Viva … Las Vegas!: GlassBuild America, larger than life

By Sahely Mukerji
August 1, 2006

It’s here, it’s bigger, and it’s shinier. GlassBuild America: the Glass, Window & Door Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Sept. 19-21, will be abuzz with energy as attendees and exhibitors from across the world gather to educate, learn and show their wares in the architectural glass and residential fenestration industries.

More than 440 companies were already signed up as of July 11 compared to a total 453 last year, and a total 392 at the last West Coast show in 2004 in San Diego. The Chinese constitute is the largest contingency from abroad: Of 94 foreign companies registered until June, 28 are from China, compared to 30 Chinese companies from a total of 118 foreign companies last year. Of the exhibiting companies already contracted, 45 percent are involved in the residential market, 40 percent in the commercial market, 9 percent produce hardware and related products for both residential and commercial fenestration, and 20 percent offer machinery, tools, transportation and handling. To read daily coverage during and after the event, go to

This year’s show will offer more than 20 seminars and workshops. In addition, the American Architectural Manufacturers Association of Schaumburg, Ill., and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance of Ottawa, Ontario, will present seminars Sept. 18-19; the Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association of Topeka, Kan., will meet Sept. 19-20; and the Glass Association of North America, also of Topeka, will hold its fall conference nearby at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino Sept. 20-22. 

 “GlassBuild America continues to grow beyond being North America’s largest commercial and residential fenestration product and machinery show,” says Rod Van Buskirk, president of Bacon & Van Buskirk Glass Co. in Champaign, Ill. “GBA is now our industry’s central event for education activities and networking. Manufacturers’ sales organizations and association groups are moving their annual meetings and activities to GBA sites because of the convenience. You can see products rolled out, go through the show, attend seminars and meetings, and hook up with key clients and counterparts all in one place. Meeting at GBA saves everyone time and money. Locating GBA regularly in Las Vegas and Atlanta is what everyone wanted.”

Topics and presenters will include:
Amy Elizabeth Welch Bednar, research scientist and mathematician for Applied Research Associates in Albuquerque, N.M., will talk about the much debated effects of blast, ballistic and hurricane windows on firefighters. “My talk is still considered a new area of research,” she says. “It is important for window manufacturers, window installers, architects, engineers, building managers and firefighters to see the effects blast, ballistic, and hurricane resistant windows can have on firefighter ingress and egress.”

Charles A. “Chip” Gentry and Angela Elbert are litigation attorneys representing the window industry in complex multistate litigation involving hundreds of properties. They will share insight developed on the front lines of the war against the window industry in Plugging the Leaks on Lawsuits: Practical Advice for Window Manufacturers in a Litigious World.

“This seminar is a must-see for all owners, executives, fore-persons, attorneys and employees of manufacturers that want to remain competitive and profitable,” says Gentry, managing partner of Carlson & Coil P.C. in Jefferson City, Miss. “Learn how to protect your company with practical knowledge to better understand how to avoid, and, if avoidance is impossible, navigate the treacherous waters of our litigious world.”

Jonathan Knowles, global collaboration strategist at Autodesk in San Rafael, Calif., will speak about Leveraging Collaboration Technologies to Maximize Resources and Streamline Workflows for Engineers, Manufacturers and Architects. 

“As glass, window, and door industry projects become more complex, the wealth of design information that needs to be shared among team members and stakeholders increases exponentially,” Knowles says. “Managing this information can be time intensive and costly, requiring strategic investments in people and technologies to help manage information more effectively. My presentation will outline strategies to help architecture, engineering and manufacturing professionals leverage collaboration technologies to maximize resources and manage design information work flows more effectively.”

Wayne L. Czechowski, president of Artwork in Architectural Glass in Good Hope, Ga., will present Decorative Glass: Cutting Edge Ideas for 2006 and Beyond, and Raising the Ceiling on Glass Flooring. “Both seminars could not have been made available at a better time because they involve hot items that architects and building owners want now. We will introduce you to the latest and greatest developments in decorative glass, how it is being used, and how to sell and install it. The other seminar will help you learn what flooring products are available, how to sell them and make you aware of the liability issues.” 

State of the industry 
The National Glass Association and the MPI Group of Shaker Heights, Ohio, have launched a benchmark competitiveness survey, and the results will be released at GBA. It will provide a comprehensive view of what constitutes top performance in the industry, and the strategies that correlate with success. It also will identify practices and performances specific to contract glaziers, dealers and retailers, and wholesalers and distributors.

“The research project will lead to a range of benchmarks that can help drive NGA-member improvement; if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it,” says David Walker, vice president for NGA Association Services.

The survey utilized an easy-to-complete online questionnaire and responses will remain anonymous. The content will address the following categories:
• Types of businesses and markets 
• Workforce issues, such as extent of training, training methods and empowerment 
• Operations, such as best practices, areas of improvement and critical operating measures 
• Financial performance, such as costs and expenses as percentage of net sales 
• Business environment, such as supplier costs and pending business events. 

Focus group 
This year’s focus group, What Replacement Contractors Want in a Window, will once again be conducted off-site and broadcast via the Internet to the show. Speakers will discuss the product qualities and options important in a vinyl window. Like last year, the group will be moderated by John Cashmore, president of Market Resource Associates in Minneapolis.  

