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ISSFA Changes
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Russ Lee
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28 Sep 2008 05:54 PM
    As Jon mentioned on another thread, ISSFA is making some changes. The board of directors voted to change association by-laws to embrace all premium surfacing options and recommends adoption by the entire membership. That is the first step in the process. As I understand it, the Articles of Incorporation must also be amended – which requires a positive vote by at least 2/3 of the voting membership.

    Todd Werstler explained at the regional meeting that the core reason for the proposed change is that the majority of ISSFA members fabricate and/or market other surfaces. Since ISSFA’s current mission statement is to serve the needs of its members, expanding the scope to include other surfaces seems a logical step towards achieving that goal.

    I can hear it now, “If ISSFA can’t represent solid surface properly, what makes them think they can take on other products?!!?”

    Point well taken. No disagreement here.

    There are other changes in the offing as well. One minor adjustment is I have been asked to serve as communications consultant, which I am pleased to do. I will help coordinate the shift in focus as it relates to ISSFA members, the fabrication community, specifiers and end-users.

    To that end, we have begun putting into place an action plan that will directly address the need to promote key segments of the surfacing industry. I hope you will bear with me if I don’t discuss details of the plan at this point – not because anyone wants to keep secrets, rather that ISSFA has a reputation for making promises and not following through. Let’s see some action first, then talk about how to tweak the results . . .

    I have also secured permission to act as spokesman for ISSFA on FabNet and other appropriate venues. Your questions and comments are welcome. I can only promise to give the straight shot as best I can with no marketing gobblety-gook thrown in. Of course, from time to time, there may be confidences I am unable to share until the time is appropriate. But my goal is to provide transparency, good information and honesty – even if you or someone else doesn’t like what I say.

    As an aside, I thought there was a lot of the old ISSFA energy at the regional meeting in Devens. Jon and crew did a fantastic job as hosts, the speakers were exceptional, the hotel, food and entertainment was awesome (except golfing, which was rained out) and the ISSFA staff performed admirably. I learned a ton at the meeting which I can use in my business today (even though I am no longer a fabricator) and made personal connections at the meeting which are far more valuable than that produced by any other marketing activity.

    Sorry for the long post and the extensive use of the personal pronoun.

     

    Russ


    If you care to talk privately, my phone number is 801.766.4572 email is russ at sitesNsolutions.com

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    28 Sep 2008 09:46 PM

    All:

    Since I am one of the first people to criticize ISSFA, let me be the first to compliment the wisdom of making Russ Lee their spokesman here and elsewhere.

    For those of you that don't know Russ, he goes all the way  back in ISSFA and Solid Surface Magazine as Editor, has known and knows and is respected by everyone who's ever been a player in this industry. His integrity is beyond reproach and unlike me, he doesn't seem to rub anyone the wrong way on occasion. His ability to keep his finger on the pulse of the industry is unmatched.

    Russ, your support of ISSFA makes sitting on the join ISSFA/drop ISSFA fence much more difficult and I'm glad of it. You can use all the damn personal pronouns you want and it won't be too much for me.

    Sincerely,

    Joe

    Tom M
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    28 Sep 2008 11:32 PM
    All right, since we're throwing compliments around anyway....

    You can tell just from Russ's statement above that Joe is justified in his praise of Russ. For the time I've known him, I have never been steered wrong by him, and there were times when it would have been easier for him to do just that.

    Joe, you deserve a bit of praise as well. So much so that I'm sorry I gave all those guys at Devens the pictures of you with the Thai-Tranny midget hookers.

    Blame me if you get repercussions. Sorry, bud.
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

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    al
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    29 Sep 2008 12:46 AM
    Well,
    this is not a huge surprise.

    So Russ preempted the main question, if Issfa can't represent solid surface or quartz, why are they taking on all surfaces? But preempting the question doesn't make it go away, and as the spokesperson for ISSFA, what is the answer to the question?

    Why should those that built Issfa now support Issfa since they are showing an incredible lack of integrity to the two industries they now represent?
    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
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    29 Sep 2008 01:15 AM
    Posted By Tom M on 09/28/2008 5:32 PM
    All right, since we're throwing compliments around anyway....

