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Volume 6, Issue 1                                                January/February 2005

WDMA OPENS UP

Change is good for the Soul
       
by Alan Campbell

Running an association today is about hard work and listening to the membership. It’s also about pinpointing areas that need attention, and working for the good of others involved in the market or niche. Inevitably, all of this leads to change and there are many changes taking place at the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA). 

What’s ironic, as we look back at the 2004 WDMA Technical Conference, is that the opening session of the gathering was a prelude to our most recent announcement at WDMA. Ira Blumenthal, founder and president of Co-Opportunities in Atlanta, spoke on “Change is Inevitable—Growth is Optional.” Blumenthal reported that many industries, companies and careers have gone from distinction to extinction because of the inability to adapt, adjust and master change. 

Proposed Merger 
WDMA has always embodied change for the good of the fenestration industry as it represents the best interests of the window, door and skylight industry. That is why the board of the WDMA announced late in 2004 that it would pursue a merger of its organization with the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA). WDMA and AAMA each have a special committee of member company leaders participating in a task group on the development of this plan.

This is an historic step for both organizations. We believe this merger can be executed in a way that will best meet the needs and requirements of the fenestration industry and the membership. By unanimous ballot, WDMA’s board authorized its goal to enthusiastically pursue a merger with AAMA, with completion planned for 2005.

This decision was not reached lightly, but we believe it is in the best interest of the industry. Of course, there are hundreds of details and logistics to be addressed in the coming months as this plan shapes up. 

“A joining of the two associations can offer more service, speed and streamlined efficiencies to members and a host of benefits to our specifiers and end-users through simplified, single-source messages,” said WDMA chairperson Chris Simpson.

“A single, stronger window and door association is of high interest to AAMA members from both the residential and architectural markets. Such a change would bring the two organizations together into a more powerful and unified voice as we face issues in standards and code development, increasing legislative opportunities and rapidly escalating legal challenges,” said Chris Fuldner, AAMA’s chairperson of the board.

In early 2005, much of the groundwork will be laid as a task force develops and recommends transitional and long-term organizational structure, governance, procedures and financial plans. The group will present its proposals on the new association to WDMA and AAMA membership at their respective meetings in the first quarter of 2005. We will keep both memberships fully informed as these plans unfold. 

Any organization needs to look at the big picture–and that means making a careful analysis of what is necessary to benefit and further the industry. Change is good for the soul, especially when it represents a stronger and more cohesive fenestration industry. 

Alan J. Campbell, CAE, serves as president of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association based in Des Plaines, Ill.

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