Interview with John Newland, President of SPIDA

We recently took some time with John Newland, President of SPIDA (the Spiral Duct Manufacturers Assocation), to learn more about the association and the benefits it offers to contractors, engineers, and manufacturers alike. Read more about what John had to say about the state of the industry, trends he sees coming our way, and the benefits of SPIDA. 

Can you give us a brief introduction to who you are and your experience in the industry?

My name is John Newland.  As part of a family-owned business at Hercules Industries, I have pretty much grown up in the HVAC industry, working in the warehouse during the summer months throughout high school and college.  I have been full-time with the company now for ten years, starting my career in commercial outside sales.  I am currently the Regional Manager for our Colorado division. 

What is SPIDA?

SPIDA stands for Spiral Duct Manufacturers Association.  It was started in approximately 1992 by Jan Jorfald.  It was formed to promote the use of round duct, spiral duct (spiral pipe), and flat oval duct by informing the public of its advantages, supporting testing and research of round duct and spiral pipe, and providing manufacturers with specialized information necessary to the efficient operation of the business of the members. 

How would someone become a member?

There are many different levels of memberships.  The top level is a Brad Thomas Research Contributor, and below this is an Industry Supporter, an Associate Member, as well as a newly opened Engineer member.  There are different price levels with each of these memberships along with different benefits.  Whether or not you are a manufacturer of spiral duct, all companies that are associated with the spiral duct industry are welcome. 

What benefits does SPIDA offer its contractor members?

Whether you are a manufacturer, contractor, or indirectly associated with the manufacturing or installation of spiral pipe, the organization provides many benefits.  Members are encouraged to attend both meetings that come twice per year.  The first one is aligned with the AHR show, in which we meet on the Sunday before the show.  The second is our Annual Meeting, which varies in location every year, but is held around the April/May timeframe.  These meetings provide speakers that come from both inside and outside the spiral pipe industry.  We strive to bring in speakers that are applicable to all our members both professionally and personally. 

With members coming throughout the country, the meetings provide an invaluable opportunity to discuss best practices, where many of our members have implemented different ideas to their own respective businesses derived from casual conversations as well as organized, round table discussions.

Members also have the opportunity to access technical data that is produced through many of our different technical projects.  For example, we just completed a flat oval construction standards project, in which the data is currently being adopted into the latest SMACNA construction standards edition. Members also have the opportunity to give ideas to the board for any future technical project they see fit and needed. 

If an engineer wereinterested in joining SPIDA would they be able to, and what benefits would they receive out of it versus the benefits for contractors?

We do have an Engineer Member category, which is $100/year.  A membership will give them access to all the data and testing results, as well as all the general information that is posted on the members only web page.  Engineer members are encouraged to attend the meetings as well.

How many members do you currently have?

Currently, we have 82 members spread throughout the US and Canada.

What trends are you seeing in the spiral pipe industry that are having an impact on the way you/your members do business?

Over the past 5-10 years, we have seen a very large increase in the utilization of VRF (variable refrigerant flow) as well as fabric duct.  Although spiral and oval ductwork is still very prominent, the two systems have taken a bit of market share.

What are the differences in spiral vs rectangular ducts?

Through many different research and technical projects done by SPIDA, we have concluded that spiral pipe has a much smaller leakage rate than rectangular.  It’s also been tested that spiral is more cost effective both from a fabrication standpoint as well as an installation perspective.  When space is an issue, oval spiral is a great option. 

What are the primary challenges your members face in the industry today?

The HVAC market has always proved to be a little behind on the acceptance of technological advances.  SPIDA provides a great opportunity for our members to collaborate on new ideas and ways to be more efficient in fabrication, warehousing, and logistics of delivery.  As with the rest of the construction market, our members are feeling the tight labor market.  This would be the number one obstacle in being able to grow more.