InTents April/May 2022 - 8

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Q&A with IFAI board chair Amy Bircher
Q: What are going to be your priorities as
IFAI's new board chair?
A: I would like to see the continuation of the
strength and growth of IFAI as it has evolved
into an association that is much bigger than
what it had been historically. And what I
mean by that is, IFAI and all of the senior
members within IFAI have worked really
hard to bring brand awareness to people
outside of IFAI, so that they are not just
in speciic markets that relate to awning,
marine and tent. There's nothing wrong
with that, but they are so much more than
just that and they've worked really hard on
that identity.
One of the other things that we'd
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like to grow or do better is leadership
development for the IFAI board, harnessing
the future leaders that are interested in
board participation. We're going to start
a more robust leadership development
program from a board level to bring
awareness that the opportunities to
participate and the volunteer positions for
the board exist.
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12/17/21 9:49 PM
EDITOR'S NOTE:
This is an excerpt from an article that
appeared in the January 2022 issue
of Specialty Fabrics Review magazine.
To read the full article, visit
www.SpecialtyFabricsReview.com.
Photo courtesy of ©
Mark Skalny Photography
Q: What challenges is the industry facing,
and how is IFAI supporting the industry
in those challenges?
A: Obviously as a number one thing, supply
chain and logistics and price increases and
things that the country, no matter what
industry you're in, is facing right now. But
that's countrywide, worldwide, no matter
what industry you're in.
I think our industry really has to be
incredibly diligent on inding new people
to replace the aging workforce. We have to
get creative; we have to continue to have
the discussions ... about a mentor/mentee,
or apprentice, and transfer that tribal
knowledge, that invaluable knowledge.
They've worked hard their entire career
and they deserve to retire.
How do we get within that brain and
transfer it to younger people to learn and
grow so that we have people that want
8 intents april-may 2022
to be in this industry? I would say that's
a big challenge that the industry is facing,
that is a long-term problem and not just
something that is shorter term that we're
facing right now.
Q: As a board member and now coming
into the board chair position, how do
you make sure that you know what the
members are concerned about and
worried about?
A: I'm trying to connect with the different
divisions that we have right now on a
personal level. I [recently participated] in a
PAMA [Professional Awning Manufacturers
Association] event to just connect and hear
and meet them ... just to connect with them,
" Here's who I am, I'm going to be your new
board chair and I don't know any of you. I'm
not in the awning industry, but I'm here and
I just want you to know who I am and to
say hello. "
So, from my perspective, I would like
to connect with the different division
members and try to bring them into the
fold of the IFAI as a whole, because I don't
want them to think, " OK, well, I'm just an
awning company and I just want to stay
here. And I'm sort of afraid to branch out
and meet other people. " I think that's fun
for me, to try to be a connector.
Q: If you look at our industry, what
makes you optimistic and what are you
excited about?
A: There are some unbelievably innovative
programs that are being developed and
implemented from a sustainability, ecofriendly
side within our country. We
have an opportunity from reshoring and
sustainability put together, where we're
creating jobs, products and programs
that are 100% made in the USA that are
sustainable and employing Americans. If
we can all come together and work hard
together to keep that on the rails, I think
we've got an exciting future in our industry.
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InTents April/May 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of InTents April/May 2022

InTents April/May 2022 - Cover1
InTents April/May 2022 - Cover2
InTents April/May 2022 - 1
InTents April/May 2022 - 2
InTents April/May 2022 - 3
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