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Volume 6   Issue 11               December  2005

WDMA Opens Up

A Standing Commitment
WDMA Remins Committed to Consolidation
by Jeffrey Lowinski

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the American Architectural Manufacturers Assoc-iation (AAMA) have been working cooperatively to tackle a variety of issues of common concern to the door, window, skylight, curtainwall and storefront industries. 

The recent joint completion of AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-05 Standard Specification for Windows, Doors and Unit Skylights is a testament to our ability to present and discuss difficult technical issues and arrive at a consensus both organizations could support. The success of the Joint Codes Committee (JCC) at the recently completed International Codes Council (ICC) hearings was proof positive of the inherent pluses in having our two organizations discuss conflicting views internally. This allows us to arrive at a common position that best represents the needs of the entire industry-rather than argue concerns in a public forum.

As an organization, WDMA was extremely disappointed to learn AAMA wishes to discontinue current consolidation talks, despite the progress made and our goal to favorably present the issue to the joint memberships at the February 2006 board meetings. WDMA’s board of directors and the consolidation team still strongly advocate the benefit of a consolidated, unified industry association for door, window, skylight, curtainwall and storefront manufacturers and have urged AAMA to reconsider its position.

Although there remain some unresolved issues, WDMA assumed we were making progress, although not at the pace we had hoped for a variety of reasons. With all due respect intended, WDMA’s consolidation team strongly disagrees that any “agreement” was reached on the issues claimed by AAMA. As both teams previously agreed, the non-binding output of these sessions represents the best efforts of consolidation teams, but final approval rests with each organization’s board of directors and, ultimately its members. 

WDMA has been consistent in its position that, as a finished product manufacturing organization, architectural and residential door, window and skylight member manufacturers ultimately must drive the new organization’s direction, representing the best interests of end-users of those products created by our members. 

We also believe the new organization needs to be led by a person with the right skills. There is no question both WDMA and AAMA are successful and led by highly competent staff. The WDMA board and consolidation team, however, believe the membership of the new association would be best served by conducting a high-level executive search. The search would be for a new, outside executive who is not bound by the paradigms of either current association or the perceptions of its former member base. 

WDMA advocates continuing the dialogue and is still willing to meet as jointly agreed. While WDMA cannot agree to the terms as outlined in the AAMA letter, we hope the AAMA leadership team will realize it is in the best interests of the majority of the members of both associations to continue negotiations.

If it is truly the AAMA board of director’s position to discontinue exploration of consolidation, then we feel it is important to continue to discuss how the two associations will work together to address industry needs and issues.

Members of both organizations have worked objectively and diligently over the last 13 years, achieving industry-wide product standards and code requirements and often putting aside the competitive differences between the two organizations. 

The WDMA board of directors and the consolidation team hope AAMA leadership will objectively consider the facts shared in our response to their letter and understand our pledge is to continue to work at finding the path to a new, consolidated industry association. 

Jeffrey F. Lowinski serves as acting president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association based in 
Des Plaines, Ill. 

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