From the Fabricator: Good Feelings

How can you really tell when talk is cheap or genuine? To me, when it comes to talking about the economy or the success and quality of business, there are usually telling signs. When people use words like “hopeful” or “looking like it’s going to be…” when asked how business is, those are signs of cheap talk, in my opinion. When times are truly good, the answers are emphatic and the energy is real. At BEC, I am happy to say, the positive nature of attendees' body language and comments was clearly real. While not everyone in our industry is rolling along yet, and we know we have some sore spots, I think we are finally, really, headed in the right direction.

More from BEC…

  • As for the event itself, it was a major success. I have said all along that events like BEC and GlassBuild America have to be supported and successful for the good of the industry. So if you came to BEC, we’ll see you in the fall at GlassBuild, and if you missed BEC, you simply can’t afford to miss GlassBuild now. 
  • I learned a lot from all of the strong speakers. Before the conference, I had never heard of VUCA, but Dick Beuke of PPG explained the process in his BEC presentation. VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, and all of those items have a serious effect on the business climate. Understanding them, working through them, and overcoming them are crucial for success. The other main highlight for me was Mic Patterson of Enclos, who provided very insightful and meaningful information that had every attendee talking afterwards. I got to meet Mic in person for the first time after and that was very cool. While we sometimes end up on opposite sides of issues, I have immense respect for him. 
  • The day two keynote speaker, Ron Jaworski, sponsored by Guardian Industries, did not disappoint. The energy and enthusiasm he shows on ESPN is not an act. The guy just brings it. And his piece, mixing football stories and business lessons, was excellent. It was a speech that those of us who are not Ivy League grads could really grasp and understand. He imparted lessons that could be utilized in everyday business.  
  • At the end of the day, all of the speakers brought value, and that's huge. Congrats to the brilliant Jon Kimberlain of Dow Corning, who as head of the BEC division did a great job in pulling it all together and making it work. I wish Henry Taylor of Kawneer (past BEC chair) could’ve been there to see it, as Henry skillfully steered the ship through the roughest waters possible, and he would’ve been excited to see this year's event.
  • Others I saw and spoke with: I flew in on same plane as the Guardian team, all good folks with a company that continues to support our industry. One of my new favorites for most intelligent and biggest credit to our world is John Wheaton of Wheaton Sprague. That guy is tremendous and a true plus for our industry. He was on a consultant panel that also included Stephane Hoffman and Tony Childress. That panel could’ve gone on for hours. Also, always nice to see the classy Tracy Robbins of Walters and Wolf, as well as old friend and sports savant Joe Carlos of TriView. Seeing Dave Helterbran out and about was especially awesome since he’s battled some health issues. He looked great and had that classic smile going as always. Mark Spencer of SAPA was in the mix and I know at least one person did confuse him for football star Howie Long. Running into Garret Henson for the first time in a long time was a pleasure, as well as getting to see his Viracon cohort Seth Madole. The Pacific Northwest is always well represented, especially with the new Washington Glass Association leader Bill Coady of Guardian working the room with style. Seeing and working on the fabrication panel with my old co-worker Kirk Johnson was a joy, as was seeing and talking briefly with his Hartung Glass company-mate Nick Sciola.
  • The day-and-a-half event went too fast, and I wasn't able to talk with everyone I wanted to. Hopefully, I will catch up with them at GlassBuild America in September if not sooner. Once again though, the bottom line is these events matter. Being able to learn and network matter, and if you want to grow your business and yourself, you simply can’t miss these.

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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.


Wow- thank you very much for the comment. Much appreciated!! Max