Volume 46, Issue 3 - April 2011

feature


Glass Information Immersion
GPD Organizers Aim to Further Advance Conference Experience

For more information, and to register for Glass Performance Days 2011 visit www.gpd.fi.


There are some who joke that they attend Glass Performance Days (GPD), the biennial glass conference Glaston organizes in Tampere, Finland, for the farewell party. But in truth, the extravagances of the traditional last-night party are a very much-needed respite after four days of glass information overload. The conference is as well-known for its tremendous networking opportunities as it is for the mind-boggling amount of cutting-edge, quality presentations on all aspects of the glass industry.
On June 17-20, 2011, event organizers will be stepping up their offerings with even more opportunities for education and networking, new topics to discuss and several special additions to the conference agenda.

Special Presentations
GPD organizers expect some 1,000 participants from 60 countries at this year’s event, and have prepared a quality program that expands on topics included in past years. The theme of GPD 2011 is “Glass and Solar in Sustainable Development.” But, as in past years, the event will feature educational sessions in several tracks: Glass in Architecture; Glass Processing; Solar and Glass Technology; Changing Markets and Transportation; and Automotive and other Vehicles. Attendees can expect to find presentations on case studies, research, unique products and the market at large.

The educational event kicks off with the GPD Opening Ceremony on June 17 and three special keynote speakers.

In “Glass in the Built Environment,” Bruce J. Oreck, U.S. Ambassador to Finland, will talk about the new business model encouraging energy efficiency and operational savings while enhancing the human environment where people live and work. Oreck has gone on record declaring that an embassy can provide an example by being as “green as possible” itself. Ambassador Oreck is chair of the League of Green Embassies, a joint interest that engages more than 50 U.S. embassies all over the world.

Ralf Christian, CEO of Siemens AG Energy Sector, will present “Smart Grid and Desertec: Turning the Vision into Reality.” Desertec is a mega-project targeted to develop a reliable, sustainable and climate-friendly solar energy supply from the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa to international energy consumers. This project could meet as much as 15 percent of Europe’s electricity demand by 2050.

Russell Ebeid, president of Guardian Glass Group, is no stranger to GPD, having presented the keynote at this event in the past. This year’s not-to-miss talk is entitled “No Time for the Timid.”

“When high-level representatives of both the public sector and the glass industry decide to highlight the importance of sustainable development we have an excellent example of the teamwork required for effective implementation,” says Jorma Vitkala, chair of the GPD organizing committee.

Hands On
Attendees can register for any of 18 hands-on workshops taking place June 16-17. The intensive 4- to 8-hour courses are designed to provide participants with more in-depth knowledge on specific topics. Participants will get detailed information on various subjects, answers to their queries and updates on the latest developments. The main emphasis is interaction and exchange of information among relatively small groups, so anyone interested in a specific topic will want to register well before the May 31 deadline.

Topics include “The Future of the Architectural Glass Industry,” in which group participants will aim to pinpoint the year’s top trends, as well as workshops on managing quality in glass, the reasons behind common glass problems, solar power opportunities and product-specific issues.

For attendees who want to learn more about specific products, GPD also features an expo each day during the conference, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Approximately 25 exhibitors are participating in this year’s Glass Product Expo.

“The expo has proven particularly useful for participants who have wished to launch new products or concepts before an international expert audience prior to full-scale commercial introduction,” Vitkala says.

New in 2011
This year’s special additions to GPD include the opening of an energy efficiency and solar park adjacent to Tampere Hall. The park, a new concept developed for this year’s event, will include an exposition on sustainable development. The park will be open June 17-18 for visits from the glass industry participants as well as the public. Different applications of renewable energy sources, energy efficient solutions in buildings as well as safety and security glasses will be exhibited in the park. In addition to showcasing displays, the exhibitors will give repeated briefings to visitors on the highlights of the expo and special points of interest.

Also new this year is an invitation-only Architect Competition that will result in a gift of sorts to the local community. Four internationally known participants have been invited to produce a creative solution for a parking facility entrance in Central Tampere at the Bank of Finland Square. The results of the competition will be announced as part of the GPD program.

“Our intention is to feature the same type of competition during future GPDs, thus leaving landmarks in the form of ‘a string of glass pearls’ in Central Tampere,” explains Vitkala. “Each pearl represents leading glass construction know-how at the time it is designed and built and we hope for the current and future pearls to provide insights into how glass construction develops over the years. At the same time the pearls represent the engagement of the city in our conference and development of the conditions under which the glass cluster in the conference hometown works.”

Not-to-Miss Networking
This year also will feature an expanded contact forum that offers participants an opportunity to maximize the efficiency of their GPD stay. The mission of the forum is to prepare the ground for enhanced networking and to enable and facilitate one-on-one meetings requested by participants. Through the GPD Contact Forum attendees are able to pre-organize their one-on-one meetings through a web service. The forum, available only to registered attendees, is intended to help visitors maximize the efficiency of their stay in Tampere.

Several special receptions also are planned to help with networking upon arrival.

On June 17, a get-together party follows the opening ceremony. Event organizers call it an excellent opportunity to meet old as well as new colleagues. On June 18, attendees can register to attend the official conference dinner and take part in outstanding Finnish dishes, drinks and entertainment in a unique setting. On June 19, all attendees are invited to the City Reception, sponsored by the City of Tampere.

On June 20, the farewell party is scheduled from 7 p.m. until sunrise (not that the sun ever sets at this time of year in Finland). This must-attend event traditionally includes memorable entertainment, and gives attendees an opportunity to say goodbye to new friends.


USG
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