IDEA Accreditation Growing: Educational Activities Expanding

© 2000 Door & Access Systems Publish Date: Spring 2000 Author: Todd W. Thomas Pages 16-17

IDEA Accreditation Growing Educational Activities Expanding

By Todd W. Thomas Managing Director, IDEA

More than 100 dealers in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico are now accredited by the Institute of Door Dealer Education and Accreditation (IDEA). At the current rate of new activity, this number may double by the end of the year 2000. Although the world is big enough to absorb 100 dealers, the emergence of IDEA Accreditation as a recognizable industry standard may be nearer than originally envisioned.

IDEA was created in 1996 by the Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA), the International Door Association (IDA), and the American Rolling Door Institute (ARDI). Its purpose was to create a dealer accreditation program, which was fulfilled at the 1997 International Garage Door Exposition in Nashville, Tennessee. Since that time, the Institute has continued to promote the benefits of accreditation, while at the same time, promoting the ability of the industry to increase its professional status.

What It Takes

In order to earn IDEA Accreditation, dealers involved in the door, gate, or access systems industry, must first study six exhaustive textbooks and demonstrate proficiency in the following areas:

Section 1: Accounting and General Business Principles Section 2: Insurance and Legal Section 3: Safety & Health Compliance/Loss Control Management Section 4: Technical Basics – Residential Installation Section 5: Technical Basics – Commercial Installation Section 6: Sales & Marketing Management

Once candidates have passed written exams on each of the six study courses, additional documentation must be submitted to IDEA, including letters of recommendation, proof of general liability and workers’ compensation insurance, and proof that the company has been in business for a minimum of two years. A single individual, typically the owner or president of the company, must successfully pass the examinations.

Case Study

IDA President Bill Winser was among the early accreditation candidates. He completed the process on behalf of Winser Doors in Cambridge, Ontario, in March of 1998. As the head of his industry association, and as an IDEA Accredited Dealer, he sees both sides of the program.

“As a dealer, I have made good use of my accreditation,” Winser said. “We have the logo on our installer shirts, on our trucks, in our advertising, and so forth. This helps distinguish my company from others and also helps get the IDEA logo out there.”

Installer Certification Coming

Winser sees more in IDEA than accreditation. He has been a major proponent of an installer certification program for use as both a training tool and a professional recognition tool.

IDEA currently is developing a residential installation certification program along with a rolling steel fire door installation certification program. Additional installer certifications are envisioned. These new industry programs are directly focused on enhancing the professionalism of the door, gate, and access systems dealer.

“We really need this for our industry,” said Winser. “We are moving in a direction where we offer people a great opportunity and a solid career. I hope to see the installer certification programs take hold in the very near future.”

…And More

That will happen, along with some other good things, according to IDEA President Jim Kelly. Kelly was instrumental in guiding the organization’s board through a business plan development process that was completed this year. Actually, the business plan will never be truly completed, as it was created as a living document. Still, the focus is on putting programs in place that have not previously existed for the industry.

“We aren’t looking to replace or re-invent anything,” said Kelly. “Inclusive in our mission is the enhancement of the industry through accreditation and education. That gives us an enormous amount of space in which to work. Our goal is to see the industry continue to grow, to become known as a profession that will be attractive to today’s young people entering the job market and for future generations.”

Keeping It Going

IDEA accreditation continues to spread as a recognizable symbol of quality in the industry. This has prompted some candidates to seek extra visibility through their accreditation. The accreditation logo was prevalent at the 1999 International Garage Door Exposition in Toronto. Yellow page advertising is more frequently featuring accredited dealers.

Bill Winser likes what he sees in the growth of IDEA as an accreditation organization, even as it develops the installer certification programs for which he has pushed.

“The more accredited dealers we have out there, the more that logo will be seen as our industry’s seal of approval,” Winser pointed out. “Most people don’t buy overhead doors or rolling gates or operators every day. When these people go to their phone books or call the local dealers, they are beginning to find at least one in the area that has this thing called IDEA accreditation, and that makes a difference.”

Jim Kelly is resolute in keeping the momentum going.

“What we began in 1997 has taken root and is not beginning to truly emerge as a force in our industry,” said Kelly. “As it happens, IDEA is the one organization where the dealers, the manufacturers, and the rolling door companies all come together for a common purpose: to enhance our industry through education and validation. It was a great concept and is an even greater reality.”

(For information and an accreditation application, please contact the IDEA headquarters: Post Office Box 236, West Milton, OH 45383; Phone: (937) 698-1027; Fax: (937) 698-6153.)

In a couple of unique cases, dealers used the program to wed their dedication to the industry and their family life.

Donna and Havard Macik, owners of LaGrange Overhead Door in LaGrange, Texas, went the extra mile last year by earning the distinction of being the first husband and wife team to earn accreditation. Both managed to successfully pass all six sections, even though Havard had no background in keeping the accounting records, and Donna had never installed a door. A feature article in International Door & Operator Industry magazine noted the appreciation the Maciks had for one another once the arduous process had been completed.

That article caught the attention of Greg Smith Sr. of Royal Overhead Door in Mabelville, Arkansas. He arrived at the testing session in Toronto in April with his textbooks and his son, Greg Smith Jr.

“We read the article about those folks in Texas, and we decided we’d become the first father and son team to become accredited,” Greg Smith Sr. said upon arriving at the testing site. Both completed the process in August and have successfully reached their goal.