Leader of the PAC

In a career spanning three decades, Lincoln Brown has spent half of those on the Phoenix Award Committee, shining a spotlight on individuals who make significant contributions to the glass industry. As Chairman for 2023, he talks exclusively to Glass Worldwide about his role, the significance of the Award and its impact to date. The full version of this article appears in the Nov/Dec 2023 issue that has been mailed globally and is also now available free of charge in the digital archive*.

Leader of the PAC

The Phoenix Award Committee (PAC) is a group of individuals who are employed by supplier companies to the glass industry. Each year, part of their role is to select a ‘Glass Person of the Year’. The recipient of the Phoenix award is described as a ‘living person who has been active in and has made significant and major contributions to any phase of the glass industry’.

Owens-Corning’s Fay V. Tooley was the first recipient of the award in 1971, and many other winners have done incredible things in the industry. Although high-profile winners are often selected for the award, it has also been presented to less visible figures – whose contributions are just as valued.

2023 award

This year’s winner is a very well-known name to many in the industry. The 2023 prize went to Professor Doctor Ahmet Kirman of global manufacturing powerhouse Şişecam (see Glass Worldwide September/October 2023, p.50).

Prof. Dr. Kirman expressed his delight, saying: “It is a tremendous honour to be presented with this prestigious award. My professional journey has included roles as a judge, an academic, and a banker, culminating in my experience in the glass industry. It is very impressive both in terms of motivation and responsibility to know that what we do is followed and appreciated in this sector. I would like to thank the distinguished members of the Committee.”

Lincoln Brown, owner of UK-based Quality Control solutions company Pro-Sight Vision, and this year’s PAC Chairman was on hand to give Prof. Dr. Kirman his award during a grand ceremony in Como, Italy in September.

He felt it was “staggering to see” what the Turkish manufacturer is doing, and when researching for his speech, noted that there isn’t another glassmaker like them in the world, given that Şişecam is active in all five sectors of the glass industry (container, flat, tableware, automotive and fibreglass).

Prof. Dr. Kirman is a worthy winner, opines Mr Brown, having been at the head of Şişecamfor 17 years, in which time the company has grown exponentially, becoming a massively profitable enterprise, with factories in 45 countries, over 24,000 employees, and with a huge 63% of its sales coming from overseas.

PAC Chairman 2023

Having been in the industry for over 30 years, Mr Brown has spent 15 of those as part of the Phoenix Committee. He states he was extremely impressed by the group when he first joined and feels just as passionate about it now.

His committee journey has culminated in being nominated by his peers as Chairman for 2023, which he says makes him “very proud and honoured to have the committee members place such trust in me”.

As you can only be Chairman for a one-year term, (Erik Muijsenberg, Vice President at Glass Service now becomes 2024 Chairman) Mr Brown is wasting no time in trying to leave his own legacy. His goals for the year have included attempting to modernise and digitalise the Committee, while also promoting and protecting its history. This includes encouraging the Committee to work even more closely with the Corning Museum of Glass to focus on its archives, and also overseeing the publishing of a ‘50 years of the Phoenix Committee’ book which will be printed towards the end of the year.

Unless we put effort in, the past will very quickly be forgotten,” believes Mr Brown. “We need to respect the past and acknowledge that many people have put in a lot of effort to make the Phoenix Committee what it has become today.

The committee

Overall, there are 24 committee members, who all take part over a four-year cycle. Annually, six members are replaced. When someone has finished serving, they may be renominated, but only after a minimum of a year’s break.

Mr Brown explains that the members are generally a mix of company owners, CEOs and Sales Directors from all parts of the industry. He feels that those with a sales or technical background generally know more people in the industry who could be selected as a recipient of the award, through attending various meetings, conferences, exhibitions and the like.

Every year the committee representatives have just two tasks: to nominate one person for the Phoenix Award, and to nominate someone who could potentially be a future member of the committee. It is the committee’s primary job “to seek out individuals to be recipients of the award, finding people who have dedicated a lot, if not all of their lives to improving the glass industry and their companies”, says Mr Brown.

The process to find a worthy winner starts in November or December, when the Vice Chairman (who will become Chairman the following year) solicits nominations for a potential winner. In February a face-to-face meeting is held with committee members, normally in Miami, USA, to discuss the nominations before making a unanimous decision on that year’s recipient.

Once they have been picked, the Chairman will then physically go and see the person to officially congratulate them on their award, as Mr Brown did by visiting Prof. Dr. Kirman at the Şişecam Head Office in Istanbul, Türkiye last April.

The future

Mr Brown believes that the future is bright for the Phoenix Award. He says in all the time he has been on the committee, every recipient has been “blown away” by receiving the Award.

Furthermore, he feels that the committee can continue to have a positive impact on the industry because glass itself has an exceptionally strong future.

Glass has impeccable qualities, whether it be as a packaging material in construction, in solar power generation or from the amazing scientific developments being made using glass. Glass is also 100% recyclable and has phenomenal sustainability credentials. Add this to the consistently high levels of innovation in our industry and the success of glass will only become stronger and stronger,” he maintains.

I am sure there will be a lot of great individuals who will pop their heads up above the parapet for the committee to recognise, honour and celebrate, as the years go by,” he concludes.


Images: 2023 Phoenix Award Committee Chairman Lincoln Brown + PAC Committee members and dignitaries with Prof. Dr. Ahmet Kirman at the ceremony in Como, Italy.

Further Information: 

web: www.phoenixawardcommittee.org

* The full version of this article appears in the Nov/Dec issue that has been mailed globally. The digital version of this issue can also currently be read free of charge in its entirety in the Digital Archive (sponsored by FIC) of over 65 issues of Glass Worldwide at https://www.glassworldwide.co.uk/Digital-Issues.