EIMA’s Annual Meeting, held March 25 in conjunction with AWCI and CISCA’s conventions in Nashville, discussed several keypoints during its yearly gathering. The EIFS manufacturers association enters a new phase as it partners with AWCI and is on the eve of announcing a new executive director prior to Steve Klamke’s departure last year.

AWCI’s President Jim Keller joined Dryvit’s President and EIMA Secretary Peter Balint in explaining the new relationship between the two organizations, which was formally announced in February. Keller explained that the two-year partnership is not a merger. He said EIMA’s technical resources complements AWCI's marketing, applicator program and core group of contractor members.

“EIMA will remain EIMA-make no mistake about it,” Keller said at AWCI’s Opening and Awards Presentation Brunch, held on March 27.

The two said EIMA’s new executive director is expected to be announced soon.

David Boivin, EIMA president, holding the same title at Sto, opened the general session with encouragement despite the current economic trends. He predicted housing growth will resume by the second half of the year and that President Obama’s stimulus plan will improve the housing market. Boivin announced that EIMA is organizing an advocacy committee to educate legislators about the green benefits of EIFS since a number of green building initiatives are part of the stimulus.

Dryvit’s Vice President, Marketing and Sustainability Tony Stall explained the mission of the EIMA Green Advocacy Committee. Stall said EIMA hopes that the committee will help position EIFS energy efficient performance and other benefits in the administration’s pro-green strategy. The group’s action steps include strategies such as lobbying the DOE and EPA, partnering with other like-minded organizations, funding initiatives through private venture capital and promoting the committee's activities through the media.

Communications Committee Getting the Word Out; New PowerPoint Pending Alec Minné, Sto Corp. Director - Marketing & Planning, and chairman of the EIMA Communications Committee, summarized the committee's internal and external outreach efforts.

Advertising, marketing and public relations strategies were used to present the benefits of EIFS and EIMA to key audiences such as architects and building code officials. He was joined by BASF Wall Systems’ Kent Stumpe and Jamie Makuuchi of ParexLahabra, each reporting on developing an EIFS PowerPoint presentation for general use, as well as the basis for an AIA CEU program. In addition, a new brand protection program was demonstrated by showing how it was used to respond to negative stories in the media that arose following the Monte Carlo Hotel fire in Las Vegas last January.

The EIMA Technical Committee’s update was presented by Bill Preston of Dryvit Systems. Preston explained how EIFS adoption into the international model building codes helps former detractors of the industry to now realize the advantages of EIFS. He announced Phase III of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory study is set to begin in September 2009. This next phase, according to Preston, will involve creation of a general model based on data from the two previous NET facility testing programs. Once completed, the model will provide similar data predictions for any climate zone in the country. Preston also reviewed current and pending ASTM standards, and he detailed EIMA’s efforts to appeal to the IECC to adopt a code change for inspecting sheet-type barriers, as well as the current inspection of liquid-applied barriers.

ParexLahabra’s Buck Buchanan, vice president of sales and marketing and EIMA board member, offered an EIFS retrospective and vision for the future. After a review of EIFS evolution and timeline from 1969 to present day, Buchanan encouraged the audience to work harder to educate architects, building owners and code officials. He urged a re-emphasis of how EIFS has come full circle back to its roots as a high-performing wall system that offers more flexible design and affordability. He also encouraged EIFS manufacturers to take business away from brick and other cladding competitors, and not from each other.