IAQA Mapping Out the Association's Future

January 29, 2007
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Executive director Glenn Fellman (left) and president Bob Baker compare notes before addressing attendees at IAQA’s most recent annual meeting and exposition, held in Nashville.

Not surprisingly, the Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) did not hesitate to endorse the Air Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition (AHR Expo). Let the record show that the ever-growing association came out in mid-year last year to state it supports the industry’s top-notch event.

Let the record also show that IAQA was the 26th organization to endorse the 2007 AHR Expo, which is being held Jan. 29-31, at the Dallas Convention Center.

“By endorsing the AHR Expo, IAQA hopes to attract more of its members to the expo, where they can learn about the latest in IAQ product development, attend educational sessions, and network with tens of thousands of colleagues,” said Glenn Fellman, executive director of IAQA. “Many of our members are already regular AHR attendees.”

There is a reason for such assessment, too. With membership increasing and the postunification process in full motion, IAQA certainly has the numbers - and more. At its last annual meeting and exposition, held recently in Nashville, Tenn., re-elected IAQA president Bob Baker was happy to report that over 5,000 - 5,170 to be exact - are now in the IAQA fold.

IAQA’s leader looks upon this current situation as both productive and somewhat of a curse, all at the same time.

WHERE TO STOP? GO?

With growth continuing by leaps and bounds, Baker, as well as Fellman, have been informing members that this year the association will be trying to ensure that it sticks to its roots and signs up the appropriate people. In its mission statement, the nonprofit, multi-disciplined organization said it is “dedicated to promoting the exchange of indoor environmental information, through education and research, for the safety and well being of the general public.”

The questions remain:

1. Where does IAQA start and stop?

2. Based on what IAQA has adopted as its motto, who should be allowed into the association and who just does not fit?

Baker is slightly struggling with these issues. With help from his current membership, board, associates, and various committees, however, he looks to produce straightforward answers in the not-so-distant future. (See the sidebar below to read Baker’s “wish list” for the association.)

Prior to the association’s meeting at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Conference Center, Baker, Fellman, and selected members had an intense three-day strategic planning session with consultant Charles Rumbarger, founder of Association Management Group (AMG), one of the largest association management and consulting companies. Rumbarger hung around after the think tank to provide an inspiring talk as keynote speaker at the association’s annual meeting.

“You have so much ahead of you that is good,” Rumbarger told IAQA members. “Now is the time to act.”

An IAQA meeting attendee (left) gets the lowdown regarding National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) from association representative John Schultz.

GLORIOUS AND PAINFUL

Baker and Fellman could not agree more.

“We started this thing nearly two years ago, called ‘unification,’ ” said Baker. “During the first three quarters of 2005, there was a lot of excitement, there was a lot of planning, and a lot of anticipation. And then a year ago we met together and we presented this concept we had come up with: unification. And you all approved that concept.

“And so, the first three-fourths of this year” - referring to 2006 - “we’ve drawn out the path called the implementation of that concept.”

Not that the meshing of two very similar organizations - the American Indoor Air Quality Council (AmIAQ) and the Indoor Environmental Standards Organization (IESO) - with IAQA has been a walk in the park. Putting three associations together to make one strong association takes a lot of patience, noted Baker.

“There have been some glorious days. There have been some painful days,” is how he described the talks last year at the negotiation and implementation tables. “And there have been a lot of confusing and puzzling days.”

Thinking of what the association accomplished working as a team in 2006, he quickly added, “I want to refresh my profound appreciation for a whole bunch of associates who have hung in there through the toughest of times. We’re making progress.”

The association reported that approximately one-third of its membership performs IAQ assessment and consulting, one-third are in remediation and/or restoration, and the remaining one-third includes HVACR contractors and engineers, facilities management personnel, product manufacturers, and others interested in indoor air issues.

Bob Baker (far left), reelected president of IAQA, expresses to members in the audience where he expects the association to head and cover in 2007. Listening in at the head table are IAQA board and committee members.

