2014 Winnipeg Conference Report

Fenestration Canada 2014 Winnipeg Conference Report — Successful on all counts!

June 23, 2014

The Fenestration Canada Annual Meeting and Conference held at the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg, Manitoba saw just under 200 participants register for meetings, social activities and various program events. It was one of the most successful offerings ever!

The association wishes to acknowledge the tremendous support received from sponsors and Fenestration Manitoba for helping make this event what it was. We wish to particularly underscore the tireless contribution of Al Dueck (Duxton Windows), who persevered in promoting the conference and effectively dispelling any misperceptions anyone had about Winnipeg as a site for the conference.

We truly appreciate the tremendous response for the numerous delegates who attended and benefited from great program content and networking opportunities that were offered.

Canada’s window and door manufacturing industry working its way through some substantial changes and it has become increasingly important to more extensively involve and engage the fabricators – coast to coast - directly. The association launched a Fabricators’ Council to accomplish part of this objective. However, the annual AGM has also become an important venue where the entire industry can review, discuss and deal with imminent changes. And, the 2014 AGM hosted in the Fenestration Valley in Winnipeg has gained an even more important role in that process as judged by all stakeholders.

Fenestration Canada easily exceeded the projected attendance, delivered an extensive package of programming and activities that easily met expectations and were greeted with the entrenched Friendly Manitoba hosting. It was very significant that something in excess of 30 fabricators were registered and that included 11 from Manitoba. This is very significant in the overall greater involvement and specifically in the objective of achieving greater engagement by affiliate associations.

The event was hosted by Fenestration Manitoba and launched with a dual set of activities – a combined FenCan/Man annual golf and dinner event as well as an unusual but engaging Street Party in the Exchange District. Fortunately, the weather proved to be almost ideal for the Rossmere Golf & Country Club setting with moderate temperatures and slightly overcast skies. The evening cooled off considerably and yet a sizeable crowd of golfers and early registrants “entered the ally party” organized by Ethero event management.

FenCan Executive Director Robert Rivard had pre-scouted and booked the Hotel Fort Garry as the event host location and it proved to be an excellent match. Registering guests found a beautifully appointed entrance area with engaging Round Room just across. Meeting facilities and food services proved to be equally effective and the central location allowed for easy access to a variety of activities and functions including the very nearby Forks.
One of the key activities of Thursday included the Fabricators’ Council meeting followed by an open round table discussion during lunch. JF Kogovsek chaired a lively discussion, intended to draw out the issues important to the fabricators. Both the council meeting and the open discussion were very well attended and brought some strongly felt views and concerns to the table.

The executive, board and several committee groups joined Full AGM registrants for a get acquainted event at Fort Gibraltar, just across the Esplanade in St Boniface. A sellout crowd enjoyed an exploratory tour of the Fort lifestyle including an axe throwing contest, won handily by Heather Arntson going 3 for 3! Dinner was served and followed by an opportunity to explore the city on a beautiful summer evening, some enjoying the opening night of the Winnipeg Jazz Festival in the Exchange.

Some key presentations (now available on the members’ portal in the resource centre) and discussions on Friday included Al Jaugelis as well as Murray Frank on NAFS. This day of technical programming also included ENERGY STAR updates by remote presentation as well as a special presentation from Tom Akerstream, Manitoba Hydro. It should be noted that the Companions’ program featuring the Hermetic tour drew literally rave reviews. A bus coordinated tour of several sites was led by a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic Don Finkbeiner from Heartland International Travel & Tours Ltd.

Friday night featured the formal President’s dinner complete with attendance of the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba and highlighted by the CP Loewen award presentation to a local entrepreneur, William A Fast. Bill and his family were specifically recognized for their innovative leadership of Willmar Windows, resulting in the creation of Canada’s largest window manufacturing operation in the mid 90’s. Bill also demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the world around him/us in trying to create/leave a better world. A long term senior involvement in IDE (amongst other philanthropy commitments) has resulted in huge improvements in the lives of the poorest in the world. A very energetic Ukrainian dance performance by Troyanda featured the dramatic Hopak in a concluding dance.

A slightly modified program included several interesting presentations on Saturday morning following the Annual meeting. DUHA group presented their highly beneficial implementation of a continuous improvement program. This was followed by Wade Miller discussing change management and leadership amidst the dramatic changes on-going with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. It was very clear that the smaller Saturday crowd was quite impressed by the additional professional learning opportunity.

Pat Flannery, editor of Fenestration Review, was visibly present at most sessions and reported virtually live. Pat’s tweets visible at Fenestration Review included highlight photos!

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