Is This a Done Deal? Delving into a Potential IGMA-AAMA Merger

by Margaret Webb

Since announcing that the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) are discussing negotiations to combine and form a new organization, the most commonly asked question has been: “Is this a done deal?” No, it is not.

The future of IGMA and of AAMA is, as it should be, in the hands of their
respective memberships. That’s why representatives of both organizations are exploring the current IGMA-AAMA relationship. The groups were working to determine each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and reviewed possible benefits and potential challenges, even before deciding to announce these joint discussions to the industry at large last June. This was a cross-organizational analysis of our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

WHY NOW?

With the announcement of my retirement, the IGMA board of directors
undertook a complete strategic review of IGMA’s activities and resources.
While everyone is replaceable in the long term, replacing me with one individual in the short term is challenging. My educational background in science, financial management, education and organizational development has enabled IGMA to take on multiple streams of activities with minimal staff, including program development, technical standards development and code/standards representation. It’s an unusual combination of skills and, though not unique to me, it is rare.

If IGMA were to continue at our current activity level, especially in the
codes and standards arena, the organization will require one additional management level or higher staff position. IGMA could continue with its current level of independence and autonomy with this staffing. However, this option does carry a cost and rough estimates indicate that membership fees would likely need to increase by approximately 25 percent (not including cost of living increases) to maintain our
current level of activity in our current strategic areas. One of the topics
the two organizations have discussed thoroughly is maintaining a fee schedule comparable to what each individual organization has in place today.

WORKING FOR THE INDUSTRY

All good planning takes time. So, what are IGMA and AAMA doing?
We’ve established a yearlong timeline to identify the best practices and policies of both organizations with the intent to incorporate those into a new organization. The goals are to maximize benefits for both memberships, improve cost efficiencies, reduce duplication where
it exists, and ensure that all activities continue as they have in the past.

To date, the representatives and staff of both organizations have met and
developed a proposed organizational structure including membership dues, governing committees, document development and voting protocols. Other items still under discussion are the organization bylaws, U.S. and Canadian codes and regulation development, insulating glass certification, staffing/personnel, accounting and bank logistics for both currencies and a combination timeline with defined stages
assuming a dual-approval vote.

Both IGMA and AAMA are holding member conferences in February 2019. Both event schedules include time to report on the progress to members and time for one-on-one briefings.

THE NEXT STEPS

Once all items have been addressed, a formal written proposal will be presented to both boards of directors for review and approval. The target date to present the final picture to both memberships is June 2019, in advance of the joint Summer Conference, June 17-20, 2019 in Victoria, B.C. This will be the ideal opportunity for both groups to meet and explore the workings of the other organization. We anticipate that the formal proposal will be sent to the IGMA manufacturer members and the AAMA membership for voting in July 2019. Approval from both organizations is required.

We will be reporting as new developments occur and we encourage our members to contact us. IGMA member enquiries should be directed to mwebb@igmaonline.org and to jyglesias@aamanet.org for AAMA. Members may also contact directors of either organization.

Both organizations are working hard for the benefit of our memberships and the industry. That will not change.

Margaret Webb is the executive director
of the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance with offices based in Chicago and Ottawa, Ontario.

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