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AI-ARCH-4753 5/17  
GPD Celebrates  
a Quarter Century  
of Knowledge and  
THE BEST b y E l l e n R o g e r s  
For 25 years, Jorma Vitkala (left) has chaired the GPD  
organizing committee. He has helped create and grow an  
event that combines networking and social activities as  
well as informative and educational sessions.  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | May 2017  
wenty-five years ago, Glass Performance Days (GPD), then known as Glass  
Processing Days, wasn’t much more than a small seminar. About 30 people  
from the glass industry came together in Tampere, Finland to discuss inno-  
vations in equipment and machinery. The event was originally produced by  
the company known as Tamglass, today as Glaston.  
There was no industry tradition in the glass business with a focus on sharing  
information for the common good,”says JormaVitkala,chairperson of the GPD orga-  
nizing committee.“In this respect, glass companies differed a lot from the scientific  
community where information was freely shared. The early years [of GPD], perhaps  
even the first five to ten years, were marked by fighting to have a good idea accepted.  
It became clear to me,however,that the challenges faced and solutions required were  
common across the world.”  
Vitkala and his team knew this knowledge and information needed to be shared,and  
the conference quickly grew. GPD took place annually until 1995, when participation  
grew to 400. The next GPD took place in 1997 and became a biennial conference.  
continued on page 52  
May 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
Specialized sessions take an in-depth look at some of the industry’s most important trends, topics and developments.  
ogy and advanced logistics promote  
Tell us about some of the  
ogy with a face—someone respon-  
the travel and adoption of international USG: “must see” events planned sible. The GPD experts stand behind  
practices. Construction remains local, for this year—what is the one thing their statements and are willing to  
but technologies and construction everyone must see or do?  
share them.  
components flow across borders as  
specialization more than upsets trans-  
portation costs.  
Making good use of the net-  
What’s the most challeng-  
JV: working opportunities is the USG: ing part about putting  
must” of this conference. The get-to- GPD together?  
What will be new about  
USG: GPD 2017?  
gether party at the beginning of  
the conference, extended coffee and  
From the beginning it was clear  
lunch breaks, the conference dinner JV: that quality participation re-  
Everything—except the fine tra- and the farewell party are ideal op- quires quality presentations.That’s still  
JV: dition.A new conference format, portunities to form connections with the top priority for the organizers. In  
a new venue and some special program speakers and other participants. With this sense the work of the international  
modules to promote innovation, ideas, “anybody who is anybody” in the in- program committee to find and engage  
support newcomers and transfer in- dustry attending, the opportunity to committed speakers and session chairs  
formation between generations. The network is unique. The meeting man- is invaluable. The conference’s profile  
new thinking has attracted 180 pre- agement service of the organizers, in emphasizes technical presentations.  
sentations. This is a clear sign that the turn, is geared to facilitate contacts. The cross-cultural effect of the confer-  
trendsetters of the industry have no This service enables advance book- ence has proven to be a great thing and  
fear for innovation and new concepts. ings for one-on-one meetings with the commercial messages have found  
The 2017 GPD moves away from closed participants representing the world´s their place in the exhibition module.  
rooms to the open stage like the infor- top expertise in the glass business. The new format with the exhibition  
mation industry has done.  
These meetings also form a starting space at the hub of the meeting arena  
point for follow-up contacts after the increases the opportunity for focused  
What is the GPD Step  
USG: Change and what does  
this bring to the conference?  
The Step Change approach is a USG: many new and emerging USG: once the event is over?  
GPD provides a look at so  
What do you like to do  
technologies. How does being  
JV: new conference module bring- involved with an event like this help  
ing together new technologies, cre- those who attend?  
ative start-up companies, investors  
When a conference closes, the  
JV: follow-up work and analysis  
begins. Feedback and reporting is in-  
The internet was a facilitator tense, and summaries are produced to  
and business angels for the promotion  
of the entire glass industry. It’s closely JV: of contacts once it got started. define the state of the art as reflected  
linked to another new module, the At the 2015 GPD one of the senior by the conference. This time the anal-  
mentor program, where experienced participants, however, made the ob- ysis will be even more demanding  
industry professionals stand by to sup- servation that it seems that the con- due to the new experimental format.  
port newcomers to the industry. The tent of the internet “has been diluted, When the smoke clears, findings are  
melting pot for this program is the core maybe for competitive reasons.” The published on the conference web-  
of the conference arena and its exhibi- real help from GPD to attendees is site, and it’s time to plan for the next  
tion center.  
providing know-how and technol- 25 years.  
continued on page 54  
May 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
GPD 2017 Schedule at a Glance  
Wednesday, June 28  
GPD Opening  
continued from page 53  
:00 p.m.  
