Phil Donaldson of Andersen addresses the WDMA Spring Meeting and Legislative Conference.

Growth and success were the key words as the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) opened its Spring Meeting and Legislative Conference on Monday in Washington, D.C.

“This is a great conference,” said Phil Donaldson, executive vice president and CFO at Andersen. “It’s emblematic of the work of our association and the work we’ve achieved.”

Those achievements include WDMA helping the industry navigate what Donaldson called “a seismic political shift last year” with the election of Donald Trump to the White House.

“We considered making our entire conference a series of tweets,” Donaldson joked.

WDMA president and CEO Mike O’Brien discussed some of the association’s successes in 2017.  One of the biggest was the defeat of a warranty bill in Connecticut that could have forced window manufacturers to include replacement and labor costs in product warranties.

WDMA also had a strong year in the standards arena, including advancing the association’s efforts to resolve unequal thermal-performance requirements that O’Brien said are biased against member products in ASHRAE’s commercial and residential energy standard.

The association also was the sole residential fenestration representative on the National Green Building Standard Consensus Committee.

Additionally, WDMA rolled out a three-year plan in 2017 that’s focused on advocacy, industry promotion, and membership growth and value.

As far as membership, O’Brien said WDMA is doing very well. It added eight new companies in 2017 for a total of 57. (The new WDMA-Northeast, formed from the merger with the Northeast Window and Door Association, adds about 50 more companies to the membership rolls.)

O’Brien said one of the biggest ongoing challenges for membership is industry consolidation, which he expects to continue.

Additionally, O’Brien said WDMA is recognized as a key voice on energy efficiency on Capitol Hill. In fact, one of the main talking points for the WDMA Capitol Hill lobbying visits with lawmakers on Tuesday will be keeping the Energy Star program in its current form. The White House announced a few weeks ago that it wants to eliminate all government funds for Energy Star and instead pay for it with fees from the industry.

“There are a lot of supporters of Energy Star on Capitol Hill,” O’Brien said.

WDMA’s Hallmark Certification program also had a strong year in 2017, O’Brien said.  It fully implemented the new electronic portal for the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) Evaluation Reports, the only certification program to offer this service. The TDI turnaround time has been reduced from 12-16 months to about 120 days, O’Brien said, even with the impacts from Hurricane Harvey in the late summer of 2017.

Also on Monday, WDMA attendees saw a presentation on workforce development through apprenticeships from Chad Moutray of the National Association of Manufacturers. Moutray said developing apprentice programs that recognize the contribution of groups like veterans and women can bridge the skills gap in manufacturing. He envisions apprenticeships that go beyond what is typically thought of when referring to “apprenticeship” in a manufacturing setting

“There is no stone left unturned when teaching,” he said.

Later, Joe Johnson from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce provided insights and analysis on regulatory reform. He said the main goal is to craft reforms that can last through several administrations. One specific idea he floated was a regulatory budget, which would cap how much an agency’s rules can cost a business.

In addition to the policy briefings, Fox News personality Chris Stirewalt addressed the WDMA Legislative Action Fund Luncheon on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Washington Briefing Breakfast will feature remarks from two members of Congress: Sen. Joni Ernst and Rep. David Young. Both are Republicans from Iowa.

After that, WDMA members will head to Capitol Hill to lobby members of Congress for specific legislation. In addition to preserving Energy Star, WDMA wants to push for legislation to reduce regulations.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *