Ah, the Hum

It wasn’t an overwhelming buzz, it was more like a hum—a strong, steady hum. Last week’s show in Atlanta brought a greater air of optimism than I have seen at any time in the past five years. And those great harbingers of business—the machinery and truck manufacturers—were deliriously happy. It may be September, but it feels like spring!

Now some of it is pent up demand as they say, that’s true, but pent up demand alone could not account for nearly every single piece of machinery being either pre-sold or sold on the floor. And deals–real deals–were being done. Gone was the “How are you, really?” question of the last few years, replaced by a reality check of “Hey, we think it’s picking up and there is business out there, do you?”

The show itself still searches for clear definition; I see more actual glass manufacturers and fabricators exhibiting at shows such as AIA and Greenbuild than I do at Glassbuild. But it continues to be a show that everyone tries and many stick with.  But it is diverse, vertically and horizontally. “I am not sure what I have gotten into,” said one new exhibitor of window components, “everyone keeps coming up and asking for our finished window systems. Is the audience made up of window manufacturers or dealers or glass people?” The answer, I told him, was a bit of all three.
The Atlanta location continues to work for show organizers because, at this point, it attracts serious attendees and potential buyers. In the even years, when the show hits Vegas, we see more attendees who use the show as an excuse to go to Vegas. Not so in Atlanta. If you go there, it’s to do business.

You may have noticed that I didn’t do my usual awards this year. That’s because I got hit with a wicked sinus infection that pretty much took me out at the end. But I do have a few awards–a few “little debbies,” if you will–to give herein:
Most enthusiastic booth: Definitely the guys at No matter how you feel about the models, or the “nice rack” campaign (complete with contributions to breast cancer research), they are so into it that they make it fun for everyone.

Top fashionista: Denise Prignano of Vision Hardware who wore the highest heels I have every seen each day, during the entire show. That is a truly amazing feat or should I say amazing feet.

Best dressed man: Goes to Fred Fulton of Glassopolis, who wore a plaid blue jacket with matching checked shirt that wouldn’t have worked on paper, but totally worked on him. Fred looked more like he belonged in the pages of GQ than at a glass show.

Most intriguing booth: The display of Diamon Fusion’s Cube as part of IGE’s booth. IGE had a mini-machinery store set up on the floor and the Cube, which is a very innovative concept, was a centerpiece.

Most interesting new exhibitor: The gentlemen from Safety Glass Experts out of Europe, who focus on the quality of glass in general and laminated glass and windshields in particular. The depth of knowledge in that stand was deep and wide.

Key Communications’ Kelcy Summers, Casey Neeley, Chris Bunn, Tara Taffera and Holly Biller at YKK event in Atlanta

Most memorable event: Really hard to pick a winner, but I need to give it to YKK who held an awesome event at the W hotel. Oliver Stepe and those YKKers created a lovely evening.

Most heartwarming moment: Thanks to everyone who stopped me and asked me to pass only their thoughts, prayers and comments to Lyle Hill. So many people told me of their personal battles and victories against cancer and I did pass along every single one to him when we spoke last week. I know he was moved by them. Please continue to keep him in your prayers.