BEC ’13 Becomes a Memory

As the Glass Association of North America (GANA ’s) Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference comes to a close, I can’t resist some final thoughts about all that I saw during the past two days. Here’s my top five:

  1. There were a ton of glazing contractors here. It was heartwarming, and hopefully a sign of good times to come, to see large numbers of contract glaziers big and small, attend. This is as a great a sign of an industry come back as I have seen thus far. The guys that were here, are here to stay.
  2. Thomsen’s speech got great reviews … but. Nearly everyone to whom I spoke about Guardian chief Scott Thomsen’s insightful speech thought he got it right and identified the problems squarely. But … and here’s the but … nearly everyone had a “but” in their comments. But the glass industry is never going to change … but triple glazing is too expensive … but contract glaziers won’t care about this stuff until it’s too late. You get the idea. Almost everyone had at least one. It reminded me of people who say “yeah, the rules are great but they aren’t expecting me to follow them,” or lawmakers who make good laws then exempt themselves from them. “We have to identify that we have a problem,” Thomsen said, and he is right. All the “but-ters” had better realize it before it’s too late.
  3. Texting questions is the way to go. GANA told attendees to text in their questions for the speakers and that worked great! It showed that people are not afraid to ask questions they just don’t want to be identified as the questioner, because lots of meaningful questions were asked and answered. The effect was to create a meaningful dialogue between audience and speaker and that was outstanding.
  4. BEC made some news beyond the conference itself, notably the announcement of a new product, PPG’s Solarban 67, which was introduced during one of the “Take Five” breaks that occur during the day. PPG’s Joann Funyak gave a very elegant and effective overview of the product.
  5. GPD American Style. Glaston’s Jorma Vitkala and APG’s Ed Zaucha could hardly contain their excitement as they announced that Glass Performance Days would be coming to the United States in 2014, to Philadelphia in July to be exact. I remember more than 15 years ago, when Glaston was still Tamglass, writing a long paper to the management there suggesting that GPD come here. It’s something I have hoped for ever since and I am glad to see it get going. More info to come.

Thanks, too, to Henri Taylor. The outgoing BEC Council chair completed his five year term and his last BEC Conference as chair. It’s easy to manage in good times. But Taylor did so, and kept the conference relevant throughout the really bad times, a tough feat to pull off.

4 Responses to “BEC ’13 Becomes a Memory”

  1. John D'Amario says:

    I found the presentation by David Spooner regarding tariffs to be very offensive. Not only to me, but to my company, other companies, certain attendees, and other Americans who are gainfully employed by Chinese companies.

    It was also in bad taste for GANA to allow a presentation that was designed to inform (and misinform) the audience under the guise of supporting our industry with the real intention of gaining support for his clients’ agenda.

    He conveniently forgot to mention the March 14 ruling that pretty much sinks his case. This wouldn’t have even been brought up had I not submitted the question via text messaging.

  2. Rick Churchill says:

    I think John missed the point. The United States economic system is based on allowing the market place to work. We need tariffs to be ensure fair trade.

    Companies need to respect the market place they are entering and then let our economic system work.

    • John D'Amario says:

      I didn’t miss the point, Rick. What they did was simply not cool. Next year we’ll get our attorneys up there and put the names of the plaintiffs on the big screen and see how they like it. And for the record, these Chinese companies are not “dumping”. They’re just foreigners putting out stupid low bids and losing money on the contract work they win as a result. It’s not intentional. Just stupid bidding. The Canadians have done it as have many American companies in the past. We learn our lessons, raise our prices, and another idiot just comes to town. Lastly, the three companies who “worked their butts off” are doing this to minimize competition for their own personal gain and not for the industry’s protection. Wake up.

      Again, not cool.

  3. Rich Porayko says:

    I thought David’s presentation on Chinese Curtainwall tariffs was excellent and applaud GANA at including it in this year’s program. I’d like to see updates at future BEC conferences with at least a quick blurb on what really is (or is not) going on in Canada.

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