When former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens talks about evolution, it's about character. It's about how he and 20 others out of a starting group of 220 recruits graduated from five weeks of "next evolution" testing, as it's called by the commanders of the hardest combat training in the world.
At the American Architectural Manufacturers Association's 75th anniversary luncheon yesterday in Naples, Fla., Greitens described how this training principle forms the core of his post-combat work with "The Mission Continues," a non-profit organization he founded to help wounded and disabled veterans.
Greitens autographed copies of his memoir, "The Heart and the Fist" for appreciative AAMA members.
"Every time you confront fear, every time you push yourself past your physical, mental and emotional limits, your character evolves," Greitens explained. Disabled veterans face painful challenges as they chart a new course to become "purposeful citizen leaders."
Ask an AAMA committee task force member about evolution, and he or she might recall the hours upon grueling hours spent debating, writing and updating the standards that guide the window, door, skylight, curtain wall and storefront industry.
What AAMA volunteer members have achieved over these 75 years is not life-and-limb-perilous work (though the standards they write often address such issues), but there's no doubt their efforts are vital to the welfare of the built environment and its occupants.
It's been a behind-the-scenes labor of "constant adaptation and progress," says AAMA President & CEO Rich Walker, in his upcoming column for Glass Magazine sister publication, Window & Door. Evolution by another name: progress ranging from the North American Fenestration Standard to the 141-location-strong IG Certification Program; from FenestrationMasters with its 70 participating companies to the new Curtain Wall Fasteners publication.
As AAMA founding member Lyon Evans put it, this group of "technical 'smarties'" is rightly proud of their accomplishments. Evans wrote this description of his fellow volunteers in a letter sent in recognition of the diamond anniversary just before he passed away in December at age 93. For AAMA members, his shared sentiments are emblematic of the character, evolution and legacy of their association.
Harris is publisher of Glass Magazine and vice president of publications for the National Glass Association. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.