Volume 43, Issue 11 - November 2008
the Most Out of Membership
The Glass Association of North American (GANA) was founded in 1994, but the group’s history dates back 50 years, as GANA represents the union of three glass and glazing industry associations: the Flat Glass Marketing Association (FGMA), the Glass Tempering Association (GTA) and the Laminators Safety Glass Association (LSGA). GANA originally consisted of three divisions: distribution/installation, laminating and tempering, with each division having equal representation on the association’s board of directors.
Today GANA has seven divisions that include the Mirror and Flat Glass Manufacturing Division (FGMD), as well as the Building Envelope Contractors, Decorative, Insulating, Laminating and Tempering. It’s the involvement of its members that have grown this association.
That’s what Mike Young, regional sales manager, glass technology, with Casso-Solar based in Pomona, N.Y., says of his company’s involvement in GANA. Young says when he joined Casso-Solar to specialize in glass processing, printing and coating equipment, the company’s management thought GANA would be a good place to learn more about the marketplace to which it sells its products.
“It is also an ideal place to meet customers, prospective customers and friends in a relaxing environment away from the workplace,” says Young.
It’s the networking opportunities that GANA offers that Young says are one of the key benefits of membership.
“It is also an avenue where suppliers and customers can share new knowledge and technology to everyone in an open forum,” says Young, who gave a presentation on screen-printing myths during the Decorative Division meeting of GANA’s Fall Conference in Dallas.
While networking may be of significant importance to suppliers, there are also a lot of benefits for glass companies.
“GANA provides unique education opportunities and means for glass companies to be involved in shaping the industry’s future, simply by sharing their expertise, knowledge and valued opinions as committee members,” says Young.
Membership has also provided Casso-Solar with educational opportunities. In turn, the company has applied its newfound knowledge to its everyday business operations and procedures.
“We have learned more about what companies are looking to manufacture, which has helped us to design more appropriate equipment and systems for the market, as well as keeping abreast on certain key issues.”
Five Years Strong
Garibaldi Glass, headquartered in Burnaby, British Columbia, has been a GANA member for five years. The company is a glass fabricator that has supplied products to jobsites around the world. Garibaldi joined GANA in 2003 because the company wanted to gain more insight into the academic and technical aspects of the glass industry.
Since joining the association, Roland Rossman, project leader, says the company has seen many benefits.
“As a member we receive the latest news and updates on glass and glazing issues. Technical bulletins are well-written and researched and are a mainstay as a resource tool,” says Rossman. “The people who sit in on the various research and technical committees are knowledge experts in their field. The bulletins and notices that come from those meetings are well thought out, reliable and trusted. If we have a specific issue or problem in either our facility or onsite, we have access to those knowledgeable experts throughout North America, and that’s a great resource.”
Rossman attended his first GANA meeting in 2004; the company wanted to become a more active member and participate in the process from a West Coast Canadian perspective. Sitting in on the session, Rossman says he was amazed at how attentive members were when it came to technical meeting discussions and tasks.
“I watched as committee members thoughtfully poured over the particular wording of a proposed ASTM section change, which was, to my surprise, a difficult task.”
For Rossman, the importance of GANA for the entire glass industry comes by way of its diverse membership base.
“GANA acts a representative for all those involved in glass—from primary float glass manufacturers to fabricators, glazing contractors and others. As a representative body, it lends credence to the glass industry. With a cross-section of representatives from the glass industry, GANA has an information base that is second to none.”
Rossman says he’s also learned that there’s only one way companies can help change the things they don’t like about the industry.
“I have learned that to have an affect on the standards and procedures for the glass industry, those in the industry need to participate.”
“GANA has become a recognized and respected voice for our industry and it’s important to stay involved and engaged with an organization of this caliber,” says Mike Rupert, director, technical services and product development for PPG. Rupert serves as the chair of the Flat Glass Manufacturing Division, as well as the chair of the Tempering Division’s Construction Subcommittee.
“From a company perspective, PPG has always supported GANA through membership and sponsorship of various events at Glass Week and the BEC conference. We have also provided speakers for several of the educational seminars as well,” says Rupert.
When it comes to what GANA truly offers its members, Rupert says the technical support and knowledge available through GANA are the best there is.
“From Glass Informational Bulletins to the manuals and publications, these are great documents, written by experienced and respected individuals of the various member companies,” says Rupert. “These documents are great training tools, and they are beneficial to help explain glass to others and to resolve misunderstandings about glass and its properties to those who may not be very familiar with it.”
In fact, Rupert says at his company they refer to GANA publications daily in terms of interacting with customers, architects and developers.
“We also use GANA test methods in evaluating our own glass products and we have used the modules created for AIA continuing education credits in lunch-and-learn seminars with architects and specifiers to help promote the use of glass in today’s energy-efficient buildings.”
And, as the glass industry continues to move its products toward higher-performance levels, organizations such as GANA will help guide the way.
“GANA members have a collective wealth of technical and practical experience that, when brought together, can be a single, powerful and respected voice for our industry,” says Rupert. “Glass has a lot to offer, not only to the design community, but we’ve got a great story to tell with respect to energy efficiency and to climate change. GANA is leading the way to make sure our story is heard at the code regulatory level.”