The Giant GlassBuild Recap
Another great year of connecting with the industry
What a week in Vegas. A crazy packed and somewhat confusing show floor led to an epic time at GlassBuild. I love this event, with the learning and comradery at every single turn. This year really came through at every level and was pretty memorable.
The overall trend on the show floor was “screens” as more exhibits than I have ever seen put the video screen in play. It is a great way to get your point across visually and allow you to use your booth space more effectively. The other part was the vibe. People are feeling positive about 2023 and while worried about 2024, they used this show to seek out efficiencies and ways to diversify their offering to guard against the downturn that’s coming. According to the amazing Connor Lokar, the economist who spoke at the Glazing Executives Forum, it’s headed our way in the commercial space in early 2024.
There were plenty of options of efficiency and diversification on that floor! So with all of that said, time for my annual name dropping and recognition of seen and heard at the show!
Walker Glass celebrated their 80th Anniversary with a party so gregarious on the floor, I couldn’t get near it to say congrats or even see Danik Dancause in a legendary suit. The great Casey Anderson and the ICD team were also in celebratory mode after winning one of the Best in Show awards thanks to a brilliant video screen.
I loved seeing the Chris Phillips led Shower Door Professionals group. I only saw Chris for a moment and visited with a few of the guys, but it is amazing the bonds that Chris and these guys, like the awesome Billy Britt, Bill/Keith Daubmann, Brandon Nicastro, Chance Forman etc., have forged. A deep and meaningful set of relationships that is good for our world.
Glazing Executives Forum
From the parts I attended, the Glazing Executives Forum was strong. Jodi Martinez of AllStar Glass is a natural as the host. Today she’s hosting this, give her time and she’s hosting the Emmys and Oscars next! I got to meet Jon Gaines and Leah Kerr-Michaels of Island Glass and they were extremely cool, as most from Hawaii are. I saw Jeff Haber of W&W for about ten seconds which was a bummer, but hopefully I’ll see him and crew at BEC in the spring.
Catching up with folks and eye-catching booths
I love getting to see the fine folks from IGE led by Michael and Carolyn Spellman. Special shout out to Jeff Spicer there who was moving a thousand miles an hour getting their booth built from the ground up, nice work! I also got to see my old pal Lyle Shimazu for the first time in many many years, what an awesome experience!
Speaking of awesome, Ray Luna of Champion Glass fits that bill to a tee. Thrilled to spend a few minutes catching up and look forward to seeing him at Texpo next spring. Obviously a visit to Texpo means I’ll get to see the incredible Brian Risinger of Country Glass. Brian hooked me up with some Country Glass gear that of course turned heads, and I was honored to wear it. In Texas I’ll get to see the bros Kyle and Clint Sharp from Sharp Glass. Classy to the core there.
Chris Cullum and CMS had one of the best booths in the show in my opinion, the blue carpet popped and layout was strong. GGI also had a show-stopping exhibit and Spencer Raymond built it in like 30 seconds, what a monster. It was also super to see cousin Scott Cook too there as well as the Kentucky Colonel Brad Thurman. While visiting there I met Sean McEneaney of Glass Concepts, good guy! Stanley Yee from Dow is always a favorite of mine and when I needed Febreze for a musty smell, my main man Stanley was clutch! And also hustling was Andrew Kennedy of Naverra, he was a machine on that show floor with meeting after meeting as his company gets closer to launch.
Winner of the best-looking clothes by an exhibitor again went to Dapper Dan Reinhart of Salem Fabrication Technologies.
Especially the day two blue shirts, they may be the nicest shirts in GlassBuild history. Speaking of history, guys I go way back with that I was able to see included the great reps Jeff Ziesche of Jaz Sales and Tony Kasprzak of Seawall Architectural. Both were swamped the entire time, Jeff at the bustling and packed FHC booth and Tony somehow walked the show with a phone constantly going- that was serious multi-tasking! Rich Porayko was everywhere as always and saw a ton of Sand & Soda gear throughout, especially at the Tailgate Party! Also all the Rowe’s from Rowe Fenestration, just freaking fantastic people.
On the bummer side I only saw the terrific Devin Bowman of TGP/Allegion for a second as I was tied up and he was on the move. Same with Tom Herron of NFRC, Tom and I usually grab a picture and I never made it to his booth. I did not get enough time with James Wright of Virginia Glass because that guy never stops working the room! And Jim Ventre from Gardner was only a brief handshake and wave, but I did get to chat with Lucas Brooks from there and that worked out well.
It was great to visit with Ray Garries. He is always on top of every move, as is the legend Heather West. She is and will always be the gold standard in our industry both as PR-pro and person. I loved meeting Aaron Blom of FGIA. It was a blast talking the past with him and just a very cool cat. Got to meet Alex Reed of Reed Rubber Products in person and she has that “it” factor that will be big in our space for years to come. We need youth like her and may as well add in Sam Olson in on that praise too. He’ll be a future pod guest and any old pal of Melanie Dettmer is someone I want to know. Keep an eye on Hari Atkuri of Smart Glass Labs, he has that next gen product with a next gen mindset behind it. And Bruce Murray of TruClad is just a beast. He is rocking with his new company and has one of the best hat games in the biz.
Hats. Oh the hats. Specifically, the “NGA Glass Nerd” hat via the OG Andrew Haring. Everyone wants one, and I mean everyone. More than a few times after someone started to talk to me and I am thinking “wow this person is interested in me” to then have the conversation veer to “so do you think you could get Andrew to get me a hat?” Those babies have to be earned folks.
Pittsburgh locals and new faces
My Pittsburgh roots were in play, good to see the very talented Emily Yukish and Ryan Seitzinger of Specified Systems. That is a fantastic company and those two networked all over the place. Also from the steel city? The awesome Sue Errera and Renee Ferrari of Global/Isoclima and I also got to meet in person Trent Thiry from there. He’s new to our side of the world and he’ll do very well. Sharp guy who gets it. Also new to our world Dennis Higgins of Fenetech, and first impression there was very positive!
A few more before I wrap up. I saw the brilliant Paco Bono for a few seconds as well as one of my all-time favorites the spectacular Shelly Farmer. She was chatting with Joe Brklacich who I finally met in person! Luc Boileau of Herzog Glass is one of my guys, can’t wait to catch a Kraken game with him some day. Last but never least the Mayor of Glasstown, Jon Johnson. Always the man.
I’m sure I missed a bunch and I am sorry, my brain is pretty mushy right now. But I’ll finish with kudos to the entire NGA team. Everyone was in pure hustle mode to put on a great show, deal with issues as they arose, and kept plugging along. Honored to be a part of that legendary team! So in the books 2022’s edition goes. Next year back to Atlanta and I’m already pumped. But before that we have a big Glass Conference in Miramar, Florida and then the 25th Anniversary Edition of BEC. So massive stuff ahead!