Volume 2   Issue 2               Summer 2001

When It Rains, It Pours
WDMA Annual Meeting Showers Attendees 
with Information Outlets

by Penny Beverage

Members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) spent February 24-28 in wet and rainy La Jolla, Calif., at the Hilton Torrey Pines, for the WDMA 74th Annual Meeting. Approximately 300 participants from throughout the industry took part in the event. 

Opening Remarks
The official start of the meeting began the morning of February 26, with WDMA chairman Peter Dempsey of Jeld-Wen Inc., located in Klamath Falls, Ore., apologizing for bringing along the rain. In his welcome, Dempsey said that in the year the WDMA’s first meeting was held, Coolidge was president, Lindbergh made his famous flight and the United States had not yet experienced the stock market crash of 1929. 

“The WDMA is actually older than many of its members,” he said.

Like Dempsey before him, Alan Campbell, WDMA president, also joked about the weather, saying he had prayed for rain hoping no one would play hooky during the sessions. Then he laughed and said, “I didn’t realize I had so much pull upstairs.” But on a serious note, Campbell said that talks about a possible merger with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association had ended; both groups had said no to certain key issues (see related story in premiere issue of Door & Window Maker, page 51). 

He added that both groups had pledged solid support to not break off the relationship they had formed over the past year. “We don’t need two competing organizations in this industry,” said Campbell. “We are committed to moving the WDMA forward, rather than waiting to see what others will do.”

Committee Reports
Within the committee reports, Jerry Manigel of Marshfield Door Systems Inc. presented the group’s strategic vision report, which he said the group had decided to revise last August; revisions have not been made since 1998. According to Manigel, the new plan will have a heavier emphasis on making the WDMA an industry leader, will continue to offer a growth focus and encourage executive involvement and also look to technical leadership.

During the promotion and education committee report, Maurice McClurg of Anderson Corp. said his group is working to promote the WDMA as an authority on windows, doors and skylights. Using such programs as the association’s Hallmark Ratings Programs (see the premiere issue of Door & Window Maker, page 12, for more information on the Hallmark program), the group hopes to convince its target audience that windows, doors and skylights do matter.

The WDMA also elected new board members. Upon completion of their terms, Dale Tucker of Eagle Window and Door Inc. and Tom Besse of Hoffer’s Inc. both stepped down. Elected new members were: Dave Beeken, Eagle Window and Door Inc.; Brian Buckles, Algoma Hardwoods; Bob Ractliffe, Ply-Gem Industries; Roger Lumm, Schnee-Moorehead; and Peter McKibbin, Contact Lumber.

Forecasts and Updates
Following the committee reports, Bob Sheehan of Sheehan & Associates provided the group with his economic forecast for the window and door industry. Not a surprise, much of his discussion focused on high energy costs. 

“Energy prices are high and they are going to stay high … they won’t come down much,” he said. Another problem the industry is facing, he said, is that consumer confidence is at its lowest since December 1996. Consumer spending is also declining.

Scott Shober of Ducker Research next summarized U.S. construction activity in both commercial and residential activity (see page 60 for construction activity figures). While the majority of conventional and non-conventional windows continue to be vinyl, the industry is actually beginning to see a rebound for wood, primarily in the areas of new construction, he said. “We’re seeing a very innovative response by wood to stabilize its position in the market,” he added.

In terms of entry doors, most are steel, followed by wood. The industry is also beginning to see an increase in fiberglass usage. 

 

Conventional & Non-Conventional Window Types 
  % Used by the Market  Sales in 2000
Aluminum  15.8  $9.9 million
Vinyl  42.6  $25.7 million
Wood  41.6  $25.1 million

Architectural Trends
Tuesday morning, before breaking off into separate groups, both the window and door divisions took part in a joint meeting. Robert Ivey, editor in chief of Architectural Record, discussed trends in architecture, in an effort to bring those in attendance into the mind of the architect. One trend, he said, is an increased use of composite materials such as terra cotta, glass and metal in the same wall.

Energy Efficiency
During the window division meeting, which followed Ivey’s lecture, energy was once again a hot topic. The Energy Futures Panel Presentation and Round Table Discussions were led by three—Bruce Henning of Regulatory & Market Analysis Energy & Environment Analysis Inc.; Jeremy Symons, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and Kate Offringa of the Efficient Windows Collaborative. Henning began by discussing why the gas crisis seemed to be a shock to so many. “It seemed like many energy consultants were unaware of this issue. 

Why didn’t they read the signs?” he asked. “A lot of people put a lot of stock in looking at the future’s market coming out, which is a relatively poor way. We think we saw the ofting of a problem about 18 months ago. Why others didn’t, I don’t know.” He also pondered the question of where the money for natural gas is going. “Some went to earnings reports, some to those who contract for pipelines … but it’s hard to follow the money trail,” he said.

Symons took over next, following in Henning’s energy talks, encouraging the use of efficient windows. “Window manufacturers don’t just sell windows,” Symons said. “You also sell energy bill savings, protection from volatile energy prices, energy system reliability, clean air and protection,” he said. He also pointed out that energy-efficient programs such as ENERGY STAR® are growing in terms of public recognition. “It’s not easy to get people aware of whether or not they are buying an energy-efficient product,” he said.

Offringa talked with window division members on how they can get the news of energy efficiency to consumers. “Our goals,” she said, “include doubling the market penetration of energy-efficient windows, helping the NFRC labeling efforts and supporting the ENERGY STAR program.”

In the door division meeting, the group discussed such topics as its ongoing relationship with the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI). According to Campbell, there is now a very concentrated effort to bring the standards of WDMA and AWI into compliance. In addition, Robert Tichy of Washington State University discussed the growth of wood composite materials (see page 30 for more information on wood composites). 

Response from the Crowd Overall, the meeting was very well attended, and by the end of the final session, the sun had managed its way out. “We had a very, very good turnout,” said Campbell. “The comments regarding the topics and speakers were all very positive. The attendees and members were all very energized by the new activities going on in the WDMA, specifically with the strategic vision committee,” he added.

The WDMA will hold its summer meeting August 4-8, 2001 at the Hyatt Regency Beaver Creek in Vail, Colo. 

Ellen Giard is an assistant editor for Door &Window Maker magazine.


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