The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) opened its spring meeting and legislative conference in Washington, D.C., today with an update on the state of the organization.

Al Babiuk of Loewen addresses the WDMA meeting in Washington, D.C.
Al Babiuk of Loewen addresses the WDMA meeting in Washington, D.C.

Al Babiuk of Loewen Windows, the chairperson of WDMA, ran through the association’s progress on its three-year strategic plan, which launched in 2015.

“The legislative and regulatory codes continue to have a major impact,” he said. “But our advocacy program continues to grow in its effectiveness.”

Babiuk said the housing recovery “has been tepid at best.” Because of that, WDMA needs “to build a stronger value message and proposition.”

Babiuk said WDMA has three key strategic objectives – public policy advocacy, industry promotion and membership growth and value.

“Our overarching goal is to be the industry’s undisputed leader,” he said.

Next, WDMA CEO Michael O’Brien delivered his state of the association address. He said 2015 was a record year for membership growth with 14 new companies joining the organization. O’Brien also said WDMA has a retention rate of 90 percent, which he said is outstanding considering that the average retention rate for trade associations is about 76 percent.

However, he said that industry consolidation is impacting WDMA membership.

“That is something we’re grappling with,” O’Brien said.

He also discussed the strong growth of the WDMA Hallmark Certification Program, which aims to give code officials, builders, architects and consumers an easily recognizable means of identifying products that meet WDMA and other standards.

“We’re pleased that we’ve soundly established our presence in D.C.,” O’Brien said. “We’re recognized by DOE and EPA, especially with Energy Star program. We don’t have to be chasing the car, we’ve caught the car.”

Next, John McFee, WDMA’s vice president of certification, discussed next month’s release of the third phase of the WDMA Hallmark Certification Programs Client Information Portal (CIP), which aims to facilitate an electronic method to submit and process an application for a Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Evaluation Report.  The system, which is available to any manufacturers certifying products under the WDMA Hallmark Program, should help shorten the time it takes TDI to produce an evaluation report.

Although there is no legal requirement for a TDI Evaluation Report, McFee said they are sought by many consumers, architects, builders, retailers, code officials and approval agencies.  Many homeowners need them to secure homeowners insurance in Texas.

The WDMA spring meetings continue on Tuesday with the Washington Briefing Breakfast, which features addresses by Sen. John Barasso (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.). After that, WDMA members will trek to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers about legislation of interest to the door and window industry.

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