    You can tell just from Russ's statement above that Joe is justified in his praise of Russ. For the time I've known him, I have never been steered wrong by him, and there were times when it would have been easier for him to do just that.

    Joe, you deserve a bit of praise as well. So much so that I'm sorry I gave all those guys at Devens the pictures of you with the Thai-Tranny midget hookers.

    Blame me if you get repercussions. Sorry, bud.
    Damn. I paid six large for those pictures and they swore those were the only copies. I should have known better. Oh well, I can kiss my executive directorship of ISSFA goodbye now.

    For the record, they were Cambodian-Tranny midget hookers, just imported to Thailand.

    Thanks, Tom, it's a relief really. Post 'em here for all to enjoy, please.

    Joe

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    29 Sep 2008 01:21 AM
    For the record, they were Cambodian-Tranny midget hookers, just imported to Thailand.

    Cambodian? dang.
     I must have given them my pics instead pics of a different person entirely.

    Did I just say that out loud?
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

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    Eli Polite
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    29 Sep 2008 02:13 AM
    issfa has just reached a point where they know that solid surface hit its stride several years back and has leveled out. it is no longer the premium surface to have in your home. dont get me wrong i like solid surface in some applications but now. i look at solid surface the same way i looked at laminate 10 years ago. there are so many products on the market at this point that are so much better than solid surface. customers are smarter and more informed and B.S. smear campaigns that are targeted at certain products. (radon & granite ) they just dont work and tarnish the reputations of those that continue to press them. ISSFA is making a smart decision but they need to become more organized and reach out to the proper people in each of the respected industries.
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    29 Sep 2008 02:46 AM
     
    Russ,   Is the new organization ready to unite fabricators?   That there in itself  is going to be a challenge.
    insomnia crossed with dyslexia and atheist beliefs may lead one to lay awake all night wondering if there really is a "Dog"
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    29 Sep 2008 03:04 AM
    there are so many products on the market at this point that are so much better than solid surface.

    Politefab, what is your criteria for what makes a good countertop?
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

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    29 Sep 2008 03:08 AM
    I see from another thread your name is Eli. Nice to have you on FabNet, Eli (great name, by the way).
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    -C.S. Lewis
    Russ Lee
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    29 Sep 2008 03:12 AM
    Joe and Tom, you let me off way too easily.

    Al, recent history provides absolutely no logical reason why ISSFA should presume to represent the full complement of surfacing options. The association has suffered from a chronic loss of focus for too long. Neither would I presume to expect you to believe that it is changing now just because they finally recognize a change is needed. If I were you, I would take a wait and see attitude before cutting them some slack.

    Skepticism notwithstanding, I believe ISSFA has the heart and will to change. So if you don't want to get on the bus, I hope you won't try to hijack the whole trip. You can drive your own car or ride a bike if you like -- no matter -- the bus has lots of stops to make on the way. I guarantee you, however, the bus ride will be a lot more fun than going it alone.

    My first post was pretty long, so I didn't articulate many specifics. Here's a little more on ISSFA's vision:

    We live and work in a fashion industry, which, almost by definition, means change is a constant. Solid surface has gone from a premiere surfacing option in the residential market to a preferred option. Granite and quartz are "cutting edge" right now, but their time is coming as well. There are lots of new products out there in the development stage that will vie for their place in the sun, and rightfully so.

    Most of these new product categories don't have a home. ISSFA intends to embrace these existing and emerging materials and provide a venue for mfgs to showcase their offerings. They will come from all over the world to demonstrate their wares because this is where the people who have the most influence over the end-user will gather. Fabricators will come because they want to stay current on the latest offerings, become trained in their fabrication and learn how to become better business people.

    It is a given that some of these new products will not take off, but at least their manufacturers will have a venue to give it the best shot possible.

    Eli makes a good point about the changing dynamic of our industry. These days if you are not forward-looking, then you are probably going to be left wondering what happened to your business. Very few markets are static anymore.

