GlassBuild Eve

The big game is tomorrow. I look forward to GlassBuild America every year, and this year is no different. The one caveat is the glaring fact that this is the first time I’ve registered as a private citizen. I’ve got GlassBuild Americas under my belt—gobs of them—while carrying the C.R. Laurence flag. This year I get to see it through a different lens, swapping the exhibitor hat for an attendee one. I like the fit.

This gives me an entirely fresh new perspective—one that builds on the things I’ve come to anticipate, the things I’ve jonesed to see but couldn’t, and the opportunity to attend all of the education sessions and live demonstrations. I bank on a few constants each year at the show: new products, education, reconnecting with old friends, reinforcing current relationships and forging new ones. This is what keeps people coming back each year, and what pushes future glass torch-carriers deeper into our odd industry.  

The new products are worth the price of admission alone. Folks on both ends of the sales funnel show up to discuss new solutions: the must-haves, want-to-haves, and might-make-things-mildly-easier/cheaper haves. This is where manufacturers launch and sometimes flop new products and revenue channels, while decision makers seek new solutions, market segments, and sources.

The education and live demonstrations, however, are what can and will truly add value to both your time at the show and company in general. This is where you’ll learn how to not only survive, but grow and succeed. Yes, it’s always about profitability, but it’s also about continuing improvement and longevity. Doing things better, smarter, faster, and with more accuracy and integrity. All of this will unequivocally impact your bottom line for the better, and in turn increase business prospects.  

This year is a quadruple threat (EGOT?), starting with the Fall Conference. This annual gathering of thought leaders and all-around heavy-hitters is now conveniently co-located with GlassBuild America. It sets the stage for the show, providing education sessions and better yet, the opportunity to help shape the industry and its standards. Next up, you have the Glazing Executives Forum. This is a dense schedule, you really can’t go wrong. Ask the Expert presentations and economic forecast are highlighted on my app (please tell me you downloaded the GlassBuild America app), and the supply chain panel discussion boasts an impressive roster of friends and folks I admire greatly.

Oh, there’s also the show. Beyond all of the booth-to-booth action there are two key areas on the show floor that have daily programming that you’ll want to include in your planning (again, get the app. Why haven’t you gotten the app?). Express Learning presents practical and tangible business strategies in bite-size 20-minute nuggets. These quick-hit power sessions are designed for busy show-goers and presented by experts that know the industry, care about the industry, and are sympathetic to short attention spans like mine. You’ll find me parked at the economic forecast, Max Perilstein’s social media clinic, and Dustin Anderson’s employee recruitment/retention session. Keep in mind that there’s not a bad one in the bunch.

New to the show this year are the Action Demos. I was an early adopter when the National Glass Association presented the idea earlier this year, and am very excited to see how they’re executed. Not so much the 30,000-foot view of business concepts, more of the best practice rubber-hits-the-road, hands-on variety. PowerPoint slides are banned. These are real people with real know-how, demonstrating real products that address real issues. Really. If you’re bad with reminders (or GlassBuild America apps), you’ll know the demos start when Intertek fires its first simulated missile impact, heard from just about anywhere on the show floor, and reminiscent of ACDC’s “For Those About to Rock”. I’ve also checked my dance card with Sika’s new wall/railing grout (interlayer compliant, they say) and Bohle’s UV bonding workshop. CRL demonstrations are always crowd pleasers, but I’ve seen them :) .  

GlassBuild America has always been about building. Be it profits, expansions, relationships, trust, brands, personal skills, or the industry at large. As a person who is paying for himself to attend for the first time, I’ve never believed in this more, couldn’t be more excited, and can’t encourage going enough. See you there.  

Andrew Haring is an experienced marketing executive and PR strategist. He has been in the glass and glazing industry for nearly a decade, serving in several roles at C.R. Laurence Co., most recently as vice president of marketing. He can be contacted on Twitter at twitter.com/andrewharing and LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/andrew-haring-marketing/.

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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