Volume 38, Issue 9, September 2003

Ten Years Strong

Glass Expo Midwest™ 
Continues Its Journey in Chi-Town

by Anita Young

Whether it’s a marriage or a birthday, the ten-year mark is always a big one. And it’s no different for a trade show.

As Glass Expo Midwest celebrates its big 10 this year, it’s no surprise that it’s going to do so in style. The show, which came to life in Chicago in 1994, is returning to its roots in the Windy City to ring in the big event October 16-17. 

This year’s event is co-sponsored by the Detroit Glass Dealers Association, the Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin Glass Associations, and USGlass magazine.

Through the Years
USGlass magazine originally designed Glass Expo Midwest to counteract the lack of resources, education and networking opportunities available to professionals in the glass and metal industry. More than 50 companies filled 83 booths at the first show and the number of exhibitors, along with the educational program, has grown extensively over the years. 

Glass Expo Midwest provides information and education to all glass and metal professionals in the Midwest. USGlass publisher Deb Levy said that spreading the wealth of information and education is the show’s primary goal.

“We want to give all attendees the best education from around the nation,” said Levy. “The primary goal is to help all businesses in the area have access to education and see products in a hassle-free environment close to home.”

The Return to the Windy City
The show has seen a variety of changes over the years, including many changes of venue. Held in Chicago in odd numbered years, GEMS is held in other cities during the even years, including Kansas City, Mo.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Cleveland and Minneapolis. In addition, its original Friday-Saturday schedule has turned into a Thursday-Friday time slot to allow more the opportunity to attend.

Kicking off this year’s celebration is a cocktail party, which will be held on the show floor at 6 p.m., Thursday, October 16. Following the party will be an anniversary bash, set to begin at 8 p.m. Between the cocktail party and birthday bash—along with lunches and other social opportunities—attendees are guaranteed to meet many key decision-makers. 

Education Time at 2003 GEMS
In addition to networking opportunities, Glass Expo Midwest offers an opportunity for expanding industry knowledge. Each day, seminars will kick off at 8 a.m. and run until 3 p.m.

Topping this year’s seminar list is “The State of the Contract Glazing Business: Is This as Bad as It Will Get?” during which a panel of experts will look at what’s new, what’s changing and future trends in contract glazing.

Speaker Doug Penn, marketing manager for YKK AP America in Atlanta, will present “Architectural Aluminum Finishes,” which will explain treatments, application processes and quality controls involved in finishes. Attendees can learn how to compare paint and anodize finishes, understand specifications, AAMA ratings and more.

“Selling: Turning Fear into Fun” will help businesses learn to invest their efforts into selling. The speaker, Carl Tompkins, Western states area manager for Sika Corp., will cover regional economic forecasts for 2004, bonding issues, workers’ compensation insurance changes and more.

In “Straight Talk about Curved Glass and Aluminum,” Mark Kearns, sales manager for Dlubak Corp. in Blairsville, Pa., will discuss the dos and don’ts of curved glass, along with updated information on curved glass and aluminum.

In addition, the daily trade show will give exhibitors a chance to show off their latest products.

The Best of the Best
Along with the birth of Glass Expo Midwest in 1994, the Glass and Metal Hall of Fame™ also was created by USGlass and the Illinois Glass Association in the same year to recognize the best in the industry.

The Hall of Fame soon become so popular that its original luncheon setting became a black-tie event.

This year, the Hall of Fame is taking a brief hiatus and, rather than inducting new industry members, the birthday celebration, held on Thursday night, will honor all previous inductees, many of whom will be in attendance. 

The long list of previous inductees includes: Bill Birch, formerly of the Glass Association of North America; Frank Dlubak of Dlubak Corp.; Ed Fennell of Bartelstone Glass; Fritz Frisdon of Benz Glass Co.; Terry Fuldner of EFCO Corp; Bill Hart of Hart Glass; Joe Kellman of Globe Glass; Harry Miles of AFG Industries; Maurice Petersen of Petersen Aluminum; Ralph Ross of North American Glass Industries; Virgil Taylor, formerly of Reliable Glass; Jim Trainor of Trainor Glass; Lionel Vachon of National Glass and Gate; C.C. Vanderstar of U.S. Aluminum; Ed Williams of Edwards Glass Co.; Walter Williams of Cardinal Glass; Carl Jolliff of Jolliff Glass; Dennis Clark of Lafayette Glass; and Jim Dunstan of AZON.

Memorable Moments
Glass Expo Midwest has created many great memories for all those involved. Levy said one of her most memorable moments—though also one of the saddest—was the last event that Chip Gunther, founder of Gunther Mirror Mastics, was able to attend.

“[He] was dying of cancer and he honored everyone by attending the 1995 show to say goodbye,” Levy said.

Another moment Levy recalled was Shirley Palmer-Ball’s, of Palmer Mirror Mastics, induction in 1995.
“His family surprised him, and we had a montage of family photos on the screen, and, while everyone was watching the screen, I just watched him enjoying them. It is one of my all-time favorite memories,” she said.

There also have been some strange moments. In 1995, Glass Expo Midwest ended just as former Grateful Dead member Jerry Garcia died and Beatle Fest, a festival for lovers of The Beatles, was about to begin. As exhibitors and attendees packed up to leave, they encountered several people awaiting this festival (to be held in the same hotel) and others singing songs in memory of the late rocker. 

And, there has been the funny.

“I’ll never forget the look on the Pizzeria UNO delivery guy’s face when he delivered 20 pizzas for our ‘Taste of the City’ part of the show [in Chicago],” Levy said. “He thought it was some kind of joke.”
Looking Forward
With all these memories and a bright future ahead, it’s not too late to register and make your own memories. To register for this year’s event, visit www.glass.com/gemsform.html or call 540/720-5584. 

Schedule of Events

Thursday, October 16 2003
8a.m. - 7p.m. Registration
8a.m. - 3p.m. Seminars and Workshops
4 - 8p.m. Glass Expo Midwest™ 2003
6 - 8p.m. Welcoming Cocktail Party on the show floor
Sponsored by Gunther Mirror Mastics
8p.m. - 11p.m. Ten-year Anniversary Celebration
Friday, October 17 2003
8a.m. - 4p.m. Registration
8a.m. - 3p.m.  Seminars and Workshops
10a.m. - 4p.m. Glass Expo Midwest™ 2003
12 - 1p.m. Luncheon with Keynote Speaker
Sponsored by MTH Industries
1 - 3p.m. Demonstrations & How To’s
To register: call 540/720-5584.

Anita Young is an editorial assistant for USGlass magazine.


© Copyright Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.