Brad Glauser of Wausau discusses protective glazing Thursday at Glass Expo Pacific Northwest.
Brad Glauser of Wausau discusses protective glazing Thursday at Glass Expo Pacific Northwest.

Glass industry members are getting a crash course in the Seattle area today and tomorrow. Glass Expo Pacific Northwest™ (GEPN) ’16, a trade show and educational event for the glass and glazing industry, commenced this morning at the Hyatt in Bellevue, Wash., with a jam-packed slate of seminars. USGlass magazine publisher Debra Levy got things started with an overview of the event, which included presentations from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Richard Voreis, chief executive officer of Consulting Collaborative, then presented a rundown on what the building and construction industry holds for glass companies. He discussed architecture trends, the latest in building materials, new and retrofit construction, challenges to be aware of and what to anticipate for the future.

“The only constant has been change itself,” Voreis said. On the exterior, he said the “glass box” is a thing of the past and that designs now regularly incorporate integrated systems—including glass, aluminum, stone, panels, etc.—rather than one single product application. Also, colors, shapes and profiles are becoming more complex.

Voreis noted that the interior market is ripe for the glazing industry, and that while it isn’t “as visible” as the exterior, it has been growing at a faster pace for years. This segment puts a much higher premium on quality due to the close proximity of the occupant.

He also discussed the potential for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). He said by 2020, photovoltaic electricity is projected to be equal or cheaper than grid power. “That’s when BIPV will skyrocket,” he said, adding that energy regulations and incentives such as net-zero goals will be key drivers as well.

Keytech North America president Lyle Hill later gave a workshop on important principles in the glass business, particularly as they relate to today’s economic climate. He discussed with attendees how to calculate their breakeven point, when to raise or lower prices, and how the elasticity of demand impacts business.

He spent some time talking about the importance of developing employees.

“I think we often buy good equipment, develop all kinds of programming, and institute plans and procedures to help us produce our work more efficiently and profitably but far too often we just don’t understand or spend enough time developing the human component,” he said.

Hill added that while it’s important to work on improving the people within the company, there sometimes comes a time it’s best to let them go.

“I am often asked what to do about a talented but uncooperative, uncontrollable or underperforming employee,” he said. “My response is always, ‘get rid of them right now.’ Bad employees are toxic. They bring everything and everyone around them down. You deserve better.”

Later in the morning, Paul Bieber, president of Bieber Consulting Group, provided an educational seminar on efficient and cost-savings methods to buy glass and other materials businesses use daily. He gave insight into the purchasing tricks used by professional purchasing agents, as well as how to reduce administration and labor costs in purchasing and receiving glass.

Beiber was followed by  Wausau Window and Wall Systems Northwest territory manager Brad Glauser presented information on the newly adopted American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) human impact test standard, updated Unified Facilities Criteria (UFC) and Inter-Agency Security Committee (ISC) blast design criteria, and updated codes and standards affecting hurricane design.

Carl Tompkins, national flat glass sales manager at Sika Corp., kicked off the afternoon discussing adhesives and sealants, particularly how defective products and improper installation can lead to serious and long-lasting problems on a job. He clarified how to evaluate the different types of adhesives to use at different times, the advantages and disadvantages of each, and how to avoid field problems.

He said sealants represent $395 million in annual residential and commercial glazing business, equating to nearly 4 percent of total glazing revenue. He said the most common reason for glazing rework is resealing door and window systems. “Cost is ten times larger than the resale price of weatherizing,” he said. “The rule? Do it right the first time.”

Tompkins recommended glaziers seek training and certification from their sealant manufacturer, and “conduct pull tail testing in all commercial field applications prior to weather-sealing the project.” He added that they should pay attention to weather conditions and follow the “written word” in documents and instructions.

Kreative Webworks Inc. director of web services Chunk Bankoff closed out the afternoon seminar sessions with a presentation on generating leads from the Internet. He stressed the importance of businesses having a strong web presence, providing best practices for ensuring their SEO is optimized, and ensuring the website is being seen by the proper market.

He said that in terms of a business website, “large professional images sell.” He said organization of content is important and that customers should easily be able to find the company’s showroom. “Make it easy for them to contact you,” he said. “[And] be mobile- friendly.”

The show is scheduled to be open from 3 to 8 pm today and again tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

GEPN continues tomorrow. Stay tuned to™ for more from the event.