So Long, Farewell, Goodbye: Thanks for the Memories

It was June 2008. Times were good. Sales and profits were up. Everybody was making money “while they slept." I attended my 1st meeting as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Glass Association. Rod Van Buskirk was the Chairman of the Board. Steve Mort was Chairman-Elect and Kevin McMahon was Treasure of the Board.

The Mortgage Crisis occurs in August 2008. Steve Mort becomes Chairman at GlassBuild America in September 2008. The NYSE plummets 778 points in October 2008. Mort challenges the NGA to make some tough cuts to survive the current economic downturn. All of the Board members begin paying their own travel expenses to the meetings. The January Board meeting is moved from a warm climate to Washington DC to save money. The Dow reaches its low of 6443 in March 2009. By August 2009 the economy is fully felt throughout the glass industry.

Kevin McMahon becomes Chairman at GlassBuild America in September 2009. Kevin had to deal with the tight economy as President of his own company and as Chairman of NGA. Furthermore, there was growing unrest among the Auto Glass Board members about other issues. Kevin had to manage those feelings and opinions. Eventually, all of the Auto Glass Directors served their term or resigned from the Board. It was a very tough year for Kevin. He is the greatest Chairman I served under.

Steve Burnett becomes Chairman at GlassBuild America in September 2010. Times are stabilizing and improving ever so slightly within the economy. The NGA is lean and efficient thanks to Steve Mort and Kevin McMahon. The NGA started the Window and Door Dealers Association (WDDA) and admitted its 1st representative, David Steele, to the Board. Steve Burnett keeps the Association rolling along on its path through the tough economy. Steve is blessed with a relatively calm year. The Board finally gets to have its winter meeting away from Washington DC. We go to San Diego and enjoy the “winter weather” there.

Chris Mammen becomes Chairman at GlassBuild America in September 2011. Times are continuing to improve. Four Board members, led by Chairman Mammen, make a surprise visit to NGA headquarters. The purpose is to see how the Association functions on a typical work day. The Staff is frightened by the visit. Eventually, most calm and accept the visit as a fact-finding trip. It’s another uneventful year for the Board. We go to Orlando for our winter meeting.

Bill Evans becomes Chairman at GlassBuild America in September 2012. Thankfully, for the industry, it was another calm year. GlassBuild is growing with more vendors/displayers. Attendance is improving as optimism about the economy grows. Jana Goodrich, the 1st female Board member in 20 years, joined the Board. I just kept the “ship sailing” while waiting for my successor to take the Chairman’s seat. 

Thankfully, Bob Brown assumes the Chairman’s role at GBA 2013.  Phil James, the President of the NGA for three decades, takes early retirement and Nicole Harris succeeds him as President. Phil did an excellent job of guiding, and building, the NGA throughout his tenure as President. Bob Brown orchestrates the transition. GlassBuild America 2014 is going to have more displayers and more attendees than any other GlassBuild during my term on the Board of Directors.

I have served under and with some great leaders while on the Board. They are all great. They made tough decisions, managed through crises, kept the faith, developed a new vision of the future, and continued the legacy. But the strongest ones have been Steve Mort, Kevin McMahon, and Bob Brown. They all encountered unexpected situations and handled each magnificently.

Bryan Bush will become Chairman at GBA 2014. He will lead the Board with a new President. He will be a great leader, and the NGA will flourish under his and Nicole’s leadership. Our industry is in very good hands. I will observe this from outside the Board as my term comes to a close.

Bill Evans is president, Evans Glass Co., Nashville, Tenn.

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.

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