WDDA Hosts Successful Inaugural Forum

September 20, 2010
Meetings & Events

Las Vegas, Nev.–With a program designed to help dealers learn from experts and share ideas with each other, the Window & Door Dealers Alliance hosted its first Window & Door Dealers Forum on September 15. Held in conjunction with GlassBuild America, the day-long event attracted about 80 window and door executives and featured a variety of speakers, as well as special break-out sessions covering numerous topics. 

Phil James, NGA president, spoke briefly at the opening session, urging dealers to join WDDA.

 "This forum was developed by WDDA as a vehicle which we can use to share common concerns and a vehicle where we can come together to improve our business for the longer term," said Jana Goodrich, president of Seaway Manufacturing and co-chair of the forum planning committee, in welcoming attendees.  In putting together the program, she noted, the focus was helping dealers learn "best practices and working solutions."  

"We're thrilled with the turn-out for a first-time event," said Phil James, president of the National Glass Association, which has been supporting dealer efforts to get WDDA started over the past year.  In the opening session, he not only thanked dealers for coming but urged them to join WDDA as members. "A lot of positive things have been happening.  We've let our voices be heard," he said. "But where this thing is going depends on you. We need your commitment."   

The program kicked off with three speakers, who each introduced topics that they cover in more in-depth break-out sessions that attendees could choose from.  Matt Johnson, an attorney with the Gary Law Group, introduced his discussion of the pros and cons of using 1099 workers by noting that the Internal Revenue Service is looking closely in many cases at whether these types of workers truly are independent contractors.  Mitch Wasden of ContactPoint Solutions introduced his customer service sesssion by highlighting the importance of how customer calls are handled.  Finally, Tim Faller, a remodeling industry consultant in training field personnel, discussed the importance for dealers to "systemize production" so installers can be trained.

“The best way to manage your company’s reputation is to assure your Web presence is the best it can be—accurate and fresh,” said Andy Beal, an internet marketing consultant who was featured in the forum's lunch time session. Beal examined several attendees' Web sites from top-to-bottom, commenting on design elements, customer service functions, Google Analytics, reputation management and more.

The forum featured several break-out sessions designed to enable attendees to interact with the speakers and each other.

The day included two more break-out sessions.  Sharon Aby, a sales and marketing consultant focusing on the building industry, offered dealers advice on "how to build a trustworthy brand in the 21st century." She focused on such tools as social networking dealers can build and sustain relationships by creating an e-conversation on the Web.  During the same time slot, John Zohora of the Goldratt Institute offered a session on "focused system inprovement." More spefically, he  worked with one attendee as an example to show how companies can better manage inventory and work-in-process to improve profitability.

"'We couldn't be more pleased with the outcome of the inaugural WDD Forum. We heard nothing but positives, which was echoed at the next day's WDDA advisory committee meeting," reports David Walker, WDDA VP. "The feedback I received from dealers was all very positive," agrees Ken Mariotti, president of Woodland Windows & Doors and event co-chair. Attendees were coming away from sessions with specific ideas and useful knowledge. 

"The committee felt strongly that we begin immediately to fashion the agenda for second annual Window & Door Dealers Forum so as to build momentum for even stronger industry participation," Walker adds. "And in the spirit of continuous improvement, we expect even stronger take-away value."

In other WDDA business, Walker reports that the advisory committee also decided to launch a marketing council that will assist the WDDA in furthering its brand development, Web and social media outreach and membership program.   The new council will consist of top sales and marketing executives looking to support the dealer segment of the window and door industry. 

The committee also agreed to continue to voice the industry's concerns about new Environmmental Protection Agency regulations, opposing  proposed lead clearance testing requirements in particular.  Members expressed satisfaction with WDDA efforts on lead regulations and Home Star, particularly given the fact that it is a relatively new organization, Walker concludes.