Volume 42, Issue 4 - April 2007

GPD 2007
Offering Education, Entertainment and Networking, Who Would Want to Miss It?
by Ellen Giard

What can you find this June in Finland? Lots. Sure, there’s breathtaking scenery and twenty-four hours of sunlight, but also, from June 15-18, you’ll find stellar education and networking opportunities, all catered specifically to the glass industry. That’s right, Glass Processing Days (GPD), the bi-annual event organized by Tamglass and Z. Bavelloni, will take place for the tenth time this June in Tampere, Finland. The event focuses on all aspects of the glass industry, offering three program tracks: architectural glass, automotive glass and glass processing. 

Two years ago, 860 professionals participated in GPD, and this year’s attendance is again expected to be strong. But for GPD organizers, the event is more about attracting the right people and not just a lot of people—that’s quality, not quantity. GPD caters to the experts and decision makers who contribute to developments in new materials, processing methods and applications for their organizations and industry. 

From contract glaziers to architects; glass fabricators and manufacturers to machinery and equipment suppliers; and even university representatives, consultants, researchers and many others, GPD offers something for everyone.

Opening Line-Up
In years past, GPD welcomed attendees with an address from the head of one of the industry’s top companies. This year, however, a grand panel of top executives will led off the event. The opening session speakers will be Arthur Ulens, president of AGC Flat Glass and chief executive officer of Glaverbel; Russell J. Ebeid, president, Glass Group, Guardian Industries Corp.; Tomoaki Abe, vice chairman of Nippon Sheet Glass; and Jacques Aschenbroich, senior vice president of Saint-Gobain and president of the flat glass branch of Saint-Gobain.

“This exceptional participation gives us a historical opportunity to bring together the views of four of the leading companies in the global glass industry at the same conference, at the same time and before the same audience,” says Jorma Vitkala, chairperson of the GPD organizing committee. “The speakers represent the broadest possible view of the glass industry today and their range of expertise stretches from overall industry development to specific markets to the application of advanced products for different application areas. They represent major, globally operating companies that strongly affect the future of the industry.”

In addition to presentations from these industry leaders, Esko Aho, who served as the prime minister of Finland from 1991-1995, will provide the keynote address. Aho currently serves as the president of the Finnish National Fund for Research and Development and will discuss his views on the Finnish and European competitiveness. 

Information Sharing
This year’s conference will also place a special focus on the sustainable development objectives of the Kyoto Agreement. 

“There are many things that high-performance glazing and structures can offer to facade designers, builders and architects for the purpose of reaching energy-saving objectives,” says Vitkala. “It is largely a matter of controlling energy flows in and out of buildings that consume almost half of the world’s energy consumption today, the other half being allocated to traffic and industry.” 

The conference will offer opportunities to meet and interact with the developers and designers of advanced glass products, as well as with the decision makers who use and install such products. Factory visits and hands-on process presentations will also be offered.

Social Programming
Just as GPD is known for its top-of-the line educational programming, it’s also known for its social activities. The event guarantees attendees an experience they are not likely to forget, and, since the conference takes place Keskiyön auringon maassa (in the Land of the Midnight Sun), participants are treated to 24 hours of daylight. In fact, at the right moment you can even see the sun setting in the west as it rises in the east.

Several organized social events will take place over the course of the conference. The first is the opening social event, which will take place the evening of June 15. This cocktail reception will include an exposition where visitors can mingle with nearly 30 exhibitors. The official GPD Conference dinner takes place the next evening, and the last night hosts the famous GPD farewell party, which will take place outdoors in a special to-be-announced setting. GPD organizers promise the farewell party to be an unforgettable experience. 

Ready to Go?
You can register to attend GPD 2007 by visiting www.gpd.fi. The registration fee is 1030 EURO (approximately $1,350 USD) before April 30; and 1130 EURO (approximately $1,480 USD) after May 1. There is also a service fee of $35 (approximately $45 USD). All prices include a 22 percent VAT.

The GPD organizing committee has also made hotel reservations in all major hotels in Tampere and will arrange accommodations for you according to your preferences. More information will be provided when you register. A complete outline and more information about GPD is available online at www.gpd.fi

Traveling to Tampere
Tampere, the largest inland city in Scandinavia, has a population of approximately 255,000. The city was founded in 1779 on the banks of two lakes: the Näsijärvi and the Pyhäjärvi, which are linked together through Tammerkoski rapids. The rapids are one of the official national scenic areas of Finland. 

Tampere has its own international airport and direct flights are available from a number of European cities, including London, Liverpool, Stockholm and Copenhagen. In addition, all major airlines fly into Helsinki from where there are frequent connections to Tampere by plane, bus and train.Many U.S. visitors have found it easiest to fly into Helsinki and stay there a day or two and then take the train for a two-hour ride north to Tampere.

the author: Ellen Giard is the editor of USGlass Magazine.

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No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.