I found the recent GANA and AAMA conferences to be thought provoking on several different levels. My personal impressions follow.
• SO (shout out) to the Big 4 leading member-based industry organizations (AAMA, IGMA, GANA and WDMA) and the participating member companies for their collaborative work on Life Cycle Analysis and Product Category Rules (PCR). The importance of this work can be compared to creating the standards upon which nutritional labels on food packages are based, or the mileage and emissions stickers on new cars. PCRs provide the template for quantifying aspects of sustainability in fenestration products within Environmental Product Declarations (EPD). This work is a mega-issue that will influence the health of our industry for years to come.
• DSO (double shout out) to the spirit of collaboration being exhibited by the Big 4 and participating member companies in this process. Think about it – some make glass while others make various framing materials; some are primary manufacturers while others assemble fenestration products; some serve residential and others commercial markets; and so on. These folks are setting their minor differences aside and getting the job done. The whole industry will be the better for their leadership and vision.
• SO to member companies who lean into the work of performance standards, product certification, and education in our industry. At one conference, a member said it seems like 15 percent of the member companies do 85 percent of the work. While there have always been leaders and followers, the business downturn has caused companies to look more carefully at where their people’s time and resources are being invested. The bar keeps being raised by an accelerating rate of change and increasing complexity of new technologies (such as blast, VIG and dynamic glazing). It’s a great time to get involved!
• DSO to companies who find a healthy balance between working for their own company’s financial interests and the overall health of our industry. In my 25+ years of participating in industry association work, the companies and individuals I see gain the most respect over time are those who are mindful of this balance. They identify issues of principle to their companies and the industry in a balanced way and work in a collaborative spirit. I’m reminded of Lincoln’s admonition that we all either rise or fall together.
• TSO (triple shout out) to two outstanding leaders of industry associations for their contribution and accomplishments.
o Bill Yanek of GANA recently returned from a 7-month tour of duty with the National Guard in Djibouti, Africa. Bill, who was promoted to Lt. Colonel during his time in Africa, serves in the Army National Guard’s Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps.
o Rich Walker of AAMA just received the 2012 Fenestration Humanitarian Award from World Vision for his personal efforts, as well as the efforts of AAMA staff. Through AAMA, World Vision has established a referral network with door and window companies that have benefitted “thousands of children’s families here and overseas.”
For Bill and Rich, to be of service and make life better for those less fortunate is part of the mission. This theme was echoed during a speech at the AAMA conference by Eric Greitens, former Navy Seal and founder of The Mission Continues. Eric’s most touching stories were of the work his non-profit does to help wounded veterans. These great stories need to be told so we can recognize and understand the value of the amazing work that is being done. It may also challenge us to ask ourselves how we can rise our level of service.
So, this is the first edition of my new blog title, “Good News.” My blogs will talk about the good news in our industry – the humanitarian work and success stories of our people and companies. There are many of these stories; we just don’t know them yet. Please send me yours (firstname.lastname@example.org) for use in future blogs.
At the AAMA conference, Eric Greitens asked each of the attendees to look deeply at how and why we challenge ourselves. He then reminded us that whether we challenge ourselves or not, the needs of many, including children without basic school supplies and underserved wounded veterans, remain. Whether we choose to rise to the challenge, their challenges remain. So, inspired by Eric, I am going to do the next hard thing I thought I couldn’t do. I hope you will join me.