“It is fun to design with metal,”
Verrastro says. “The world is
our oyster in terms of shape
and color and size. It can almost
be like Legos, how you can plug
pieces in and put things together
flourished, the need to focus more on marketing became
clear. The Metal Initiative was launched as a five-year plan
that would go beyond a mere ad campaign to target the needs
of the building owner. Those needs include durability, low-energy costs and technical information they can digest without dodging sales ammunition from a dozen companies.
“The function of The Metal Initiative is not to say, ‘You
need aluminum panels on your roof.’ It’s to explain that metal
has benefits, generically,” says Sid Peterson, vice president
of sales and marketing for Alcoa Architectural Products, a
unit of the world’s largest producer of aluminum products.
“Choose metal. And then later we’ll hope you choose ours.”
The Metal Initiative was created with funding from outside
sources that wanted to support metal, but not necessarily the
association. The Initiative became an important branch of MCA
for all members, but was financially supported by only some.
The five years came and went. The success of the Initiative and a change in sponsorship due to a tough economy
prompted a big and, some say, risky decision. Beginning this
year, members no longer have a choice whether to support
the program. Instead of being that branch of the association
extended by some, the Initiative was going to become part of
the group’s root system. And that means everyone’s dues will
“Companies understand that what we’re doing with their
dues check for $18,000 is more than they could do alone,”
says MCA Chief Operating Officer Louise Ristau. “We did
lose some [members], but we planned for that. And we’re on
Jeff Irwin, in his third year as MCA chair, says, “You get
out of something what you put in. Now we’re all in. Some-
times the best decision is the toughest.”
‘More Told Than Sold’
If you are out to promote your business, it may not at first
sound like a recipe for success. Come talk about metal, but
not your company. Share benefits, but not sales figures.
Answer questions, but don’t advocate for your brand — yet.
Welcome to the “heavy-hitter meeting,” the crux of The
From centuries-old copper-topped cathedrals to the zinc
roof of celebrity chef Rachael Ray’s Poughkeepsie, N.Y.,
home, metal has long been the choice of discriminating indi-
vidual building owners. It has the look they want and they
have the funds to make it happen.
‘Do Something Different’
Irwin was attending a Cleveland Indians game, walking out of
a parking garage, when he spied an office building across the