The State of the Industry: An Interview with Incoming and Outgoing DASMA Presidents

© 2002 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Spring 2002
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Pages 44-45

The State of the Industry
An Interview with Incoming and Outgoing DASMA Presidents

On Feb. 1, 2002, the official "changing of the guard" took place at the DASMA Annual Meeting in Naples, Florida. Ken Roehl of Chamberlain officially stepped down after a successful two-year term as DASMA president. He then passed the gavel to the incoming president, Richard Brenner of Amarr Garage Doors.

Each of these men is an industry veteran with abundant leadership experience in their companies and in the association world. From their unique view atop the industry, we asked them to reflect on their strengths and to offer their assessment of the state of our industry.

Ken Roehl, Vice President of Marketing
The Chamberlain Group

Ken, you've been a true diplomat for the association and for the industry. In what ways has that been an asset for DASMA?

I've been fortunate to have several years of involvement with the dealer organizations of the industry, and that helped me to be acutely aware of their needs and perspectives.

I was involved with the Far Western Garage Door Association for about 10 years and served as their president in the early 1990s. That was when we started talking about the merger with DODA. I also served on the DODA/IDA board at the time of the 1996 merger and was their treasurer in 1996 and 1997. From that experience, I learned that the needs of the dealers are much the same from coast to coast and from country to country.

I also came to DASMA with a background from the operator side of the business. I hope that I was able to promote DASMA as an association for the entire access systems industry.

What strengths will Richard Brenner bring to the position of DASMA president?

Richard is a very intelligent individual who has developed a global perspective on our industry. He has provided a clear focus for Amarr and a very successful strategy. Richard can get to the big picture very quickly. He has developed a vision of what that big picture could be, should be, and ought to be for DASMA, and that vision will serve the members well as we search for a consensus.

If you had to assess the "State of the Industry," what would you say are our top three priorities right now?

I think professionalism is key. NBC's Dateline story in January is a shocking reminder that we still have a long way to go concerning who we are as an industry. I think DASMA, IDA, and IDEA are all helping to promote professionalism in the industry, but we need to do more.

Secondly, I think we would all like to find ways to expand the marketplace. This will help the dealer as well as the manufacturer. Part of that expansion could be finding new product categories to expand the dealers' business. If we work to make the dealers successful, the manufacturers will be successful.

The third priority might be supporting industry standards, such as wind load requirements, proper installation of photo eyes, pinch protection standards, and others. There's a long-term benefit for all of us, the dealer and the manufacturer, if we do it right the first time and provide quality for our customers.

Richard Brenner, President
Amarr Garage Doors

Richard, Ken Roehl leaves the position after two years at the DASMA helm. What strengths did Ken bring to the position?

Ken knows the industry. He relates well to dealers and manufacturers, and this helped him communicate on behalf of DASMA. Ken has also shown a unique ability to get the facts and present them to the membership in a very understandable way. I think he has been an outstanding ambassador for the industry.

You've had a long history in the industry and have been president of Amarr since 1993. From your perspective, can you name three key influences that have most affected our industry in the last 10 years?

In no particular order, I believe that the focus on dealer education and professionalism has been a huge influence. The consolidation of manufacturers has had a significant impact on how the industry operates. And finally, product innovation and regulation has had, and will continue to play, an important and positive role in the industry.

At the annual meeting, you issued a challenge for DASMA to work to expand the size of our market. Could you explain this vision in more detail?

Today, garage doors are essentially bought, not sold. This means that consumers (I define consumers as anyone who might buy a door or opener) are not driven to pick up the phone to replace or repair their door and operator unless the door or operator is broken. This must change so that the industry can influence consumers to buy more of our products and services.


I propose a joint effort of IDA and DASMA to create a generic advertising campaign on the lines of a MILK style program to increase awareness and sell more doors and operators. This would be tested in 3 random markets.

If you had to assess the "State of the Industry," what would you say are our top three priorities right now?

  1. Expand the market.
  2. Create a better industry through idea exchange and excellent open lines of communication between dealers, distributors, manufacturers, code bodies, architects, specifies, government officials, and consumers.
  3. Nail items one and two.

Please let me know what you think DASMA can do to help the industry. Drop me a line at 800-782-5100 ext. 237, fax 336-744-5865, e-mail to, or write to:

Amarr Garage Doors, 165 Carriage Court, Winston-Salem, NC 27105.