VSI's Annual 'Year in Review' with President & CEO Kate Offringa
By Don Browne
When a trade association celebrates 45 years of existence and continues to be relevant and even more impactful and essential to the industry it serves, this milestone year is much more than a mere marker – it’s a promise of greater things to come.
This is what 2023 has meant for the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI), according to VSI President and CEO Kate Offringa.
“The 45th-anniversary commemorations and festivities at the VSI Annual Meeting in the spring featured a timeline of fond memories and watersheds,” Kate said. Members helped create an anniversary video compilation by submitting individual video testimonials about VSI and industry successes over the years.
And the VSI 45th anniversary commemoration had to make room for another big celebration – the 25th anniversary of VSI’s Product Certification Program. “Talk about an embarrassment of riches!” Kate beamed. “What started in 1998 as a consensus of manufacturers committed to forging consistent product quality and raising consumer confidence has emerged into an ISO/IEC 17065 accreditation program (with certification granted by Intertek as a Certification Body) and over 700 certified products.”
Along the way, the VSI Product Certification Program added new standards for wind load addition and multiple types of polymeric siding that led to greater involvement in the ASTM arena.
On top of these special commemorations, 2023 also saw new watersheds that will warrant future anniversary celebrations. In October, VSI’s Workforce Development team reached their goal set in 2019 of recruiting 10,000 participants in their VSI-Certified Installer Program well ahead of their 2024 deadline.
“It was the culmination of an amazing team effort to expand our network of professionals, establish meaningful partnerships (including the Leading Builders of America and their Building Talent Foundation) and create an -in-house LMS (learning management system) that busy professionals could access from anywhere – even on a job site,” Kate said.
The biggest accomplishment of 2023 – Kate noted – has been the launch of the Revinylize Recycling Collaborative, a national initiative for increasing post-consumer recycling of rigid vinyl, with verification by GreenCircle Certified. This collaboration was made possible in part by a generous grant from the Vinyl Institute’s VIABILITY™ Recycling Grant Program and meaningful partnerships with manufacturers, installers, recyclers, distributors and other collection sites.
Utilizing best practices adapted from our successful pilot recycling program in Northeast Ohio, Revinylize aims to recycle 5 million tons of post-consumer vinyl building materials in 2025. The program’s November launch followed a year-long effort that included tremendous support from VSI members and a growing list of industry partners and stakeholders.
In 2023, VSI also accomplished the following:
- VSI’s advocacy efforts in 2023 helped pass legislation in Indiana that penalizes jurisdictions for building material and product bans.
- Architectural Design Program. VSI reached over 1,000 additional architects, designers and engineers with its online educational content through Hanleywood.
- Energy Efficiency. The VSI team, along with numerous VSI members and consultants, created a guide, “Polymeric Cladding over Continuous Insulation Construction Details for Energy Code Compliance.” VSI also presented its product category’s sustainability attributes to the National Association of State Energy Officials.
- Marketing/Communications. VSI officially launched a new social media channel, TikTok, to help increase website traffic, and provide followers with the latest industry news, trends, tips and tactics.
Looking Ahead to 2024
Building upon 45 years of success across these multiple issue areas, the VSI Board of Directors is leading the way in writing the next chapter for the trade association.
In 2024, VSI will transition into the Polymeric Exterior Products Association (PEPA) and broaden its membership from polymeric claddings to all polymeric exterior building products. This exciting change will help strengthen industry efforts in advocacy, sustainability, workforce development and more.
“It’s an exciting time of celebration and growth,” said Kate, “and the team here is thrilled to work with the members to build the future.”
Don Browne is a writer, entrepreneur and local legislator who believes that the power of words can change the world. He provides unique writing services for clients in the construction, health care, IT and hospitality sectors. He has a passion for small business and start-ups, as well as writing about Irish history, family and corporate biographies. As a homeowner and father of four who is passionate about community development, Don looks forward to writing more about the exciting possibilities of creating traditional neighborhoods and more sustainable communities using modern materials.