Volume 6, Issue 5, September - October 2002

IWFA Update
Mike Smith                                                                                

Heading in the Right Direction

The flight to Atlanta was uneventful, but here I was at the first and last IWFA Annual Meeting over which I would preside as president.

I had to come in a day early, again, so that the executive committee could meet to discuss items on the agenda for the next day’s official board meeting. This is one of the four annual face-to-face meetings of the association board of directors. We had decided last year to have all future meetings in Atlanta in order to save the travel expenses of our legal counsel, which is based there.

The meetings went well. As I conducted the normal board business of the association, I was suddenly struck by the realization that so many worthwhile and valuable initiatives were being discussed, planned and/or voted upon by a diverse group of representatives of competing business interests. All of these people had come together as volunteers, with almost all paying their own way and giving their valuable time to improve their industry for ALL of its components. I was also conscious of the fact that more than 10,000 of those components were going about business as usual with no idea that we were meeting on their behalf by trying to bring to training, information, legislative protection and interactive opportunities to their industry.

Of the many topics discussed, the primary interest continues to be the accreditation materials that were completed and training and testing given this past spring at the International Window Film Conference and Expo™ in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (For a preview of the 2003 International Window Film Conference and Expo.)

Many dealers have taken the courses and passed the tests to become accredited solar control specialists, accredited automotive window film specialists or safety and security film specialists. They are among the premier professionals of this industry. They have shown a keen interest in furthering their knowledge and expertise in the window film industry.

We also discussed the future of these training opportunities. These opportunities can make significant differences in the marketplace for those who have invested their time and money to prove themselves worthy of the title “specialists.”

After listening to many who have become accredited discuss how accreditation has helped their marketing and sales efforts, I am even more convinced that this is an area of value the IWFA has been seeking for years. This is a solid, definable, marketable benefit. This is a way for our members (and non-members) to substantially improve their marketability. (Check www.iwfa.com for current training/testing seminars that are scheduled around the country. If your distributor isn’t sponsoring a seminar yet, call and ask it to do so.)

Yet, we have more coming.

Those who have already taken and passed these qualifying sections will be in front of the line to take the next level of higher education and accreditation. While I am not at liberty to elaborate, there is a bright future for those who participate and take the current testing in anticipation of what is ahead. When the association brings together the initiatives we have been discussing, those who qualify may have a substantial hand up on their competitors. 

I believe the future is bright for our industry. That’s why I agreed to serve another term on the board of directors. I firmly believe in our association and again invite all industry professionals to help bring about the dream I shared in the last issue of the Window Film magazine—TINT-TOPIA! 

This will only happen when we substantially increase our membership support and show the manufacturers that as installers and distributors we can unite for a common cause. Please join me in that cause and dream.

Join the IWFA today. 

P.S. Thanks to all those (including the manufacturers) who join and support the association year after year. You are the core upon which all of this rotates; we couldn’t do it without you. Please encourage your local professional competitors to join us. Thanks again. 


Mike Smith is the branch manager of Sun-Gard Southwest in Tempe, Ariz., and president of the International Window Film Association (IWFA).


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