As of Jan. 1, the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance and the American Archiectural Manufacutrers Association have combined to evolve into the Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance following two years of widely publicized discussion, intense dialogue, shirt sleeves rolled up and member presentations. The staff and boards of directors of both organizations have been in high drive, bringing the best of the two organizations together, nominating the FGIA inaugural board of directors and the Steering Committee members. It’s been a lot of activity leading up to Dec. 31 so that FGIA was ready to launch Jan. 1, and launch we did.
The face of the industry has changed over the past 20 years. There are a lot more product offerings not only in traditional double-glazed insulating glass units but also dynamic glazing, increased stringency in building and energy codes, material sustainability and more.
I started with the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association of Canada prior to its merger with the Sealed Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association. It was a time of great change for the Canadian and U.S. members of both associations. It was a successful transition combining not only the two organizations but the cultures as well. That transition, merging the two cultures, took about 18 months. In spite of some of the member concerns about what the new organization would look and feel like, IGMA was a very successful undertaking.
It was a very different time in 2000 compared to today. Every aspect of FGIA was discussed and planned down to the smallest detail prior to balloting the two memberships. (In the case of the IGMAC-SIGMA merger, nothing was heavily planned in advance.) The 18 months following the successful vote was dedicated to establishing the new management, the new structure and determining staff positions. In establishing FGIA, we are well ahead of the game.
While FGIA is the name of the new organization, the IGMA, IGMAC and AAMA brands are continuing indefinitely and will serve as the lead brands for publications and product certification. We may have a new name but, in reality, all programs and services including task groups will continue the same as they have. The IGMAC certification program also continues as it always did – task groups are continuing to meet and work on their documents and the IG Fabricator Workshop is scheduled for Nov. 10 to 12. I believe there will be more things familiar than different.
So, as my position as IGMA executive director winds down and my role as the FGIA glass products and Canadian industry affairs director gears up, I find myself reflecting on the past 20 years. IGMA started with two committees and a handful of task groups. Since 2001, we have increased our scope of activity to include codes and standards in Canada and the U.S. as well as participation in the ISO standards development world. We are engaged in research and development funded by the membership and have embraced new training methods while keeping some of the past. While we increased our scope dramatically, the size of the staff did not increase. A number of activities by necessity had to go on the back burner. Two staff can only handle so much. Now, with the resources of FGIA, the vision of what IGMA could have been will be realized.
The next year will bring changes but not as many as some may fear. Much has been retained: the research projects, certification programs, services, workshops and of course the staff. We’re located at the same offices and have the same phone numbers. Emails will change but the old ones will still work. If you have a question, give me a call – we’re here for you.
Change is inevitable. However, change managed properly opens new avenues and opportunities for growth. IGMA and AAMA will be stronger together and provide a powerful voice for the fenestration industry on both sides of the border.
Come join us. Be the voice of change and have a voice in the future.
By Margaret Webb, director of glass products and Canadian industry affairs
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