chosen to stop our involvement with. If there is an upside to
this whole economic scenario, it’s exactly that: You take the
waste out. It’s amazing what people come up with when you
For Sisson and Miels, code changes for interior fire doors
are of current interest. In New York City, for example, a hotel
door must have a “90-minute” rating, standing intact that
long during thermal shock and fire hose pressure, whereas
other doors have “20-minute” ratings. Most OneVoice legis-
lative activity focuses on exterior doors and windows — for
“But taxes, OSHA stuff… that affects us all,” says Sisson. His position as board chair alternates between a member
whose company focuses on windows and one whose focus is
on doors, which is one way WDMA seeks to cater to all members.
The second WDMA legislative conference was scheduled
for March at press time.
“It’s like riding a bike. Scary, but when you figure it out,
Making an Entrance
it’s fun,” says Saxton, who has made two gubernatorial bids
in Oregon. “People were nervous, but at the end of the two
days, they were bubbly. There’s nothing very controversial
about doors and windows. We’re proud of our industry... good
wages, good products, oriented toward being good to employ-
ees... it’s a good story to tell.”
O’Brien says OneVoice is poised “for the long haul.” He
tells members: “Congress wants to hear from you, not me.
I know you are busy running corporations, but you need to
be engaged in the process when you are employing people
and providing money to the economy. You have an important
Someone said they’re going to pass a law. Did you hear what
they’re talking about in California? Is it true someone introduced a bill having to do with kids falling out of windows?
When WDMA members get wind of something afoot in the
industry today, their association has a way to pool energies
and information and respond to initiatives all over the country. The group’s next step is forming a political action committee — a first for the group and the industry, and difficult
given current economic realities.
WDMA also is involved in a lawsuit involving lead rules set
by the EPA. At issue is how stringent new requirements need
to be when lead-based paint is stirred up during a renovation.
WDMA believes current requirements go beyond protecting
residents to actually discouraging the replacement of windows
The housing crisis has had a significant impact on WDMA
member companies; even a WDMA board member was a
casualty of his company’s consolidation. National unemployment was 9. 1 percent at the end of 2010, according to the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, but unemployment for the
construction and building products industries was nearly double that. WDMA reports a 33 percent job loss for the window,
Founded in 1927, the Window & Door Manufacturers Association is the premier trade association representing the leading manufacturers of residential
and commercial window, door and skylight products
for the domestic and export markets. WDMA members are focused on Total Product Performance™
products that are designed and built to perfor-mance-based standards. The association is focused
on key member needs in the areas of advocacy,
product performance, education and information
and facilitating business interactions and relationships in the fenestration ecosystem. (Fenestration
is any opening in a building’s envelope, including
windows, doors and skylights.) For information, visit
door and skylight manufacturing sector since 2004.
“When things are tough — and it’s not just unique to our
group — members look at the value they are getting out of
an association,” O’Brien says. “We can’t do everything, but
the direction the board set was clear. We needed to be more
active in advocacy.”
Progress in this realm isn’t usually statistical; education,
awareness and attitudes are hard to quantify.
“We got a bunch of blank stares in the beginning. Any
time you change the focus of an association, it’s hard for peo-
ple to immediately grasp what you’re doing. We have to make
sure folks know we are doing our core services, too,” O’Brien
says. “There was some hand-holding, but a lot of them have
really gotten into it and even enjoy it. I knew that would come
in time, but it happened faster than I thought: happy lesson.”
Saxton says the group’s entrance into advocacy will hope-
fully reverberate in other ways, too.
“WDMA has gone from a narrow focus of specialized,
technical issues to networking opportunities,” Saxton says.
“We’re seeing that by working together, we can accomplish a
lot… even as competitors.”
Susan;Besze;Wallace is a freelance writer living in Northern Virginia. She may
be reached at
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