BEC: An Eventful Event

The Building Envelope Contractors (BEC) Conference, held early last week, will prove to be one of its most memorable editions. The 24-year old conference departed Vegas and landed in Music City USA for the first time. Its notable debut there was peppered with increasing concern about the spreading coronavirus, which kept some attendees from shaking hands or standing too close to each other. And then there was the nearby tornado that jolted attendees awake and out of their hotel rooms early Tuesday morning.

I recognize that it may seem trivial to focus on the conference when 24 people lost their lives in the tornado Tuesday morning and that there are so many battling the virus or its spread right now. Thoughts, prayers and good words go out to them. But it would also be a shame if, lost in all these emergencies, the education that BEC provided was also lost.

Maybe it was the new venue, or the underlying tragedy, but this BEC had a very different feel than previous ones. Gone were the committee meetings on Sunday afternoon—a welcome change according to almost everyone with whom I spoke. Instead, the committee meeting took place on Monday morning, though it wasn’t like a traditional Installing Committee meeting. It was more informational, allowing people to see what that the committee was working on, as well as receiving an update on codes from Tom Culp, codes consultant for the event’s sponsor, the National Glass Association (NGA).

This was followed by lunch with a really fun twist—an overview of the construction of the host hotel, the JW Marriott, which had opened to the public a little less than two years ago. Mike Turner of YKK AP North America gave the case study. It was a kick to actually be in the location being discussed and dissected.

This was followed by the State of the Industry session from Joe Puishys, CEO of Apogee Enterprises, who gave one of the most interesting and thought-provoking sessions of the event. (The other was Understanding the Mind of the Architect presented by George Feathers of Terracon and Jacob Johnson of Harmon Inc.)

Here’s our complete coverage of the BEC:
BEC Conference Addresses Technical Updates and Code Changes Glaziers Need to Know

Day One in Nashville at BEC

Inside the Mind of an Architect: How to Make Glazing Projects Better

Delegated Design Benefits and Opportunities for Glaziers

Prepare for the Future: Apogee CEO Sees Positive Signs for the Industry

Big Glass Means Big Business

It seems to me that BEC is an event that is evolving—but no one is quite sure what it is evolving into yet. And I can understand, as the comments I got were all over the place. I heard as many positives as I did suggestions for changing the event, which, according to pre-registration lists, attracted 260 “installing companies” and 341 “manufacturers/fabricators/suppliers.”

This is my 23rd time attending the BEC (I believe I have only missed one since its inception) and I give the organizers credit for trying new things, for getting the education out there and for wanting to continuously improve it and for persevering through some difficult meeting conditions.

Next year, back to Vegas.