- FGIA Remembers Bill Briese
June 17, 2022
FGIA Remembers Bill Briese
This month, FGIA lost a true treasure of the organization. Bill Briese (GED Integrated Solutions) was a longtime active leader within IGMA and continued to grace FGIA with that leadership and enthusiasm after the unification. On Wednesday, June 8, Bill succumbed to the aggressive cancer that he spent the last ten months battling.
“Bill was a brilliant technical expert, holding numerous patents, but even more than that, he was a genuine, kind, energetic soul who was just so full of life and good spirit. He was taken from us all far too soon and will be missed dearly," said Janice Yglesias, FGIA Executive Director.
In a statement from GED, his employer and a longtime FGIA member company, the company shared: "Bill was known in the industry for his contributions with IGMA and most recently serving on the FGIA board of directors. Bill will be missed by the GED family, not only for his contributions to the business, but most of all for his friendship.”
He was a presenter at the annual Insulating Glass (IG) Fabricators Workshop. There, he gave his time and knowledge showing demonstrations of glass cutting and washing. His prominent roles within the Association showed his commitment to education. These include serving as Chair of the IG Fabricator Workshop/Preventing IG Failures Task Group and GPC Co-Chair of the Education Steering Committee.
"Bill Briese was a special person to me. He was always fun to be around and gave unselfishly to his company and the glass industry. His wit, hard work and devotion to his activities did not go unnoticed. He was a devoted family man and always there to help people. I enjoyed working closely with him in the IG Fabricators Workshop for FGIA, and he was a fantastic instructor passing on a lot of knowledge to members of our industry. I will miss him, and he will certainly be missed by those who knew him,” said friend and collaborator, Bill Lingnell, FGIA Glass Technical Consultant.
As Jeff Haberer (Trulite Glass & Aluminum Solutions) once said about him, there have been many who have contributed to the success of the IG Fabricators Workshop, but Briese was often the guiding and encouraging voice leading the effort.
An outdoor enthusiast and Ohioan, Briese enjoyed hiking, fishing on Lake Erie, playing family game nights and traveling with his wife, Jen, and their daughters, Emily and Stephanie. His passion for pinball machines included not only playing pinball but also restoring old machines.
Briese was the most recent winner of the FGIA Distinguished Service Award in the Glass Products Council, which he was awarded in February 2022. At the time, he was unable to attend the awards banquet in person, but he provided a gracious acceptance video. It was presented at the 2022 FGIA Annual Conference by the previous year’s winner, Dr. Sanders.
“I feel privileged to have been able to call Bill a friend as well as a collaborator,” said Dr. Helen Sanders (Technoform). “He always wore a big smile on his face, was full of energy and had a great sense of humor. He was simply fun to be around. He was also a talented and creative engineer. He gave selflessly to our industry, especially to IGMA’s, now FGIA’s, educational programs – particularly the Preventing IG Failures program – where his generosity with his time and his passion for ensuring quality IG unit fabrication came through.
“He and his wife, Jen, generously welcomed my family and I when we moved to the Cleveland area five years ago. After dinner at their home, we found out first-hand about his passion for refurbishing pinball machines! He was supremely proud of his wife and their two daughters whose work and successes he spoke of often. My heart goes out to them. His passing is a tremendous loss to many of us in our industry who have had the good fortune to know him. He will be deeply missed.”
Mike Burke (GED Integrated Solutions) once told a story about Briese surreptitiously swiping a rusty, old 10-pound silver mechanical nut, a relic from Burke’s time in the Navy, from Burke’s desk. Briese quietly had this piece of World War II-era machinery restored and replated to its initial splendor. While the nut theft did not go unnoticed at the time, Burke’s patience was rewarded days later when it was returned to him as good as new.
Burke said this story showed a couple things about Briese’s character. First, it showed how he always cares for things that are important to others. He can see what others enjoy and care about, even if he doesn’t totally appreciate that thing himself. This characteristic was evident in his engineering, industry committee work and equipment design. He carefully listened to input from customers and industry associates. Then, he considered this input and included requests whenever possible.
Secondly, Burke felt this story demonstrated Briese’s efforts to strive toward perfection. He was never satisfied with “good enough.” The care he gave to Burke’s precious memento and the time and effort he put into restoring old pinball machines to bring new joy are clear examples of his drive to improve the world around him.
Today, FGIA remembers Briese for these esteemed traits and so much more. Like him, may we never settle for “good enough.”
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the family’s most loved charity, John Owens Adventure and support the ongoing fight against Muscular Dystrophy. FGIA has made a donation there in his name.