In our industry, there’s a select group of people who are true innovators. In this blog, we discuss product innovation primarily, but system innovation is also important. The individuals that make that happen are the ones behind the “rules of the road” we all follow. They constantly work to improve our industry and protect it. They work to ensure fairness and work out of the spotlight.

These individuals passionately create the system of standards, certifications, codes, guides and rules our enterprises use. The wisdom of the past is in these rules. All of the testing details that simulate weather and wear, and which parts of a door or window will be affected first, are in the DNA of the standards. This group and the ones who have come before have lent their personal experience and their organizations’ experience to the rules.

Who are these innovators? Each one represents his company on at least a half dozen voluntary committees, and many manage ten or more groups. They keep their company interests in mind but typically innovate to ensure that the rules are fair, even if it puts their employer at a slight disadvantage. To be successful at this line of work requires uncommon dedication and constant education about the issues of the day and the future of the industry. Most of the work is thankless, but each knows the importance of his work. I’ve had the privilege of working with all these individuals for many years, and now I want to honor them with this blog:

1)      Mark Mikkelson, Andersen Corp.

Mark has been in the window business for 30 years. He is currently director of corporate regulatory affairs. His influence and experience are invaluable to the industry. He’s committee chair at WDMA, guides AAMA, and ICC, and his team covers all of the other industry forums.

2)      Joe Hayden, Pella Corp.

Joe is a 27-year industry member and currently Pella’s chief certification engineer. He has served as NFRC chairman of the board and currently co-chairs the NAFS group. His insight into the details of certification rules is second to none.

3)      Jim Krahn, Marvin Companies

Jim has been in the window business in Warroad, Minn., for more than 40 years. Jim is currently manager of codes and regulatory affairs and has served as board chair at NFRC, committee member at FENCAN and as vice president at WDMA for many years. Much of the industry looks to Jim for perspective.

4)      Jim Larsen, Cardinal Industries

Jim is a 34-year industry veteran. He is currently the director of technical marketing. Jim has been a board member at NFRC for many years and a key member of WDMA and IGMA. He is the glazing/coating expert we all look to.

5)      Steve Strawn, Jeld-Wen

Steve has more than 30 years of experience. He is currently product compliance manager for Jeld-Wen. He has been board chair at NFRC, and a long-term board member. He is a chair at WDMA and AAMA and manages ICC advisory committees at both. His broad experience is well-respected throughout the industry.

6)      Jeff Baker, Westlab Inc.

Jeff has been solving window issues for over 20 years. He is currently president of Westlab Canada. Jeff is board chair at NFRC, technical consultant to FENCAN and on group at IGMA. His expertise in all things thermal and his clear logic guide the industry.

7)      Greg McKenna, Kawneer/Alcoa

For 32 years, Greg has been a part of this industry. He is currently the chief product engineer and a civil engineer by training. Greg chairs multiple committees at AAMA on the commercial side and chairs the codes committee. His expertise with large commercial construction, aluminum and systems is relied upon by all.

8)      Scott Warner, Architectural Testing/Intertek Inc.

Scott has been in the industry the longest of anyone on this list—37 years. He is currently executive vice president. He also serves as vice president and chair of multiple groups at AAMA, and a long-term representative on NAFS committee. His team covers every industry group. Scott’s vast experience in testing, certification and management is unmatched.

9)      Steve Fronek, Wausau Windows

Steve has more than 30 years of industry experience. He is currently vice president of technical services at Wausau. Steve is past president and board chair at AAMA and a long-time NAFS representative. His architectural/commercial expertise, organizational skill and clarity are behind many innovative standards and rules.

It’s endless work to keep all the standards (over 180) up to date with the constant innovation in methods and materials. These unsung managers toil away daily using innovative ideas to help your company succeed.

When you meet one of these innovators, please shake their hand and thank them for their work. And be sure to see the Fenestration Innovation Network on LinkedIn to collaborate with some of these professionals and for more innovative ideas.

1 Comment

  1. This IS certainly a definitive list of industry leaders and I’ve been honored to work with, and be educated by, many of them. One striking discrepancy is that the author is excluded. Any list of distinguished leaders in the fenestration industry is incomplete without the inclusion of the many contributions of Mr. Ray Garries! Thank you, Ray.

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