LOOKING FOR CONTRACTORS

Breaking down the numbers even more, Baker noted that 31 percent are IAQ practitioners and/or investigators, 27 percent fall under the remediation and/or restoration umbrella, and only 11 percent are contractors, with 6 percent being in the design and/or engineering fields. The other 25 percent includes distinctly defined IAQ disciplines, each representing less than 5 percent of the total membership.

After the general session and Baker’s speech, many associates made no bones about what IAQA’s top priority should be in 2007: Bolster the contractor count.

“I don’t see why we shouldn’t,” said Mark DeLisle, newly-elected IAQA vice president, as well as CEO of DeLisle Associates, Portage, Mich. “The Indoor Air Quality Association was established in 1995 to promote uniform standards, procedures, and protocols in the indoor air quality industry. This means we need to get more contractors to join our efforts.”

In Fellman’s eyes, membership dues are remarkably affordable and include an enormous array of benefits, including a group insurance program. It also offers education courses; government affairs reports; a bi-monthly, 24-page technical newsletter with abstracts on the latest scientific and medical findings; and chapter membership in one of more than 40 chapters worldwide. According to Fellman, chapters hold two to four workshops yearly.

During his keynote speech at IAQA’s convention, Charles D. Rumbarger, CAE, encouraged members to get involved in its revitalized association.

EXPO MOMENTUM AND MORE SESSIONS

Momentum is obviously swinging IAQA’s direction, at least from the annual exposition’s side of the equation. There was a tremendous response by leading IAQ product and service providers to the ninth annual expo in 2006. The association said space was sold out in record time. In the end, meeting attendees had access to over 110 booths. Among the exhibitors were BBJ Environmental Solutions, Fluke Corp., Fantech, GrayWolf Sensing Solutions, and TSI Inc. Gold sponsors included Aerotech P&K and Environmental Monitoring Systems (EMS).

Richard Pirret, P.E., business unit manager of indoor air diagnostics at Fluke, was pleased with the traffic flow at the association’s meeting. Among the products Fluke had on display and featured was its 975 AirMeter™. Pirret said he was pleased with the number of association attendees who not only stopped at the company’s booth, but also purchased tools and instruments.

The educational sessions offered at the annual meetings continue to increase, too. In 2006, IAQA lined up eight major areas of coverage, spanning 20 hours of designated time for technical sessions. During those 20 hours, three session tracks ran simultaneously. Attendees had the option of going to any session and moving from one track to another. Major topics for session tracks included microbial investigations; IAQ assessment; IAQ research co-sponsored by IAQA; microbial remediation; HVAC issues; IAQ and natural disasters; and standards and guidelines.

In Nashville, IAQA kicked off with a three-hour, first-day workshop, titled “Marketing IAQ Products and Services.” Eight marketing professionals and CEOs from some industry players were on hand to deliver various presentations on how to grow an IAQ business. Speakers, representative companies, and topics covered included Randy Herold of ENPRO Environmental (“Public Relations & Branding”); Barbara Hanson of Fluke Corp. (“Print Advertising”); and David Hedman of E-Therm (“Internet & E-mail Marketing”). The session concluded with a panel discussion with all speakers present.

The meeting concluded with a three-hour technical session in building science, presented by Joe Lstiburek of Building Science Corp. Lstiburek, whom IAQA dubbed “one of the most sought-after authorities in the world of building sciences,” is famous for his technical aptitude, as well as his acerbic wit and caustic demeanor.

Richard Pirret, P.E., (center), business unit manager of indoor air diagnostics at Fluke, discusses the value of the company’s 975 AirMeter to an interested IAQA meeting attendee (right).

THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT

Due, in part, to IAQA’s phenomenal growth, Clay Stevens is glad to have the association supporting this year’s AHR Expo.

“Our attendees have always had an interest in learning more about improving indoor air quality,” said the president of International Exposition Co. (IEC), which produces and manages the AHR Expo. “Our new relationship with the IAQA will help us educate the industry on residential and commercial IAQ.”

According to Fellman, a number of new products have been developed with a greater emphasis on air cleaning and filtration markets. In his estimation, other advances that have led to the IAQ boom include increased efficiency HVAC filters, UV lights, antimicrobial products, and technology to determine sources of indoor air pollution.

