New Engagement Model “demo’d” with Short, Robust Virtual AGM

Written by Al Dueck, Acting President, Fenestration Manitoba

2020 has created a set of circumstances where a variety of new approaches and concepts have become necessary, some of which will probably benefit us for years to come.  In addition, the necessity of the classic AGM isn’t always seen as an exciting event and hence it was time for some innovation.  FenMan’s 2020 AGM was conceived with a view to increase the level of virtual attendance based upon an interesting, fast moving agenda – to be completed within 1 ½ hours!  And, based upon the feedback, the mission was mostly accomplished with positive feedback from a sizeable group of virtual attendees (just over 50 advance registrants).  FenMan would very much like to express their gratitude to Gold Sponsors Omniglass, Building Professionals, Fenstration Review & Federated Insurance; Silver Sponsors Everlast, AGM Glass, Fenestration Components International &Fenestration Canada and Bronze Sponsors Adfast, Cardinal IG and AmesburyTruth!

Pat Flannery launched with an informal interview/feedback opportunity on the impact of Covid-19 plus a few additional questions to a panel consisting of Laverne Dalgleish, Building Professionals, Aynsley Dueck, DUXTON Windows & Doors, Al Babiuk, Loewen Windows and Stephen Segal, Polar Windows.  Al Babiuk capsulated a sense of the panel noting, “The industry trends were extremely strong heading into the Covid phase, and we think that strength should lend to a strong recovery as things open back up. Having said that, there’s a risk that the increase of cases in the US and potential for a second wave in the fall could disrupt the recovery and weaken the economy. The trends towards increasing energy codes are a positive for getting better quality products to the market, but there is a cost to meeting the higher standards and consumers’ budgets will become a challenge at a certain point. The panel discussion and expert commentators were well-diversified and crisp sessions that covered a broad range of topics for the different audience attendees.”  It is perhaps somewhat reflective of the low levels of Covid-19 in Manitoba to date that the attitudes were generally relatively positive.  Pat Flannery noted, “There were a lot of takeaways from the panel but one that sticks out was the generally positive and constructive attitude around building higher-performing products for the ever-tightening energy standards. While everyone acknowledges there will be challenges, it came across quite clearly that Manitoba’s window and door makers welcome the chance to build and market higher-quality products.”

The panel was followed up with a set of highly qualified, professional 5 minute presentations from Glen Hodgson, economist; Jeff Swystun, marketing professional; Ian Marshall, CME Lean expert/trainer and Terry Adamson, President of Fenestration Canada.  Glenn Hodgson comments and feedback included, “The pandemic-induced shutdown meant an immediate collapse in GDP, dropping by around 20 per cent peak to trough in March to May 2020, with a loss of 3 million Canadian jobs. The economy is now growing again, but overall Canadian GDP could contract 6 to 7 per cent in 2020. The impact in the U.S. will be even more severe, with a projected 10 per cent contraction in GDP in 2020. 2021 Could be much better, provided the pandemic is contained successfully. As an outsider, the event provided an excellent overview of how the pandemic and shutdown has affected the fenestration industry – both the business impact of the pullback, and the prospects for sustained recovery in housing and commercial property markets.”

Terry Adamson, Pres, FenCan / Westeck windows, brought a valued connection to the national association and noted, “Today more than ever, the value of a manufacturers relationships to our industry Associations is paramount.  Facing challenges over the next several years that will require development and design to meet difficult performance targets is a must, and Associations have the resources and connections to help manufacturers conquer these hurdles.  Together the industry can become world leaders in fenestration development.”  Terry also commented favorably on the execution of the meeting, “The FenMan AGM event clearly demonstrated that just because they can’t meet face to face, they can continue to provide valuable/relevant information to support the industry.  It will not be a surprise that we will see this form of connection remain, and likely grow long after we are all back to “normal”.  Rob Spewak, Red River College, also provided a short up-date on the window installation testing program that has just been launched at the college with the window “donation” by JELD-WEN.

The final “element” before completing a “closed” AGM was a short set of “elevator pitches” delivered by a small set of sponsors and Vince Porcelli, Everlast may well have captured the essence, “In this format I was able to not only articulate but also visually (PowerPoint) present the quality and performance of our new Altitude+ aluminum product to the Manitoba marketplace…priceless!  The event was a great platform in challenging times that had a welcoming casual feel with great information and insight on relevant topics from respected professionals.  It was definitely a worthwhile endeavour for Everlast to continue to make strides in the west.”

The event drew enough interest that a follow event is now scheduled for August 18th at noon CDT and should feature another set of excellent discussions and presentations with some return engagements but also but another focus on a very current topic – Energy codes and how the Manitoba window manufacturing industry could and should engage and prosper in that evolving environment.  Register early lest you miss the max 100 registration cap!