If you’ve been reading DWM‘s news coverage recently, then you know that some window plants and suppliers have been busy hosting congressional representatives at their facilities or meeting with them in Washington, D.C.

As the editor of DWM since its inception almost ten years ago, I don’t remember ever covering a congressional visit. But just in the past two months we’ve reported on four such events. That’s quite a change. Granted, it has a lot to do with the fact that the industry is facing a myriad of difficult issues. From fighting to keep their companies afloat to the 30/30 requirements, there are a lot of issues manufacturers can speak to their representatives about.

When I attended the Washington Fly-In recently hosted by the Northeast Window and Door Association, a representative of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) gave NWDA members some valuable advice regarding how to get started. (NWDA is a member of NAM, which has 11,000 members.)

She said when setting up a visit, you should call the congressional representative and ask for the scheduling secretary-and remember to follow up. And, if you happen to be in Washington, D.C., and haven’t heard from your representative regarding the visit, stop by the office anyway and leave some information.

If you do have a meeting, this is the best time to ask the congressperson to visit your facility.

If you think taking these measures are a waste of time, think again. When members of the NWDA met with Patrick Woodcock from Sen.Olympia Snowe’s office, they requested that the next time decisions need to be made and they need industry input to give them a call.

“That’s what this group is looking for,” said Daryl Huber from BF Rich Windows and Doors and NWDA president. “Become the manufacturer that Congress goes to as an expert.”

Still not sold? Huber has other ideas.

• “Talk about the fact that manufacturers employ good manufacturing jobs and all we do is manufacture energy saving products.”
• “Make sure you are being heard as a small business.”
• “Keep windows as the spotlight of the ENERGY STAR® program.”
• “Tell the congressional representative that you’re ‘here for your employees and their livelihood and that you happen to make a product that is part of the energy solution.'”

If you’ve thought about doing this but never had the time you can’t really use that as an excuse anymore. Now is the perfect time to start the conversation.

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