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GlassBuild America 2012

GlassBuild bounces back

October 22, 2012  By Rich Porayko

It’s official. The results are in and the industry chatter agrees:
GlassBuild America 2012 has easily been the best glass show with the
strongest numbers in North America in years.

It’s official. The results are in and the industry chatter agrees: GlassBuild America 2012 has easily been the best glass show with the strongest numbers in North America in years. It wasn’t 2006, however, and it may never be 2006 again. At least, not for a very long time.

Traffic and energy on the floor at GlassBuild were higher than they have been for some time.


The mood of the show was noticeably upbeat. Even if it was the Vegas distraction, it sure was a more positive atmosphere and attendance than in 2010, the last time GlassBuild America was held in Sin City. Depending on whom you talk to, there are mixed reviews about the state of the industry. More than a few companies claim to actually be growing and increasing sales, contradicting the financial indexes, bankruptcies and
M&A trends.


Real innovation
“There is a great enthusiasm on the floor and the attendees are experiencing real innovation, which will only help them improve their business and improve the industry,” said Max Perilstein, promotions consultant to the National Glass Association. “The innovation here is like none other. I am completely blown away by some of the products that have been developed over the last year.

Companies are actually innovating. This industry is really moving forward.”

“Our Canadian exhibitors are some of the leaders of innovation,” Perilstein went on. “There is Walker Textures of Montreal, who continue to bring exciting new products to each and every show. Glassopolis excels in hard-to-find and specialty glass products, and its booth is always packed. There is also a brand new company from Toronto called Ecobox Green Glass Systems, who are bringing brand new recyclable packaging to the glass and glazing industry so companies don’t have to use wood anymore – they can use something that is better for the environment.”

Perilstein continued, “We are particularly excited for the continued growth of our Innovative Products Program area focused on the most cutting-edge products available on the market. It started a few years ago as an idea to focus on new products and it was a handful of booths. Now it has grown substantially and exhibitors want to be part of it. It has really taken off and become very popular. Other new items are the M3 Glass Technologies Networking Booth, which is located on the show floor so that attendees can grab a seat and conduct business in a comfortable environment without leaving the show. Our education sessions continue to be refreshed each and every year with the subjects that concern the industry and this allows our attendees to learn and share new ideas.”

Sharing best practices
“This is a great opportunity for Fenestration Canada to show off its educational resources, meet with current members, recruit new members and represent the Canadian market,” said Patrick Shield of Win-Door North America, official tradeshow of Fenestration Canada (formally the Canadian Window and Door Manufacturers of Canada). 

“Exhibiting at GlassBuild is a perfect opportunity to educate the industry about the association, Canada’s harmonized building codes and about doing business in Canada in general. It also introduces the U.S. glazing market to the Win-Door show.” 

“Fenestration Canada has been coming to GBA for seven or eight years and has been a big supporter of the show,” Shield added. “We are in harmony with the NGA, the Glass Association of North America, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and other partners and have a lot of crossover members. We need to continue working closer together and share best practices such as the Window and Balcony Safety Program that Fenestration Canada developed with the Emergency Services Chiefs of Canada.” Partners Promoting Windows and Balcony Safety is an awareness program that identifies risks and offers fall-prevention strategies aspiring to eliminate injuries and deaths associated with falls from a window, balcony or deck.

Glazing Executive Forum economic forecast
Jeff Dietrich, senior analyst for the Institute for Trend Research, was the keynote speaker for the NGA Glazing Executive Forum. Dietrich has been such a popular presenter that he has spoken at this event every year since its inception. The 2012 forum drew a record crowd of more than 200 glazing industry leaders from across North America.

Dietrich provided an overview of the housing and construction markets, which are key to the glazing industry. “Construction trends are alive. Housing starts are up over 21.4 per cent from one year ago. Housing affordability is at an all-time low. Equally good news is that home prices have hit bottom and are heading higher. Non-residential construction is 14 per cent above one year ago and showing surprising strength. Although the gains are well below the historic peaks of 2008, the recovery touches a broad swath from commercial to health care, manufacturing to malls, sports arenas to education institutions.”

“We’re not doing the job of training the next generation of workers. You should probably be hiring because your window is probably two and a half to three years before you will be paying them what you were paying them three or four years ago, so hire and train them now. Take advantage of the young, the intelligent, the very bright, and spend the time and money to train them.”

“Manufacturing is never going to come back fully. So here’s the good news. If your cash flow or balance sheets aren’t healthy right now, you have about two and a half years to get them healthy and borrow money before inflation pushes interest rates up. And we would encourage you to borrow money now while interest rates are historically low, if you haven’t already, or borrow again. It’s not to buy a yacht or an airplane. We did that in 2005 and 2006. It is to create wealth, acquire assets, expand your business, introduce a new product or hire someone. It is to do so something for the long term that will set you up for the future.”

Rich Porayko is a professional writer and founding partner of Construction Creative, a marketing and communications company located in Metro Vancouver, B.C.

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