Vos Glass, Inc. was founded in 1982 by my parents, Jake and Barb Vos, with partners John Merryweather and Nelson Veltman. That same year their fledgling company joined the National Glass Association and the Associated Builders & Contractors, Inc., West Michigan Chapter. They recognized that active participation in trade associations would be helpful to the firm.
During the past thirty years, Vos Glass, Inc. has expanded from commercial projects to offer residential and automotive glass. Our company continues a journey that has always been rewarding, taking us to new levels of achievement and expertise. Participation in trade associations is an important part of our story.
In the early 90s, I believed it was necessary to rally the glass companies in Michigan to tackle issues that faced the industry, specifically pertaining to automotive glass. These actions led to the formation of the Michigan Glass Association (MGA).
At that time, automotive insurance companies imposed restrictions limiting where customers could go for auto glass and collision repairs. This was a key issue for auto glass service providers and body shops and it left customers with a narrow range of options. In 1994, with the help of the MGA, I began a ten-year campaign for state legislation that would ban this practice. Our efforts were rewarded in 2004, when Governor Jennifer Granholm signed the bill into law.
This is an example of the power of a trade association to represent and advocate on behalf of its membership. Working with the MGA, I had far greater impact than I would have had as an individual from a single small business. A strong trade association represents its members to legislators and policy makers. By uniting the voices of the industry, it can accomplish much more than any one person or company.
Trade associations also:
- Represent their members to the public, speaking for the industry about relevant events or emerging trends.
- Enhance the perception of your company as an established, reputable organization, and give you and your staff credibility as professionals who know their stuff.
- Offer you the opportunity to network with and learn from fellow members.
- Open the door to professional development.
At Vos Glass, we never stop learning. Our employees receive ongoing education to ensure that every person can bring top-of-the-line skills to his or her job. Our many awards for safety attest to our commitment to a carefully planned program of safety training.
Trade associations also open up ways to give back to your community and your industry. We’ve recently become involved in ASAM’s Hard Hat Development, an initiative designed to train the next generation of construction workers.
Linda J. Vos-Graham, president, Vos Glass, Inc.