From the Fabricator: The GlassBuild America Recap

Another GlassBuild America is in the books, and it was an incredible experience. 2014 featured the best crowd in years, amazing education and demos, networking and business transactions. LOTS of business transactions, actually. There is no question in my mind that the momentum and enthusiasm we have in our world right now is very real. Yes, we have obstacles ahead, but things continue to progress in the right direction. And let’s keep in mind the comments that the great Oliver Stepe of YKK AP said in the Glazing Executive Forum at GlassBuild: "Do not forget the lessons of the past. It would be a mistake to go backward. Keep doing more with less. The market is better, yes, but your competition is better, too."

I can’t agree more, as we surely do not want to go backward in the way we operate or approach our businesses. All in all, let’s keep this positive momentum going!

As I have been doing for many years, I share with you here what I saw and noticed on the show floor. This blog is longer than normal, so you are forewarned.

  • Overall- the level and look of the exhibits was amazing!
  • Great to see Mike Gainey of Azon again. And he was looking great, too. The team from Garibaldi Glass was great to catch up with--Carey, Chris, Otto and Neally. A super booth and some really cool cutting edge/impressive products on display. Of course, it's not an industry show if I don’t get to spend a few minutes with Glenn Miner and Joanne Funyak from PPG, though this year it had to be BEFORE the show kicked off because I could not get in their booth during the show due to the crowds. Speaking of busy, my old friend Cliff Monroe of Oldcastle BE was in deep conversation every time I came within 20 feet of him, so never got the chance to chat. Same with Tom O’Malley of Clover Architectural and Steve Cohen of Schott. That’s the only problem with such a packed event, not getting time to chat with everyone. All three guys look like they are doing quite well, though.
  • Good to see Garret Henson and Seth Madole of Viracon holding court on the show floor. Those two just stood in one place and let the show come to them. Nice. The Idaho State Hall of Fame football player Dave Michaeli of AGC was on hand working their booth, which was very sharp by the way. Dave looks like he could suit up for a NFL team right now. Plus, AGC had the legend of Rocky Top Matt Ferguson in attendance as well; wish I could’ve spent more time with him. Very nice to meet Vistamatic boss Kevin Roth in person; I’m a fan of his company's product. And great to run into Devin Bowman from TGP walking the floor; wish I had more time to chat with him. Getting a few minutes to catch up with Lloyd Talbert of C.R. Laurence is always awesome. That company always steps up for the industry and I always make sure to thank Lloyd for that support.
  • The Dip-Tech booth was awesome. Being on the floor early, and seeing it go up from nothing made me appreciate it all the more. And that goes for the entire show. To see the floor a few days before the show opens; it’s an epic disaster. Then by show open, it's absolutely pristine. Kudos to EVERY exhibitor.
  • A fascinating moment for me? Being in the Bottero booth and meeting Kristin Hayes of Luminous Glass Distributors in Miami. She just closed a deal there for a machine and was rightfully fired up. It was very nice to meet her and witness firsthand this exciting move for her company. Very impressive businesswoman for sure. And I loved watching business being done on the floor!
  • Best shirts for the second year go to Salem Distributing. Whoever is making the clothing call there, keep it up--looks great. In close second is Lisec. The maroon/black look is strong. Speaking of Lisec, it was very nice to catch up with Hans Hoenig, Bob Quast and run into Chris Brooks as well. And you can’t mention fashion without mentioning Walker Glass, of course. In a few weeks I’ll share a story about me, fashion and the industry's most stylish man, Danik Dancause, that some of you will get a kick out of.
  • Best booth idea/promotion? Dressing up in zebra-printed sport jackets by the guys from Lite Sentry. Mark Abbott and Eric Hegstrom looked dapper, and it was a good way to get their message across. Also, I really liked what PRL did with their booth--super use of product. And the same can go for HMI Cardinal; they had some product on display that really blew people away.
  • Safety really matters, and so seeing Tuff-n-Lite having a packed booth the entire show was exciting for me. If I was still a fabricator, I’d surely be trying out their safety gear in my shop. There are some really neat advancements of safety technology there. Props to Mary Olivier of Tubelite for her golden touch on booth selection. She hit the jackpot with what seemed to be a perfect spot with traffic coming in from all ends.
  • Bloggers galore. Bill Evans did a tremendous job with his Express Learning spot and Bill Briese of GED was nice enough to step out of his booth for a moment to catch up with me. Love when either of the guys write. And yes, it was great to see my brother Steve. Healthy, happy and strong, and doing amazing things with Bobby Hartong (who refuses to come to GlassBuild for some reason; I think it's me) and their team at W.A. Wilson.
  • Not seen: Unfortunately Ralph Aknin had to cancel out last minute. You were missed for sure, Ralph. Also, because of the crowded show/meeting landscape, Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning had to miss out. Since he doesn’t read this blog, someone tell him he was missed! I believe Joe Carlos from TriView was there, but I missed him, too. Plus, the show was not the same for me (or others I am sure) with Chris “Megatron” Dolan not in the Guardian booth. (Though the gang there did a great job of showing off their product and services as always.) 
  • There’s other news from this week including a good friend of this blog getting a new position and Viracon opening back up in Utah. Those and other stories I will hit next week as we get back to normal. Or whatever "normal" is in my life…

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.


Show was well done and great to see you Max. Sorry we didn't have more time to catch up. Awesome to see some familiar faces and reconnect with folks. Kirk Johnson
Nice blog Max. You are also very perceptive!
Kirk- thank you. And Non, I appreciate the comment!