Volume 41,   Issue 3                             March 2006

From the Fabricator

Changing with the Times
What You Missed if You Missed Glass Week

by Max Perilstein

"The talent in the room at the technical meetings is amazing, coming from companies big and small, from high-end 
materials to commodities, from newbies to folks like Bob Brown and Bill Coddington who have been in the industry for years."

A few days ago I returned home from the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) 2006 edition of Glass Week. I was visiting a customer who asked how it was. 

“I’m sure I missed a lot, huh?” he joked.

Well, it may or may not have been like that in the past, but this year, he and others who did not attend missed plenty. It was the evolvement of a classic event; Glass Week redefined itself and strongly grabbed its audience and industry by the neck.

Now keep in mind, this event has changed, mostly because our industry is not like it used to be. With so much consolidation, you just do not have the sheer numbers that you would have had before. Plus the business landscape has changed; this is not a “write-off vacation” like it used to be. This is now a more focused, strong opportunity for companies to gain knowledge and do real business.

So what was so great, you ask?

First and foremost, the top technical minds attend and work their tails off for our industry. They spend hours at a time, as true volunteers, working to advance and protect our industry. The talent in the room at the technical meetings is amazing, coming from companies both big and small, from high-end materials to commodities, from newbies to folks like Bob Brown and Bill Coddington who have been in the industry for years. Standards are discussed and bulletins developed by folks who look to improve our industry. Sure, some are competitors in the “real world,” but in these divisional technical meetings everyone is on the same team, to do what is needed for our industry. 

The Big Time

Also in 2006 a big plus was the opportunity to learn and grow from dynamic speakers. GANA brought in its highest audience-rated speakers in the 20-year history of Glass Week. Starting off with what I considered the most interesting economist ever, Jeff Thredgold, and finishing with three fantastic sales-skill speakers: Garrison Wynn, Shep Hyken and Tim Wackel. The audience got a fabulous value for its Glass Week admission fee. Believe me, I can not do justice for the three sales-skill speakers, Just ask anyone who saw them and you will get the same reaction: tremendous.

Lastly, it is the ability to meet with people in a comfortable, neutral location. You had suppliers and customers, sharing a drink or a meal, or just huddling in the lobby having meaningful discussions without the pressures of the office bearing down. Frank, serious conversations, mixed in with a social flare without distraction. This is an underestimated item; the number of people with whom you can meet in four days would take you several months under normal scheduling circumstances.

It’s For Our Industry

So, you ask, why am I lathering up GANA with this piece? I don’t know. Maybe because I wanted to write a column without the initials N, F, R or C in it. No seriously, I write it because I think that Glass Week’s pros have been understated and its cons exaggerated. At the end of the day, despite what I am sometimes accused of, I am an industry guy. I would always joke that glass and glazing is in my blood, and you know what, I believe it is, but I also believe, no I also know, that it is in many other people’s blood as well. You don’t get hundreds of people in a hotel to talk about manuals, China, ethics, edge quality, mirrors, etc. unless they care a tremendous amount. 

Now, just a note, if I ever write a column like this about that “other organization” I am trying to avoid listing here, then you know I am on their payroll!

Max Perilstein serves as 
director of marketing for 
Arch Aluminum and Glass. 
His column appears bimonthly.


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