Mid-afternoon, 30th September and as delegates departed Glaziers Hall opinions floated around the high ceilings. “Difficult to top” enthused one, “brilliant day” said another with some of the less euphoric adding, “good conference” and “really enjoyed that”.
The comments were coupled by smiles and pleasantries as the event came to a close and the good and the great of the glass and glazing industry stepped out from the plush “Window on the Thames” venue and onto the cobbled path below London Bridge. Formalities officially over, the conversations continued into the autumnal evening in the traditional way – in nearby taverns over a beverage or two. This was GGF Members’ Day 2014 – a day to remember.
It was new, it was different and it was all for Members. With some 19 presentations planned, proceedings started promptly with a warm welcome from GGF President Brian Baker who then introduced Cabinet Minister, The Right Honourable Simon Hughes MP.
Taking centre stage Simon voiced sincere support for the GGF’s political campaigns and in particular expressed his endorsement for the GGF’s “Cut the VAT” campaign and the need to incentivise homeowners to install energy efficient windows. Coming from a manufacturing background, Simon highlighted the importance of manufacturing to the UK economy and quantified the net value (£3b) of the Glass and Glazing Industry pointing out its significant contribution.
Following Simon’s official opening, Nigel Rees, GGF Group Chief Executive outlined the day ahead and the new format which included 16 different presenters. Richard John from the National Energy Federation started the first session with a topical and interesting presentation on the impact of climate change and the potential implications it could have on the glazing industry over the next 25 years.
In the second presentation, Robin Grainger and Ellen Daniels of GK Strategy (the political advisory firm to the GGF) highlighted their work for the GGF across the core political campaigns. GK outlined the key objectives, the action plans and showed how the processes within the political system require expert skill, flexibility and a large degree of patience.
As the first session closed, delegates networked in the River Room over a refreshment with fellow Members and the event’s sponsors – made up of 11 companies who either supply or work with the GGF to benefit Members. The sponsors’ area displayed promotional materials and provided information on how they could help Members.
After the break, it was the GGF Staff’s turn to deliver their presentations on some of the Federation’s key projects. Giles Willson, GGF Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Technical Affairs, provided updates on the imminent GGF Energy Saving Calculator and on the importance of Health and Safety culture within an organisation. Brian Smith, GGF Director of Home Improvement and Membership, presented on the current consumer issues affecting the industry, including the incoming Consumer Rights Bill and the GGF’s journey with Trading Standards to gain a Consumer Code of Approval for Members.
With the morning presentations over, Nigel Rees led the proceedings for the AGM and Members approved the new GGF Rules and Articles of Association as well as the audited Financial Accounts for 2013.
After the AGM, it was time for lunch in the Banqueting Hall where Members, sponsors and GGF staff networked over a delicious menu before re-grouping for the afternoon and final session.
The afternoon session raced along and started with arguably the highlight of the day, The GGF Chairmen’s Forum. Six GGF Group Chairmen took to the spotlight and presented the work of their Specialist Groups with great enthusiasm and no shortage of wit. The six speakers who did their Groups great credit were;
- Ian Penfold, Chair of Window Film Dave Cox, Chair of European Window Film Association
- Richard Kells, Chair of Special Application Glass Steve Scrivens, Chair of Laminators
- Kevin Hulin, Chair of Fire Resistant Glazing
- Paul Baldock, Vice-Chair of Conservatory Association
With each presenter given just 5 minutes to explain their specialist Group’s scope, work and value, the Chairmen went for it and delighted and surprised the audience in a half hour that truly enlivened the auditorium.
They were a difficult act to follow, but the next section on Industry Topics was no less interesting with Russell Day, GGF Technical Officer clarifying the GGF’s position in his presentation of Triple Glazing followed by Jon Vanstone, GGF Training Managing Director who gave a progress report on GGF Training Ltd and also an outline of the strategic path the company is taking over the next three years. The final presenter in this section was Giles Willson who provided an update on CE marking and how it is being implemented in the UK.
The final say on Members’ Day was left to Nigel Rees who delivered a strong speech on the benefits of being part of the GGF. In addition, he outlined the ten key benefit areas and emphasised some of the outstanding results the GGF has achieved on the technical, political, membership and marketing front over the last three years. Nigel closed with a promise to the Membership “We exist for our Members and we’ll continue to improve and increase your benefits and services where and when we can.”
Brian Baker, GGF President and Host for the day made his closing remarks and thanked all for attending. After the event, Brian commented:
“Members’ Day was a great event from start to finish, with engaging speakers, topical presentations and healthy discussion. Thanks to all who attended and contributed to make Members’ Day a truly memorable occasion.”
Those who attended, would surely concur with the President’s summary, it was a day to remember.
How GGF Members Rated Members Day 2014
The Overall Event – 4.35 out of 5
The Venue – 4.77 out of 5 The Catering 4.45 out of 5
The Presentations – 3.96 out of 5 The Marketing/Communications 4.67 out of 5
Would You Attend Again? – 100% said Yes
Would You Recommend Members’ Day? – 97% said they would (Feedback was gathered by post after the event and 35% of delegates responded)
GGF Members can view the full presentations on the GGF website Members’ Area in the General Information/Members Day section. In addition a gallery of images of the event are also available on the GGF Media Hub via the Member’s Area on the GGF website.