Volume 50, Issue 10 - October 2015

GANA Perspectives

Past, Present, Future
Where We Were, Are and Will Be

by Bill Yanek

“The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be.” —Paul Valéry

Just over eight years ago, I arrived at a different GANA, and a much different glass and glazing industry. Most of us can catalogue countless changes with the economic collapse, follow-on malaise, and fits and starts of the recovery. One constant with this association is our unequaled history of industry leadership.

Our Past

GANA today stands on the shoulders of many leaders of the past who navigated our predecessor industry associations. This past summer, I was honored to attend an informal gathering of a number of these leaders. It struck me during this event that much of the glass and glazing industry we enjoy today was made by the men and women of our organization’s past. It’s clear when you hear these leaders speak that our industry will not thrive without active member advocacy—whether it takes the form of codes, standards, politics or technical activities. If we do not redouble our efforts to impact our industry, forces without our best interests at heart will do so.

Our Present

Our membership and finances took a dip as the economy bumped along in its recovery. The good news is membership and finances are improving. The challenge we now face is how to keep our momentum positive.
Growing our organization into the future will mandate that we change the way we conduct our business. The association environment in which we operate continues to evolve and our events, alliances, and staff expertise must continue to innovate and reflect our industry needs.


GANA conferences and meetings are a valuable resource to the industry, but without your presence, the impact these events make diminishes. This fall in San Antonio, more than 100 of your peers were at the GANA Fall Conference, where industry leaders worked on glazing industry advocacy and technical issues. Were you there? In early March of 2016, we will partner with the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) by co-locating the IGMA Winter Conference and GANA Annual Conference. This joint event will draw an even bigger crowd than our Fall Conference. Will you be there?

The BEC Conference in 2016 is on track for more than 500 attendees. If you are not there, that segment of the glazing industry will move forward without your participation.

There is a common theme with our industry predecessors and the needs of the glazing industry today: Leaders who show up. GANA and the glazing industry need more participation across the board. Be there.

Our Future

Beginning in 2014, GANA leadership and staff revised and developed key strategic initiatives that drive our operations. These initiatives boil down to two imperatives: Defend and advocate for our material in every relevant venue.

Your competition may, in part, be from other glazing industry members, but make no mistake: other building materials are the competition that most directly impacts your ability to thrive in the glass and glazing industry. In pursuit of this initiative, our staff and leadership are communicating to the GANA board and other advocacy stakeholders an analysis of our association’s advocacy efforts, with an assessment of impact to GANA. We are scheduling and conducting in-person visits with key industry and association decision makers.

Our outreach to members and stakeholders complements our existing advocacy on codes, standards and legislation across the globe.

Operational Excellence

Your GANA team circa 2015 is below. They are committed to delivering service befitting “The Voice of the Glazing Industry”:

Bill Yanek, J.D.:
executive vice president;

Ashley Charest, MBA, CAE:
account executive;

Urmilla Sowell, PE:
technical director;

Sara Neiswanger, CAE:
technical resources coordinator; and

Erin Roberts:
director of marketing and communications.

I challenge you to seek out our efforts and venues that could benefit from your leadership. Seek out one of our team members and let us know where your industry interests lie.

the author

Mark Jacobson
is the North American architectural manager with Kuraray America and the chair of the GANA Laminated Glass Railing Code Task Group.

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