Investing Again at GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo

The glass and fenestration industries joined together in Las Vegas last week for the largest annual event on the continent—GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo—where attendance and new product introductions reached pre-recession levels. Attendees and exhibitors alike reported markedly improved business conditions, reflected by the highest number of GlassBuild America participants since 2008.

“Many have been extremely cautious since the downturn,” said economist Jeff Dietrich during the Glazing Executives Forum, held in conjunction with GlassBuild America.  “Get away from the crash site and start looking forward,” he advised. “The U.S. is the most stable economy in the developed world.”

According to Bill Briese, R&D / engineering manager at GED Integrated Solutions, the industry is heeding Dietrich’s advice. “People are finally making investments—they are breaking out of their shell. Capital equipment was the first to see the downturn and the last to get it back. We are busy again. That’s the telling sign that things are improving,” he said on the show floor.

“Almost all of my glass customers are busy right now; almost too busy to buy machinery because they don’t want to stop production,” added Carey Brayer, VP of sales for exhibitor Intermac America.

“Everything is moving forward, but it’s a controlled growth. That way, you’re able to manage risk and avoid a crash in the economy.”

In terms of the show itself, “this year seemed to continue the trend of companies sending decision-makers to look for new opportunities, so our traffic was consistent and the conversations meaningful,” said Russ Slaybaugh, vice president and general manager for exhibitor Diamon-Fusion International.

GlassBuild America 2015 will return to Atlanta, Sept. 16-18. For additional information on next year’s event, as well as daily coverage highlights from GlassBuild America 2014, visit www.glassbuildamerica.com.

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GlassBuild America 2014 Names Best in Show Winners

More than 375 exhibitors participated in GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo this week in Las Vegas, and of them, six took home Best in Show awards for their booth designs.

Best Small Booth: M3 Glass Technologies

M3_1367

Best Medium Booth: Walker Glass

Walker_1308      Walker_1311

Best Large Booth Non-Machinery: HMI Cardinal

Cardinal_1327      ROB_1092

Best Machinery Booth: Lisec

Lisec_1272      Lisec_1278

Best Innovative Product Pavilion Booth: SAGE Electrochromics

Sage_1338      Sage_1336

Best First-Time Exhibitor: topdrill

TopDrill_1285

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GlassBuild America Attendance Highest in Six Years

Attendance at GlassBuild America: The Glass, Window & Door Expo topped 7,200 in the first two days of the show in Las Vegas this week. The attendance is at its highest level since 2008, according to show officials.

“Traffic has been fantastic,” said Brian McDonald, sales and business development manager for Ritec/ClearShield Technologies LLC, http://www.ritec.co.uk. “We have seen a lot of customers we haven’t seen in a very long time.”

The trade show and expo, which runs Sept. 9-11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, is organized by the National Glass Association\Window and Door Dealers Alliance and cosponsored by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association; the Glass Association of North America; the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance; and the Bath Enclosure Manufacturers Association.

Express Learning sessions continued during the second day of the show to packed crowds in the on-floor learning area. The sessions included: Showroom Do’s and Don’ts, presented by Bill Evans, president of Evans Glass Co.; Trending Now: Oversize Glass, presented by John Bush, vice president of operations, GGI; Revolutionizing Windows through Innovations in Energy Efficiency, presented by Karma Sawyer, technology manager and physical scientist for the Building Technologies Office, Emerging Technologies Program at the U.S. Department of Energy; Dare to Go Decorative, presented by Dip-Tech and Cathie Saroka, marketing director, Goldray Industries; How to Improve Your Website, presented by Quanex Building Products; and Designing Safer Glass Railings with Laminated Glass, presented by David Reinhart, protective glazing marketing manager, and Mark Jacobson, North American marketing manager, Kuraray America, Inc.

Demonstrations also continued at day two of GlassBuild America, with AAMA’s Are You Smarter than a FenestrationMaster; a Dip-Tech working digital printer; and an impact performance demo, sponsored by Architectural Testing Inc..

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Dealers Share Tips on How To Stay in Front of Customers

The National Glass Association (NGA) and the Window and Door Dealers Alliance (WDDA) hosted the Window & Door Dealers Forum at the Las Vegas Convention Center Sept. 10, 2014. The full-day assembly, held in conjunction with GlassBuild America: The Glass Window and Door Expo, brought together dealers from across the country to discuss a variety of topics, from marketing and sales to leads generation and practical business insight.

Following two opening general sessions, Ken Mariotti, Woodland Window and Doors, led a more intimate breakout session on lead generation and retaining customers. “Your database is your next opportunity,” he said, encouraging dealers to stay in front of the customers they’ve already established.