:00 p.m.  
Get Together Party  
Thursday, June 29  
:00-10:15 a.m.  
Presentations and Sessions  
10:15-11:00 a.m.  
Coffee Break, One-on-One Meetings, Step-Change  
11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Presentations and Sessions  
12:15-1:45 p.m.  
:45-3:00 p.m.  
:00 -3:45 p.m.  
:45-5:00 p.m.  
:30-11:00 p.m.  
Presentations and Sessions  
Coffee Break, One-on-One Meetings, Step-Change  
Presentations and Sessions  
Conference Dinner  
Major GPD  
Friday, June 30  
:00-10:15 a.m.  
Presentations and Sessions  
Coffee Break, One-on-One Meetings, Step-Change  
GPD became the largest  
conference in the glass industry  
with 800 attendees.  
10:15-11:00 a.m.  
11:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Presentations and Sessions  
2:15-1:45 p.m.  
:45-3:00 p.m.  
3:00 -3:45 p.m.  
The largest number of participants  
attended in GPD history  
Presentations and Sessions  
Coffee Break, One-on-One Meetings, Step-Change  
Presentations and Sessions  
Farewell Party  
1,100 attendees).  
:45-5:00 p.m.  
:00 p.m.  
The most speeches (199) were  
made at the conference.  
GPD Finland, by the Numbers  
Number of  
Total: 8,431  
1992 1993 1994 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015  
80 100 400 600 800 850 880 850 1100 850 835 505 551  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | May 2017  
Participant Seniority Profles  
Company Owners/CEOs/Presidents/Vice-Presidents/Directors  
Participant Main  
Business Areas  
Solar 7%  
Technical Experts  
Academic 5%  
Architecture 63%  
Appliances 15%  
International Press  
Transportation 10%  
Participant Company Activities  
Infographic source: GPD  
Coating Technologies |  
| Press  
| 4%  
% |  
University |  
| Glass  
| Processing  
| 23%  
Research Institute |  
10% |  
Accessories |  
Materials/Suppliers |  
Trade Agents |  
| Architectural Design  
| Specifying  
| Consulting  
% |  
| Glazing  
Machinery |  
Equipment Suppliers |  
| Facade/  
| Building  
15% |  
Float Glass |  
| 13%  
Number of  
Total: 1,584  
Manufacturing |  
% |  
1992 1993 1994 1995 1997 1999 2001 2003 2005 2007 2009 2011 2013 2015  
125 147 169 135 161  
189 162 130  
continued on page 56  
May 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  
continued from page 55  
and Sessions  
GPD is broken out into different tracks so participants can take in the ones  
best-suited to their business needs.  
Sessions will take place June 29-30  
under six different tracks.Those  
Glass and Sustainability in  
Focus on Knowledge  
• Complex Geometry  
• Do’s and Don’ts in the Design  
and Installation of Building  
• Facade Contractor’s Forum  
Glass in Architecture  
• Structural Glass Applications  
• Architect Forum  
• Architectural Challenges and  
Scientific Session  
• Research and Development  
Glass Processing  
• Tempering/Pre-processing  
• Quality Management  
• IGU and Window Technology  
• Coatings Technology and  
Smart Glazing  
Facade Engineering  
PD is not your typical conference Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes, AKKA  
or event. It is an independent  
forum dedicated to the develop- The opening get-together party at the  
ment of the global glass industry  
through education. It also ad-  
dresses the entire glass industry supply  
chain—from researchers to architects,  
designers, glass producers, processors, When it comes to networking, GPD  
equipment providers, universities and is like no other event. In addition to  
end-users.In addition to the high-level extended coffee breaks and lunches,  
knowledge, presentations and work- participants have several other social  
shops, GPD offers unforgettable net- activities to enjoy. These include:  
same venue will follow.  
