Fired Up: GlassBuild Recap

David VermeulenI’m back in the office after a busy and well attended GlassBuild America show. First things, first. Anyone stop by for a game of ping-pong on Dustin Anderson’s custom-built glass and steel table? It was pretty awesome to see TGP’s steel curtain wall back members used on such a cool and functional piece of art. It’s a nonconventional application for sure, but at its core it represents what this industry is all about – turning market demands into reality. Great craftsmanship by Dustin and company! Also, a big thanks to Max Perilstein for putting together the tour of the Falcons’ stadium. Going out onto the field, into the locker rooms and touring Arthur Blank’s owner’s suite were all highlights.

Now, on to the show recap. GlassBuild only comes once a year, and it’s a good one to stay up on even if you weren’t able to attend. So, here are my two cents on the show and some notable takeaways:

Machinery, machinery, machinery

Anyone else notice the heavy focus on machinery and processing technology this year? Glass often takes center stage at GlassBuild, so it was good to see the systems behind our success get some serious play. I’ve talked about this a lot in past posts, but whether you’re a supplier or glazier, taking the time to shift resources and improve machining, engineering and the often unseen tasks is a short-term disrupter that results in a much bigger gain. There’s definitely an element of truth to James Clear’s quote: “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”  

A little more normal

This show was one of the more normal ones I’ve been to in recent years. There was nothing unusual to report about or focus on. I’m not saying the glass industry is sitting on its heels. Far from it. There were a lot of companies introducing new products and processes. But, there were no major crises or events detracting from the show. The mood was upbeat, energetic and positive. I even heard it was one the biggest GlassBuild shows in recent years. A little more of this normal is good for all of us right now. It’s been a wild ride going from the downturn to the construction boom and skilled labor shortage. It seems like we are finally settling into the current state of the industry and starting to see solutions address problems that have headlined past shows. The focus on robotics, tech and education is a key example of how the industry is responding to the skilled labor shortage.

Of course, with all that said, I’d be remiss not to note there are reports of some potential market softening, but the overall outlook is still largely upbeat. More to come on that from the experts as 2020 takes shape.

Network central

True to form, there were a lot of people mingling and networking at this year’s GlassBuild. The show was light on the supplier side, but a great crowd all around. Innovations, tech and new materials aside, I firmly believe we are people industry at our core. It’s great to see this in action. Making new relationships and strengthening existing ones is the best way to ensure we are all going beyond the transaction. Our industry is the most successful when we’re all working together. 

While there’s a whole lot more to address, since we can all only cover a fraction of the entire show, make sure you check out other recaps like this one from Max Perilstein and this one for more great info.

David Vermeulen is the national sales manager for Technical Glass Products (TGP), a supplier of fire-rated glass and framing systems, and other specialty architectural glazing. TGP works closely with architects, designers and other building professionals, providing them with the state-of-the-art products, service and support to maximize design aesthetics and safety in commercial and institutional buildings around the world. Contact him at 800/426-0279.

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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