Issuing a Final Program contains an element of ”The Final Truth”. The international glass community has at times been labeled traditional. In perusing the structure of this program things come into a totally different light. This is true particularly compared with the status of the industry at the beginning of the conference series 27 years and 16 GPDs ago.
We can truly say that we have become global. Sourcing must consider the best practices and applications world-wide. Glass is no longer just a sheet of glass but rather a specialized and at times very hi-tech product. Today we talk about electronics embedded in the glass, glass with special characteristics from coating, glass as a structural element and as a safe and intelligent building module. Glass is transparent, provides day-lighting, energy-efficiency and it communicates. It is fair to say that glass today serves building-owners, users and occupants better than ever before. In addition the material offers designers and architects options unheard of in the old times.
From this perspective the expanded glass family served by dedicated GPD supporters is more important than ever. We need to make sure that our tradition of renewal, innovation and bold application continues. To do that we must involve both seasoned specialists who know the game and engage newcomers who have yet to learn more about this special industry. Such newcomers bring new thinking without prejudice – a commitment to continuous development. Start-up companies and their innovations are our future.
This Final Program is special for personal reasons also. It is my final Final Program as Chairman of the GPD. An appropriate and very personal pledge from my part is to continue to stand by the GPD and the glass industry with initiatives, ideas and experiences – and most importantly to contribute to the transferring of my career-long network and the noble idea of information sharing to new generations.