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WDMA announces new leadership team

BY Ken Clark

The Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) announced its new leadership team at the WDMA Spring Meeting and Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.   

At the meeting, the WDMA board of directors elected Mike Salsieder, of Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork in Wausau, Wis., as the association’s 2013-2014 chair, replacing outgoing chair Ann Duebner of Eggers Industries in Two Rivers, Wis.

"We stand at a cross roads of determining how we can most effectively provide value for our association and its members,” said Salsieder.

“These challenging times call forth the strongest, united voice to advocate on behalf of the window, door and skylight industry. Still, we must have a pragmatic understanding of the political and economic world in which we live. We must prioritize our limited resources to focus on those things that are most critical to our industry and to our association members. Serving as WDMA’s chair of the board, I am honored to help advance the interests of a very important industry that, not only supplies valuable products that are needed by the consuming public, but an industry that provides jobs for hundreds of thousands of people."

Mike serves as president and general counsel for Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork. The company was started in 1946 by brothers Herb and Ervin Kolbe in their mother’s wash house, repairing window frames and building sash, on the family farm in central Wisconsin. Since then, Kolbe & Kolbe has become a nationally recognized leader in the high-end window and door industry with hundreds of distributors.

"I look forward to working with Mike as WDMA’s new chair. His knowledge and passion for the industry will help move WDMA to the next level in efficiently providing the best services to our members and being an even better advocate for the industry," said WDMA president Michael O’Brien. "I also want to thank Ann Duebner for her leadership and the time she has spent leading WDMA and the whole industry forward. We all owe her a debt of gratitude for her wise leadership as we’ve climbed out of bad economic times."

In addition to Salsieder, the other members of the 2013-2014 WDMA Executive Committee are: 

  • Vice Chair, Door Division: Steve Donner, Weiland Sliding Doors & Windows, Oceanside, Calif.;
  • Vice Chair, Window Division: Al Babiuk, Loewen Windows, Steinbach, Manitoba;
  • Treasurer: Steve Tourek, Marvin Windows & Doors, St. Paul, Minn.;
  • Immediate Past Chair: Ann Duebner, Eggers Industries, Two Rivers, Wis.; and
  • Supplier Representative: Jeff Shilakis, HOPPE North America, Fort Atkinson, Wis.

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Burning issues include lead-mitigation opt-out

BY Ken Clark

Washington, D.C. — Lumberyard owners and suppliers focused on three wide-ranging front-burner regulatory and legislative issues during the 2013 Legislative Conference here in the nation’s capitol.

Reform of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead paint rule was among the three high-priority items, along with preservation of the mortgage interest deduction and creation of online sales tax parity. 

The talking points emerged as NLBMDA Director of Legislative Affairs Ben Gann briefed lumberyard owners and their suppliers on some of the major regulatory and legislative issues facing the industry. A detailed overview of the issues preceded an afternoon of lobbying on Capitol Hill.

The NLBMDA has a long history of objections to the EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting (LRRP). It was introduced in 2010 and requires remodeling and renovation firms that perform work on pre-1978 housing to be EPA-certified. And the firms must keep records of the project for three years. 

The NLBMDA supports the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act, which has two key provisions: 1.) It restores an opt-out provision for homeowners in households with no pregnant women and no children; and 2.) It creates a time frame for the EPA to develop a test kit that is commercially available and meets the EPA’s own standard for false positives. 

In addition to adhering to good common sense, reinstatement of the opt-out rule, according to the EPA’s estimate, would save $336 million, Gann said.

Another common-sense move for the housing industry is the preservation of the mortgage interest deduction, Gann said. "In many ways this is a critical piece to our housing policy."    

Gann said misperceptions linger over the deduction: "It’s not millionaires living on vacation homes in the beach. Two-thirds of the benefits are claimed by those making $200,000 or less." Even the deduction for mortgage interest of second homes plays an important role for local economies, he said.

The third high-priority issue dealt with a level playing field for retailers and online merchants. According to the NLBMDA, far too many online-only retailers are not collecting sales tax at the point of purchase, putting local retailers at a competitive disadvantage.

The NLBMDA supports the Marketplace Fairness Act, but Gann said it’s important to understand that support of the bill is not an endorsement of a new tax.

"This tax already exists," Gann said. "It’s a tax that is already owed. It just allows states to go and get that tax money.

"What the MFA is trying to do is fix the system," he added. "If we don’t do something, it’s just going to get worse. Online transactions keep going up. This is revenue that the states are owed but they are not getting."

Before the dealers took some of those talking points message to their representatives on Capitol Hill, he offered the following lobbying advice: "Be firm but polite. Obviously not everyone is going to agree with us on every position."

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Weber-Stephen Products names CEO

BY HBSDealer Staff

Weber-Stephen Products, a manufacturer of charcoal and gas grills, has appointed Thomas Koos as CEO, effective April 1, 2013. Current Weber-Stephen president and CEO Jim Stephen will become executive chairman of the company.

"Tom’s global business experience, passion for building brands and deep knowledge of our distribution channels makes him a great fit for Weber," said Stephen. "I look forward to working with Tom and our team at Weber as we continue to expand and promote our strong brand around the world."

Koos has more than 20 years of marketing and management experience with consumer durable products, most recently at Jacuzzi Brands, where he served as president and CEO. Prior to his work at Jacuzzi, he held senior positions at Black & Decker and Newell Rubbermaid.

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