Getting Social  
working and social activities.  
• The opening get-together party  
on June 28 provides an opportu-  
nity to meet old as well as new col-  
leagues and includes a buffet-style  
The GPD 2017 opening ceremony  
will take place on June 28 at the Tahti  
Areena,a new venue for the event.Key-  
note speakers will include:  
James Carpenter, founder, James Car- The conference buffet dinner  
penter Design Associates Inc.  
Michael Robinson, CEO and design  
director, ED Design srl  
Bernard Savaëte, founder BJS. The farewell party on June 30 is  
Esko Aho, executive chairman of the  
board, East Office of Finnish In-  
dustries, Former Prime Minister of  
Finland; and  
on June 29 will offer food, drinks  
and entertainment in a unique  
• Laminated Glass  
Market Trends & Future  
• Market Trends and Future  
the must-attend event of GPD. It will  
take place in an informal setting and  
includes special networking oppor-  
tunities, activities and memorable  
Specialty Glass  
• Use of Glass in Transportation  
continued on page 58  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | May 2017  
continued from page 56  
A Place to See  
and Be Seen  
ver the past quarter century, encompassing every aspect of the in- transfer and information exchange,” he  
thousands of people from dustry from design and engineering says. “Jorma Vitkala is a host extraor-  
around the world have traveled through processing and fabrication, dinaire. The days are long, the parties  
to Tampere, Finland—“the decorating and energy efficiency, to longer; the networking experience and  
land of the midnight sun”—to education and addressing economic access to industry thought leaders in  
take part in GPD as both attendees and implications,” says Bartoe. “The con- this distraction-free environment are  
presenters.Many agree it’s the one con- ference reaches out to students, glass unprecedented. Career-long bonds are  
ference that’s a must when it comes to professionals,designers and architects, formed in Tampere.”  
the latest advances and technologies and the environmental and economic  
One of this year’s keynote present-  
ers, James Carpenter, founder of James  
across the entire glass industry.  
communities alike.”  
Mic Patterson, director of strategic Carpenter Design Associates Inc., has  
Ren Bartoe, director of glass and in-  
dustrial technologies with Vesuvius, development for Schuco-USA, has a been involved with GPD for many years  
didn’t make the first official GPD,but had similar perspective.  
and says the event serves a unique, im-  
“GPD provides a unique immersion portant purpose.  
“One of the most interesting aspects  
the opportunity to join the gathering of  
global glass and equipment experts be- in architectural glass and facade tech-  
ginning with the second conference.  
nology, with professionals gathering of GPD is that it gives us the ability to  
“I have seen it evolve from a some- from the world over to share their latest connect with all the technical people in  
what specialized focus on glass pro- experiences and insights.The programs the industry, whether it’s in coatings,  
cessing and fabrication to a conference are designed to facilitate knowledge sealants, or other areas.And it’s an un-  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | May 2017  
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Participants travel to GPD from  
around the world to not only learn,  
but also for the entertainment and  
social opportunities.  
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usual conference in the sense that there  
are so many technical papers being  
provided. Other conferences tend to be  
much more generic,more sales-related.  
At GPD, we [as designers] can meet  
with colleagues whose work has a di-  
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He continues, “What makes GPD  
special is the sharing of information.  
Often times, the industry wants to be  
more protective of its technologies.  
But at GPD, there is a great degree of  
interaction—people discussing all the  
different technologies and the oppor-  
tunities they present.It’s not just,‘Here’s  
our product,and here’s what it does.’It’s,  
here is the potential of this technology,  
and here is what we can make of it.’”  
Bartoe adds, “GPD has evolved into  
a unique, fully integrated gathering  
of global glass professionals, and they  
have succeeded to make it enjoyable  
and socially comfortable. Jorma Vit-  
kala and his staff deserve congratula-  
tions for providing this unique forum  
for our industry. I will not miss the  
5th anniversary of GPD.” n  
Ellen Rogers is the  
editor of USGlass  
magazine. Follow  
her on Twitter @  
EllenGRogers and  
like her on Facebook  
at usgellenrogers to receive  
May 2017 | USGlass, Metal & Glazing  

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