You dont have to go to the national shows anymore for the finest in education, exhibition and networking. Today, attendees and exhibitors alike are getting their biggest bang for the buck at the regional glass expos in every quadrant of the country. Whether they were suppliers looking to meet new prospects and support cherished customers or show attendees in search of information on the newest products, services and techniques, falls regional events offered something for everyone.
While the inaugural Glass TEXpo, held September 11-12 in the Hyatt Regency, Houston, TX, was expected to draw a number of visitors from across the Gulf of Mexico, it was an unexpected, uninvited visitor that stole the show: Hurricane Francis. After sitting in the Gulf for half a week, Tropical Storm Francis came ashore early on September 11, to bring the city of Houston to a virtual standstill.
In spite of the circumstances, Glass TEXpos exhibitors, seminar presenters and co-sponsors banded together to present an exhibition and educational event that was informative to those who had arrived before the storm hit. While the storm hampered attendance, the crowd increased as the show went on, with attendees registering up until the last minutes of the show.
"In spite of the horrendous weather, the spirit of Texas endured," said John Screnci, Glass TEXpo chairman. "This first show laid the groundwork for TEXpo to become the largest regional show in the country, which Im sure TEXpo will become in 99," he said.
Mike Daigle of Southern Glass of Terrebone in Gibson, LA, said that in spite of the weather the event went well. "It would have been better if it was not for the storm, but it was still pretty nice," he said.
The event afforded Daigle with the opportunity to meet suppliers on the trade show floor. "When things are busy," he said, "it is harder to deal with suppliers than customers. So its always good to find secondary suppliers."
Alton Dobison, who traveled four hours in the inclement weather from Mikes Glass Tinting in Cottonport, LA, also benefitted from the show. "We had an opportunity to meet with some of the suppliers we deal with regularly," he said.
Ken Locke of Central Glass and Mirror in Wichita, KS, said that TEXpo was valuable for him because it was more accessible than the larger shows. "The bigger shows are difficult for us to get to because they are so far away," he said.
Some attendees, such as Lee Berry of Hurricane Glass Co. in Houston, TX, noted that the event offered an opportunity to see new products and services without traveling too far. "It was close to home and it offered me a chance to see some old friends and new innovations," he said.
Unlike Berry, Roberto Sainz traveled a long distance to TEXpo. Sainz and two colleagues from Industria de Cristal Templado, S.A. de C.V. in Ixtapaluca Edo, Mexico, arrived in Houston in search of products. "We are looking for American products for our facility," he said.
In addition to the trade show, attendees found a cocktail party; a breakfast sponsored by Palmer Products Corporation of Louisville, KY, featuring a speech by USGlass columnist Lyle Hill; a hurricane-resistant product demonstration; and a number of seminars all to be highlights of the event.
The hurricane product demonstration drew a number of interested onlookers. The spectators witnessed Hurricane Test Laboratory, Inc. of Riviera Beach, FL, use an air cannon to fire a nine-pound, two- by four-inch wood stud at laminated glass windows provided by KeepSafe Maximum Glass of Tucson, AZ. The demonstration, intended to illustrate how Gulf Coast communities can protect themselves from hurricanes, took on a special significance with Francis hovering outside.
The seminars presented attendees with opportunities to gather valuable technical, marketing and customer service information for each niche of the glass industry. Joe Lambertson of Country Glass and Mirror, Inc. in Balch Spring, TX, who attended four seminars, said that they offered many helpful tips. "The seminars will help me as far as being a product manager and dealing with different aspects of my job," he said.
Tom Whitford of Performance Achievement Group in Madison, WI, said his seminars in auto glass removal and installation were well-received. "The seminars were outstanding," he said. "We have had many people come by the booth after the demonstrations."
One Texan summed up the experience simply by saying, "We learned a lot; the problems were the weather and getting here."