    Let's take a specific example that is near and dear to your heart, Al. The issue of radon is a threat to the unity and cohesiveness of our industry. Does ISSFA take a stand on one side or the other? No, and rightfully so. But it does call for the establishment of standardized, verifiable testing procedures conducted by entities not affiliated with either camp. ISSFA is also prepared to help facilitate that effort if appropriate.

    Does ISSFA advocate itself over other industry associations like MIA or ICPA? No. In fact it supports the positive efforts of these organizations to bring advancements to the industry. I, for one, believe MIA's accredidation program, for example, is long overdue and well-conceived.

    Dang, this post is getting too long. To recap, ISSFA is about innovation, new ideas, new products and enlightened people. It will exist to bring all these elements together for the common good and, frankly, to have a good time. David, I think the ultimate unifier is people coming together in an exchange of ideas and methods as well as just bringing people together. I think ISSFA now "gets it" and is committed to that cause.

    Russ

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    29 Sep 2008 03:13 AM
    Posted By politefab on 09/28/2008 8:13 PM
    issfa has just reached a point where they know that solid surface hit its stride several years back and has leveled out. it is no longer the premium surface to have in your home. dont get me wrong i like solid surface in some applications but now. i look at solid surface the same way i looked at laminate 10 years ago. there are so many products on the market at this point that are so much better than solid surface. customers are smarter and more informed and B.S. smear campaigns that are targeted at certain products. (radon & granite ) they just dont work and tarnish the reputations of those that continue to press them. ISSFA is making a smart decision but they need to become more organized and reach out to the proper people in each of the respected industries.

    Actually, it is granite that has only what, 16% of the market share according to the Freedonia report, one point behind Quartz and way behind solid surface at 33% if I remember right.

    Now, after 14 years of the stone industry lying about the issues, we have the radiation and Radon issues being studied by independent university professionals at no cost to the industry.   We have lawyers advertising for clients that own granite countertop, looking for cases to try,  some experts are sayng that  a small percentage can be dangerous and that all are suspect until they are proven safe.   How long will the emotional appeal for granite keep it growing after all of this?

    But there is more, now the heavy metal content might be an issue as well.  There are two cases being looked into currently, hair loss and fingernail damage usually indicating either Arsenic or Selenium, both which are present in some granites.  In one case, Arsenic was tested for in the victims bodies, but not Selenium.  Both cases blame Radon from their granite, wrongfully I might add, but neverless they blamed this sometimes toxic, always untested product that was installed in their home at a large cost.

    Me, I see granite as the new laminate.  People can buy it for less than preformed plastic laminate here in OKC, and while the quality is not great, it is granite.  Heck, it is used in gas station bathrooms and rentals now a days.  Why not use the cheapest products you can find?

    Now, Politefab, a misnomer if there ever was one, why would you say the Radon/granite issue is B.S.?   We have the CRCPD and AARST starting work on setting protocols and maxium levels of exposure, even ASTM has stepped in lately, one of our team members is going to be on the ASTM committee and of course we are represented on both of the other committies.   At AARST Dr. Kitto, Dr. Steck,and Brodhead all published papers or gave sessions on the issues, all showed that Radon and radiation from granite are serious, otherwise the CRCPD (an association of state radiation officials) and AARST wouldn't have started work.

    I would argue that those that continue to argue that Radon and radiation from granite is BS are more likely to have tarnished reputations than those like myself that have exposed the issues.  In fact, we both know that the SFA came out publically and said you guys couldn't lie about the issue any more.  I don' remember you being one of those that begged for the  truth to be suppressed, but I'll look again, I could be wrong.

    I started off thinking that politefab and I have hijacked the thread, but the more I think about it, we are just bringing an important point up.   How will the new Issfa handle things like this?  A dangerous product has been proven to exist in the countertop industry, but many of the members are unwilling to support anything being done about it. 

      And now that ISSFA is supporting every premium material out there, who is left to support the solid surface and quartz manufacturers and fabricators?

