From the Fabricator: GlassBuild 2017 Recap

GlassBuild America 2017 is now complete and I can honestly say this year's event was unlike any of the others I have attended. The weather scenario surely played an unexpected role in how things would unfold. In the end, I think the experience was more positive than many could have expected when the forecast targeted Atlanta for the day before the show opened (and the day most people would arrive).

There were great stories of people who were so determined to get there they had to rebook flights multiple times or had to fly to cities near Atlanta and drive in. But once attendees arrived, they were greeted with two great days of weather and a jam-packed floor that raised the bar once again in regards to exhibits and product offerings.

Thank you to all who attended and exhibited. Your efforts were truly appreciated and I hope you benefit greatly from it.   

So, now to my annual look at the things I liked and noticed and the people I ran into along the way:

Note that I was not as active on the floor as I have been in the past because I spent a lot of time at the Window & Door Dealer Days. While that took me away from some of the action, I learned a ton there and was blown away by the content and collaboration.

There is no doubt that oversized and interior glass is hot right now. I was impressed by the focus on those categories from the product, component and machinery side. Speaking of machinery, each year seeing the advancements really gets me going. Glass equipment both from fabricating and installation keeps getting smarter and faster. I also liked the concentration on safety with regards to the installation equipment being shown. 

In terms of booths, exhibitors are not messing around. They take this event seriously and their exhibits show it. Some are more artistic or graphically pleasing incorporating product (Vitro, Guardian, Lisec, Bohle, M3, HHH, Quanex), while others come straight at you with their wares, cutting to the chase (IGE, C.R. Laurence, Matodi, Gardner). But in the end, it was truly an impressive display of approaches to brand and product.

For me, the networking is always the key and being able to catch up with the best and brightest in our world is quite frankly a thrill. I got to spend time pre-show with Rob Struble of Vitro and I still hope his marketing acumen will rub off on me someday. It was great to spend a few minutes with Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural, and then to be able to see his amazing product in action at the new Mercedes Benz Stadium was very cool. I only get to see Rob Botman and Jordan Richards from Glassopolis once per year, so I try to take advantage of that, plus I loved that they brought out one of their classic campaigns for their booth background. Well done, men! 

I mention this every year, but even if I only get to spend 30 seconds with the brilliant PR/Marketing/Communication gurus Rich Porayko and Heather West, I am grateful. It was great to see Dan Polling from Schott, and he still could pass for a double for actor James Franco. I love getting time with Mike Synon and Terry Hessom from HHH. Though, Mike always had a line of people waiting to see him, so next year I’ll have to make an appointment. I am glad Dustin Anderson of Anderson Glass made it over for the show, and it is always cool to see what’s popping in his world. That guy does great things for our industry.

I was happy to get a few minutes with Darijo Babic of Guardian; his energy and passion for the craft is top notch. And on the subject of top notch and Guardian, I have always had that respect for Chris Dolan and it was good to see him and spend some time. The video and product release that Chris and the gang had was extremely impressive. The production value was off the charts. Serious kudos to everyone who had a part in that effort.

Chris Fronsoe from ICD was among one of the folks who had to drive in from a regional airport, and yet despite the length of trip and adventure, he still was the best-dressed person at the show. I’m always delighted to visit with the great Shelly Farmer of SC Railing.  She introduced me to Scott Rowe of Rowe Fenestration, and that was appreciated greatly. Good guy and was pretty cool of him to tweet out a picture of us on the floor--loved the use of social media! I also met the impressive duo of Jessica Olander and Katie Tarka. They manage the Connecticut and Massachusetts Glass Dealers and I loved how active they were in trying to learn more for their membership and help those groups advance. 

Finally, social media was a big star of the show. More and more people continue to use it and the communication from it became more important with the need to get out information, timing etc. I was honored to be asked to do an Express Learning session on social media, and it was admittedly one of the neater things I have gotten to do in my business life. I can now cross off “speak at GlassBuild” from the bucket list!

So we now look forward to the 2018 show and there’s a lot to expect. I’ll hit on that next week and I’ll also cover the exciting news of GANA and NGA. That is HUGE and great news for our world.

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

Max Perilstein 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.

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