The Big BEC Recap
Breaking down BEC 2023
Another BEC is in the books and what an event it was! Once again so great to see so many wonderful leaders in our space and continue to learn and advance. As is tradition, this will be a very long post recapping BEC, but mostly noting the who’s who of the show for me.
Before I get into the people aspect, let’s talk about the event. The education was epic. A few things stood out. The courage and class from Coleman Jones of Pioneer, Dave Ferret of Bagatelos and Matt Kamper of Woodbridge to share insights into the challenges on jobs. Attendees were buzzing about this and particularly Matt’s project that I heard more than a few say “yeah that’s one monster I never want to see!” The Jeff Dalaba (NACC/AGMT) led panel was a hit thanks to having an extremely conversational tone digging deep into the quality aspect, and the close of the show with Jeff Haber of W&W, Taylor Anderson of Anderson Aluminum and Joey Aragon of Aragon Construction was tremendous with so many shared details that many immediately were discussing on how to implement.
That’s only a few, there were great nuggets of inspiration throughout the event, and I think probably one of the best educational offerings from top to bottom in our 25 years of doing BEC. Thank you to all.
The vibe overall was positive but guarded. The concern of interest rates surging was a big one, as was jobs on the books going poof. 2023 looks good still, 2024 is more murky and quite frustrating. The folks worried about 2024 were using the time at this show to explore diversifying their offerings and strengthening relationships, very smart by them. I’ll be hitting on this more in coming weeks.
Seen and heard at the show
Ok now on to the people. For those of you new to this blog, after events like this I rundown a bunch of folks I run into at the event and what they may be up to. I look at it like a “Seen and Heard” at the show sort of thing and have been doing this since I started this blog way back in 2005.
BEC is for catching up with old friends, and past podcast guests! It was great to see the most popular guy in our space Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural Products, he was only able to come for a short time, but I am thrilled he did though I would’ve liked more than 10 seconds to visit with him. Loved seeing the Quaker Window guys Chris Dickneite and Dusty Fick and of the one and only Joseph Holmes. Great guys to visit with always. Dan and Jodi Martinez were there and full credit to Dan for braving some serious bad weather to reach Vegas. I only saw Will Pounds of TSI Corporations for a moment as he was running to a meeting, so I didn’t get to ask if his favorite food is still gas station sushi, podcast reference when he was a guest.
Old friends always are fun for me. The great Jeff Ziesche of JAZ Sales surprised me with an epic old glazing manual from the 1940’s, that alone was so cool to look at. Rick Alexander of Tom Brown was dominating the weight room when I saw him first and just thrilled he attends every year. My guy Ian Patlin of Phoenix Architectural Glass was there taking in as much knowledge as he can, but I seriously think he knows it all already. Seeing legends like Jim Stathopoulos of Ajay Glass, Omar Maalouf of Momentum, and Derek Losee of Steel Encounters was a blast for me. So cool and talented. Thanks also to them because I think my time with them and Derek bringing back food from the reception buffet was the only time I ate. And it’s not BEC for me without visiting with PJ Hilboldt of NGG. Just an awesome guy.
Obviously, I always love any chance to visit with Michael and Carolyn Spellman. They treat me great, and I am fan. Between VIG and the massive need for automation out there, those two along with Manny Borda of IGE were quite busy. Still thrilled that Cameron Scripture of Viracon always makes time for me. Such a good person. I enjoyed catching up with Art Huard and Dr Charlie Boyer and not only hearing about the Vacu-Gasket growth but all else on their minds. Leigh Anne Mays is back on our side of the industry at Naverra and she was absolutely everywhere at this meeting spreading the gospel on her new company. And I got a nice amount of time to talk with Troy Johnson of Harmon and he is a hopeful target for me to have on the podcast, classy and sharp, that’s a guy who gets it.
