The Protective Glazing Council International (PGC) and the Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) protective glazing committee will soon be one, as the groups are merging. GANA’s technical director Urmilla Sowell, who also serves as the president of PGC, made the announcement last week during the GANA Fall Conference in Toronto.

“Many years ago, the protective glazing industry did not have a forum for a unified voice and thus PGC International was formed as an organization for the glass and glazing industry, the film and protective industry to come together with one voice,” Sowell says. “The industry has changed since the time PGC International was formed and its purpose was becoming less viable.  Since its inception, GANA and PGCI have collaborated on many activities including technical publications, the Protective Glazing Manual and several meetings. Because of the collaborative nature of the industry, it made sense for the merger.”

During the meeting, those in attendance discussed some of the changes that will be implemented. For example, the group will be called the GANA Protective Glazing Council. They will also adopt the PGC website. As part of the merger, they will also be working on a revised scope.

Darrell Smith, treasurer of PGC and executive director of the International Window Film Association, notes that merging provides opportunities for the PGC to work more with companies in the window film industry.

“A lot of people didn’t understand how closely the window film industry was working with the glass industry,” Smith says. “It moved from an adversarial or antagonistic relationship to where we’ve been working very cooperatively. Neither industry had the full answer on protective glazing. We all have to work together.”

Security film installers in particular will now have greater access to the services PGC had been offering.

“The work on protective glazing will continue on – nothing will be lost. Just because PGC is not a stand-along organization anymore means that the work will continue – maybe at a faster pace. Film is considered a valuable and equal part in protective glazing. There will now be even more places to refer people to protective glazing,” Smith says.

The merger with GANA is strategic due to the association’s size, he explains.

“GANA has this superstructure under which a lot of these different entities operate. I know PGCI looked at other organizations that have partial fits but at the end of the day, where the smoothest transition and most natural fit was with GANA because of the high level of cooperation [with PGC] that was already there. Probably the biggest reservation was from some folks who had not been involved in the cooperative efforts between the glass industry and the film industry,” he says.

There are four ways the merger will cause the PGC to run more efficiently, Smith says. It will lower infrastructure costs, provide the council with more people to get the job done, free up dues to go toward council-related activities and it will give PGC members access to committee involvement and participation in other parts of GANA, as PGC members will be grandfathered into the larger association.

“I think it’s a win-win,” Smith says. “It’s hard to find a negative aspect of this.”