In the Heart of Texas

The crowds were steady both at the seminars, above, adn the Glass TEXpo trade show.

The crowds were steady both at the seminars (above) and the Glass TEXpo trade show.

Well, every once in a while you get to have a really special experience that touches you on both the personal and professional level. A visit to San Antonio last week did just that for me.

The original reason for my half-week visit was Glass TEXpo™ 2016, the semi-annual regional trade show that is sponsored by USGlass magazine and the Texas Glass Association, but it turned into even more.

On Thursday I got to visit the Façade Tectonics symposium being held at the University of Texas Downtown San Antonio location. I was able to participate in two sessions that were eye-opening, and I’ll cover them in weeks ahead. But I will confess that I didn’t think I would learn too much from a number of academicians about glass—after all, I get to work with the companies that make and install glass—but I did, and I can’t wait to share it with you over the next few weeks.

The event also made me anticipate the upcoming Glasscon Global in July even more so. USGlass magazine is serving as a media partner for a conference that has research, cutting edge technology and technological advances in design with glass at its heart. I am excited to see the same level of study that has been available in Europe for years finally reach our shores in earnest.

So when Glass TEXpo opened on Friday morning, I was delighted to see so many people come out for the morning educational sessions, which were excellent by the way. And it was comforting to see so many people who wanted to learn about the updated ANSI Z97.1 Standard (thanks to Julia Schimmelpenningh of Eastman for coming all the way from Massachusetts to explain it) and U-values (from Kevin Haynes at Tubelite). The session on web and social media was also popular, as of course was our keynote presentation by fellow Texan Richard Voreis of Consulting Collaborative, who provided an overview of all the new technologies being used in building façade design.

Then the Glass TEXpo show opened, and it was a delight to visit with exhibitors and attendees alike. And the Texas glass industry really is a family—it’s great for me to have worked with so many shop owners and their children, and to see them now bringing the third generation in as well (makes me feel old though, too).

Saturday brought an excellent program on the new energy and green codes. We were fortunate to have Greg Oehlers of Tristar Glass Products explain the commercial and non-residential codes. He was followed by Richard Morgan, energy compliance program manager for Speer Corporation who gave an overview of the residential ones.

A roundtable session which got tons of dialogue around hiring and retaining millennials and qualified workers followed. I think we could have made that session three times as long and it still would not have been long enough.

Cliff Wright and his mom Cynthia Wright accept a donation of $10,000 to Beautiful Feet Ministries from TGA president Kyle Lamb during a brunch in honor of the late Jerry Wrigth on Saturday morning. Pator Mike of Beautiful Feet looks on at right.

Cliff Wright and his mom Cynthia Wright accept a donation of $10,000 to Beautiful Feet Ministries from TGA president Kyle Lamb during a brunch in honor of the late Jerry Wright Saturday morning. Pastor Mike of Beautiful Feet (far right) looks on.

The TGA Brunch this year was a highpoint, as it was held in honor of Jerry Wright, past TGA president and industry leader who passed away in late 2014. A number of people were called upon to honor Jerry with remembrances, and I was honored to be one of them. TGA president Kyle Lamb, executive director Jennifer Fontana and the TGA board of directors found an amazing and touching way to honor Jerry; the group collected more than $10,000 in donations in his honor for one of Jerry’s favorite charities—the Beautiful Feet Ministries of Fort Worth, Texas.

Pastor Mike and Sister Sara of Beautiful Feet were at the brunch to accept the donations, and it was very clear that this was a group that Jerry and his family supported with their time and heart, as well as resources. In fact, if you would like to add a donation in honor of Jerry, please feel free to do so.

It was great to see Jerry’s family—his wife Cynthia, daughters Sara and Tracey and son Cliff, who is now running the glass businesses—there along with all the grandchildren. It was very moving personally and professionally. And many thanks to AGC Glass Company which sponsored the brunch, and Alice Dickerson for making it happen.

I was delighted, too, to see so many “hot” products in the show. PGP’s display knocked you over as you came in the door with the many products the company represents. There were demonstrations of everything from electrochromic glass to super large laminated, and the large mobile glass handlers that GLG Canada Ltd. brought were also a hit.

And thanks, too, to myglasstruck.com, which participated in its first TEXpo and raffled away a glass rack worth $1,300 and a high-definition TV.

This future glaxier in training pulled the winning ticket in the myglasstruck.com drawing for a truck rack worth $1300.

This future glazier in training pulled the winning ticket in the myglasstruck.com drawing for a truck rack worth $1,300.

I was sorry to have missed the TGA golf tournament on Thursday, but I heard that was a huge success, as well.

USGlass magazine is committed to producing and supporting regional events because they move education around and bring it to people who can’t travel, and they give all workers a chance to learn and see suppliers.

And the city of San Antonio is always a favorite. It is a universally-loved travel destination. As our assistant editor Casey Flores, who was visiting the city for the first time said, “there is really no other place in the United States that is anything like it.” It’s a very unique city and I had a special time there. Thanks to everyone who participated—exhibitors, sponsors, attendees and, of course, our friends at the Texas Glass Association. We will be back in the fall with Auto Glass Week and the International Window Film Conference & Tint-Off.

Next, USGlass is on to another regional show, Glass Expo Pacific Northwest, to be held June 2-3. It is taking place in suburban Seattle and is co-sponsored by the Washington Glass Association. That area has been asking us to return with an Expo for so long, and we are delighted to do so. Our pre-registration numbers have been high and our exhibits manager Tina Czar informs me that we have fewer than ten booths left. So whether you want to attend or exhibit, I hope to see you there!

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