things like that tech document that helps explain something glass-related to a GC that saves you and your company hassle or charges.)

GlassBuild Connect

In 2020, we move to GlassBuild Connect, which given the circumstances is an amazing concept. It is a chance for the remarkable exhibitors and supporters of our industry to get some of the coverage they were hoping for in Vegas, and for our industry to get additional education and information. If you are still looking to improve your operation or career (you should be) all of the info and insight you would see in Vegas will now be laid out for you on GlassBuild Connect. To entice you further, the incredible content team at NGA is putting together stunningly good pieces and experiences that will absolutely help you and your business.

Nothing ever can replace a great face-to-face GlassBuild. The networking and camaraderie can’t be duplicated. But I can tell you this; we are going to do everything we can to make the month of September memorable and helpful for our industry. We are going to make the most out of a miserable situation and we will be better for it. I ask you to get ready to support this, and share the news and details as we build it out. 

End of the day, the health of the NGA and what it does for our world is at stake. And obviously, I’m connected to that professionally, but also emotionally. It means a ton. so please roll with me over the next few months and get ready to be behind this effort for the good of our industry.


  • Want an example of NGA’s impact? Here’s the top 10 list of most downloaded documents for the 1st quarter of this year. Crucial work being done here folks. And as noted above, it’s GlassBuild that drives these efforts:

1. Approximate Weight of Architectural Flat Glass

2. Heavy Glass Door and Entrance Systems Design Guide

3. Bird-Friendly Glass Design Strategies

4. Top 10 Items Commonly Missing from Fenestration Shop Drawings

5. Bid Considerations for Contract Glazing Proposals

6. Design Considerations for Laminated Glazing Applications

7. Marking and Labeling of Architectural Laminated Glass

8. Flat Glass Industry Standards

9. Proper Procedures for Cleaning Architectural Glass Products

10. Describing Architectural Glass Constructions

  • The latest Architectural Billings Index was released this past week. I wrote on my last post that I expected the index to be slightly up and the new inquiries to be slightly down. Well looks like I was half right. The index did tick up some―coming in at 32 (up from 29.5). Awful still, since 50 is break-even, but better. New inquiries also moved more positive by a few points, which surprised me. None of this is changing the current feel that we don’t have a great angle on what 2021 will look like overall, but we do know it’s going to have some valleys we’ll have to traverse. Next ABI release is July 22. And then The NGA Glass Conference will have a huge report from Connor Lokar of ITR, a leading forecast firm, on July 30th, so more insight is on the way.
  • New LEED credits are coming with the new world we are living in. Not glass-related, but really an FYI.
  • Was passed word that Lou Niles, formerly the president and CEO of Benson, passed away recently. I did not know Lou, but people who I respect a ton in this industry did, and they were hit hard by this loss. Benson was a small company―believe it or not once upon a time―that Lou built into a giant. I was told Lou also had a big impact on many of the best industry folks in our midst today, so his influence will continue to carry on. I’m sad for my friends who were close to Lou and my condolences to them and Lou’s family.

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Max Perilstein

Max Perilstein

Max Perilstein is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. Contact him at