On the Road with USGlass

Glassbuild 2010 Day Two

The Glassbuild show is turning into two shows in one. The first and last two hours each of these first two days have been light on attendance; the middle three have been busy. My theory is that your view of the show depends on which hours you spent in your booth. International attendance had been steadily growing in years’ past, but seems down significantly this year. This is most likely because glasstec will be held in Dusseldorf in just two weeks. “If you are making a significant machinery purchase this year, you’d go to Dusseldorf,” said one attendee, who admitted he wasn’t really shopping for anything in particular except “a way to write-off my vacation.” Honestly, someone says that to me at every show.

In general, the happiest people on the floor seemed to be from Canada. “Canada has not been as affected by the economic downturn as the U.S.,” said Fred Fulton. “The business is still there.” Guess we’ll check that out when we visit Windoor in Toronto coming up shortly.

Biggest product buzz of the day was a fenestration product—Optigas which is used in gas filling window units. One window manufacturer told our DWM editor Tara Taffera that the product would save his company 40% on their gas purchases right off the bat. Tara will be covering that and lot of other fenestration news tomorrow.

It was also nice to see a company like RazorGage display. Western region sales manager Dave Krevanko explained how is company makes automated saws in Ames, Iowa. “We actually are an American machinery manufacturer,” he said.

Short ironic sidestory here. One of the biggest new products of the show isn’t actually in the show. Seems there’s a “suitcase man” walking around showing select exhibitors his invention—a film-on-glass combination that, with a flick of switch, changes transmittance as the film appears to peel slowly off the glass, then with another flick, it rehabilitates itself. A few exhibitors mentioned the product as extremely innovative but nobody really knows how to contact the guy. If you see him tomorrow, please send him our way.

Tonight was also the night to suite-hop from hospitality room to cocktail receptions as some of the suppliers hosted receptions for their customers. I was sorry I did not have a chance to stop by the EFCO reception. As you know, Mr. Fuldner recently passed away and I wanted to recount how much I learned from him personally the year he was inducted into the USGlass and Metal Hall of Fame. Even though the Fuldner family sold the company a few years ago, his lessons still resonate with me. The speech he gave that night, about how to treat your customers and how important his unsung heroes were, from his bankers to his suppliers has stayed with me all these years. Mr. Fuldner knew that credit for one’s success was best spread widely because that’s where it belonged.

Elsewhere on the floor:

I spent a lot of time today visiting booths and the people in them. Got to visit with Fred Fulton, formerly of Glassopolis. He has opened his own rep firm called F1 Agency and is looking for lines to carry. Glassopolis is one of his clients … saw Ren Bartoe of Vesuvius who, in shocking twist, said he would not be going to glasstec this year. What could possibly keep you away? I asked. Turns out it’s the wedding of his first born daughter Lindsay. Bartoe is trading booth duties for father-of-the-bride duties…. Also doing duty at an upcoming wedding will be a very svelte Tom Bechill of Hegla who has trimmed down significantly since I last saw him … missed congratulating Jack Van Meerbeck personally on his new position running IGE Solutions so I’ll do it here. Congrats Jack.

And the Winner is:

Supermodels Mike Hovan and Erin Johnson of Edgetech IG

A few winners today in Deb’s informal awards. Best Giveaway was no contest today. It’s slam dunk for Glasswerks. They gave out personal mini fans which spelled the company’s name in lights as it cooled some sweaty Vegas faces. Cool give-away in lots of ways ….In the category of Best Booth Attire the nod goes to Edgetech personnel who sported Formula One racing attire. Second place to the guys at J.F. Swineheart, who managed to match the color of their shirts to their backdrops exactly  …. Best Headgear … the upscale baseball caps provided by GlassopolisBest Booth(s) … in the small booth category, it was John Evans and Company, which had a sleek, modern curved aluminum booth that quickly showed everyone their capabilities. Midsize booth goes hands down to Billco and large booth well it’s neck and neck between Edgetech which managed to build around it’s racing them and CMS Brembana.  I’ll get some pictures up for you later.…  Best Line of the Day goes to Rick Porayko of Porayko Marketing out British Columbia who decided to walk nearly a mile from Treasurer Island to the Hilton in 99 degree heat. “It looked just three blocks away on the map and it seemed close at the time.”  Lucky I had a Glasswerks fan to lend out.