From the Fabricator: AIA 2013 Recap

Another edition of the AIA show is in the books, and reviews have been somewhat mixed. A majority of exhibitors were disappointed with the traffic, especially after a brutal first day. There were some folks who felt the show was solid, though. So once again, I guess it depended on where you were and what you were selling.

From my point of view, it was not good. The floor layout was confusing, and I simply did not see the traffic the show enjoyed in 2012. But in any case, I still remain very positive about tradeshows in general, and I can't wait for the next big event, GlassBuild America!

As you have come to expect from me over the years, here's my rundown of the event, and what I saw and heard:

  • The big story easily was View and its latest round of funding, led by Corning. That had many people buzzing. It is tremendous news for the entire dynamic space, for which I am a huge fan. View's booth was seriously impressive, too.
  • From a product standpoint, the winners for me were Glass Apps and Pacific Architectural Millwork. Glass Apps had the coolest interior switchable product that I have ever seen (and I have checked out a ton), and Pacific Architectural Millwork had some sharp window and curtain-wall innovations. Both companies were not on my radar previously; they sure are now.
  • YKK AP premiered its latest fun architect video. Good stuff. At last count, it already had more than 102,000 views! That is amazing! Kudos to Oliver Stepe, Mike Turner and company.
  • Once again, the excellence of Rob Struble of PPG was on display with a creative usage of his entire booth space, including the backside. Somehow Rob knew the back end of his exhibit would be visible and filled the space with a cool ad to draw people in. However, for the first time in a while, Rob and company did NOT win best dressed. That award went to the very stylish gang at Viracon. They were sporting new shirts with their logo on the cuff—very sweet.
  • I noted View and the excitement surrounding dynamic glazing above, and the other players showed nicely too. SAGE with its smartly branded "Dynamic Decade" had a nice setup, as did the folks from Pleotint. My pals from RavenBrick garnered a lot of attention with their hair dryer simulation that made their product go from a clear to a tinted state. Good stuff from all.
  • It was great seeing former interview subject Mark Silverberg of Technoform on the floor and chatting with him regarding the next steps regarding ASHRAE (more to come on that), and visiting with the classy pair of Dave and Cliff Helterbran. That was a pleasure and honor. At the Guardian booth (bustling with activity thanks to several new product launches) it was awesome to see old friends Brian Craft and Bob Cummings. That was a day-maker. And at that booth, I'd be lost without the great Amy Hennes always looking out for me.
  • I did like the setup that Tubelite and Wausau Window and Wall Systems had. I just wish I had more time to browse there. Plus, I only got see the awesome Heather West from afar because she always had something going on. Good to catch up with Nick Barone of GGI, and the always-friendly Tom Herron of NFRC.
  • Schott did not have a booth at AIA for the first time in several years, but they still had a presence thanks to Don Press working the floor and Dan Poling out and about. Dan, by the way, was mistaken for the great actor James Franco several times. (Right now my mom just made a face while reading this... the fact I called James Franco a "great actor." Sorry Mom, I think he is...)
  • Downer of the week: a bottle of water was $4 at the convention hall. Ouch. And with the altitude there, you needed to drink.

Next week I'll be back with a look at the latest ABI, as well as a recap of the first Glass Management Institute session (still time to sign up folks- click HERE). 

Read on for links and clip of the week...

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

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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