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Member Profile: FMC First Vice President, Robb Plagemann

December 23, 2011

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FMC First Vice President, Robert (Robb) Plagemann (Tecton Products), describes some of his industry experiences and influences, as well as his involvement with AAMA, in this inaugural Member Profile.

What is your role at Tecton Products?
As the Director of Product and Process Development, I work on the corporate leadership team that develops strategies and tactical plans for the growth of the company and am also involved in developing the roadmap and directional analysis of the company’s functional and technical advancement.

Give me a brief history of your professional background and how you originally became involved in the fenestration industry.
From a young age, I always had a strong interest in the construction of homes and wanted to become an architect; however, I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering instead. My first job out of college was to develop weather-strip and jamb-liner products for the fenestration industry at a profile extrusion company. It was there that I developed a fondness for the industry and began my first step into this industry. My career continued as an original associate with the start-up of Tecton, a stint with a large window and door manufacturer and a co-owner in a residential home building and development company. I recently rejoined the associates of Tecton Products and have been back at the company for the past seven years.

You currently serve as the First Vice President of AAMA’s Fiberglass Material Council; what accomplishment are you most proud of in regards to your work with the association?
I have served as First Vice President for less than a year and cannot take credit for all the work that was accomplished over the last several years. Under former First Vice President Matt de Witt’s leadership, the Fiberglass Material Council has accomplished the recent revisions of AAMA 305 that establishes performance requirements for fiber reinforced thermoset profiles, as well as the fiberglass coatings documents (AAMA 623, 624 and 625). As chair of the task group that created the AAMA 112 profile certification program document, I believe that it is a large accomplishment that the FMC has updated all our documents within the last year and a half.

As a Subject Matter Expert (SME) for FenestrationMasters, you’ve been involved with development of this educational effort, what benefit do you feel the certification will offer those who complete the credential?
For individuals who successfully complete their certifications, the credentials will demonstrate that an individual has a highly accomplished understanding and possesses a broad knowledge of fenestration products, processes, materials and performance requirements necessary to design, produce and market high-quality products for the industry.

What are some of your goals for advancing the future of the fenestration industry?
Making progress in developing sustainable solutions for our industry is very important to me. I continually think how we can make products that leave the smallest possible footprint that will endure for many decades.

What advice do you wish someone would have given you just as you began your career in the fenestration industry?
Do not falter on your passions; pursue them aggressively. Arm yourself with a fully loaded box of tools including: education, experience, a mentor(s) and seek an arena to provide opportunities for you to grow in knowledge and craft.

What advice would you give to someone who is a new member of AAMA?
I would encourage a new member to acquaint him or herself with the functionality of AAMA and then become involved in the council, committee and task groups. Don’t be afraid to take on leadership roles in the council, committee and task group levels. AAMA events are a great opportunity to network and build relationships with other members. Mentors are available to help new members navigate their first meetings. AAMA staff can match first-time attendees to an appropriate mentor as needed. AAMA also provides access to learn about new technologies and market trends.

What do you foresee as the biggest challenges our industry will face moving forward?
I believe that one of our main challenges will be to figure out how to remain competitive in a global driven economy, while driving gains in efficiency and sustainability. We also need to encourage an interest in science and engineering in our younger generations and foster an awareness of our industry. The AAMA scholarship program helps to build this awareness.

How can the industry work together to be successful?
AAMA’s development of specifications and standards creates creditability and ensures that we all produce quality products we can be proud of. I also believe our industry is currently working cohesively with many other professional organizations and educational institutions.

Who has most influential for you in your professional life?
I have been influenced by many people and experiences throughout my life. It is difficult for me to mention one person. My parents, colleagues, business partners and supervisors have all had some impact on me. One particular experience while in college did impact a lot. I helped my parents build their passive solar home. Through that experience I learned that I have a passion for building sciences and how a house can take advantage of its surroundings and naturally provided resources.

Anything else you’d like to add?
We [at Tecton Products] are pleased to be a member of AAMA. I fully believe in the mission of the organization and am continually impressed and challenged by the fenestration industry. I look forward to continuing to serve within AAMA and the Fiberglass Material Council.

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