2023 Glass TEXpo Review
Catching up with people & a look at the industry
Another strong showing from the folks in Texas for this years edition of Glass TEXpo. The hospitality is always top notch and it’s a tremendous opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new ones. Before I get into the “seen at the show” section, I did want to follow up on my note from last week. My goal at the show was to take the temperature and see what this region is feeling work wise. I did that and it was an interesting study. The market right now is busy, and while there have been a few more potholes than typical, 2023 is in solid shape.
The issue is 2024. The confidence going into post 1Q 2024 is waning. Backlogs are slower to fill in for a myriad of reasons (interest rates, banks, volatile pricing, supply etc.) and that has raised some concern amongst the players I spoke with. But to a person, they are confident of weathering the storm and instead of just having “hope” as a strategy they are doing something about it. Some are diversifying into other areas of the building, some are working on new products and partnerships, and many are investing into better software and machinery. To me that is a part of the way you take this on by making those maneuvers and also really getting into a mode of understanding your costs and business. Plus coming to events like this one, or things like the upcoming NGA Glass Conference bear fruit too because you get the latest insights and opportunities to get ahead of the pack.
So basically those warning lights are out there, the folks in Texas have seen them and are ready. Are you?
Elsewhere at the show...
As I always do when I visit an event, time to name drop a bit and lay out some of my experiences while in San Antonio. Great place for a show by the way. Pretty much the first people I saw were the awesome pair of Dustin and Lindsay Price, it’s been a while and was nice just to see those smiling faces and epic “Texas” shoes! (See the National Glass Association post on LinkedIn to see what I’m talking about there.) Also pre show I got to catch up with the great Jacque Freeman of Binswanger and met one of her co-workers, Evan Rogers. Very cool. Dorothy Gurka of the Houston Area Glass Association is always so nice and she didn’t fail me this time either. Speaking of “nice”, Kyle Lamb of Universal Glass and Kyle Sharp of Sharp Glass may be two of the nicest guys around, while also being great business leaders.
Always an honor to spend time with the legends in our space, that being Felix Munson, Sam Hill, Rick Newnom and Bob Larson. I always learn when I talk to them and they give me more time than I deserve. Same goes for Regina Munson who is a dynamo out there and really making her own mark. It was great to chat briefly with Gary Di Dio of Lite Sentry/SoftSolutions. I really appreciate the way he and his company are supporting the NGA and the industry.
It’s always awesome to see old friends, I hadn’t seen Dustin Dickmann for years, that was a very cool trip running into him, as was chopping it up in the registration line with Matt Price. He’s got 1,000 things going and the Perfect Edge product he’s got going is strong, so he was more pumped than normal. Old pal Manny Borda of IGE is looking absolutely fabulous, whatever that regimen you are doing Manny keep doing it! And Bob Taylor of Trulite and David Shaw of CompleteLine are always so nice, so classy. It was an honor to work with those guys in my past.
Meeting new people is always a must for me. Thanks to super Rep Jeff Ziesche of JAZ Sales, I was able to meet Jacob Melton of Citadel Architectural Products. Jacob is a sharp guy and his suite of products led by the GlazeGuard panel is impressive. Also impressive, Mike DeFrank of World Resources (ironically a connection from Jeff Z too) and it was very cool to meet and chat with him and hear about his company growing and going. Sam Frankland of Smart Builder stopped by the Texas Glass Association booth to chat and that was nice, was good to give him kudos on his “Best in Show” win at GlassBuild last year. Then I met three very fine people from Arrow Glass and Mirror, David Flores, Julie Gutierrez, and Alexey Batalov. Nice folks who had stumbled onto my blog last summer and I hope they’re still reading it!
Podcast guests galore! Past guests like Trent Thiry of Global Security Glazing (busiest man in show business) Dan Shields (always so welcoming and friendly to me) and Ron Parker (he was swamped with visitors at his Ballistic Glass and Armor booth) were all nice to see just out there thriving. Upcoming guests Tyler Faulk and Brandon Bellegarde of Drafting Marketplace will fit right in with the “From the Fabricator Podcast Guest Alumni” as they are just crushing it too.
Last on this, kudos to Jennifer Fontana at the Texas Glass Association for all she does and to my guy Andrew Haring who never ever ever fails to deliver a memorable time. This one probably has a ton of choices of most memorable, but Andrew’s inspired choice of oversized cowboy hats (h/t from afar to Melanie Dettmer who made the hats happen) were a massive hit. It was a fun touch that everyone with a sense of humor truly enjoyed.
So another good one in the books, I ran into many more and sorry that I missed noting you here but as some of you know my phone (to keep notes) was dying and my pathetic $14 charger did not work (shocking!) so this is not as complete as it should be!
And by the way, now more than ever knowing that in the fall of 2024 GlassBuild America will be in Texas (in Dallas) has me over the top excited. Giddy up!
Because this was so long, I’m kicking some of the other big news to next week. That includes the huge Kawneer parent company deal, a major player is back in our space, my next trip to Texas (sooner than y’all think) and a congrats to a company making an exciting plant/HQ move (that you would’ve know way ahead of time if you listen to my podcast). So all that and more, next post!