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.