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The Southeast Region has been flourishing with activity, due in large part to the 2017 hurricane season. One of the most active on record, with 17 named storms, damages are estimated at $370 billion, making it the most expensive season recorded. As many that serve AAMA's Southeast Region are also residents, the storm made a strong impact in our own lives as well. 

Many of us witnessed firsthand our respective products and components put to the ultimate test and celebrated the many ways we've improved as an industry compared to storms of years passed. I'm amazed at how far we've come since Hurricane Andrew, where homes are now stronger, fortified and better prepared to weather these storms. However, our work is far from over and many homeowners, engineers and building professionals have voiced their opinions loud and clear on opportunities to continue to evolve and improve.

In my own experience conducting damage assessments in the Florida Keys following Hurricane Irma, I saw instances of storm surge, water intrusion, as well as windborne debris size, speed and frequency, that exceeded the design limits of current industry standards.

The recent meeting was an opportune time to come together as an industry to share our findings following these storms and generate new and better ways to prepare for the next one. During this time, we heard from experts within our industry and beyond, including the Florida Building Code Technical Advisory Committee, Miami Dade County Product Control, as well as the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH). We learned about the myths and realities associated with building envelope and fenestration elements, heard a case for updating ASTM E1996 and explored how installation factors into the performance of garage doors under high winds. We also got a southeast legislative update and heard from the AAMA Flashing Committee about the development of installation standards.

I look forward to continuing to collaborate with manufacturers, suppliers, researchers, contractors, engineers and homeowners in the Southeast Region to do what AAMA has done consistently for over 80 years, using science, real world events and our collective knowledge to write standards that improve product performance and collectively improve our industry. We make a stronger impact working together, and I am excited to put our ideas into action to continue to drive the fenestration industry forward.

Dean Ruark, P.E. (PGT), Director of Product Management