Volume 42, Issue 7 - July 2007

American-Made
Americas’ Glass Showcase™ 
Highlights Codes in a Forum Designed for Retailers

by Megan Headley and Penny Stacey

The Americas Glass Association’s (AGA) annual Americas’ Glass Showcase™ was filled with education, new products and even some fun when it was held in May at the Cashman Convention Center in Las Vegas. The event occurred May 18-19, 2007, and was co-located with the International Window Film Conference™, the Independents’ Days Conference™ and the Spring Auto Glass Show™. 

School Days
Seminars kicked off on Friday, May 18, with a keynote speech by noted consumer advocate Ralph Nader (see sidebar). Mike Grossman of ACI Distribution and Donn Harter, AGA president and technical director, followed with a discussion of frameless shower doors. They discussed the outcome, clarifications and changes to the AGA code amendments offered to the International Building Code for 2008 as well as new considerations for frameless units in the future.

John Hitt and Robbie Roberts of Wateridge Insurance Services then took center stage to share tips on purchasing insurance for a small business such as a glass retail shop.

Marketing your business is always an important topic, of course, and John Baker of the Sandler Sales Institute stepped to the podium to take it on. Baker explained that the yellow pages aren’t the only way to go about advertising, and gave audience members tips for finding new, prospective customers through untraditional methods.

One simple suggestion was targeted mailings and e-mails, in addition to sending out newsletters, faxes and flyers. He noted that if you’re sending out a newsletter, little extras, like a recipe in the corner, ensure that it is kept longer than the time it takes to take out the trash.Baker also noted the importance of referred business.

“The only way to get referrals is to give,” Baker said. John Wanamaker of Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) followed with a discussion about OSHA safety and health requirements with a focus on the glazing industry.

After the association held its annual meeting that afternoon, attendees relaxed at the Harley Davidson Café on the Vegas Strip. The reception featured roadhouse food and a chance to get your photo taken with the famous Harley Davidson bike from “Easy Rider.”

Code Time 
Codes and safety were hot topics on Saturday, May 19.Harter began the day with a seminar on safety glazing codes, focusing on the difference between the 1997 Uniform Building Code (UBC 1997) and the 2003 International Building Code (IBC 2003). For the most part, those in attendance noted that they currently utilize UBC 1997, though a few noted that they do utilize IBC 2003.Harter also talked about wired glass and how each code views the material.

“Wired glass is not and never has been a safety glass,” Harter said.

However, he noted that even though wired glass use may be permitted, glaziers should still exercise caution.

“Be careful, even though wired glass is permitted in the fire code, look out,” he said.

Matt Manning of Oldcastle Glass followed with a discussion of glass properties affecting the energy usage of buildings, in an effort to help attendees digest the language used in current energy codes.

Manning provided definitions of a number of terms, and provided equations for calculating these when applicable. He also shared a program that assists customers with determining whether a project meets the requirements of ENV-1, California’s energy code. 

In addition to the abounding talk of codes, Gregg Ketter of Ketter Development discussed effective business practices. “The stronger your relationships and your relationship skills, the more money you’re going to make,” Ketter told attendees.

Ketter also offered advice on working with employees. “They treat the customers as they are treated,” Ketter said. The look on his face indicated that that’s not always a good thing. 

Ketter noted that all people have a few basic drives, including the drive to defend. 

“Your employees will either defend your company or be against it,” Ketter said. Ketter said that the basic way to improve relations with staff is to ensure that they are treated as “internal customers,” and are considered just as important as “external customers.”

Baker ended the day with a follow-up to his day-one presentation, this time with “Advanced Glass Sales.” During this presentation, Baker shared tips on bidding and closing sales with tough customers.

Technology Galore
In addition to the seminars, many companies promoted new products and services during the show, while some took the opportunity to update their customers on changes that could affect them.

San Francisco-based SAFTI First Fire Rated Glazing Solutions™, for example, provided pamphlets regarding the use of traditional wired, non-safety glass under the 2006 International Building Code and how its SuperLite™ products fit into this new update.

Protective Partitions of Granite Bay, Calif., offered its bullet-resistant partitions and fiberglass armors, which the company says are ideal for any place where ballistic- and attack-resistant security is required.

Diamon Fusion International of San Clemente, Calif., promoted its nanotechnology, which it says improves and protects the surfaces of glass, tile, porcelain, granite and most silica-based surfaces. 

Southern Stretch Forming, a metal-forming company in Zelienople, Pa., didn’t promote any particular new products, but did have news to share. The company added a third division in Zelienople last year, in addition to its locations in Denton, Texas, and Modesto, Calif. “The expansion wasn’t too difficult,” said Charles Michie, national sales and marketing manager. “We actually purchased equipment from another company located in Butler, just about 20 miles from our new location.” (See related article).

“Why not go notchless?” asked Sommer & Maca of Cicero, Ill., in its product literature for the company’s new notch-free, 3⁄8-inch glass, pivot shower door system. According to the company, the system fits 3⁄8-inch glass doors up to 120 pounds and 36 inches wide and features self-centering operation and quick installer training.

A diamond notch and saw machine was on the forefront in Los Angeles-based C.R. Laurence’s booth. The machine features a fast-cutting ring blade with 360-degree diamond-coating cuts in all directions and produces notches and free-style pattern-edge cuts.

For Miami-based Taco Metals, its glass sliding panel system was the focus of the show. The system features full glass panels and a slide opening and is ideal for shower doors or to serve as a room divider.

GTS Services LLC of Portland, Ore., took some of its newest technology to the show, including GlasPac®LX, GlassQuoter and GlasPac®LX Small Business Edition.

Looking Ahead
This year’s event was held in conjunction with the Independent Glass Association’s Annual Independent’s Day’s Conference. The two shows together saw more than 1,200 attendees, with more than half focused on flat glass. Next year’s Americas’ Glass Showcase will be held May 1-3 in Las Vegas. 

Ralph Nader Calls for Standards for Glass Furniture
Noted consumer safety advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader asked the glass industry why there were no standards for glass furniture when he spoke at the Americas’ Glass Showcase™ in Las Vegas in May. 

Speaking to a full house that included members of the architectural glass, auto glass and window film industries, Nader also addressed the evolution and hazards of glass furniture and the importance of code development. 

Nader, the author of Unsafe at Any Speed, has built a reputation for propelling change at a higher level to protect consumers, including getting seat belts mandated in cars and creating groups such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). 


the author:
Megan Headley is an assistant editor and Penny Stacey is a contributing editor for USGlass magazine.


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