Thursday, December 3 was a big day for the door and window industry as industry representatives gained the attention of the president and the national media.

President Obama held his White House Jobs Summit on that day to talk about job creation and of the 100 executives in attendance one of these was Ron Saxton, executive vice president of Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors. Saxton also serves as a board member and legislative chair for the Window and Door Manufacturers Association.

Following the summit, Saxton was interviewed on PBS’s Nightly Business Report (CLICK HERE for the full transcript). Saxton spoke to the fact that while the tax credits are a bonus, consumers still need help with the financing of door and window purchases and the government can help with that.

“What takes it to the next step is really helping people with the financing of it. The truth is, energy-efficient windows pay for themselves. The energy savings comes back and will allow you to justify the cost of putting them in. But being able to handle that financing whether it is, you know, a low-interest loan or whether it’s just something you do as part of a mortgage, part of a utility package, it’s helping the consumer pay up front and then pay it back over time. And there are some ways the government can help do that,” said Saxton.

When pressed about how many jobs this would create, Saxton said, “We could create a couple hundred thousand jobs doing this if the government were really aggressive about it. Certainly we’ll create tens of thousands even with a modest program.”

I’m sure all the representatives in attendance that day had many ideas for job creation and it will be interesting, which ones the government may look to implement.

But it looks as if Obama is interested in what Saxton had to say. On the ABC Nightly News that night, the coverage included a statement that Obama popped in on a working group and heard an idea he really liked–that of replacing single-pane windows with more efficient ones. Obama said, in essence, that without tipping our hand, I’d be surprised if we don’t pursue an aggressive agenda regarding energy efficiency and weatherization.

Following that portion of the newscast was a spotlight on a few different companies where the Stimulus Act has already made an impact including window manufacturer Northeast Building Products, based in Philadelphia. Northeast was featured due to its increase in business, some of which is attributed to its participation in the weatherization program. Alan Levin, president, admits that at first he was skeptical of the Stimulus Act, but says, “I’m a believer now.” Indeed he must be, as his company will hire 100 more workers to keep up with the demand.

We all know the door and window market is suffering greatly and everyone is trying to figure out what they can do to improve their businesses. In fact, I was asked to speak before a group of window manufacturers in September about this very subject and tried to give them some ideas of some opportunities of which they could take advantage.

One of these is the weatherization program (CLICK HERE for a past column on the subject). There were two manufacturers in a room of about 40 who currently participate in the weatherization program, Levin was one of them. The other was NT Window, about which I’ve also written in recent articles and applauded for taking advantage of this program. I will point out however, that these companies took part in the weatherization program even before the Stimulus Act came into play. But there are still opportunities for other manufacturers to get involved. But you must act now when the money is available.

We’ve talked a lot lately about taking advantage of every opportunity and of getting before legislators to get your voice heard, etc., and I applaud these and other companies who are doing so. If you’ve joined the ranks, and I’m unaware of your efforts, please send e-mail me at ttaffera@glass.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

CLICK HERE to view the ABC newscast featuring Northeast Building Products.

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