    An association that stands for everything stands for nothing.  This is no more than a sell out to those that supported Issfa from the beginning.
    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
    Russ Lee
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    29 Sep 2008 03:22 AM
    Al,

    My only comment is wait and see. I think and I hope you will be pleasantly surprised.
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    29 Sep 2008 03:26 AM
    Al, I asked a nice, short question to the new guy, and I feel like he's not gonna give a rat's patoot about answering it now.

    The man's entitled to his opinion, and I wanted to be quick, not derail the whole freakin' thread. No offense, man, but you just posted a dissertation.
    ...those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    -C.S. Lewis
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    29 Sep 2008 03:39 AM
    Posted By Russ Lee on 09/28/2008 9:12 PM
    Joe and Tom, you let me off way too easily.


    Russ,  now you know that I respect you as a regular guy, but since you have taken on the Issfa spokesperson mantle, I am going to treat you as just that in this thread.  Replies  are inline in colored text.

    Al, recent history provides absolutely no logical reason why ISSFA should presume to represent the full complement of surfacing options.    Absolutely wrong, Issfa was built with the hard earned dollars of solid surface fabricators to represent the solid surface fabricator and the industry in general.   By refusing to do their job, they lost most of their members. The association has suffered from a chronic loss of focus for too long.  And how does adding more products help this chronic loss of focus? Neither would I presume to expect you to believe that it is changing now just because they finally recognize a change is needed. If I were you, I would take a wait and see attitude before cutting them some slack.

    Skepticism notwithstanding, I believe ISSFA has the heart and will to change. So if you don't want to get on the bus, I hope you won't try to hijack the whole trip. You can drive your own car or ride a bike if you like -- no matter -- the bus has lots of stops to make on the way. I guarantee you, however, the bus ride will be a lot more fun than going it alone.

    My first post was pretty long, so I didn't articulate many specifics. Here's a little more on ISSFA's vision:

    We live and work in a fashion industry, which, almost by definition, means change is a constant. Solid surface has gone from a premiere surfacing option in the residential market to a preferred option. Granite and quartz are "cutting edge" right now, but their time is coming as well. There are lots of new products out there in the development stage that will vie for their place in the sun, and rightfully so.

    Most of these new product categories don't have a home.  Russ,  I want for you to imagine yourself a pig farmer for a few minutes.  Now, you have supported the Pork Council for years, along with their ad campaign "The other white meat".  Then the Pork Council starts slacking off, spending the money but not really doing anything to support the industry.   A news report comes out that says Pork is not as good as chicken, beef, fish, mutton, heck even horse meat.  Still the Pork Council does nothing.   Next thing that happens is that serious health issues finally arise from some of the competing meats, and still the Pork Council is silent.   Six months later, the Pork  Council decides to change it's way, the leaders vote to support all premium meats despite who has paid the salaries and bills for many years.  Now, a simple question, has the Pork Council acted with integrity, and if not, why would anyone trust them now?   ISSFA intends to embrace these existing and emerging materials and provide a venue for mfgs to showcase their offerings. They will come from all over the world to demonstrate their wares because this is where the people who have the most influence over the end-user will gather. Fabricators will come because they want to stay current on the latest offerings, become trained in their fabrication and learn how to become better business people.

    It is a given that some of these new products will not take off, but at least their manufacturers will have a venue to give it the best shot possible.

    Eli makes a good point about the changing dynamic of our industry. These days if you are not forward-looking, then you are probably going to be left wondering what happened to your business. Very few markets are static anymore.

    Let's take a specific example that is near and dear to your heart, Al. The issue of radon is a threat to the unity and cohesiveness of our industry. Does ISSFA take a stand on one side or the other? No, and rightfully so. Bull shit, Russ.    Issfa screwed both the quatz industry and the solid surface industry with it's refusal to take a stand.  Issfa was PAID to represent the quartz and solid surface industry.  By remaining silent  they allowed fabricators, shops, and consumers to continue to be harmed. But it does call for the establishment of standardized, verifiable testing procedures conducted by entities not affiliated with either camp.    Okay, show me proof that they have said that, I have never seen it.ISSFA is also prepared to help facilitate that effort if appropriate. Well, you have been missing in action so far, why would we ask now?


