An Interesting Exploration

By Tara Taffera

I admit my surprise when the news broke on June 4 that the boards of directors for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) have engaged in formal discussions with the goal of creating a new unified organization that can better serve the North American fenestration industry. Though I was surprised for a second, my next immediate thought was that this makes perfect sense. Two associations coming together don’t always, however. But in my opinion, this one does for many reasons.

The Tech Factor

I’ve been covering door, window and glass association meetings for 20 years now, and the meetings of IGMA and AAMA are among the most technical. The only one that can beat them is the National Fenestration Rating Council. (If you have been to one of those you know what I mean.) So two technical groups that have some of the same member companies could only be stronger when put together, right? Picture that technical knowledge harnessed in one place by one group. Imagine the possibilities.

The Work-Together-Well Factor

IGMA executive director Marg Webb is a valued participant at AAMA meetings and currently is a member on the board of directors, filling the position of “affiliated association member.” In turn, members of AAMA, including technical/industry affairs manager Rich Rinka, make trips to IGMA events to stay informed. But they don’t just attend. It is evident that both groups work well together offline as well, and the two associations often come together with others to tackle issues affecting the entire industry, for example, life cycle analysis.

It’s Not a Merger

In the joint announcement nowhere did you see the word merger, and that was a planned word omission, I suspect. “This agreement follows the recommendation made by a joint AAMA and IGMA Exploratory Team after 12 months of careful thought and collaboration,” according to the organizations.“Moving forward, the team will focus on developing a comprehensive proposal. The team’s priorities are two-fold: first, how to best serve the needs of the current membership, and second, how to structure the new organization to best serve the industry and member needs into the future. The first combined event has been targeted for the summer of 2019 in Victoria, Canada.”

Final Thoughts

When I first saw the release, I thought “oh, they are exploring …” well for years, and several times, AAMA and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association explored coming together, and that never happened. But I think that situation was totally different, and this one makes a lot more sense than that ever did. At the end of the day, the goal should be a stronger industry. Period. So if two organizations like this one joining forces could make that hap-pen, then why shouldn’t it?

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DWM Magazine

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