Friends, Wine and Glass

I have been blessed with an uncanny memory. I remember details about past issues of USGlass, which issue an article was in—even ones that are several years old, as well as trips I’ve taken and the many places I’ve been. My first trip to Texas was going to the old Contract Glaziers Educational Conference, which was organized by the Glass Association of North America (GANA). It took place in Dallas, 18 years ago this June, but I still remember it pretty well.

Because who doesn’t love a taste of nostalgia … I went into the archives and pulled up the article I wrote about that conference. As I read through it, I thought about how much has changed over the past 18 years—just from that article alone, not to mention the entire industry. People have come and gone; some have changed jobs, retired or are no longer in the industry. Glass companies have closed or been acquired, and new ones have formed.

Some of the people I met at that meeting I still talk with (or email with) regularly. They continue to work for our industry, promoting education, best practices, safety and so much more that’s vital to growth and success.

So perhaps last week was a little bittersweet, attending the last of what was the traditional GANA Annual Conference. I thought a lot about how those meetings have changed. There was a time when the laminating and tempering divisions each met on the same day. One was in the morning, the other in the afternoon and both were a good four hours long each, debating the likes of is it a “lite” or is it a “ply”…  millidiopters and diopters … The days were long, yes, but things got done and it was all for the good of this industry.

And the drink tickets! Yes, the drink tickets and of course the secret handshake made famous by the late Greg Carney. How can we ever forget that (or Greg, I might add).

Things will continue to change; they always do. It’s been said that the only thing constant in life is change. And it’s true. We have to continue to adapt and change in order to improve. Looking back on that article I wrote in 2000, it’s clear we’ve seen many changes—and that will continue.

During the open afternoon last week it turned out that a big group of (ahem) “glass holes” found themselves all visiting the same winery called Darioush. It was a beautiful property and probably the perfect place for people who love glass, because glass was used in various locations throughout the interior. The bar itself was a crackled glass, which of course led to a discussion about how it was made. It all made for a lovely afternoon, filled with good friends and good wine. Thank you, Chris Fronsoe from ICD for the recommendation. You certainly know your wine.

It’s too soon to say what the future will hold, but I have to believe that as long as people remain dedicated to improving, growing and developing this industry we will be moving in the right direction.