Volume 33, Number 12, December 1998



Glass Forum Returns to Manchester

The arrival of the fifth Glass Forum™ at The Center of New Hampshire in Manchester, NH, on January 22-23, 1999, promises to offer New Englanders a wide array of opportunities. From the extensive seminar schedule to the numerous networking opportunities, the event has something for everyone.

For those interested in an educational experience Glass Forum presents a full-slate of opportunities including the aforementioned seminars and tours, a cocktail party sponsored by Karas and Karas Glass Co., Inc. of South Boston, MA, a breakfast with guest speaker Jerry Wright of AAA Glass & Mirror of Fort Worth, TX, demonstrations, a trade show and advanced customer service strategies, a special session from Performance Achievement Group of Madison, WI.

The seminars cover a wide-range of topics for both the flat and auto glass markets. Topics of interest at Glass Forum for the flat glass industry include shower door installation techniques, energy considerations, storefront glazing, basic field glazing of insulating glass units, working with metal suppliers, legal updates, NAGS numbering for flat glass, hardware applications, mirror installation techniques, security glazing and architectural glass of the future.

Auto glass seminars will include information on pricing strategies, general installation techniques, glass manufacturer’s programs for the 20th century, installation techniques for newer cars, and installation demonstrations.

Professionals from every spectrum of the glass industry will find seminars on finding and keeping installers, diversification, accurate job estimating, employee management and motivation, customer service and starting a film business to be helpful. In addition to educational value, many of the seminars will also offer educational credits for architects and insurance agents.

The products on display at the trade show will include auto and flat glass repair and replacement products, services and supplies, architectural and specialty glass, metals and metal finishing, computers and software, adhesives and sealants, equipment and machinery, glazing supplies and services, shower doors, doors, windows and related hardware, films and tints, skylights and overhead glazing, jobsite safety equipment and more.

People who live for the squeal of the belt sander and its accompanying cloud of dust will also find something to satisfy their appetite at Glass Forum. For these people Glass Forum offers the International Belt Sander Association’s unique races. The association will hold modified division races that are open to attendees at the event. Souped-up sanders are the norm in this division as racers are allowed to alter their machines mechanically for maximum speed. According to event organizers, the only requirement for sanders is that they must run on an unaltered store belt. Race winners will receive prizes, publicity and instant fame.

The two-day educational event is sponsored by the Maine Glass Dealers Association (MGDA), the Glass Association of New Hampshire (GANH) and USGlass magazine. Employees of MGDA and GANH member companies will be able to attend the event for free. Also, the show organizers are offering a special guest program that offers industry members an opportunity to bring people outside the industry, such as architects,

specifiers and insurance agents complimentary admission as a guest of someone in the glass industry.

Janet Parkhurst of the MGDA expects this year’s show to be the best one yet. "I think last year’s show was wonderful, but this one is going to better," she said.

Bill Aubin of the GANH also expects this year’s show to be good. "By moving it to January it will probably be the best attended show we have ever had," he said. "It’s the slowest time and easiest for people to send everyone from a company."

The event is one of a series of regional shows that is co-sponsored by USGlass in an effort to provide educational opportunities to those in the industry who can not attend national shows.

In spite of the January weather, Manchester and its surrounding area provides many opportunities for Glass Forum attendees when they are not immersed in the exhibits and seminars. The Center of New Hampshire is within walking distance from live theater, crafts, galleries and the historic Amoskeag Millyard. Manchester is also one hour from Boston, great skiing at the White Mountains, the Lake Region and the New Hampshire Seacoast. The Center of New Hampshire and the adjacent Holiday Inn are easily accessible from all major roadways.

The continually updated schedule of events is available at the USGlass website at www.usglassmag.com.

Les Shaver is the assistant editor of USGlass magazine.

Event Overview

Thursday, January 21

1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Exhibitor Registration and Set-Up

Friday, January 22

8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Registration

8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Seminars, Workshops, Demos and Educational Sessions

1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Glass Forum ’99

5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Welcoming Cocktail Party sponsored by Karas and Karas Glass Co., Inc.

Saturday, January 23

8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Registration

8:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.  Networking Breakfast with Jerry Wright

8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.  Seminars, Workshops, Demos and Educational Sessions

10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Glass Forum ’99

For a full seminar schedule and information, please call 540/720-5584.


Surging Economy in Manchester

by Les Shaver

Set beside the Merrimack River, Manchester, NH, boasts of being the biggest city in Northern New England. This historic city of more than 100,000 people is undergoing the kind of growth that keeps the glass industry bustling.

According to many area glass professionals there is an abundance of jobs in the area. "Construction is up considerably right now," said Bill Aubin of Queen City Glass in Manchester. Alan Belivea of Associated Glass Corporation, also in Manchester, agrees. "There is plenty of work for everybody, he said. "Everybody has a full plate."

Smaller shops, like Wayne’s Glass Company in Manchester are thriving in spite of the uncertain national auto glass climate. "Our auto glass business is up and down, so we do a lot of flat glass work." said Roger Weeks, owner. "When the auto glass end drops off, we still have plenty to keep us busy."

Glass companies could be getting busier with a possible civic center in the works. The town approved a referendum for the center, but the Board of Alderman must approve it, according to the Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

However, Aubin says the Civic Center could be a reality by the time Glass Forum comes to Manchester January 22-23. "The Civic Center is in the works at the present," he said. "We expect to be completely approved and the site selection to be in full swing by the time the show comes around."

The growth in the Manchester area has also meant that local schools must expand to meet the demands of an expanding population. "We just completed a new middle school and things are in the works for additions to other middle schools," Aubin says. Associated Glass Corporation has also benefitted by school expansion with jobs at schools located approximately 45 miles outside of Manchester. The company also recently completed a project at Filene’s department store in Manchester.

Commercial construction is not the only game in town according to Weeks because residential construction is also on the rise. "A lot of new homes are going up," he said.

All of this building can only mean one thing for the glass industry in Manchester and the surrounding area. "Overall the economy here is very good," Weeks said.

While the economies of New Hampshire and Southern Maine remain strong, Northern Maine is a different story. In the Canadian border town of Calais, ME, the glass industry is struggling. According to Kevin Brown of Costal Glass, Portland Glass closed its shop there and a local mill went out of business, leaving 130 people jobless. "Right now the glass industry is not doing well in Washington County," he said.

To survive in the economic climate of northern Maine, Brown has diversified his glass business into steel doors, while also providing auto glass, tube enclosures, mirrors and vinyl windows among other things. So far the results have been good. "This past summer we did really well," he said.

However, the winter outlook is not as positive for Brown. "It is going to be a rough winter," he said. "I am doing whatever I can, even if people ask for the installation of air conditioners or carpentry work," he said. "We do whatever we can so we can keep the employees going."


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