From the Fabricator: BEC 2018 Recap

Another great BEC Conference is now in the books, and once again it was a major winner. Like the many I have attended previously, I left very fired up about what I learned and who I got to meet and spend time with. This year the attendee numbers were strong, with more than 500 there who were active, either in the conference area or in the mini trade show spot. This was the first year since those crazy pre-recession days that the numbers were that impressive. 

To recap, here’s what stuck out for me. 


  • The opening panel that featured leaders from the design, manufacturing, installation and contracting world was off the charts. It could have easily taken up the entire morning session, especially with quite a few questions that were still waiting in the queue. Lesson learned on the planning end: something that good needs more time. 

  • Tom Jackson, president of Steel Encounters, did an absolutely fantastic job on the world of employee relations, culture, and finding and retaining the workforce. He had one stat that I discussed with a lot of attendees and so I need to share here…

    “95% of job candidates believe culture is more important than compensation.”

    That still blows me away, but also shows I am old fashioned. The keynote (thanks to Guardian Glass and an inspired choice by Chris Dolan) addressed this topic. The speaker, Jeff Havens, provided an incredibly energetic and entertaining approach to generational differences in the workplace. And, my gosh, I am now officially old. 

  • Overall, the presentations were excellent with a ton of different subjects to satisfy so much of what the modern glazing contractor or installer could need. The technical meeting, chaired by the impressive Matt Kamper of Woodbridge Glass, was interesting. I always enjoy the ins and outs of it, but the fact that NFRC was covered in detail cracked me up. I have been in the NFRC mix since 2004! And we’re still talking about the same basic things. Just incredible, really. 


  • As always, the networking makes the event. The Sunday night reception was awesome. The room was jam-packed and when the reception ended it was still busy with the hotel management trying several different moves to get people to clear out. That is always the sign of a good party. And yes, I stayed ‘til the end. (That never, ever happens if you know me.)

  • Before I run into whom I visited, I have to give props to Gus Trupiano of AGC for leading this event as the chair of the BEC division. Gus is not only an excellent and classy man, he’s also a great leader who did the industry proud once again. Kudos as well to Sara Neiswanger of GANA/NGA for her tireless work on this. She does so much behind the scenes, and does it with great care and skill.

Familiar Faces 

  • It was fun to fly on a plane loaded with industry folks. Poor Joe Erb of Quanex got stuck in the middle seat next to me for 4 1/2 hours. He deserves a medal. Plus, the team from Guardian Glass was on board and I do sincerely enjoy chatting with them any chance I get. Once in Vegas it was great to see Bill Sullivan of Brin Glass. He’s a tremendous supporter of the industry and it is appreciated. In that same boat are people like Chuck Knickerbocker of TGP and Jon Kimberlain of Dow. I love what they do and getting a few minutes with each of them is a great honor for me.  

  • The talent on display at this event is really crazy. People like Gary McQueen of J.E. Berkowitz, Rob Carlson of Tristar and Ian Patlin of Paragon are so impressive to me. And my friend Shelly Farmer of Trex Commercial never disappoints. She’s always top of her game and doing great things. It’s well-known I am a fan of the Viracon guys Garret Henson, Seth Madole and Cameron Scripture. Brilliant and good people, too. 

  • Got to chat with Chris Knitter of Oahu Metal & Glazing for the first time in a few years and same with Maure Creager and Tim Finley of Sage Glass. (Side note: Sage has the coolest business cards. Props to Derek Malmquist on that.) I only see Tracy Robbins of Walters & Wolf at this event, and I am glad I always do, good guy! Running into a former co-worker of mine Wardi Bisharat of PRL was fantastic. She rocks as always.

  • Any time I get with the great Rich Porayko is a blessing for me. I got to tell the “how I met my wife” story to Bob Burkhammer of Giroux and his wonderful wife, and I spent some quality time with Bernard Lax of Pulp, which I value a ton. 

  • The event was so huge I did not see a lot of people I wanted to see. I barely saw Tim McGee of Glass Coatings and Concepts, and I missed Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural completely. I so badly wanted to hear how great things are going for him, as I see Clover everywhere these days! I also missed visiting with the Vitro folks and missed a few opportunities to catch up with old friend Tim Moore of Standard Bent. 

New Faces, New Things

  • I like meeting new people and learning new things, too. It was great to meet Charles Alexander, the newest addition at Walker Glass (though saying goodbye to Marc Deschamps was VERY hard for me); and meeting Joffy Thompson and John Vissari of United Plate Glass was incredible. Good, sharp guys for sure. As for new things, I learned about the new, exciting unitized product from Kurt Levan and Joel Phelps of Entekk; that was very cool. Best of luck to them.

It’s now on to the next events. For me, it’s most likely GlassBuild America, as I do not think I am attending AIA. And I am very excited about GlassBuild based on the vibes just experienced at BEC. We have a lot of positivity flowing in our industry right now, so let’s keep at it!

Read on for links and video 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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