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Mon-Wed, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2024 | Dallas, TX

GlassBuild: Cheers to 20 Years, with love from Melanie Dettmer

I started in the glass industry twenty years ago, and that same year, GlassBuild America was born. When I realized that my time and GlassBuild’s time matched, it really made me think back to the start. What I learned then plays such a role for me today. So, I decided to share the background and all the juicy insight with you, in true Mel style: in an interview with myself. Buckle up.  

Q: When and where did you start in the glass and glazing industry?   

A: August 2003 at Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope (OBE) in Bloomington, MN. 

Q: How did you find the glass industry/OBE? 

A: Amy Rankin, a friend, had worked at Red Wing Glass in high school. (She fell in love with it first). When we reconnected in 2003, Amy was working at OBE already, and she told me she was hiring and that I should really consider it. After what must’ve been a fantastic interview, Pete Sammon offered me the open CSR position. I was only at the location for about a year before it was closed. Regardless, I was hooked! Just like that, I found myself at Brin Glass in a CSR role, working with the same customers I had at OBE (they also were Brin Glass customers).  

Q: What were your impressions when you first started? 

A: I can’t say enough about the people. I can’t say enough about learning so much and knowing you will never be able to understand it all. I can’t say enough about everyone teaching everyone—your vendors, customers, coworkers, managers, glaziers, fabricators. Everyone always took the time to teach me something, to share their knowledge so I could learn, grow, succeed. 

Q: What kept you going? 

A: With each role, it was working on a team, learning something new, helping others learn, and working hard alongside our customers because their project becomes my project when they ask for help. 

Q: So, you come work for NGA and get to go to your first-ever GlassBuild in 2021. What was your first impression of GlassBuild? 

A: Like Veruca Salt walking into Willy Wonka’s candy shop, just being totally gobsmacked at how exciting and energetic it was. It was not what I expected, and it blew me away. 

Q: Love it. So, tell the people why they should go to GlassBuild next month in Atlanta? 

A: Really, people should go to GlassBuild because it’s not just your dad’s machinery fair anymore. It’s got everything: something for estimators, project managers, inside sales reps, drafters, installers, delivery truck drivers, glass machinery operators, metal fabricators, CNC, waterjet, digitizer, laminated glass, and operators. We celebrate women in glass and fenestration on purpose now, and this year we will be celebrating all the DEIB. We share one of the best presentations with the best presenter ever to talk about the economic forecast, we have serious conversations about Mental Health and Suicide Prevention now. And this year we are ending with a freakin’ Rodeo-themed event! It has everything.  

And if you want to keep pace or keep growing in the industry, you can’t miss it. 

Q: So, you and GlassBuild are both celebrating 20 years. Aside from getting to your first of many GlassBuilds now, what was your best industry memory over the last 20 years? 

A: There are just way too many. Basically, it’s the overall scope of my professional life. I’ve been so fortunate. It’s seeing me start out with the folks I started out with, working my way up from CSR, metal estimator, special projects manager, Contract Sales/Estimating, and then finding a role I was born to do, working in Business Development at the biggest and best trade organization in the world- The NGA!  

This place was perfect as I had all the experience and then some to let it work for me, my colleagues, my vendors, and, more importantly- my industry!   

For 20 years, my passion and care for this industry have been a priority, and it’s been awesome. And as for GlassBuild? For 20 years, it has been the place to be for the industry, and I am honored to share a milestone with it. 

I look forward to celebrating with everyone on October 31-November 2nd. So, if you haven’t registered yet, do it now at

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