Spotlight on VSI Product Certification Oversight Committee Chair

by Don Browne


“I’ll do whatever’s needed to make vinyl siding better.”


These are the inspiring words of industry veteran Alex Schiel when asked why he chose to become the Vinyl Siding Institute’s (VSI) next Chair for its Product Certification Oversight Committee (PCOC). These words best describe a man who has dedicated himself passionately to vinyl siding manufacturing over his 32-year career with ProVia.

“I toured the ProVia facility in Q1 of last year (2023) and thought it was fabulous that Alex could step into any area of the floor to perform different jobs confidently,” said Sara Krompholz, VSI’s Senior Director, Technical and Certification.

Alex began his career on the ground floor packing products with what was then Heartland Siding in Booneville, Mississippi, in 1992 and moved his way up to Quality & IT Manager with the company that is now ProVia.


Born and raised in Long Beach, California, Alex had an early interest in architecture. After completing some coursework at Long Beach State, he transferred to Las Vegas for school and got a job working in a casino. It was a dream job for a 20-year-old college student, but new laws were enacted soon after that prohibited anyone under 21 from working at or patronizing casinos.

Alex discovered a better life in the vinyl siding industry, thanks to a lead from his aunt.

“My uncle helped me get hired at the factory he worked at in Mississippi. It was an entry-level job, but I loved the work and the business,” Alex said.

His parents still live in California, but Alex has remained in Mississippi, building a successful career in quality management for the vinyl siding sector. He has also built a wonderful life with his wife and two sons. He enjoys working on his house – a historic three-bedroom home on 30 acres, and two other adjacent homes on his property that he rents out. Alex and his wife are big “foodies” who like to try new restaurants.

“My wife is coming with me to New Orleans for the (VSI) Annual Meeting in April, so we plan on dining out a lot,” he said.
While Alex is new in his role as PCOC Chair, he has been involved with the committee for more than 20 years, playing an active role in its success story. As the new Chair, his two biggest goals for PCOC are to:

1) Support the Code Development Work Group (CDWG) in its efforts to add backed siding (ASTM 7445) as a new category with the relevant building codes

2) Wrap the Canadian and U.S. codes together on certification.

These are also the same two goals for the CDWG as the work group prepares for the updating cycle that begins this year.

“Sara is working through the Technical Committee to make backed siding the fourth product type in the Product Certification Program,” Alex said. “This is a massive undertaking since we have not added a product type since insulated vinyl siding in 2012 and will represent a 25% increase to the program’s offerings. We already have three member companies who have expressed strong interest in supporting the addition of backed siding to the program. It’s all very exciting.”

It Takes a Village

While VSI Vice President Matt Dobson and the CDWG are doing all the heavy lifting on putting backed siding into the cycle, not a single committee can do all the work to achieve ultimate success.

“The main role that PCOC plays is ensuring the process,” Alex said. “We’re close to the finish line, but there is a lot we need to do to get products ready, like program documentation drafts, a certification scheme, checklists, plant inspections and other forms that will be worked on by PCOC’s Product Certification Accreditation Work Group (PCAWG).”

As for the second goal, Alex wants to ensure that the PCOC is playing its part in having the Product Certification Program recognized in Canada, especially regarding PCLs (Product Certification Listings) and PERs (Product Evaluation Reports).

“We’re essentially waiting on Intertek to determine any nuances or differences between the Canadian and U.S. codes,” Alex noted. “Intertek is an international certifying body with offices in Canada, so we’re in good shape to move this forward. If we can achieve both goals in 2024, this will be fantastic for us.”

A Bright Future

After celebrating VSI’s 45th anniversary and the Product Certification Program’s 25th anniversary in 2023, Alex is very optimistic about the next 25 years, especially as VSI evolves into the Polymeric Exterior Products Association (PEPA) at the Annual Meeting in April.

“There are so many polymeric products like trims, corner posts and vented soffit that are not covered,” he said. “Our Product Certification Program is set up to certify these and other building materials made from polymers – there are no limits. We don’t want anyone in the polymeric building products industry to feel left out. We want to help them by getting good products certified and on people’s homes.”

A third major goal of Alex’s is to recruit younger professionals to participate in the association as it grows.

“This will be a tremendous opportunity for our ‘youth’ to play an influential role when you consider that the next generation of home buyers do not want cookie cutter houses,” he said. “Our certified products meet the criteria for being both environmentally friendly and creative – the top priorities for tomorrow’s homeowners. This should compel younger members to get involved in our industry, especially from the new downstream PEPA categories like distributors, dealers and homebuilders.”

As the PCOC prepares to meet these objectives in 2024, Sara believes Alex is the right person to lead them. “I’ve known Alex since 2008 and think that he will be very successful in his new role, bringing fresh perspectives and a wealth of industry knowledge,” she said.


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.