AAMA e-News: Opening Thoughts from the President and CEODecember 29, 2011
Rich Walker, AAMA President and CEO
In visiting with two vinyl extrusion members, VEKA and Chelsea Building Products, I was struck by their similarities and their different product diversifications in this tough economic market. At their core, both are incredibly active AAMA members that fully understand the value and importance of AAMA certification.
Both companies have young CEOs who, despite their brief tenure are extremely savvy about fenestration product performance and market. It was a pleasure to meet with Peter Dewil from Chelsea and Joe Peilert from VEKA. At only 33 miles apart and very near the Pittsburgh area, many employees don black and gold, rooting for the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates, though it’s been a rough few years for the Pirates.
Both are well established North American vinyl window profile producers with a strong European influence, which provide the flexibility and breadth of a global perspective to their product design and customer solutions.
While the majority of their product offerings are windows and doors, both companies have diversified into complementary building products. Chelsea offers trim and floor boards made from cellular foam and composite reinforcement, and VEKA expanded into fence, decking and railing products. Given the prolonged new housing market malaise and the recent drop off in homeowner remodeling expenditures, expanding their product lines is certainly helping both companies weather the Great Recession.
One substantial difference between the companies is their ownership. While VEKA is part of a global operation based in Germany, Chelsea was recently acquired by Graham Partners, to maximize their growth potential. Chelsea remains an independent company and just one of 1.7 billion in sales currently managed by Graham Partners.
The most important aspect both companies have in common is their long-time participation in AAMA and its Profile Certification Program. Their employees’ have contributed vast amounts of technical and marketing expertise in the development of AAMA standards and publications, not to mention their executives have earned key leadership positions within AAMA Product Groups, Material Councils and the Board of Directors.
Even in the challenging economic times, the value of AAMA membership and certification is evident in these highly successful companies, and we are privileged to have both Chelsea Building Products and VEKA as active, involved members.