Vegas: Cause for Celebration

The city of Las Vegas is for celebrating—and the glass industry did its part during the GlassBuild America show, held there September 12-14, 2018. Celebrations abounded both on and off the show floor. Machinery manufacturer Mappi commemorated its 25th anniversary. Tool and equipment supplier EDTM did as well. Veka celebrated 35 years in North America. Caldwell Manufacturing may have been one of the oldest companies, marking its 130th year in business, but its slogan as the “gateway to the Internet of Things” certainly rings current.

Guest of honor, our sales manager Scott Rickles, as we celebrated his 40th year in the glass industry.

And a number of individuals in the glass industry celebrated anniversaries as well, including Bob Price formerly of J.E. Berkowitz, reaching 40 years in the glass industry yesterday, longtime PR consultant Heather West was celebrating her 25th and Dennis Clark of Lafayette Glass, who said he first started coming to glass shows 50 years ago.

We had a major anniversary of our own, as well. Southeastern sales manager Scott Rickles celebrated 40 years in glass industry sales with all of us at a dinner in his honor last Tuesday evening. Congratulations, Scott!

The September issue of USGlass magazine includes a special feature about Don Friese.

In truth, though, the show floor belonged to Don Friese of C.R. Laurence, who was making his farewell visit having just announced his retirement after a legendary career there. No one more embodies the American success story than Mr. Friese, and the affection people have for him was palpable.

We, too, offered congratulations and thanks to him by doing something we never have before. It was such an extraordinary occasion that we permitted our cover to be sponsored in his honor. Ellen Rogers also did an outstanding job on the article about Don is the issue, as well. He is this industry’s biggest personal success story—so far.

What worked well? Seeing more European style booths where people had time to chat in a less pressured atmosphere was a nice import.

Dispersing the Chinese companies throughout the show rather than in one big pavilion-like block also made their presence feel not quite as massive as it has in the past. This could be more a result of reduced attendance on their part and increased tariffs on ours than anything else.

I was so busy that we have only two categories in an abbreviated version of my own informal awards (affectionately called “the Debbies”) that we give every year. And the winners are:

Best booth: ENERGI. There was just something about the stand that conveyed its name. Maybe it was the life-sized die-cut name ENERGI out in front, or the vibe coming from the staff there. It was the most memorable to me.

Best shirts: I think the trend toward logoed shirts has peaked, but there were still some quite dapper ones on the show floor. The winner by a mile was Veka, whose staff wore crisp, coordinated logoed golf shirts every day as evidenced below.

Veka employees changed up their shirt colors throughout the show.

Tomorrow: Re-thinking a few things