From the Fabricator: Looking Back at AIA
Before I get to the AIA review, I have to lead off with the gigantic story that broke late Thursday and was posted first on GlassMagazine.com: Cardinal Glass Industries is buying Catalina Tempering Inc. From a commercial side this is not big news. From the residential side this is earth shaking. Just a huge acquisition for Cardinal and now the second one in the last few months that has really made waves (first being the acquisition of Northeast Laminated in late April). Cardinal now has jumped in with two sharp, strategic moves and is signaling their intention to continue to be a force especially on the residential glass world. Catalina was a homegrown company that saw major success built by strategically placing plants near window manufacturers to supply them custom tempered. I don’t believe many people could have seen this sale coming; surely there were no major indications of such. The bottom line here is that Cardinal is making moves, and companies once thought to be “off the market” may actually not be…
Because of the size of the AIA recap, I am pushing Round 3 of the World Cup of Glass back a week…
- AIA was a mixed bag. It is always great to see people and learn new things about the industry, products, and services. However the show itself was just not that good. Traffic was inconsistent and very light in some areas of the floor, and it’s apparent that the architects that were there have too many things to see and do during this show. I know some companies were pleased and others not so much. And no matter, it does not dampen my enthusiasm for the next big event in our world: GlassBuild America. That show is coming along nicely with huge new exhibitors, innovation, and probably the coolest education set up you can imagine.
- As for the seen and visited part of the show… here goes:
It was good to visit Joe Erb while walking the floor; he’s always got a great insight or 100.
Walker Textures is really an impressive company. I know I always comment on their sartorial splendidness (Danik in a bow tie at this show—wow), but the fact of the matter is that this operation should be used as a case study for a group that really “gets it.” They are always evolving and innovating. Plus, it was super to get to chat with Ross Christie of Walker.
Speaking of innovation, I was very impressed with the Viracon App. It is a really a strong tool and will be used in the way that medium was designed.
It was a pleasure to run into Jerry Schwabauer of Azon—I had not seen him a while.
A cool product that was not really in our industry was the home elevators from Savaria. They do feature beautiful glass doors, though. Now I don’t think I’ll ever need or have a home elevator, but if I get one, this is what I’ll buy!
Guardian was at AIA in force, and as always, so hospitable to me. Amy Hennes is a class act, and getting to see the legend Brian Craft is always a pleasure. Brian’s healthy and looking great, and led a sold out seminar during the show.
I knew very little about Vetrotech Saint Gobain, but came away from their booth impressed. Getting hurricane-resistant approvals is no easy task, and they did it with their product.
Also impressive is the new unit glaze system from CRL/US Aluminum. I really appreciate Paul Daniels giving me a quick demo.
And I made a quick visit to see Sage. I was impressed by their new booth showing shapes, sizes, and new product advancements.
PPG was there as always. I got to chat with my favorite Jan Rogan, and visited with Glenn Miner as always. Rob Struble happened to be there, but I never got to talk with him as he was engaged with someone every single time I swung by. That to me may be my biggest regret of the show!
You can always count on YKK to have a buzz around their booth, and this year was no different.
I was also very very impressed with the team from tesa tape. They will be showing at GlassBuild for the first time this fall, and I think they will be a very popular destination for attendees to visit.
A lot of foreign companies were on the floor trying to get a foot in the market. Hopefully they realize that doing AIA is only one part of the mission to reach North America’s buyers.
- Random other thoughts…
I blew it by not bringing my running gear. The temps were perfect and there were so many places to run. I downloaded the app and took “Uber” everywhere. The semi controversial car sharing service was a godsend for me. I know that those in the cab and transport industry hate them, but as a pure consumer, in an event like this where getting around is such a pain, it was the MVP of my time there.
- Last this week, the World Cup of Soccer surely had our country enthused. I am wondering what happens in four years when the games are in Russia and the times of games aren’t as convenient to watch live. Still it’s been a fun tourney with still some great games to go.
The author 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. E-mail him at MaxP@SoleSourceConsultants.com.
The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.