This Texan and other participants of the show were greeted by exhibitors attempting to tap into the robust glass industry in Texas. Ed Bartlett of Custom Window Co. in Denver, CO, exhibited at TEXpo because he believes the Houston market offers opportunities for his company. "Houston has not been a big market for us," he said.
Other exhibitors just wanted meet with their customers. "We have a lot of customers in Texas and we wanted to talk to them," said Dave Shores of Glas-Weld Systems, Inc. of Bend, OR.
Next years TEXpo will be held in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX, September 17-18, 1999.
Though attendance traffic was slightly lighter than past appearances in Boston at Glass Show 98, held September 25-26 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, MA, both exhibitors and attendees had much to gain from participating in the event.
Glass Show, co-sponsored the Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island Glass Dealers Associations, offered the opportunity to tap into the lower New England glass market and meet face-to-face with those with whom the industry deals on a regular basis. According to Chip Mann of High-Standard, Inc. in Dublin, NH, "[Exhibiting at Glass Show] is necessary to keep your name out there in front of people."
Mike Bourassa of United States Aluminum in Waxahachie, TX, was enthusiastic about exhibiting at the event. "We have seen quality people at this show," he said. "I have a pocket full of business cards."
In addition to benefitting from the exposition, attendees said they found the seminars valuable. Some of the offerings included "Business ContinuationHow to Effectively Pass Your Business to the Next Generation," "Electronic Data Interchange Problems and Solutions," and "Understanding, Selling and Installing High-Performance Windows."
"We usually go to all the shows," said Fred Thomas of Manchester Glass Co. Inc. in Manchester, CT. "If the information is not new it refreshes your memory."
"It has been one of the best years for seminars," said Thomass wife, Kathy, who also enjoyed the Keynote Address, "Achieving Customer Loyalty," presented by Carl Tompkins of Sika Corporation in Lyndhurst, NJ.
Glass Expo West 98 was held October 23-24 in San Diego, CA. According to the California Glass Association, the conference sponsor, approximately 2,000 attendees and just over 100 exhibitors attended the annual show. Last years event attracted 2,300 to 2,400 people.
According to the CGA, the conference was very successful, despite the San Diego Padres fans World Series fever which made driving and parking in the downtown nearly impossible.
The conference included the 17th Annual CGA Golf Classic held at the Eastlake Country Club in Chula Vista which hosted 165 golfers in a "Best Ball" tournament. In addition to the nearly 150 exhibits, Glass Expo West offered a variety of educational sessions including, "Glass Products and Coatings," "Door Closures and Hardware," "FABulous customer service," "Glass Fabricating Machine Maintenance," "Accounting Software: How to Choose," "Job Estimating and Managing for Profit" and "Energy Saving Opportunities."
Brad Meshke of Carmel Valley Glass in Solana Beach, CA, said he attended the exhibits but was unable to attend the educational sessions, due to last minute work obligations. "Im really sorry I wasnt able to make it to any of the seminars," he said. He did attend the exhibits where he was happy to meet a variety of people. "If nothing else, the show is worthwhile because it enables you to meet people you normally only speak to one the phone," he said.
Next years show will be held Oct. 1-2, 1999 at Reno Sparks Convention Center, Reno, NV.
Innovative seminars, one of the most unusual races the industry has seen, an outstanding tour of Tubelites Reed City, MI facility, and an elegant ceremony saluting the industrys newest inductees into the Glass and Metal Hall of Fame were highlights of Glass Expo Midwest 98, co-sponsored by the Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin Glass Associations, as well as the Detriot Glass Dealers Association and the Independent Glass Association.
The event, which took place October 2-3 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and Center in Grand Rapids, MI, kicked off with a tour of Tubelite, Inc., manufacturer of storefronts, entrances and curtainwall systems (see sidebar page 93). The company also sponsored Friday evenings cocktail party, which preceded the Fifth Annual Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony (see story page 88). In addition, networking opportunities were plenty at the Saturday breakfast, sponsored by Palmer Mirro-Mastics.
