By Christopher Giffin, RRC, AIA, President
As I sit here in my living room, about to start my first president’s message, the words of several past presidents are constantly running through my mind. Their somewhat joking words of wisdom were that these messages can be one of the most challenging aspects of being the next IIBEC president—but also one of the most rewarding experiences of the year. That’s because I get to discuss and share what our association is working on, how we are making an impact in the industry, and why your IIBEC membership provides value in your day-to-day business. So with that in mind, I eagerly accept the challenge.
As you read this message, our convention and trade show in Orlando, Florida, has come to a successful conclusion. It was great to see and spend some time together with all of you. The country still has a way to go before we reach the attendance levels we saw prior to the pandemic, but there is still nothing like attending an IIBEC convention and interacting with everyone in person. Nothing can replace the feeling you get when all of our members, colleagues, and friends are in the same room. The comradery, the passion for our profession, the expertise, and the knowledge that are shared are second to none.
I want to thank Immediate Past President Ted Sheridan, my friend from across the border in Canada, for his rock-solid leadership and for his voice of reason as he led us this past year. The other executive committee and board members have been tremendous to work with. A special thanks goes out to Scott Hinesley for twisting my arm to pursue this adventure. I also want to thank Brian Pallasch and Melany Rizzo for their leadership and association guidance over the past two years through what have been some very challenging times. But most of all, I want to express a heartfelt thank you to the rest of the IIBEC staff for staying with it and hanging in there with us as we tried not only to navigate our way through COVID-19 but also put forward a new image and brand. I am sure the staff is extremely pleased to not have to take vacation reservations any longer.
At the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Members in Orlando, Florida, I outlined three things IIBEC and I would focus on to continue the awesome momentum IIBEC had established before the pandemic. While at times things may have been canceled, slowed, or delayed, I can assure you that the IIBEC vision has not been lost. Momentum has continued. The three items I mentioned during this speech were as follows:
- Increase the awareness and presence of IIBEC in the industry as the leading building enclosure authority
- Expand, grow, and diversify our member base
- Continue the advocacy initiatives and pursuit of responsible procurement for building enclosure services
Since then, we have submitted code change recommendations to address issues with secondary drainage; created an Industry Liaison Committee and a Diversity and Inclusion Task Force; and hired a lobbyist to assist with advocacy efforts at the state and federal levels. We also have grown to over 5500 active members and credentials combined—with an average annual increase of 3% during the past five years.
With spring approaching I am excited to open the windows, shake off the winter blues, and—if you live in the Southeastern part of the United States—let in the yellow pine pollen. Also, if you’re like me, spring means wiping down the golf clubs and spending four solid days watching the Masters Tournament. It is those simple things—the spring pollen and an annual golf event—that encourage me that “normal” is right around the corner.
In the coming months, I will use these messages to dive into the various efforts and initiatives IIBEC is undertaking to achieve these goals, as well as other items that have been out-lined in IIBEC’s Strategic Plan. I hope we can start to see the light at the end of this pandemic tunnel and start to see chapter events and other professional activities get back to “normal.”
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your president this year and to lead this great association. I look forward to seeing you all at various events and meetings in the coming months.