We’re two weeks post GlassBuild America, and if there’s one thing we learned, you don’t need a big crowd of attendees to have a good show. The number of attendees and exhibitors was down compared to previous years, though not surprising given the ongoing global pandemic. However, even weeks before the event, I talked to people who said they expected only serious buyers would be the ones who attend. And based on my conversations with exhibitors, that’s a pretty accurate statement.

This wasn’t the year to just head to a trade show, walk around and see what’s new. Those who came were there with a purpose.  If there was a big winner, it was probably the machinery companies. Many who I talked to were ecstatic with the turnout, telling me that their conversations were with serious buyers. Many of those machinery companies were also thrilled to say they sold the equipment right off the floor. And those shoppers were looking for the equipment that would help them do more with less as they continue to navigate through the current labor shortage.

Forel was one of the machinery exhibitors at this year’s event.

Automation and robotics were two of the big machinery takeaways. Not only can these lines help companies get the work done, they can also help improve efficiency and accuracy while also reducing the risk of potential industry. And as the move toward bigger and heavier glass continues, that just makes the need to reduce manual lifting and handling even more important.

And on another note …

Sometimes before I begin my blogs I look back on what I wrote this time last year to get a sense of where we were vs. where we are. In my blog this time last year, I lamented over my lack of “Medal Monday,” as the half marathon I was supposed to do the weekend before was canceled. I chose to defer to this year and am excited to say I ran the half in Akron this past weekend. It was a tough, challenging course with lots of hills—502 feet of elevation gain. Yikes!

Much like the past 18+ months, running that course was a struggle. I thought a lot about that as I was pushing up those hills. I kept reminding myself that I had trained for this, I could do it, and I would be successful. It made me think of you.

This year’s Akron Half Marathon Medal features the beautiful Akron Art Museum.

All of us have struggled with challenges over the past year and a half. Some of us more than others, but we’ve all faced difficult days. But we kept going—we keep going.

That’s what I did on Saturday—all for a medal, chocolate milk, a slice of pizza and two beers. Oh, and the satisfaction of knowing that I worked hard to do something hard. I’ve run better and faster races in the past. But how well we do something today—whether running a race or a company—is dependent on the situation we’re in at the moment and not the flatter, faster course from a few years back.

Whatever course you’re on today, stay positive and keep pushing through. Your medal is waiting for you at the end.