Seminars on hot new topics were in abundance such as: "Hot Topics for the Glass Industry;" "How to Get and Keep Qualified Installers;" "Partnering with Your Supplier;" and "Job-Cost Estimating."
Tony Manders was encouraged to attend the event by his employer, Cameron Glass and Window of London, ON. As one who hadnt attended a regional expo before, Manders said he enjoyed the educational opportunities. "All the seminars are somehow pertinent to the business were in," he said.
One of Glass Expo Midwests most exciting highlights was the International Belt Sander Race Associations belt sander races. The event was moderated by Mark Daniels of BTB Tools, who also was a competitor in the event. Alfie Ogston of the Extractor volunteered to go up against Daniels and his specially revamped BTB sander. At the prompting of the call, "Ladies and gentlemen, start your enginesor start your sanders," the belt sanders were off. They sped down the 60-foot-long race track neck and neck until the crucial last second when Ogstons machine darted ahead .
While attendees were thrilled with Glass Expo Midwests exciting events, exhibitors were pleased with show floor activity, especially on Friday.
"This is our first time ever at a glass show," remarked Den Heeren of IDN Hardware. "I think weve had a few decent leads that could turn into customers."
"Were very pleased," said Bill Furr of Coastal Industries. "Were looking forward to seeing the Ohio market at next years show."
George Petzen of Skytech Systems was especially pleased with the opportunity to meet his customers. "Today was a very special day for me," said Petzen. "Not only did I meet new customers, but I met people who have been my customers for 10-12 years who Ive never met."
Mark your calendar now for Glass Expo Midwest 99 October 22-23 in Cleveland, OH. And dont forget to bring your belt sander!
Regina R. Johnson and Leslie Shaver are editors of USGlass.
Approximately 40 attendees were favored with a tour of Tubelites 245,000-square-foot plant during Glass Expo Midwest. The visit began with a history of the company from the host, Rob Keyes, chairman and part owner.
According to Keyes, the company processes more than 12 million pounds of aluminum annually. Tubelite has outsourced its anodizing and paint operations in recent years, Keyes said. "Thats allowed us to do it better and faster, and to concentrate on the things we do better."
For the tour of the plant, attendees were divided into groups of eight to ten, each led by a Tubelite staff member. According to the guides, the companys extrusion process begins with 14-foot-long billet logs of aluminum, each weighing 700 pounds. The eight-inch-diameter logs are cut to an optimized length to reduce scrap.
Next, attendees saw the companys Lombard extrusion press, which produces 2,200 tons of pressure. Billets of 18 to 30 inches in length are preheated to 840 degrees F, before being placed into the press. A ram pushes each billet through one of Tubelites 2,500 dies, and the billet emerges from the press in the basic shape of the extrusion. The exit temperature of the billet is 940 degrees.
As participants watched, the guide described how extrusions are then passed to the 180-foot-long run-out table, where overhead fans cool them to allow handling. When cooled, the extrusions are stretched to specified tolerances and cut to the required lengths. Then they are transferred to cradles based on their designated finishes and tempered to T6 hardness.
After tempering and cooling, the cradles are distributed in the warehouse area based on the extrusions required finishespainted, anodized or mill. All extrusions requiring finishing are sent to a partner/supplier of Tubelite, Linetec, which has facilities in Wausau, WI.
While in the warehouse, attendees also saw Tubelites stock door and frame line, where approximately 90 stock doors and frames are produced daily. The nearby machining area was a sight to behold, with a vast expanse of equipment including brake presses, chop saws, punch presses and drill presses.
In the custom fabrication area, participants learned that extrusions for custom fabrication have a similar work flow as that on the stock door and frame lines. Once the job is cut, the pieces are divided between door parts and frame parts and fabricated accordingly.
Finally, attendees saw the office area, and met Tubelite staff members. At least one person on the tour was pleased to finally meet the person behind the voice he knows well from his phone dealings with Tubelites "Front Line."
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