Shout out to the great state of Texas! Loved seeing Rick Newnom of Hou-Tex Glass as well as Kyle Lamb of Universal Glass. The Country Glass duo of Brian Risinger and Joe Lambertson were everywhere (in that awesome gear of course) and they always are open to network- which is appreciated. Kyle Sharp of Sharp Glass was great to catch up with as well- and I look forward to seeing all these folks and more at TEXpo in May.
It was nice to see Eric Mayka of Millet, that’s a busy guy. Also very busy was the duo of Juan Gallego and Daniella Fernandez of Trust Seal. I met Juan for the first time at the 2020 BEC and he still wanted to see me this time! Good folks and both excited with Trust Seal now having a place in South Florida. Always nice to see Andy Russo of Glass & Metalcraft, and I am pumped he’ll be going to DC to represent the interests of Michiganders at Glass and Glazing Advocacy Days. He’ll be great at that. Dan Sutton of Vitro Architectural has no idea how to take me, but I love the guy, smart and so well spoken on the hottest products out there. And speaking of Vitro, seeing old pal Jemssy Alvarez was simply splendid. It’s not really a BEC if I don’t see Jerry Moser of RA Kennedy or Joe Clabbers of National Glass and Metal. I did, and that was clutch, great guys always supporting the cause.
I mentioned Joey Aragon above and it was very epic to see more of that crew including dad Joe, brother Matt and of course the one and only Drew Forester. Having the legacy folks back was something else. Pat Rome continues to be an icon even though he’s moved on from our space. Andy Gum being back was incredible and I hope he’ll be a regular again. Kevin Roth of Privacy Glass is not only a regular but is like one of the most popular guys at the event. I could say I knew him when he was leery of attending! Now I don’t think he’ll miss another. Dapper Dan Reinhart of Salem was there and he now wears the crown of best dressed in our space. The gang from Glass 3 in Canada never miss, and this show had Josh Aknin and Seth Maretz. Great and energetic guys who not only know their stuff but will be important pieces in our world for years to come. Did I say energy and Canada in the same sentence? Then it’s time to mention Goldray Glass. I loved catching up with Laura Little, Mike Saroka, and Kevin McMahon. Hanging with them makes me feel like the “cool kid” in class.
I was impressed with Guardian Glass' showing, their sample viewing station was cool and Jake Kasbrick is a really impressive player. Also has great hair. I’m jealous. I’m also jealous that Alan Kinder from Guardian can speak flawlessly for five minutes straight about bird friendly glass. It’s a subject that many are into and can be a challenge to explain and he nailed it. Though Mark Jacobsen from Kuraray bringing out a “live demo” of how bird friendly works will be a memory for a while! Nice work.
I’d be really missing it if I did not mention two incredible stars in our space that I love seeing each BEC, the best PR player in the biz Heather West and one of the best to ever do the sales game, Shelly Farmer of Sightline Commercial Solutions.
New faces at BEC make me happy. The contingent from Ubiquitous Energy were awesome and it’s a thrill that they could attend and participate. I got to meet Evan Afenir of Double Play Glass in person, and he was as impressive as the work he does out in California. Steve Sletten of Larson Engineering stopped me to say hi and that was a day maker. Fun seeing and watching Trent Thiry and Art Droste of Global Security Glazing/Isoclima being at their first ever BEC and trying to meet and greet as many people as they could. Tom Irvin of OldcastleBuilding Envelope may have attended in the past but was nice to see him at this one and the OBE case study was a really nice addition to the schedule.
Shoutout to NGA and looking to next year
Obviously, I can go on and on… but before I end just kudos to the team at NGA who worked tirelessly to pull this off. Trust me, it was not easy. Lots of moving parts and pieces but the team led by Sara Neiswanger, who had a very memorable BEC, and Katy Devlin absolutely rocked it. I’ll have more over the next few weeks but for now that’s your rundown. BEC next year is back in Nashville and combined with GPAD. That will be an absolute must attend. I can’t wait!