Volume 42, Issue 6 - June 2007

GANA Perspectives
300 and Beyond …
Who We Were and Where We are Going
by Stanley L. Smith

When I began with the Glass Association of North America (GANA) during the fall of 2000, the association had 157 members, five divisions and a handful of moderately attended meetings, conferences and events. In the past few weeks, our membership surpassed 300 members, a legacy to our board of directors. They chose to look at who our organization is, what we represent and how we go about working on behalf of our industry. 

Strategic Thinking 
Several years ago, under the leadership of then GANA president Bill Knutsen of Viracon, the board of directors committed to conducting a strategic analysis of our organization. The exercise took several days of meetings at various locations, and included a revision of GANA’s vision and mission statements, creation of values and objectives for the association, as well as a hard look at everything the organization stood for and should represent in the future. Many of you may recall that GANA took on a new look, with not only these revisions, but also with changes in our structure. 

Over the years we have grown from five divisions to seven (eliminating one, the distribution division, that didn’t foster a great deal of support), while generating a significant amount of interest and enthusiasm in those that we currently maintain. We listened to input from members about grouping meetings together where that consolidation made sense, and we have concentrated on providing the most useful information and professional presenters in those meetings we host. Additionally, knowing that marketing and communication among members is critical, we attempted to provide those opportunities wherever and whenever possible when scheduling activities sponsored by GANA. 

Moving Forward
I am pleased with the success we experienced because of the direction taken by the GANA board of directors. A prime example is the renewed interest in each of our seven divisions, especially following the creation of the flat glass manufacturing division, the insulating division and the recently created (and incredibly active) decorative division. Not only have we seen greater participation in divisional activities, but have also seen “on the point” technical discussions about improving industry processes. 

Collaborative efforts between membership and GANA staff have produced or revised four of the seven industry manuals we offer, three test methods, 13 glass information bulletins (a dozen of which followed GANA’s 2003 strategic assessment), a revision to the Blueprint Reading and Labor Estimating Course and a DVD called “How Mirrors are Made.” Other documents include Mirrors: Handle With Extreme Care and The Specifiers Guide to Architectural Glass. In addition to our educational seminars and conferences, the flat glass manufacturing division produced a video titled “How Float Glass is Made,” along with an accompanying AIA-accredited presentation available to architects in a “lunch and learn” format, as well as an article that has been distributed to tens of thousands of architects.

Certainly, GANA is not the only trade association or organization that is influential in the industry. For us, it has been a significant objective to ensure collaboration and involvement with many groups that help meet our vision, mission and objectives. Along with this involvement and participation in appropriate activities, we strive to provide facts and information that we believe strengthens our membership and the industry.

Recently, I notified the board of directors that I will be leaving this post effective March 1, 2008. As I reach the twilight of my career with GANA, I cannot say enough about the highly professional, capable and enthusiastic staff that serve the interests of our great organization. Similarly, I can honestly say that the membership in GANA cannot be matched by any other organization, anywhere, any time. Those who are not members should be … and should participate in efforts to effectively shape the industry. I wish the absolute best for the organization, and trust that under new leadership the success will continue at an even more accelerated rate. 

The Author: Stanley L. Smith is the executive director for the Glass Association of North America in Topeka, Kan. Mr. Smith’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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