USGNN.com Talks with Linda Vos-Graham
on the Importance of Networking
August 12, 2010
Linda Vos-Graham, president of the glazing contractor Vos Glass
Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich., was elected
vice president of the American Subcontractors Association (ASA)
of Michigan earlier this month. The group focuses on topics such
as prompt pay, change orders, contract language and negotiations,
design build, project management and emerging trends in construction.
Vos-Graham recently spoke with the USGlass News Network (USGNN.com)
to share her thoughts on the importance of working with associations.
USGNN: When and why did you first get involved in associations
such as ASA and the Michigan Glass Association (MGA)?
LVG: In 1991, the MGA was starting to unite the glazing industry
in Michigan. At that time, there were three glazing organizations:
the Detroit Glass Dealers Association, the MGA and a union contract
glazing association in the Detroit area. The issues of the time
required unification of the glazing industry of the entire state
to get the political attention needed to make change. This was the
driving reason for my dedication of time and money to the MGA ...
I am very proud to have played such an important role in forming
MGA, passing important legislation and providing a platform for
our industry to be heard. Vos Glass is still an active member today.
I was elected to the Associated Builders and Contractors of Western
Michigan. (ABCWM) board in 1999. This gave me a great opportunity
to meet industry leaders and to educate myself on the complexities
of the local construction community.
In 2008, I was approached to join a newly forming subcontractor
organization. My first thoughts were that it would be an overlap
of services by these other organizations. I couldn't have been more
wrong. The ASA of Michigan has been a great value to me and to Vos
As my roles have changed at Vos Glass so did my personal involvement
in trade organizations.
USGNN: Why is it important for glazing contractors to be involved
in associations such as ASA?
LVG: I believe that by working together we can accomplish changes
that are impossible to do individually. This is one reason why I
am active in trade associations. Every trade association has different
strengths and offers different value. The key is to become involved
and to get the most of your membership.
Bonding and communicating with other subcontractors is invaluable.
ASA of Michigan arranges regular monthly meetings that provide the
opportunity to learn the most current and the most important information
and practices that will help one to become more successful. Included
are such topics as LEED, BIM, contracts, legal issues and liens.
The ASA is priceless because of the dedication and willingness
of its members to share experiences and learn from each other. Subcontractors
have challenges unique to them. I dedicate about one to two hours
weekly to the association to make it stronger and more valuable.
In addition to the planned program learning activities, the opportunities
for networking and informal exchange of information are significant.
ASA also provides websites and publications with exclusive, valuable
information. It also has a library of articles and research papers
available to members.
USGNN: What is one issue you're looking forward to addressing
this year as vice president of the Michigan ASA?
LVG: One of the new important projects of ASA of Michigan, that
I am chairing, is the Contractor of the Year awards. The best prepared
contractors I know are engaging with key trade associations to stay
informed. Also, they are increasing their time attending local and
regional economic presentations.
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