Growth and change were the buzzwords for the 79th national conference of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), which opened on Monday in Huntington Beach, Calif.

Nine companies have joined AAMA since the fall conference in October, according to president Richard Walker, and the association has welcomed 14 new individual members and four technical consultants during that time. Additionally, he said there were 42 first-time attendees at the national conference, which attracted more than 300 representatives from the door and window industry.

“Forty-two new attendees is huge,” said AAMA marketing manager Angela Dickson. “I can’t remember when we’ve had that many before.”

A slideshow
A presentation given to AAMA National Conference attendees to kick off the event.

Next, association services director Janice Yglesias gave a rundown of the recent AAMA executive committee meeting, which convened in January to chart the organization’s future.

The executive committee came up with strategic objectives that focus on education standards, identifying future leaders for the association and product certification.

Yglesias said the group wants to restructure AAMA’s conferences for improved productivity and engagement. To accomplish that, AAMA wants to identify redundancies and activities not suited for the conference, improve the reporting process and shift the schedule so that gatherings don’t fall on weekends. AAMA will also seek higher-quality speakers, and take steps to prepare new participants to take part.

Succession planning for AAMA’s leadership is another big objective. Yglesias said AAMA must identify potential leaders, establish a process to promote new leaders, identify potential barriers to leadership, come up with new communication and development tools, and employ technology to attract younger leaders.

Another major goal is streamlining the product-certification process. To do that, the organization will work to clarify requirements by providing clear, simple guidance to resources, evaluating competitive programs and defining the AAMA certification value proposition. The organization will then identify target audiences and market aggressively to them.

Later, Dickson updated attendees on the status of AAMA’s education and marketing programs.

She first discussed the FenestrationMasters and FenestrationAssociate programs, which are professional certifications that she said can help those who complete the courses stand out from their competitors.

The FenestrationAssociate program is for newer members of the door and window industry. No prior experience is required to take the course. The FenestrationMaster program requires either a four-year degree in engineering, architecture or applied sciences and four years of work experience in fenestration, or six years of on-the-job fenestration experience.

Next, Dickson talked about Window Safety Week, which is set for April 3-9. It’s a reminder of the importance of window safety and fall prevention. She detailed resources available on AAMA’s website to help dealers and manufacturers share information on window safety.

Dickson also discussed the ongoing redesign of AAMA’s website, which is expected to launch later this year.

Marketing expert Matt Beaudreau delivered the keynote address on Monday, “Selling Across Generations: Strategies that Drive Sales with Each Generation.” Also on Monday, Nick Lehnert of KTGY Architecture and Mollie Carmichael of John Burns Real Estate Consulting gave a presentation, “Fenestration Choices and the Future of Housing,” that dove into generational trends as well.

In other items, the AAMA membership ratified its board of directors for 2016, and Bill Deuschle of Kawneer was named an honorary member of AAMA for his years of service to the association.

The AAMA National Conference continues through Wednesday.

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