Being involved in trade associations, such as IFAI’s PAMA (Professional Awning Manufacturers Association) and the Canvas Products Association (Zone 7), really opened my eyes to what the industry was doing outside of Pittsburgh. When I first started going to meetings in 1977 we had never done a dome awning; I don’t think anybody in this city had. Nobody was welding frames at that time. Going to those first meetings and talking to other people involved in the industry and seeing pictures of what they were working on gave our company a big step forward. It took us out of our little cocoon. Even though we thought we were really good—which we were—we weren’t as good as we could be. I’ve met so many people at the Zone 7 and PAMA meetings who weren’t afraid to talk to us about what they were doing in their businesses—what worked and what didn’t work. Many of them are still friends today. Can I put a dollar amount on what the value has been over the years I’ve been involved? No, I can’t. But it’s definitely had a big impact on the way we do things.