    What has changed is now we all know WHY Issfa did not do what they were paid to do when the Consumer Report story came out, and why they did nothing when the Radon/radiation issue was dragged into the daylight.  You guys are just looking for more money and a reason to justify your paychecks.  I say you because you asked to be the spokesperson.


    Does ISSFA advocate itself over other industry associations like MIA or ICPA? No. In fact it supports the positive efforts of these organizations to bring advancements to the industry. I, for one, believe MIA's accredidation program, for example, is long overdue and well-conceived.

    Dang, this post is getting too long. To recap, ISSFA is about innovation, new ideas, new products and enlightened people. It will exist to bring all these elements together for the common good and, frankly, to have a good time. David, I think the ultimate unifier is people coming together in an exchange of ideas and methods as well as just bringing people together. I think ISSFA now "gets it" and is committed to that cause.

    Russ



    More like Issfa exist to pay the salaries of the employees.   It is said that information can't be sold since the internet came into existence, well neither can an overpriced do nothing organization expect to charge members hundreds of dollars for membership while refusing to honor their charge to represent the industry. 

    Issfa is no longer needed, nor is it credible enough to survive.  It offers nothing, absolutely nothing, that can't be had for free here on Fabnet.  And anyone that belives that Issfa will represent fabricators, well, I have a bridge to sell them.

    No doubt the decision to include stone and other products was made out of desparation, but it has to be the stupidest idea I have ever heard of from an association.
    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
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    29 Sep 2008 03:42 AM
    Tom,
    No, he came here to pick a fight. I know this dude from the SFA site.

    Here is a threat from the guy.

    Now again, this issue is germane to this discussion.   If Issfa or anyone else is so interested in setting standards and getting dangerous products off the market, why do those trying to do just that face such tactics?  Why are the majority silent?

    I am going to make an effort to gather what is left of the solid surface industry.  Perhaps what  I will find is that the solid surface industry is getting what it deserves in the way of leadership.  All that I can say is that I did try.
    "if it is so safe, why aren't they supporting the testing?"
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    29 Sep 2008 03:52 AM
    Al, I asked for your opinion and you have given it. Thank you.

    ISSFA is not asking for your money or your support. It is only looking to bring together like-minded individuals who think they can make a positive difference in the industry. Single issue fascinations are pretty much out of the scope of our mission.
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    29 Sep 2008 04:10 AM
    its funny because i get asked that all the time by customers. and it is a simple but complicated question. i fabricate every thing but concrete and thats just because there has been no market for it here. i tell people that all materials have different strengths and weaknesses. so what makes a good counter top is what fits your life style. solid surface can be re surfaced relatively easy and cheep but lacks the natural beauty and strength of stone. engineered stone offers the uniformity of solid surface with some of the strengths of stone. i have in my area seen a dramatic drop off in the solid surface industry and a dramatic increase in stone and engineered stone products. as well as green products

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    29 Sep 2008 04:15 AM
    Al,
    As long as someone contributes to the discussion in a respectful manner ON THIS SITE, what he says on another site is not relevant.
    Linda
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    29 Sep 2008 04:26 AM
    al i have been here for a long time and i have been watching you for a long time as well. and for the record i was an ISSFA member way before i was ever a stone person. i have watched you get booed off of the inspectors forum and i have read many other articles and bleeps where your misleading information has been de bunked. you don't know me al don't pretend to. i dont care if it's granite, engineered stone , solid surface, wood, glass or any other surface if it is a potential risk to my customers i will not sell or stand by it. sile stone has more of a risk with micro ban in it a known pesticide than granite ever will. stone makes up a only a portion of what i sell. its very disheartening to see you going around after hours or on week ends to play with your giger counter in slab yards and other respectable businesses. if you could see the actual fool you have made of your self you may decide to change your out look a little bit. once you have damaged your reputation its near impossible to restore it. wake up al your in a fight you can not win because the hard evidence proves you wrong and nothing you have would even stand up in a court of law
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