Mariotti then asked the audience to share their ideas on how to market to their current customers. Attendees shared the following three tips on how to have an effective presence in their mailboxes and inboxes:

  1. Maintain a good list of email addresses, and use them not only to send marketing pieces, but non-promotional messages on major and minor holidays as well. This keeps you in front of your clients.—Peter Morrison, Architectural Visions Inc. (avi)
  2. After the rush of the end-of-year holidays, make a donation to a local charity. Ask the charity to provide receipts or announcements with your specific customers’ names on them. Include those receipts in a letter to your customers, announcing that you made a donation in their name.—Pat Alexander, Long Life Windows & Doors Ltd.
  3. Mail “thank-you” letters to clients that double as a coupon they can use on a future service. Take it a step further by providing a second referral offer. Provide a voucher customers can give to their friends, neighbors, or family members, and offer the referring customer an extra discount or credit when their contact cashes in on the bonus coupon.—Karen Buswell, Arcadia Window & Door

More tips from the breakout sessions at the WDDA Window & Door Dealers Forum will be available at www.windowanddoor.com.

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WDDA Session Reveals Top 10 Markets for Windows Remodeling

During the Window & Door Dealers Alliance (WDDA) Dealers Forum, held Sept. 10 in Las Vegas, dealers gathered to discuss trends affecting the window and door market. The event was held in conjunction with GlassBuild America: The Glass Window and Door Expo, and kicked off with an opening general session presented by Toby Morrison, Metrostudy, covering the fenestration financial forecast.

Among the wealth of statistics he provided to attendees, Morrison reported the top 10 markets for windows remodeling. According to Metrostudy’s Residential Remodeling Index, those markets are as follows:

  1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  2. Rochester, New York
  3. Raleigh, North Carolina
  4. Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Roswell, Georgia
  5. Cincinnati, Ohio
  6. Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland
  7. San Antonio/New Braunfels, Texas
  8. Buffalo/Cheektowaga/Niagara Falls, New York
  9. Baltimore/Columbia/Towson, Maryland
  10. Birmingham/Hoover, Alabama

Morrison’s overall outlook for the window and door industry was very positive. Further coverage of the entire forecast will be available at www.windowanddoor.com.

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Nonresidential Construction Forecast to Grow through 2019

The overall U.S. economy is projected to grow through 2017 and 2018, with nonresidential construction growing through 2019, said economist Jeff Dietrich yesterday during the Glazing Executives Forum, held in conjunction with GlassBuild America in Las Vegas. 

Dietrich, who is senior analyst for ITR Economics, encouraged the group of about 200 registered attendees to make investments now to better their companies. “Many have been extremely cautious since the downturn. Get away from the crash site and start looking forward,” he said. “The U.S. is the most stable economy in the developed world.”

Dietrich noted that, despite recent growth, construction spending remains well below peak spending levels. However, he says the measured growth the industry has experienced is healthy growth. “Companies have right sized; capacity utilization is near normal,” Dietrich said. “When will we be back to the peak? Probably not in the near term. … I hope we don’t get back there anytime soon. I’d rather see measured growth than volatile cycles.”

Interest rates are expected to rise in 2015, “but we don’t know by how much,” Dietrich said. “If you want to borrow money, now is time to do it, with interest rates low.”

In addition to investing in machinery, equipment and facilities, Dietrich also recommended that companies invest in their employees. With the economy improving, and with a building shortage of skilled labor in construction, dissatisfied workers will leave. During the downturn, “people were just happy to have a job. But that’s over. The next five years will be similar to 2003 to 2008. If you’re not paying people enough, you’re going to lose them,” Dietrich said. “You’re going to be poaching, or others will be poaching from you.”

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Donn Harter Receives NGA Lifetime Achievement Award

The crowd at the GEF gives a standing ovation to Donn Harter, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NGA.

The crowd at the GEF gives a standing ovation to Donn Harter, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the NGA.

Donn Harter, a longtime glass industry leader and former president and technical director of the California Glass Association/Americas Glass Association and of the National Glass Association, received a Lifetime Achievement Award yesterday from the NGA during the GlassBuild America trade show in Las Vegas. Harter was a dynamic figure in the glass industry during his long tenure, sources say, and worked tenaciously in the development of numerous safety glazing codes.

“More than anyone in the glass industry, he relentlessly championed workplace and consumer safety,” according to Phil James, president and CEO emeritus of the NGA.

“Donn was the key figure in making sense of the glass and glazing codes that we all deal with. He touched every one of you in some way or another,” said former NGA Chairman Jim Ponder, who presented the award. “He has given of himself, to this industry, his whole life.”

Roy Van Buskirk, former owner of Bacon & Van Buskirk, recalled in an email, “during my active time in the Industry, I was so lucky to have attended many meetings where Donn favored us with his accurate, but entertaining views on products and services, which were then currently under consideration.”

Harter was presented the award in a surprise ceremony during the Glazing Executives Forum, held at GlassBuild America. His two daughters and his son were present at the event.

“We experienced challenges and battles, but I think we are all better off for doing what we know is best,” Harter said when accepting the award. “I really appreciate this.”

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