On the Road with USGlass, USGlass

Vegas–Hot and Cold

No products today, no (hopefully) insightful trends, just a look at some of the people who were at GlassBuild America last week. So, with a nod to the NY Post popular “gossip” column on page 6 every day, here goes:

GlassBuild is full of products and presentations but the best part is always the people. It’s a great chance to see and catch up with some of the people you get to work with all year, but see only once or twice.

It was great to see some parent-and-child teams such as Bob Heider of Sealant Engineering Associates Inc. and his son, Christopher, walking the show. Richard and Brad Voreis were there as well, Brad in his new role with Glass Doctor. I got to catch up with some old associates such as Gary Haider of Architectural Products Group, Adam Zax of Diamon Fusion, Chris Palmer-Ball of Palmer Mirro-Mastic and Fred Fulton of F1 Glazing Solutions. There are three people you never want to have a show without. Fred is one of them, as are Rick Porayko of Porayko Marketing and John Dwyer of Syracuse Glass. All were there, but alas, Mr. Dwyer was such a booth-hopping creature that I passed him a number of times but we never did get to chat.

Leon Silverstein was another fast-moving target but I did get to catch up with him. “It’s interesting times,” he said, “The independent, regional fabricators are holding their own and doing well. It’s the companies being run by private equity and or that are national that seem to be more challenged.”

Didn’t look that way to me as my own personal meter of the industry’s health (how many people in really nice suits with the word “equity” or “financial” or “LLC” on their badges) was up and we haven’t seen that in a few years. Speaking of which, I also got to catch up with DWM columnist Michael Collins, who was visiting his first show as the managing director of Building Industry Advisors LLC.

Jay and Jerry just hangin’ out …

It was nice to see some people embarking on new ventures, too. Some coming, like Victor Yakin who just opened his own rep and consulting firm called Architectural Consulting & Sales. And some going, like David Walker of the National Glass Association, who was saying goodbye to people on the floor. He leaves the organization on September 28. I got to meet his replacement, Jim Gandorf as well. And that tall Texan Jerry Wright really came out of his shell and was hobnobbing it up with the “A” Vegas crowd as you can see here.

And I got a chance to meet some of the new people in the industry, too, like Dr. (as in Ph.D.) Ken Unfried of Linde (who joked he has only been in the industry a year). Was nice to see Rustin Cassway with MyGlassTruck.com as well as Michael Spellman of IGE Supply Solutions Inc., who had one of the largest stands in the show.

Hats off to Dr. Dino Fenzi as well. For in spite of being just a few weeks away from glasstec, he made the trip west and spent many hours in the booth that bears his name. He is a great statesman for the industry worldwide.

Ran into a ton of people at the afterhours hospitality events and especially enjoyed seeing Ed Rosengrant and the Glasswerks crew. And Oliver Stepe and YKK hosted a bone-chilling yet very warm evening at the Mine 5 Ice Bar at the Mandalay Bay. Everything is made out of ice including the chairs, the chandelier and the glasses (how better to partake of the Arctic vodka?). Sensing a story in the ice-as-glass topic, our staff just had to be there. You will notice in the picture that we are all wearing parkas, thoughtfully provided by the bar.

USGlass Video producer Chris Bunn, Southeast sales representative Scott Rickles, vice president of media services Holly Biller, contributing editor Ellen Rogers, assistant editor Casey Neeley, publisher Debra Levy and Rickles’ fiance, Tracy-Leigh Mahan, gather at the YKK event.

I could go on and on but I’ll save a few for next time. In the meantime, here are some final “debbie” awards for this show:

Best Booth of the Day—Vision Hardware, which used bright pea-ish green flooring  to highlight its hardware and created a totally hip, modern and functional look in the process. Congratulations to Luke Liang, Glen Paesano, Denise Prignano and the whole Vision team. Coincidentally, I believe my colleague Tara Taffera also gave Vision an award as well in her assessment of the show.

Best Give-Away of the Day:  A tie. KL-Megla for a very neatly designed box that opens to create a combination pen-and-thumb drive. The thumb is hidden in the pen so it made me feel like Agent 99 for a minute … very sleek and crisp like the company’s booth. And U-R-B-A-N Machinery combined this show’s most popular giveaway (mints) with the Vegas thing and provided dice full of them.

This was my 30th such show and I almost didn’t make as I was having some eye issues (something had embedded itself in one of them) but I’m glad I did. Besides, I think only Dan DeGorter has gone to more consecutive such shows and I was trying to beat him. But I didn’t.

From architectural to automotive this week, as we turn our attention and good eye toward Louisville, where Auto Glass Week™ starts on Wednesday.  Looking forward to that one as well.