The Big GlassBuild 2023 Wrap Up
Recapping all that happened at GlassBuild 2023 in Atlanta
Wow. What a show. I think those of you that know me know I love every time we all get together but this one really went above and beyond. Truly a tremendous time and three show days absolutely flew by. Overall vibe I took away was resilience, preparation, and cautious optimism. Those emotions had to come to play, especially after those who watched the great Connor Lokar give his economic forecast! I’ll have thoughts on that next week, but make sure you check out Glass Magazine for a recap on that and all else with the education at the show. Time now for my annual who’s who and what was what at the show! So buckle in as this is the longest post of the year with a few names dropped along the way!
How the booths looked
The show floor was special with the booth looks raised to a new level, and then one step beyond with Quanex. They went all in for Halloween and delivered a memorable exhibit. Kudos to Cristina Murray, Carrie Scheetz and company on an epic display. So many other stands were strong too. I loved the open layout and mix Salem had, though I never made it into the booth during the show (I was too busy) and as always Q-Railing delivered with a beaut too. The Best in Show judges had tough calls all over but I think the ones they chose were deserving and the reactions of people like Tasha Birdwell of dormakaba and Rob Botman & Jordan Richards at Glassopolis were priceless.
Learning new things
Learned a lot of new things this time out. Haffner’s screen efforts continued to amaze me and large crowds, IGE’s range of products/machinery always get people going but the addition of JRS into the drilling and milling space had the audience absolutely buzzing. There goes that man again, Michael Spellman blazing yet another trail. Cool. Seeing Art Huard and Shawn McHale (NVOY Architectural) with the chance to chat with their partners from POLFLAM was a positive experience, a strong and exciting entry into the North American fire-rated space.
New and old faces
Meeting new people or people I follow online is always a thrill and that list was long this year. Shannon McKinney of DT Glass was a fun one to connect to after seeing her in many Shower Door Professional forums. Ty Clem, I have written about and only got to shake his hand briefly, but I appreciated the quick interaction. Matt Becker of Andersen was famous before the show for being on one the GlassBuild posters and was awesome to chat up on the floor. Mike Pennington of Brin stopped me to say hi and I appreciate that, good guy there (Minnesota Nice always delivers) I spent a bit of time with Adam Shearer of iMagic Glass and was a fan of his company before and now even a bigger fan post interaction. Had a nice time chopping it up with Matt Fox of FTI and Travis Nevins of IUPAT and I learned a ton. And I finally got to meet the truly brilliant Vardhan Mehta of Acelab in person, which was a must for me. His platform rocks.
Old friends always make it worth it. Ren Bartoe made an appearance! That was incredible. Saw Frank D’Aprile for a split second, he was wheeling and dealing like always. The Mayor of Glasstown, the one and only Jon Johnson never fails me, and loved catching up with Jeff Ziesche of FHC who also delivered goods from Buc-ee’s to me, so clutch.
Speaking of FHC they had a huge show, packed booth and brought the energy. Must be the podcast appearance from Chris Hanstad and Barry Sutherland. Also loved the enthusiasm from the Isoclima/Global folks. They had the bourbon contest going and were having fun. Krisy Kilpatrick there is an absolute ball of fire, and she’s a newbie to our space, so great things happening for sure. Walker Glass always is a must and for the 2nd year in a row I could not get into their booth party, too many folks again. Nice problem to have! And kudos to Will Downing and Orgadata for incredible costumes on day 1 (I tried to get there for a picture and failed) as well as Gary Di Dio and company at LiteSentry/SoftSolution for the snazzy zebra coats.
Fun to catch up with Brian Risinger of Country Glass in Texas. He’s a great guy and they continue to slay it out there and he brought me swag that I will wear proudly. Love it. Seeing old friend Dan Wright of Paragon and actually having 10 minutes to talk with him was fantastic. Plus, he intro’d me to Matt McGinnes of Cypress Companies and that was a pleasure. A quick side note on Paragon, prayers up (and feel to join me) to their HR Assistant Stephanie Moore who was diagnosed with Breast Cancer this week. It was found during the always important preventive screening. Thoughts are with Stephanie, her family and the team at Paragon.
Next up seeing the northwest duo of Joe Kaiser and Luc Boileau of Herzog Glass was extremely cool. They support our industry always and thrilled they made the trek from Seattle into the show. Billy Britt of Britt Tilson Glass is my guy. We got a picture together which is now tradition and we both are hoping the Detroit Lions make a run this year. If they do I think Billy gets a share of any win. (He’s got a massive connection to the team)
Good seeing Brad and Christina Leamon of “The Shower Door Guy” and they continue to grow and Christina was very impressive and made an impact this week for sure. Dan Poling of Schott always is fantastic to run into and same for Rick Newnom of HouTex Glass and Kyle Sharp of Sharp Glass. You just walk away from those chats in a positive place! And while we are talking positive and smiles, that’s Lindsay and Dustin Price of Texas Glazing Solutions, that’s their speed and I dig it. Of course no show is complete without seeing the nicest guy in the industry, Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural. He jammed this visit into an extremely packed schedule.
I missed seeing a bunch of people which was a bummer… didn’t see my guy Scott Goodman of CRL, I am sure he was buried all week. Same with Joe Staffileno of Fuyao. I wanted to meet Reece Austin of Hardware and Glass, Conley Oster of Raise Robotics, and Junaid Saleem and failed there too. Next time!
I got a few minutes with Garret Henson of Viracon which I always appreciate and bit longer with Seth Madole and Brian Savage from there. Was great that Viracon took part in the epic rodeo-themed event we had and I appreciate them supporting!
The brains were out in force and so when I can learn from our truly incredible minds in this industry, I relish it. Shared a cab and time with the awesome Dr. Kayla Natividad of Pilkington. So tremendous. I’m a huge fan of Sneh Kumar of Kawneer and consultants Charlie Boyer and Paco Bono. I just wish I had a tiny fraction of their brain power. And while he’s known as a sales guy, Alan Kinder of Guardian Glass is whip-smart and always has it going on. Plus a few minutes with the guru of all laminated glass, Mike Hallahan was worth it.
I know I am missing people to mention... many for sure and maybe I’ll throw more in next week but for now I think it’s time to wrap up. Two items, the National Glass Association really is remarkable, and I am honored to work alongside the women and men there. This show is big one to pull off and the gang pulled it off again! Truly extraordinary people and I have to single out Andrew Haring and Melanie Dettmer for keeping me sane in the run up to the show- they’re the best.
And last, some of you may have met or seen my daughter Natalie this week. She was a temp worker for NGA for the show and she was blown away by all and I loved having her there and see her interact. Everyone was so kind and welcoming to her proving this industry is a great one with the best people around. (James Wright of Virginia Glass is on record predicting she’ll be in our world someday, that is not the current plan but we’ll see!) Sure we have battles and challenges and competition etc. But we have a class and an approach that no other industry can touch. The glass and fenestration world is the best and I’m proud to be a part of it. Let’s all keep rocking forward and take it all on and succeed!
No links or project this week because of the length here, they’ll return next week along with the additional news and views from our world!