Sunday, August 23, 2015

How To Make Certification Part of Your Company's Brand

By Todd W. Thomas
Managing Director

Consumers flock to credentials.

It’s a fact.

Go back 30 or 40 years to the days when auto mechanics were among the least trusted people in society.  The ranked below door-to-door salesmen, lawyers and even members of Congress among the least honest professionals. 

Those days are largely gone, and as it turned out, the shady shade tree mechanic wasn’t run off by angry car owners.  Rather, they were replaced by Mr. Goodwrench™, ASE™ Automotive Service Technicians, and other credentialed professionals whom the general public came to recognize as dependable and professional.

As a quick aside, it should be noted that many independent auto mechanics were included in the group of credentialed professionals.  Nor should it be presumed that prior to this move towards certified technicians were all mechanics dishonest.  That is simply not the case.

However, it was difficult for many motorists – especially those who were in need of mechanics while traveling, or when in a new town – to determine which of them were trustworthy.  It wasn’t that ethical, skilled mechanics weren’t available to the general public, it’s just that the only way to determine who they were was by trial and error.

So, the automotive industry put its collective heads together and – to simply a process that took approximately two decades – created credentials that the general public came to recognize.

That is where the automated vehicular gate community is today.  We are in the formative years of helping the general public recognize the professionals in our industry.

Certification is open to anyone who wants to participate.  It is not exclusionary.  However, history provides no evidence that unprofessional players have any interest in going through the process of earning credentials, and even those who might, would come out of the process with a new view of their business model.

NOMMA has worked side by side with the Door and Access Systems Manufacturers Association (DASMA), the International Door Association (IDA) and the American Fence Association (AFA) to produce two important certification programs:

·             Automated Gate Operator Installer Certification (AGOIC)
·             Automated Vehicular Gate Systems Designer Certification (AVGSDC)

Both are administered by IDEA, a non-profit credentialing and educational institute that was created in 1996 by the door industry, and which has since broadened its programs to include companies and individuals in the automated gate industry.

The AGOIC program was launched in 2008 and has experienced robust activity since the first testing was offered at AFA FenceTech show the same year.  The course of study used for this certification is largely the basis of the Operator Installer School.  Since its inaugural year, more than 900 individuals have enrolled in the AGOIC program, and more than 600 have been issued the credential.

The AVGSDC course was offered at this year’s FenceTech in Orlando, and already has issued 78 credentials and more than 100 have enrolled.

Both of these programs are produced and maintained by IDEA through the Automated Vehicular Gate Systems Coalition.  Brent Nichols of Picasso Gate services as NOMMA’s representative on this coalition.

How does this help me?

Voluntary credentialing may be the most powerful and cost effective marketing tool available to AFA members.  Here’s why:

·             Certified individuals and their companies are permitted use of the trademarked logo for letterhead, business cards, advertising and any other marketing item.  Consumers frequently recognize such emblems as a qualifying mark, and will limit the field of potential product and service providers to those displaying the logos.
·             Using information to draw attention to one’s certification(s) in sales proposals and bids can often make the difference between getting a major contract or losing out on the basis of price.
·             Promoting one’s certification can lead to more business.  As word spreads that there are credentials in the automated gate industry, more specifications, facility managers and public officials may begin to require them.
·             Since a strong emphasis of certification is public safety and strict adherence to UL 325 and ASTM F2200, insurers and risk managers are especially attracted to the credentials.

It is imperative that the automated gate industry continue the push towards professional installations.  Each time there is a tragedy involving one of the industry’s products, the question is asked in the media, Why did this happen?  All too often the answer to that question is a lack of adherence to manufacturer instructions and nationally recognized safety standards that apply to the automated vehicular gate system.  Although certification is not a warranty against such failures in the installation process, it does require the installer to learn the proper and safe installation methods and defines the certification bearer as a professional who is always expected by the issuer to do so.

Most importantly, certification is frequently the answer to the question: Why should I hire you instead of your competitor?  As more professionals become certified, the easier it becomes for the consumer to separate them from the field. 

How Will the General Public Know What Certification Means?

Certification has become the most widely recognized form of professional recognition in all service and construction-related trades.  A frequent misunderstanding among industry participants is that it is important for the general public to recognize the acronym of the certifying organization.  This is not true.

For example, ASE Certified Automotive Technicians were used as one of the types of credentials used in that field.  Most people recognize the certification as one that required specialized training and some form of documentation – such as a test – to validate the individual as certified.  That’s the part that matters to consumers, and that is why it’s irrelevant that most people do not, in fact, know what “ASE” stands for.

Your customers will view your certification(s) the same way.  Earning and utilizing these credentials also gives you the opportunity to tell your story in the proposal and sales process.

Certification is a remarkable sales and marketing tool, because it validates through an independent, non-profit third party organization that which others can only claim. 

Now, go ahead and Google “ASE.”

For more information or to register on-line for AGOIC and/or AVGSDC, visit, or call Debra Welhener at 937-698-1027.

Friday, July 3, 2015

NOMMA Rolls Out Member Savings Program

Beginning July 1st, 2015 additional value has been added to your NOMMA membership through a new program which will save you and your company significant time and money.

The new program, NOMMA Member Savings, , offers collective buying power through our 150,000 business Buying Group Alliance which is administered by Member Savings Program Inc. Suppliers include Grainger, Ferrellgas, Staples, Office Max, Office Depot, ADP Payroll, Hewlett Packard, Exxon/Mobil, Ignite/ First Data Credit Card Processing, Wright Express (WEX) as well as over 20 other companies. These suppliers offer significant savings on your day to day business and personal purchases.

