Volume 42, Issue 12 - December 2007

GANA Perspectives

Ready to Win 
GANA’s BEC Conference is One for the Record Books
by Brian K. Pitman 

The Glass Association of North America (GANA) held its first Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference for glazing contractors in 1998 with a modest crowd and a vision. That vision was to build a solid educational conference that would educate members of GANA’s then-fledgling BEC Division on a variety of issues—legal, technical and otherwise—confronting the owners of a contract glazing company. In 1998, 104 attendees registered for the event and most of them agreed that it was a success and a great step forward to the future.

In 2008, the 11th Annual BEC Conference will take place in the city that has always hosted the event: Las Vegas. And like the contrast between the Vegas of 1998 with the Las Vegas of 2008, the conference has changed in many ways, both in scope and scale. 

A current assessment of Las Vegas shows that more than 30 high rise buildings are in the active construction phase right now, with another 200+ scheduled to begin construction in the next two years. The hyper-growth of the city will double its population from current levels by 2012, a growth rate higher than that of any other United States city.

The BEC Conference’s growth in the past decade has been nearly as dynamic. Attendance had jumped from the original 104 attendees in 1998 to 520 attendees at the 10th Annual BEC Conference in 2007, and the 2008 event features enough space for 650 attendees, space which is anticipated to be sold out well before the event kicks off on Sunday, February 17th at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Vegas will never lose gambling as the heart of its success, just like the BEC Conference will never lose the educational approach which has generated the bulk of its success.

Big Name Speakers and Speaking with Peers
The event features a variety of speakers covering a full slate of topics, from curtainwall design and testing to professional motivation. That variety has encouraged many companies to send several of its employees and executives to the event, each looking for a different aspect to bring back to the table. Additionally, many suppliers to the glazing contractors send representatives simply for the amazing networking opportunities (some have dubbed this “THE networking event of the year for contract glaziers.”)

The keynote speakers for this year’s compact, 2 ½-day schedule bring great power to the conference. Mike Eruzione, captain of the Olympic gold medal-winning United States Hockey Team in the Lake Placid Olympics (dubbed the “Miracle on Ice”), will share his unique brand of motivation and teamwork with attendees, while Shep Hyken, noted author and expert on customer service, will focus his attention on successful ways to position your company above your competitors. The addition of such high profile speakers has been a direct result of the excitement each year from attendees at the BEC Conference.

But in addition to the excitement, education, networking and locale, the BEC Conference has maintained another important facet of its 1998 intention: interactivity. Most impressive among attendees is the way that, regardless of the number of people in the room, the conference has maintained its attitude of being a group of glazing contractors, sitting in a room and sharing the real world experiences that each has had. This sense of community, with a strong desire to help each other out, has long been the answer so many are looking for, an answer which the BEC Conference provides.

If you are interested in attending the BEC Conference, please visit the GANA website at www.glasswebsite.com to register. Because of the excitement and opportunity surrounding this event, we may already be sold out. However, like many things in Vegas, you may just get lucky. 

Brian K. Pitman is the director of marketing and communications for the Glass Association of North America based in Topeka, Kan. Mr. Pitman’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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