Safe and Sunny in Florida

There’s a first time for everything; for me, that was a visit to Florida’s panhandle last week. Florida in January is pretty much always a good idea, especially when it’s cold and snowy at home. My reason for the trip was to get the scoop on all that’s happening within the technical realm of the glass industry.

Last year, I fled the cold for Long Beach, Calif. This year, Miramar Beach, Fla., hosted the Glass Conference organized by the National Glass Association. The event provided in-depth discussion and conversation around some of the latest technical topics to cross the table.

I found the beach for a brief moment while in Florida.


Safe Schools, Safe Buildings

Occupant safety and security was again an important item, from schools to any other high-occupancy building. Code consultant Thom Zaremba talked about some of the challenges around the events of a lockdown, combined with fire-resistance ratings in schools. Imagine a scenario where a shooter gains access into a school and then sets fire to the building. The rules in a lockdown, he said, universally say to ignore fire alarms and stay in the lockdown. But now there’s a fire, so how can you safely exit? The question to address, he said, is how to integrate lockdowns with the fact that fire alarms are ignored, and most schools don’t have fire-rated hallways.

Special Recognition

One of my favorite parts of this conference is always the presentation of the C. Gregory Carney Award. I’ve talked a lot about Greg over the years. He was my friend and was the person who taught me not to look through the glass but to look at the glass. I tear up every year during this award presentation; it’s the industry’s highest honor, and believe me, they don’t give it to just anyone. I know Greg was proud to hear Tim Moore was this year’s recipient. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Tim at every meeting I’ve attended. He is quiet but wise, and he is more than deserving.

Urmilla Sowell and Tim Moore

Fun Run and Done

Of course, I can’t not mention the fun run! The day before the run, the forecast called for storms when the run was scheduled. I’ve run plenty of soggy miles in the past, but unless I absolutely have to, I’d rather avoid them. I planned to get up and head down, expecting a torrential downpour that would steer me to the treadmill instead. Before any of that happened, around 4 a.m. phones started shrieking the sounds of a tornado warning—not again, many of us thought, remembering the March 2020 Nashville tornado. That was right before the world shut down, and we were all there for the BEC Conference. The difference in Florida was that the hotel didn’t sound an alarm, and in Nashville, they did. So last week, I sat there, waiting for the hotel alarm, but nothing. I got up, looked out the peephole on the door, then opened the door, but nothing—no one dashing to the basement for shelter. Puzzled, I sat back down on the bed, waited a few minutes, then fell back asleep, figuring, well, if the hotel isn’t warning us to shelter, we must be okay.

Fun run with some of the glass gang (from left to right) Bill Sullivan, Matt Hannah, Emily MacNeil, Randy Reynolds, and Aaron Thompson.

That said, the tornado alarm was the big topic of discussion before we all trotted off for the morning 5K without a drop of rain at the start. A slight drizzle began as I finished, and by then, it was a refreshing end to a rather warm and muggy run.

You know what they say about all work and no play … so the morning run or walk (your choice) is a good way to prepare for the day ahead in a windowless conference room.

P.S. When are we going to do something about windowless conference rooms? Asking for a friend.