Distributors, Installers Share Inauguration Reflections
With the speeches and celebrations surrounding the inauguration
of President Barack Obama still fresh in many minds, many glass
industry professionals are reflecting on their involvement in yesterday's
Steve Bouchard, president of Glass Distributors Inc. (GDI) in Bladensburg,
Md., had a special connection to the bullet-resistant glass products
used for the presidential viewing booth following the inauguration.
November 2004, Associated Builders of Hyattsville, Md., came to
GDI to supply the bullet-resistant material for the presidential
viewing booth for the inauguration," he recalls. "We used
a product that met a specified threat level. We cut and fabricated
the desired material in an emergency scenario to meet the construction
deadline. Upon the completion of the inauguration four years ago,
the U.S. Secret Service saved the material we provided and put it
into storage for use yesterday."
According to Bouchard, Associated Builders brought in Amco Metal
Products in Gaithersburg, Md., to install the material in the presidential
viewing booth, and was contracted by the Secret Service to install
the material in front of the podium on the Capitol steps.
L.B. Kline, the owner of Amco, says the company has been installing
the viewing booth for several inaugurations.
"We've been doing the installation for what's called the viewing
stand that's on Pennsylvania Avenue since 1973," Kline says.
"We did the Capitol up until Reagan's second inauguration,
and then we didn't do any more of that until this year."
Kline explains that in the past the work had been divided among
several contractors due to manpower, adding, "But because of
the growth of our company over the past four or five years we had
enough manpower to do all of it this year."
Kline recalls that although the association between Amco and the
Secret Service grew long before he was with the company, he's been
around to see the changes that have taken place in the products
they supply for this serious function. "The products are much
you have better interlayers that are available
now that weren't then [in 1973]. A lot of the coatings on the glass,
and things like that, are far superior to what was used then. Plus,
a lot of the glass used now is low-iron glass instead of standard
clear glass so it gives more clarity; the green tint is not there."
Regarding a clear view, Kline explains that the glass is essentially
"self-supporting" to achieve the clearest possible view
for, and of, the president. "The glass is all butt-glazed,
so that's why you don't see any visual clips or framing systems
that hold it in place."
Obviously, not just anyone will be allowed onto a jobsite this
secure and the glaziers did have some hoops to go through to get
"All of our guys are screened," Kline says, and, "they
go through security clearances."
Kline says that yes, yesterday he watched parts of the inauguration
on TV, and that he and his son-who helped with the installation-were
both excited to see their installation a part of such a historic
"It's something we're always excited about doing. We take
a great deal of pride in what we do and the Secret Service knows
that, that's why they call us back," Kline says.
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