Significant savings opportunities include Grainger Tools (19% average savings), ADP Payroll (25% average savings), Hewlett Packard, Office Max and Staples (20% average savings).

“This program was developed in response to NOMMA member feedback and offers outstanding value for NOMMA members with the opportunity to save significant money on products and services members already buy. Members can go to  and use the Savings Calculator on the home page to see what they can save. Members who take advantage of these savings will pay for their NOMMA membership many times over ” stated Todd Daniel, NOMMA Executive Director.

 You can register for this free, exclusive, value added NOMMA program by going to .

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

NOMMA and Naylor LCC Form Partnership

NOMMA is pleased to announce that we have chosen to work with Naylor Association Solutions as our official integrated media communication partner. Naylor provides advertising, publication and media services that build your company’s image and link your brand with buyers in the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry. We are partnering with Naylor to provide the following:

o   Fabricator, print and digital bi-monthly magazine
o   Annual Buyers’ Guide, print and digital
o   Monthly eNewsletter

 By affiliating your organization with NOMMA, you are making an excellent investment in your business and brand. We are confident that our partnership with Naylor will continue to increase the unmatched educational, networking and promotional opportunities already included in our membership.

NOMMA’s full complement of communications options delivers your message to key members who specify products, lead projects and approve purchases on behalf of their companies. This is your opportunity to advertise and promote your products and services to a major purchasing audience.

NOMMA is proud to serve as the nation’s leader in the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry and as the voice of the profession. Our media outlets provide valuable opportunities to present in-depth perspectives on the vast array of issues important to our membership.

Since 1969, Naylor has crafted custom communication solutions for businesses like yours. When you advertise with NOMMA through Naylor, you can expect:

Top-quality exposure to key decision-makers with purchasing power
Professional advertising design services
Ongoing customer service support

Naylor is also committed to complying with the standards established by the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). If you do not wish to be emailed by a Naylor representative, please contact Tabitha Jenkins, Project Manager, at immediately to have your address removed from Naylor’s lists.

Tell the ornamental and miscellaneous metals industry about your business’ quality product or service and that you stand with your peers in support of our association. When an account executive from Naylor contacts you, please consider allocating part of your advertising budget to placing your message in NOMMA media.

Todd Daniel
Executive Director

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2015 Top Job & Service Award Winners

The following awards were presented during the METALfab Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 14, in King of Prussia, PA. Congratulations to all winners! To see the Top Job winners online, visit the NOMMA Flickr Account

2015 NOMMA/NEF Service Awards

Julius Blum Award for outstanding contributions the industry
Upper Midwest Chapter of NOMMA

Frank A. Kozik Award for outstanding volunteerism
Terry Barrett, Pinpoint Solutions

Clifford H. Brown Award for outstanding contributions to education
Dave Filippi, FabCAD Inc.

President’s Silver Star Award for outstanding contributions to membership growth
Dave White Jr., Locinox USA

2015 Ernest Wiemann Top Job Contest Winners

1=Gold, 2=Silver, 3=Bronze

A. Gates, Driveway – Nonforged
1 Compass Ironworks
2 Atlas Custom Metalwork
3 BenFab Inc.

B. Gates, Driveway - Forged
1 Sergey Sakirkin Blacksmith
2 Klahm & Sons Inc.
3 Art's Work Unlimited

C. Interior Railings - Ferrous, Nonforged
1 Finelli Architectural Iron & Stairs 
2 Groll Ornamental Iron Works
3 L & L Ornamental Iron

D. Interior Railings - Nonferrous, Nonforged
1 Big D Metalworks
2 Living Design Studios
3 Rod Iron Rod

E. Interior Railings - Ferrous, Forged
1 Maynard Studios Inc.
2 Medwedeff Forge & Design
3 Loyal Wrought Iron Co. Ltd.2

F. Exterior Railings & Fences – Nonforged
1 Finelli Architectural Iron & Stairs 
2 A2 Fabrication Inc.
3 Living Design Studios

G. Exterior Railings & Fences – Forged
1 Klahm & Sons Inc.
2 Metcalfe Roush Forge & Design 
3 Custom Metals Inc.

H. Furniture & Accessory Fabrication – Nonforged
1 Heirloom Stair & Iron Inc.
2 C.T. and  S. Metalworks
3 Allen Architectural Metals Inc.

I. Furniture & Accessory Fabrication – Forged
1 Sergey Sakirkin Blacksmith
2 Heirloom Stair & Iron Inc.
3 Steel Welding

J. Gates/Doors - Nonforged
1 Finelli Architectural Iron & Stairs 
2 Metal Head Inc.
3 Lightning Forge

K. Gates/Doors – Forged
1 Atrium Homes
2 Wiemann Metalcraft
3 Loyal Wrought Iron Co. Ltd.2

L. Stairs Complete - Commercial
1 Heirloom Stair & Iron Inc.
2 Couturier Iron Craft Inc.
3 Custom Metals Inc.

M. Stairs Complete - Residential
1 Vasquez Custom Metals Inc.
2 M. Cohen & Sons Inc.
3 Flaherty Iron Works Inc.

N. Structures
1 Migala Metal Designs
2 MDO Welding & Fab.
3 Big D Metalworks

O. Unusual Ornamental Fabrication
1 Artistic Iron Works Inc.
2 C.T. and  S. Metalworks
3 Flaherty Iron Works Inc.

P. Restoration
1 Finelli Architectural Iron & Stairs 
2 Allen Architectural Metals Inc.
3 Majka Railing Co. Inc.

Q. Art/Sculpture
1 Couturier Iron Craft Inc.
2 Medwedeff Forge & Design
3 Compass Ironworks

Mitch Heitler Award for Excellence

D2 Big D Metalworks