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We’re re-running some blog posts from our excellent 2014 Benefits Series. You’ll know a post is from that series because it will be called a Flashback Friday post.

When I was in high school, there was an option for students to enroll in foreign language immersion camps. The idea was to saturate the students in the language, forcing them to use it 24/7 in everything they did. It was a way to significantly enhance the book-learning process and provide an intensive and memorable experience. The students who enrolled in these programs returned to school often leap-frogging their non-camp counterparts in fluency and knowledge of the language.

In many ways, AAMA national conferences and regional meetings serve as fenestration industry immersion camps, offering participants a focused dialogue on industry issues and access to market players they may otherwise not encounter in person. They’re a chance to gain practical experience and perspective, particularly in areas that are relevant to but maybe outside of the immediate scope of one’s daily work.

The AAMA 2018 Summer Conference is coming up in mid-June and is the next chance for members to opt into this immersive environment. Beyond the meetings addressing product performance standards, test methods and marketing initiatives – all of which deliver insights into ever-changing market influences – a slate of speakers will engage with those at the conference on important industry matters. All of this is in addition, of course, to the regular reports that are provided on sustainability, code and regulatory changes and other industry organization activities.

But beyond plunging into the latest information about the fenestration industry, conference attendees have a unique opportunity to learn from colleagues with whom they may not otherwise typically cross paths. AAMA conferences bring together technical, sales and executive representatives from a variety of industry product segments. Though some trade shows, such as GlassBuild America, gather a similar audience in large volume, AAMA events are distinct in that they provide great variety but on a scale that is digestible and easy to capitalize on.

AAMA regional meetings, such as the Western Region 2018 Summer Summit taking place immediately following the Summer Conference, and at the same location, provide an even more focused, in-depth exploration of fenestration industry challenges and opportunities specific to particular geographic markets. AAMA’s Southeast Region held a meeting in February following the nationally-focused Annual Conference. Both events are known for superior, content-rich presentation sessions that enlighten even the most experienced attendees.

Whether you’ve been active in the industry for decades or have just recently joined the ranks, AAMA’s events reveal challenges and opportunities and deliver access to an invaluable network of industry experts. Though much can be learned from one’s office, as Yogi Berra once said, “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”