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February has proven to be a particularly busy month for the industry, thanks to two major conferences taking place in locations (thankfully) warmer than Chicago. During the first week of the month, I attended the IGMA Winter Conference in Austin, TX and now, AAMA staff is wrapping up details for next week’s AAMA 82nd Annual Conference in Palm Springs, CA. Together, the two events provide an excellent backdrop for the ongoing discussions underway, of unifying IGMA and AAMA into one organization. Here are some takeaways I got from the IGMA conference, as well as a short preview of what’s to come next week at the AAMA Annual Conference.

At IGMA, a country and western-themed dinner event created a relaxed atmosphere with a Texas flair. Some registrants went full tilt, sporting cowboy hats and boots, plaid shirts and bandanas. A select few kicked up their spurs with some square dancing, but the dance floor really was in the spotlight once the line dancing started!

There was a highly-engaged group of roughly 80 core members in attendance at IGMA, making for a vast amount of glass-related expertise concentrated into one event. It was a great opportunity for in-depth engagement with those in attendance, since it’s easy to connect with most everyone during the various meals and social events. The meeting itself was a combination of guest speaker presentations and committee and task group progress reports – this is because most work is addressed outside of the conferences via conference calls and web conferences, with reporting and direction-setting occurring in person.

Technical topics discussed were specific to insulating glass, including gas measurement, vacuum insulated glass, sealant and spacer performance, over-sized glazing, edge pressure and thermal stress. Sessions took place in a single meeting room, allowing for all registrants to engage in the full conference agenda -- similar to how AAMA regional meetings are structured.

Unification plans for potentially combining IGMA and AAMA to form a new organization led to a great conversation at IGMA. A 90-minute session was held, dedicated for small group open discussions moderated by IGMA Board members. IGMA and AAMA executive staff were available to answer questions and provide clarification.

More talks will take place next week at the AAMA Annual Conference, with two open forums on the schedule during which registrants can ask questions of me as well as Marg Webb, IGMA Executive Director. Like IGMA’s event, the AAMA conference will host a slate of engaging speakers dedicated to helping those at the conference better understand crucial industry issues. These two February events will lend themselves well in the lead-up to this summer’s Joint AAMA and IGMA Summer Conferences June 17-20. More details will come soon about that this spring!