Window & Door magazine launched this program last year with Mikron Industries of Kent, Wash. “Insights into customers’ thinking can be extremely valuable to window and door manufacturers, many of whom don’t have the resources to do such market research,” says John Swanson, associate publisher of Window & Door magazine. “So, this type of behind-the-mirror perspective represents a valuable opportunity. We know attendees will come away with ideas that they can bring home and use to improve their products and their processes.

The value of these discussions can be seen in the fact that last year’s attendees included representatives from leading window manufacturers that do this type of research on their own, Swanson says. “They know there’s always something new to learn about customers.”

To learn, to grow and to shine; that promises to be the theme at GlassBuild America 2006. 

Pioneering forum 
The Architectural Glazing Committee of the National Glass Association will host the first annual Glazing Executives Forum in Las Vegas in conjunction with GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo.

Patrick MacLeamy, chief operating officer of Hellmuth, Obata + Kassabaum, San Francisco, will be the keynote speaker, Sept. 18.

The forum will feature interactive discussions, peer-to-peer sharing among suppliers and contract glaziers, and fresh updates on challenging topics affecting the industry. Expert speakers and panelists will share their perspectives and forecasts for the contract glazing industry. 

“MacLeamy’s keynote address will focus on the need for the development of a building standard,” says David Walker, NGA vice president of Association Services.

“The Glazing Executives Forum is targeted toward North American company owners and key project managers … the leaders of the glazing industry,” says Rod Van Buskirk, NGA Architectural Glazing Committee chairperson and NGA board member. “The forum will build enduring relationships and information exchange among our glazing business leaders through roundtables and discussions.” 

The day will end with a networking reception. The fee for the daylong event is $195. To register, visit

Five in one 
Four organizations will host events in conjunction with GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window, & Door Expo, and one will host a subsequent meeting in a nearby location.

The American Architectural Manufacturers Association of Schaumburg, Ill., will host its Western Region Fall Meeting Sept. 18-19 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Separate registration is required. For more information, visit, or contact Florence Nicolici at or 847/303-5859, ext. 223.

AAMA also will present a day-and-a-half continuing education conference, Architects of a Better Mind, approved by the American Institute of Architects of Washington, D.C., Sept. 18-19. Architects who attend will earn eight learning units that qualify as Health, Safety and Welfare units. The registration fee is $100. For more information, visit the “Architects” section at

The Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association of Topeka, Kan., will hold its annual board of directors meeting Sept. 19 and its annual membership meeting Sept. 20 at the convention center. For more information, write Chris Birch at

The Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance of Ottawa, Ontario, will present a day-and-a-half educational seminar, Preventing Insulating Glass Failures, Sept. 18-19. Developed by industry experts, the seminar will offer participants a do-and-don’t practices approach for the manufacturers of IG units. For more information, call 613/233-1510.

The Glass Association of North America, also of Topeka, will host its 2006 Fall Conference Sept. 20-22 at the Monte Carlo Resort and Casino. Other than committee meetings, talks will include a keynote session, Getting Great Results: Turning Talent into Performance, by Garrison Wynn, motivational speaker; The Hot Glass for the New Millennium: Opportunities with Decorative Glass by Jane Skeeter, chief executive officer and owner of UltraGlas Inc. in Chatsworth, Calif; and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—Glass & Glazing: Opportunities Within LEED by Henry Taylor, team leader of Architectural Services for Kawneer Co. in Norcross, Ga. Separate registration is required. For more information, visit

And the winners are …  
In tune with the flashy location, Las Vegas, GlassBuild America 2006: The Glass, Window & Door Expo will have its own stars featured in a Crystal Hall of Fame.

Glass magazine will present its first Crystal Achievement Awards for commercial applications at the show, and Window & Door magazine will present its eighth annual awards. Stories about the projects, products and  services honored will be featured on posters in the hall.  Glass magazine awards will honor outstanding achievements in architectural glass products, projects and services; technology; and manufacturing and marketing. The winners were decided by a panel of judges that represent a cross-section of the architectural glass industry. They include executives, consultants and personnel involved in product development, marketing, production, sales and distribution. Judges were not allowed to vote for their own companies.

The Crystal Achievement Awards for commercial applications will be presented for the following categories, with awards in some categories for large, medium and small companies: 
• Innovative commercial window
• Innovative curtain-wall system
• Innovative skylight, skylight system, or overhead glazing component
• Innovative curtain-wall component
• Innovative commercial door or door component
• Innovative door applications
• Innovative curtain-wall applications
• Innovative decorative-glass applications
• Innovative interior glass applications
• Innovative bath enclosures and related supplies and materials
• Innovative technology articles written for Glass magazine during the past year
• Innovative glass application that earns credit under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program of the U.S. Green Building Council


• Best plant, includes glass-shop, glass and metal fabrication plants and the back shops of contract glazing operations, and health and safety programs, employee training and incentive plans and innovative equipment and software applications
• Innovative plant equipment


• Innovative comprehensive marketing program,
• Innovative print media such as catalogs and brochures,
• Innovative Internet media application or site.