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SAWDAC Newsletter: Fall 2015

New executive director hired


October 21, 2015
By Mike Montecalvo

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New executive director hired

The board of directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Darrell Kane as SAWDAC’s new executive director. Kane brings extensive progressive business experience from over 20 years with ICI Paints Canada and the University of Waterloo. While at the University of Waterloo, he was named one of the top leaders under 40 in the industry in North American by College Store Magazine. In addition to his business experience, he brings substantial nonprofit leadership experience from various executive board roles with Campus Stores Canada, the National Association of College Stores, the Kitchener Panthers Baseball Club and the Intercounty Baseball League. Kane will work with retiring executive director, David Mitten, until the end of the year. He will assume full duties of the job Jan. 1, 2016.


Q & A with incoming SAWDAC executive director, Darrell Kane

FR:How did your previous experiences prepare you for this role?

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Kane: I was at ICI Paints (Color Your World and Glidden) for 10 years. I worked in a store warehouse part time in Fredericton, N.B., while I was attending university, and ended my time with the company as the Stratford store manager. The majority of my time was spent with contractors, both residential and industrial. My family was full of trades people so working with contractors every day was kind of like coming home every day. I learned about the value of a relationship. It wasn’t just selling paint. It was about building trust and being seen as a partner to them. When challenges come up, having a relationship with a contractor that is not based purely on price pays dividends.

FR: When did you first become involved with managing non-profit organizations? How did you get into it?

Kane: I got involved in the nonprofit because of my love of baseball. When I was working at the University of Waterloo, I volunteered as the scorekeeper for the baseball team. I struck up a great relationship with the coaching staff. They coached a junior team in the summer and asked me if I would be their general manager. That is where I got a taste of being in the executive level of volunteer leadership. It was fun. It was a lot of work but the end product was more than worth the effort. I started to volunteer my time to associations that supported and represented the college and university campus store industry in Canada and the U.S. I served on a board of directors for six years and held all the executive roles. I loved the higher-level, big-picture thinking. It was nice to be in a position to help the industry that I loved. As time when on, I realized my volunteer life was more fulfilling than my professional life, so I decided to make my living in the association management world.

FR: What is appealing to you about association management?

Kane: I enjoy leadership and I have a great love of helping people succeed. There is nothing better than coming up with something (be it a product, service or something as simple as being a sounding board) that helps someone else get to where they want to be. I’ve been fortunate in my life to have many great people that played that role for me. If it were not for them, I would not be sitting where I am right now so I am very grateful to them.

FR: Do you have an approach or philosophy that you bring to managing non-profits? What should a good ED try to do?

Kane: Making contact, listening, and acting on what I learn is how I approach my position. The members are the experts in the siding and window industry. On a daily basis, I want to learn what their challenges and issues are so SAWDAC to put some things in place that will help them address their challenges. The long and the short of it is I am here to serve the members, the board, and the staff at the office. To be successful, I need to be a proactive problem solver.

FR: It is early days, but do you have any sense of what challenges are ahead for SAWDAC? What are your goals for the association?

It is too early to say anything specifically. I do know most trade associations are in a state of flux. It is not business as usual. To survive, an association needs to understand what is truly important to its membership and provide them with products and services that they value. My big-picture goal is to have SAWDAC seen as a valuable partner in our members’ businesses.


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