In mid-March, the HPBExpo returned to New Orleans after a 17-year hiatus. That was a good move. The conference center was easy to work (with the exception of the outdoor burn area, which was quite a hike away).
The city was what it always has been: corrupt, dangerous, lively, exciting and more than a bit hokey. Its best parts are the restaurants, from Emeril Lagasse’s first restaurant – NOLA – to Susan Spicer’s Bayona, Commander’s Palace, August, Brennan’s and more. The quality and presentation of the food was enough to make a country boy envious.
Traffic at the Expo was down a bit from that of Nashville in 2015, but still up substantially from 2014. As attendee numbers go, so goes the count at the Vesta Awards. It’s tough to make a guess, but we’ll say about 1,200 people were in the audience as Canadian manufacturers scooped up a number of awards.
Let’s call it the Canadian Spring.
At the Vesta Awards program held last month, Canadian manufacturers won four of the six top Hearth categories:
- ICC/RSF – Wood Products, Delta Fusion
- Dimplex NA – Electric Products, RBF30
- SBI – Central Heating Systems, Caddy Alterna II
- Pacific Energy – Hearth/Barbecue Components & Controls, Town & Country Prestige Series Control
Just south of the Canadian border, Minnesota-based Big Woods/Stellar Hearth won both of the remaining categories – Gas Products, Aspiration and The Art of Fire, Impressions Line. Impressions also won the Hearth Products Best-in-Show award.
Hestan Outdoor was the big winner on the Barbecue side. It won in its category of Gas Barbecues with The Hestan Grill and again with the Outdoor Room Best-in-Show award.
For a complete report on the Vesta Awards program, see The Goal is Innovation.
An Inspirational Company
Learn a bit about Glen Raven and its Sunbrella brand, and you’ll be intrigued. Learn a bit more and you’ll be inspired. From its products, to its people, to its way of thinking and its approach to business, Glen Raven is a company to admire.
No, that’s not strong enough.
Glen Raven is a company to admire, respect and emulate – if only on a much smaller and quite different scale.
It was 10 years ago, in our January 2006 issue, that Tom Lassiter interviewed Allen E. Gant Jr., CEO of Glen Raven. The result of that interview was a view of the man and his company beyond what most in the industry knew.
Now, 10 years later, you will be surprised and impressed by the changes in the company and the changes in the thinking of Allen Gant (see Endless Possibilities).
The Future of Shade
Five years ago, the folks at Glen Raven began brainstorming about how to move architects and landscape architects into more involvement with fabrics for sun control; sun control, you see, is a major problem for those professionals.
The solution was to create an international contest for those two groups. Now, in its fourth year, over 1,000 architects from around the world entered the competition, which has three categories from which they can choose: Building Shade, Wellness Garden and Humanitarian. The only restriction is that they must use fabric.
It’s an example of Glen Raven creating yet another market for its products (see The Future of Shade).