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November - December 2002

Industry Changes, Remodelers and Green Buildings: 
Just a Few of the Topics Discussed at the WDMA’s Summer Meeting
by Ellen Giard Chilcoat

The city of Montreal, Quebec, welcomed those attending the Window and Door Manufacturers Association’s (WDMA) 75th anniversary summer meeting August 3-6. More than 200 individuals attended the meeting, which took place at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. 

The opening general session began with a presentation titled “One Size Doesn’t Fit All” presented by Roger Dow, vice president of global sales for Marriott International.

“Seventy-five years ago Marriott got its start with one window and one door,” he said when pointing out the similarities between Marriott and the WDMA. Costs, competitors and customers who want everything better, faster and cheaper are also similarities between both organizations.

“It’s not about customer satisfaction anymore,” he said. “It’s about customer enthusiasm.” He encouraged listeners to work at building strong relationships with customers and also to recognize their needs.

The Business 
Following the opening session were remarks from the WDMA chairperson, Kurt Heikkila of Andersen Corp. 

“Our goals are driven by the value chain,” he said. This can include practices such as developing a mechanism for self-regulation, educating customers and creating a process to differentiate the products that meet the Hallmark standard. (Companies participating in the WDMA’s Hallmark Certification Program are assured that products are manufactured in accordance with WDMA standards. Additionally, those participating in the program are subject to an independent third-party inspection and certification. The program also has been certified by the American National Standards Institute). 

Cambell Alan Campbell, WDMA president, also gave the president’s report that morning. Campbell said an emphasis on technical issues is an area on which the WDMA is focusing with articles in trade publications such as DWM/BCM. “There is also a major emphasis on the association itself,” he said. The organization’s website, for example, has undergone a major re-design. The group is also creating a new technical handbook and, according to Campbell, has seen growth in its new technical conference.

The 21st-Century Home
A presentation on changes and trends in home-building also took place the first morning. Speakers were Gopal Ahluwalia, vice president/director of research for the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB); Ed Hudson, with the NAHB research center’s builder and consumer practices surveys; and Doug Buster, managing partner with Bloodgood Sharp Buster Architects & Planners Inc.

According to Buster, one trend homeowners are leaning toward is individuality in their home designs, such as themed housing (i.e., Victorian, Tudor, etc.). He added, though, that in some instances it is tough for homeowners to find windows and doors that meet all the criteria. “Authenticity is important,” Buster said.

The presentation, “The Construction Industry in the Age of Anxiety,” came from Norbert W. Young Jr., FAIA, president of McGraw-Hill Construction. His discussion covered how the construction industry is changing due to the slowdown in U.S. and global businesses, the “boom/bust” of the dot-coms and the impact of September 11.

“September 11 put us in a recession and consumer confidence plummeted,” he said, adding that now we are faced with the question of what to do with Ground Zero. “It took us nine months to clean it up … and will probably take [us] three to four years to decide what to put there.”

Another topic he discussed was the construction industry’s decline in productivity. 

“By 1986 U.S. manufacturers had increased [in productivity] while construction had decreased,” he said. “Today, construction is actually even less productive. Manufacturers today are faster and more efficient, but they are trying to deliver to an industry that is not.”

The day’s final presentation, “Change and Business Strategies,” came from Gerald H.B. Ross, Ph.D., who serves as dean for the faculty of management at McGill University in Montreal. 

A Time to Laugh
What meeting is complete without a bit of humor? Those attending the meeting had that opportunity during Monday’s lunch. Syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry with the Miami Herald, served as keynote speaker, and joked that his topic would be “Window and Door Manufacturing.” He instead talked about relationships between men and women, raising children, working and many other often-serious topics, to which he added a comical twist. 

Building and Remodeling
On Tuesday morning, members of both the window division and door division met for a combined session. 

Paul Winans of Winans Construction Inc. began with his presentation, “Window and Door Manufacturers and the Remodeling Industry,” which discussed ways manufacturers can sell and market to the remodeling industry. 

Keith Winn of Catalyst Partners led the second presentation, “U.S. Green Building Council and LEED™ Green Building Rating System.” Winn discussed the efforts of the U.S. Green Building Council, as well as the Leadership in Energy & Environment Design (LEED) initiatives. 

The U.S. Green Building Council, he explained, is a group of the nation’s leaders from the building industry that work to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy. 

LEED has similar goals, and some of its efforts include promoting integrated, whole-building design practices, recognizing environmental leadership in the building industry and stimulating green competition.

Window & Door Division Sessions
WDMA MEMBERS The group then divided into separate division meetings. The window division meeting began with committee reports, followed by an update on the association’s Hallmark certification program from John McFee, WDMA director, certification programs.

Richard Karney of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) led a presentation discussing the DOE’s Windows Roadmap efforts. 

Kate Offringa of the Efficient Windows Collaborative (EWC) next provided an update on energy efficiency.

During the door division meeting, Rick Curkeet of Intertek Testing Services presented “Fire Door Labeling/Certification Program,” in which he discussed how the program works, revised product designations and expected future changes.

David San Paolo of Maiman Co. also led a presentation that covered codes and fire door testing.
The WDMA’s 76th Annual Meeting will be held February 22-26, 2003, at the Sheraton Bal Harbour in Bal Harbour, Fla. 

Ellen Giard Chilcoat is a contributing editor for DWM/BCM.

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