On the Road with USGlass, USGlass

Just Another Day in Vegas

The protesters were already out in full force at the UNLV arena when I arrived because, in case you haven’t heard, there’s a presidential debate there tonight … oh and the Rolling Stones are scheduled to play in concert in Vegas tonight too, …. Oh and the National and American League Baseball Championships are being blazoned across just about every big screen TV as there are bets to be made. …oh, and did I mention there’s a glass show?

Las Vegas is not only on fire with activity today, it’s downright combustible. And though it may seem like an afterthought to most in this town today, the annual GlassBuild show at the Las Vegas Convention Center is the hotbed too, though one of glass industry activity.

The show, which opened today and goes through Friday at 2 p.m., started with some exhibitors commenting that traffic was lighter than last year. That is probably true as the show has a very different pattern when it is in Atlanta, with more traffic on its first two days. The Las Vegas crowds tend to peak on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning as attendees combine a visit to the show with a Sin City weekend. By lunch the floor had become quite busy and active. And there’s no way to know how much the debate’s traffic issues affected the show, though the two venues are a number of miles away from each.

Once inside, attendees were not disappointed, viewing a floor full of activity, machinery and new services and catching up with each other. “It’s great to see everyone,” said Barbara Kotsos director of marketing and public relations for Giroux Glass, ‘it’s just a shame we only get to see them once a year.”

Yes, Barbara, and that annual sojourn among friends always brings out all types of memorable moments. Among them:

1019161359Most poignant: Looking that the Vitro PPG booth which sported a combined logo that looked like the PPG logo was nearly covered, I realized this was probably the last time I’d see the PPG logo at a glass show.

Most exciting: The news that manufacturers were beginning to provide warranties for their over-sized glass. The lack of warranty had been seen as a barrier to widespread use of the gigantic glass, and that barrier is now being broken.

Most tempting rumor: Which I heard in connection with a certain private equity company that I won’t name that it was about to sell off its main industry holding acquired during this decade.

Most fun to see: Glass Industry Hall of Fame member Dennis Clark. The president of Lafayette Glass in Indiana looked fit and well, back at the show after a hiatus last year for a liver transplant.

Most thought-provoking conversation: With a shipping and logistics shipping company owner about all that goes into moving large shipments of glass and metal.

Most necessary to mark the calendar: For Glass Processing Automation Days, sponsored by the fine people at Fenetech. It will be held March 14-15, 2017, in New Orleans.

Most surprising: The depth of the new inventions being promoted by “suitcasers” at the show. “Suitcasers” are not a Vegas tribute band, but rather a term for people who attend a trade show and try to peddle their wares but do not have a booth. Show organizers and exhibitors frown upon the practice but publication booths usually attract them as they look for publicity for their products. And this year, the suitcasers have been out in force with some products definitely ready for booth space. A new anti-fog film as well as glass with a “baked-on” digital ceramic ink were among the most unique offerings we saw.

And there will be more tomorrow. By the time you read this, the debate will be over, alas there was to be no Rolling Stones concert after all as Mike Jagger has laryngitis and must rest his voice. The Indians have won and all that remains is the result of the Cubs-Dodgers game. And Vegas has returned to as normal as it gets. You can bet on it.