While technical committee meetings make up an important part of the Glass Association of North America (GANA), there’s a lot more that goes on at the group’s meetings. The association is hard at work in the Palm Springs, Calif. area this week, but it is also focusing on networking and other activities.
Last night, the group honored and recognized a number of members as part of its awards reception. It also paid tribute to a great leader of the industry and this association—Bill Birch. Birch, who was named to the USGlass magazine Glass Industry Hall of Fame in 1999, served as the GANA executive vice president from its formation in 1994 to his retirement in 2000. He passed away last summer at the age of 81.
Kuraray’s Valerie Block, who had worked with Birch for many years on association activities, said he was the type of person who “made a point to reach out to people and make himself accessible.” She spoke of his dedication and leadership and said his legacy has meant a lot to a lot of people. She added that he was one of the most influential people in the support and advocacy of the glass industry.
Kim Mann, general counsel for GANA, added that Birch was a very effective leader and not just an affiliate of the association. “He saw we needed to change as an association to survive,” said Mann.
John Dwyer with Syracuse Glass added of Birch, “Bill Birch loved the glass industry and Bill Birch loved this association. I think he’d be so proud of what we’ve accomplished.”
Dwyer was also recognized last night when he was presented the GANA Member of the Year Award.
The individuals from GANA’s divisions who also received awards were:
BEC Division: Chris Dolan, Guardian Industries;
Decorative Division: Sylvain Denis, Walker Glass;
Energy Division: Helen Sanders, Sage Electrochromics;
Insulating Division: Aaron Thompson, Viracon;
Laminating Division: Dan Laporte, Eastman Chemical Co.; and
Tempering Division: Cliff Monroe, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®.
Kris Vockler with ICD High Performance Coatings was also recognized as GANA’s outgoing president. Stanley Yee with Dow Corning will be the 2016-2017 president.
Before beginning today’s committee meeting, about half of the attendees took part in GANA’s first 5K fun run/walk. Later today meetings continue today with Energy, Decorative and Flat Glass Divisions. Stay tuned to USGNN.com™ for more updates from the conference.