An Expanded WMDA: What Does it Mean?

January 26th, 2017 by Trey Barrineau

This week’s announcement that the Northeast Window and Door Association (NWDA) will merge with the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) could boost WDMA’s clout within the industry and on Capitol Hill.

First, it has the potential to nearly double WDMA’s membership. The association currently has about 90 members, according to president and CEO Michael O’Brien. NWDA could potentially add up to 73 companies as part of WDMA-Northeast.

“This will help expand the industry’s influence in the public policy arena and the networking opportunities for both WDMA’s existing members and NWDA (now WDMA-Northeast) members,” said O’Brien.

But the move also effectively ends the NWDA, which had struggled to attract attendance for its events in recent years.

In September 2016, Steve Chen, the COO of Crystal Window & Door Systems and president of the Northeast Window and Door Association (NWDA), warned NWDA members in an e-mail newsletter that the trade association needed much more participation or it would face “an uncertain future.”

The e-mail newsletter, which had the subject line “NWDA Member Participation Requested,” spelled out the positives of the association, such as networking opportunities at its summer and winter meetings.

“As I have said many times before, the true value of NWDA Meetings are only realized by attending and participating,” Chen writes. “While presentations are posted online, the face-to-face information exchange and peer networking at the meetings are priceless.”

But Chen also made it clear that NWDA needed greater participation or it could be facing financial trouble in the future.

“Member participation is the key to a sustainable trade organization and the NWDA is no exception,” Chen wrote. “Unfortunately, despite appeals from the NWDA Board, the staff and myself, member participation and involvement remains a serious challenge. … Unfortunately, without a dramatic uptick in member participation, the NWDA faces an uncertain future. Beyond this, our organization suffers from membership levels and meeting attendance that are far below levels in previous years. All this translates into reduced funding for the association and the continually growing challenge of meeting present and future costs. The current situation is not sustainable, so as you can see, change is necessary.”

Under the merger that was announced this week, WDMA-Northeast members will continue to receive the same benefits they did with NWDA, including regular regional meetings, as well as certain services from WDMA, such as legislative, regulatory and code representation, issue briefs and alerts, access to technical experts and participation in WDMA conferences.

Current WDMA members will also have the opportunity to become members of WDMA-Northeast and participate in its activities.

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