From the Fabricator: Show Review

Busy industry week for those on the East Coast. Both the Top Glass event in suburban Toronto and the Mid Atlantic Glass Expo in Maryland were packed and attracted a great range of glass professionals. I was lucky enough to be in Maryland and experience what the fine folks at the Mid-Atlantic Glass Association put together. A good, large layout made it easy to work the room and network. There was great representation of industry companies overall, and a pretty positive attitude towards the market though the event happened before the latest ABI came out—more on that below.

For me, the networking possibilities are the driver, and I got to meet some new people and re-connect with others. In the new category, it was great to visit with Joe Sennese of Vitro Architectural Glass. Good guy for sure, and he was working their stand with my old friend Nathan McKenna who gets congratulations on his latest promotion inside the walls at Vitro! Kudos, Nathan!

I also got a chance to talk to Trevor Elliott of Kawneer, but it was too quick—I wanted to talk longer, but he was the man in demand, being the outgoing president of the MGA and all. Hopefully during the next show we can catch up more, but I’m glad I put a face with the name. 

Meanwhile, it was an awesome trip down memory lane for me at the Trulite booth. I got to see three people that I worked with closely at various times of my professional career, but really had not seen any of them once I started Sole Source. Debbie Lamer and I go very far back, and it just was incredible to see she is the same awesome, focused force she was back in the day. I worked with her when we were both young pups in the business and I look and feel like I am 70 years old, and she looks 24. April Oakley and I worked together at Arch Aluminum and Glass—now Trulite—and she was one of my favorite customer service reps ever, as well as one of the first people to ever read this blog way back in 2005. I loved catching up with her, and the fact her skills and talents are being perfectly utilized by Trulite was a daymaker.  Last but not least. I worked with Ken Passmore when I was at Vitro and he has not changed a bit—still smart, sharp and just an all-around solid guy. It was a great thrill for me to see and visit with these three.

Of course, I am now very fired up about the next two events on my calendar: The Texas Glass Association conference, May 17, in Waco, Texas, and of course GlassBuild America in September. I can’t wait to see people and keep the networking and education going. This week just helped keep those fires burning!


  • Speaking of GlassBuild: get ready, registration opens this week! Keep an eye out for notification of the open and get registered. Even bigger: go get your hotel rooms locked down. Atlanta will be busy, so get in the hotel blocks sooner than later. This show will be off the charts, you will not want to miss it.
  • Some sad news this week on the people side. John Lang passed away. John was a fantastic sales professional in our world for years and I worked with him when he was at Arch in Kansas City. Funny guy, great sense of humor and timing. He retired from the industry a few years back and traveled the world and enjoyed himself. I am so sorry to see him go; my thoughts, prayers and condolences to John’s family and friends. 
  • Back to the industry world, I teased above that the Architectural Billings Index hit a big roadblock this month: the ABI posted its lowest score in seven years at 47.8.*

    A few things to look at. First, we knew that the crazy January score of 55.3 was a bit of an outlier, and so the lower scores are corrections for sure. The labor shortage, as we all know, already is very real and now the analysts pointed to that as a reason the index was underwater. On the good side, work and future activity is still pointing to a strong year and economic experts are waving off any thought of a recession at this juncture. We’ll keep monitoring it all, though, and see if we get a bounce back.

    *Note: the ABI has changed formulas, so the 47.1 posted in 2012 may not be an exact match to this month’s low score, but there’s no conversion chart to use otherwise.
  • On the flip side, other metrics were up in March so, again, we have a lot of data at play here and it all bears watching closely. I think those scarred by the recession happen to be more keenly interested in every data point—I am one of those for sure.
  • Last this week: you may have seen this, plans for a big floatable city that is big-time sustainable.

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 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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