And because IAQ does not appear to have boundaries, it’s one reason why IAQA’s membership continues to grow.

“IAQA is your association,” Fellman told members in Nashville. “What would you like to do? Reverse asthma rates? Eliminate indoor smoking? Educate consumers about mold? Create new laws and regulations? Clean up America’s schools?

“The future is in your hands,” he charged. “Get involved and make it happen.”

For more information, visit www.iaqa.org.

Sidebar: Nine Steps for Unification

According to Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) executive director, Glenn Fellman, these nine steps were taken in 2006 to implement the unification agreement process:

Step 1 - Membership consolidation. This included revising IAQA bylaws to expand member categories and types.

Step 2 - Transfer of assets. This resulted in certification going to IAQ Council, while standards and guidelines went to IESO.

Step 3 - Program consolidation. This entailed board expansion, and consolidating chapters, education departments, communication departments, and government affairs.

Step 4 - As Fellman put it, “Tell the world.” IAQA retained a public relations firm, and did some mass marketing, via advertising, Internet, and direct mail. End result? There are more than 700 new members.

Step 5 - Program maintenance and benefits expansion. This involved government affairs, marketing support, IAQ research, Web and Internet resources, career center, “and there’s still lots more work to do,” said Fellman.

Step 6 - As Fellman put it, “Go back to Step 1.” According to Fellman, there is a need for coordination with unification partners, as there is cross representation and participation. When adjustments are made, then the association will “proceed full steam ahead.”

Step 7 - Build more bridges. This meant getting more involved with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). In regard to ASHRAE, IAQA now co-sponsors the 62.2 User’s Guide, and is a silver sponsor for ASHRAE’s IAQ 2007 expo and meeting.

Step 8 - In the words of Fellman: “Keep on building!” IAQA is participating at the Association of Specialists in Cleaning and Restoration (ASCR) and the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) conventions. Also, IAQA now has connections with the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC), Maine Indoor Air Quality Council (MIAQC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Step 9 - Strategic planning. At the 2006 IAQA meeting and expo, the association was in the midst of strategic planning. According to Fellman, this means understanding who the association serves, determining what members need and how to deliver it, recruiting support by building a volunteer base, and looking into the future and capitalizing on opportunity.

Sidebar: Baker's Wish List

Indoor Air Quality Association (IAQA) president, Bob Baker, provided his wish list for 2007 at the association’s last meeting in Nashville. The following 12 “purposes” are his future goals as IAQA’s re-elected leader.

Purpose 1 - Develop better ways and means for determining members’ needs, wants, and expectations.

Purpose 2 - Convince health care professionals and the health care industry of IAQ issues.

Purpose 3 - Create more opportunities for members and customers to come together.

Purpose 4 - Documented compliance with all laws and best practices related to nonprofit governance.

Purpose 5 - Undertake a comprehensive evaluation of current credibility and viability of all industry credentials (certifications) for the purpose of minimizing confusion and legal liability and maximizing the value of such credentials.

Purpose 6 - A government relations program specifically focused on federal laws and regulations creating appropriate IAQ standards and discouraging adoption of state and local laws inconsistent with federal laws and/or generally accepted standards.

Purpose 7 - Provide timely, high-quality, comprehensive, and economical learning opportunities for IAQA members that address current member learning needs and, wherever possible, enable members to earn and re-qualify for credentials (certification) supported by IAQA.

Purpose 8 - Develop and utilize more effective governance methods for leadership selection, leadership preparation, decision-making, and transitioning.

Purpose 9 - Determine how IAQA’s purposes and objectives can be best achieved vis-à-vis chapters, and adjust current structures and relationships accordingly.

Purpose 10 - Develop an appropriate menu of IAQA products and services closely related to IAQA purposes that offer members a true market value (quality and cost).

Purpose 11 - Re-evaluate IAQA’s research experience and consider ways and means to allocate IAQA limited research assets to achieve results of greater value and relevance to more members.

Purpose 12 - Develop and maintain ways and means of better communicating with IAQA stakeholders, including members, leaders, member prospects, unification partners, media, lawmakers and regulators, and allied-related organizations.

Publication date: 01/29/2007

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