I began my term as Board Chair of the National Glass Association (NGA) at the 2012 GlassBuild America. It has been an emotional, yet positive year. I felt the excitement of leading the NGA, yet the pressure of representing the industry. As a typical glass shop owner, it is easy to feel insignificant in the presence of large commercial glaziers and large manufacturers. This inadequacy evaporated when my peers, other typical glass shop owners, thanked me for representing them and giving them a voice. Too often our industry, in my opinion, overlooks the typical glass shop. Let us, as an industry, not forget that these are the foundation of our industry.
It has been a successful year because of the involvement of others. The NGA has a terrific Board of Directors representing diverse parts of our industry. I must thank them for their support. I also want to thank the volunteers that serve the NGA though their participation on various committees. Most importantly, though, I want to thank the staff of the NGA. They are a wonderfully talented group.
It has been a continual goal to serve our members while simultaneously strengthening the NGA and our industry. There was, and is, much more optimism in our industry than in recent past years. It is rare to find someone that doesn’t have, as a minimum, cautious optimism of the immediate future. This optimism was reflected in Jeff Dietrich’s remarks during the Glazing Executives Forum (GEF) at the 2013 Glass Build America. GEF is a great way to increase knowledge regardless of the size of the glass company.
Another continual goal, which received emphasis this year, is to enhance and better communicate the value of a NGA membership. As recently announced at GlassBuild America ’13, The NGA’s “Get Three Free” program provides just that. The program provides 3 free training classes to NGA members at www.myglassclass.com. This program reinforces the idea that NGA is the leader in quality industry training. Jim Gandorf at The NGA is the person responsible for the department that creates and executes these classes. Jim is new to The NGA and has brought a new enthusiasm to this department.
This year’s GlassBuild America was highly attended. There were more multiple day attendees this year than in the last 5 – 6 years. The fact that people were coming to the show more than one day reinforces the optimism prevalent in our industry. A very large and loud “atta girl” goes to the Industry Events staff at NGA. This department is led by Denise Sheehan. She is so talented and dedicated to the success of GlassBuild America and other NGA events. I do not want to overlook anyone in that department. They all deserve praise.
The NGA’s Publication Department is led by Nicole Harris. I cannot conceive of there being a more talented person. Not only does she have the “publishing” knowledge, but her connections within our industry are unsurpassed. She, and her department, has redesigned both the print and online version of Glass Magazine. They have also developed e-glass weekly, a weekly source of industry information. The NGA provides the audience that advertisers want to reach. Nicole and her department make the connection possible.
Of course, the NGA is what it is because of the leadership of Phil James. He has been President of NGA for nigh on 30 years. It is under his leadership that Jim, Denise, and Nicole flourish. When you get a chance, drop Phil a note thanking him for his passion and leadership of the NGA.
I ask you to get involved in your industry. Start locally, but grow to national involvement. The NGA, as our industry’s leading voice, has a continual need for enthusiastic leadership. The NGA’s Board of Directors, and thus the glass industry, is now under the leadership of Bob Brown of Brown’s Glass in York, PA. Bob is one of my best friends and he will do a fantastic job. I ask you to support him unconditionally.