IFAI goes to Washington

Trade associations such as IFAI have always had a powerful impact on legislation, which translates to the bottom line for textile manufacturers and suppliers.

Figure 16

Shortly after the Supreme Court reversed its hostile attitude toward trade associations (1921–1925), President Hoover supported the creation of trade associations despite the belief that they violated antitrust laws. The GOP, in control of the Federal Trade Commission, refused to enforce antitrust laws and promoted the foundation of more trade associations, based on the belief that businesses within industries could improve efficiency by cooperatively determining prices and costs.

Figure 17

Awnings—widely used to cool homes during the first half of the 20th century—are once again being recognized for their energy-saving properties, in part thanks to IFAI’s Professional Awning Manufacturers Association’s (PAMA) “Awning Energy Study II: The Impact on Energy Use and Peak Demand of Awnings and Roller Shades in Residential Buildings.” The study provides data on how the use of awnings and roller shades affects cooling energy savings and utility costs in 50 cities across the U.S. As a result, the Department of Energy focuses on improving energy efficiency for homes and the use of awnings as part of that solution.

Figure 18

J.C. Egnew and Outdoor Venture Corp., Stearns, Ky., along with others involved in the United States Industrial Fabrics Institute (USIFI), spends a significant amount of time lobbying Congress on behalf of U.S. fabricators. Paramount among the lobbying efforts are those concerning the Berry Amendment, which requires the U.S. Department of Defense to give preference in procurement to domestically produced, manufactured or home-grown products.

In another effort under the umbrella of USIFI, Egnew helped form a subcommittee of tent makers to fund a study determining why there was such a shortage of tents when the U.S. entered the war in Iraq. “What we’ve accomplished [through our efforts] is the War Reserve Funding, which basically keeps a level of funding during peacetime,” Egnew says. “And the inventory made during peacetime builds a war reserve inventory of shelters.”

Jessica Bies is a freelance writer based in St. Peter, Minn.
Sigrid Tornquist is a freelance author and editor based in St. Paul, Minn. She is also the associate editor of InTents magazine, a publication of the Industrial Fabrics Association International.