IDA President Looks Inside DASMA
© 2001 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Spring 2001
Author: Tom Wadsworth
IDA President Looks Inside DASMA
Bill Winser is now concluding his second year as the president of the International Door Association (IDA), the official organization that represents more than 1,200 dealers of garage door related products. As the president of IDA, he has actively encouraged more interaction between the dealer association and the manufacturer association (DASMA).
This interview was conducted after he attended his second DASMA annual meeting. At those two annual meetings, Winser demonstrated a high level of interest and involvement in DASMA’s work. To find out his perceptions of DASMA, we asked him some frank questions.
1. You’ve attended two DASMA annual meetings now. Other IDA presidents have attended the DASMA meeting, but I don’t recall them getting as involved as you did. Why did you attend?
Yes, there is a history of IDA presidents attending the DASMA annual meeting and giving a report of IDA activities. I believe it goes back to the DODA and NAGDM days. Since our two circles of interest overlap in many areas, I wanted to participate in as many committee meetings as possible, to look for ways IDA and DASMA can work together.
2. I understand you spent some time working with a manufacturer. True?
My first several years in the industry were spent as a draftsman with Richards-Wilcox (R-W). After that, I went in to sales for R-W. Then, at age 25, I managed an R-W branch in Hamilton for four years, and then I got involved in district management, setting up distributorships.
Finally, in 1974, I started my business in Cambridge, Ontario, as an R-W dealer. We started like so many dealers: one truck, an office in the house, the garage was the warehouse, and my wife left the world of medicine for the world of business.
3. Having attended a long list of DASMA committee meetings, what have you learned about DASMA that you didn’t realize before?
I was most impressed at how well DASMA members, who are competitors, work together toward common industry goals. For example, I had no idea of the depth of detail and the amount of work involved in developing standards.
I was particularly impressed with the Rolling Door Division’s joint fire door test. Rather than everyone testing their individual products, the members worked together as a group to share the expense in the test so that everyone would benefit and make the product more useable. I can see how their cooperation will also help installing dealers.
4. Did you find that your attendance and participation was welcome?
I was treated like royalty. Even in the first year, people asked me to join them socially. It was a pleasure all the way through.
In the first year, I wasn’t sure how to deal with the committee meetings. I thought I’d attend a few, just sit in the back, and keep quiet. But everyone made me very welcome, and I was even asked to contribute to the discussions. Overall, I was pumped up with the warmth from those meetings.
5. From your perspective, what is the most important work that DASMA is now doing?
A single item is hard to identify, but I immediately think of DASMA’s work with the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission). I also think that their work in developing windload standards and other manufacturing standards can also be very important for all of us.
In general, the work of Joe Hetzel as DASMA’s technical director has enormous value. His work brings great benefit to all of us.
6. Can you name some common misconceptions about DASMA that you now realize are not quite true?
I think there’s a misconception that DASMA members are a completely unified group and that they all go in the same direction. In reality, DASMA represents a vast number of manufacturing companies that go in different directions. They are diverse in their individual goals and strategies, but they work together to improve the industry as a whole.
7. Where could DASMA make more progress?
I think DASMA should communicate more often about their activities. I think many dealers have no idea about all the work DASMA is doing.
8. In what ways can DASMA and IDA work together successfully?
The leadership of IDA and DASMA meet each October to discuss issues and look for ways to work together. I think we can share in a variety of consumer awareness programs.
Besides that, I really think there’s a great opportunity for IDA and DASMA to work together in the development of garage door installation standards. That could also be extended to joint work on maintenance standards or framing standards.
I’d personally like to see DASMA incorporate the perspective of IDA dealers. A dealer’s perspective is often helpful. Having worked on the manufacturer’s and the dealer’s end of this business, I realize that those two circles of influence overlap in many cases. We both can learn from each other.
9. If you had a chance to sit down with a dozen dealers and explain to them the positive work of DASMA, what would you say?
I’d talk about the development of performance standards and how that helps dealers. Dealers sometimes find themselves being pressured by contractors or architects to cut corners. By having certain performance standards available to dealers, the manufacturer can help the dealer stand his ground.
I would point out to the dealers that DASMA is a significant supporter of IDEA. DASMA members are part of the IDEA board, and they are helping move the program forward.
DASMA members are also very supportive of the IDA Expo, and they help make it happen. I think that benefits dealers a great deal.
10. If you had a chance to sit down with DASMA leaders and frankly explain to them how they are perceived in the dealer world, what would you say?
I think there’s a perception that some manufacturers have distanced themselves from independent dealers in recent years. Personally, I’d like to see the manufacturers re-examine the contributions of the independent door dealer.
I might note that today’s dealer is much more professional than he was 15-20 years ago. It’s no more “Hank, the door guy.” Some manufacturers may not fully recognize the new face of the typical door dealer. Thanks to an increase in education and training, the dealer is much more sophisticated today.
I’d also say that some dealers have the perception that DASMA members think that they have all the answers and that they don’t need input from the dealers. From my perspective, I think many manufacturers do indeed seek input from their dealers. However, I don’t see DASMA, as an association, reaching out for dealer input as much as it could. I think that, if DASMA would work harder to keep dealers in the loop, both associations would benefit, and it would go a long way toward changing these negative perceptions.