AFA Story and History

The American Fence Association was just a dream for a group of progressive members of the fence industry in October of 1962. Initially organized as the International Fence Industry Association (IFIA), this small group of “fencers” began what is now known as the American Fence Association.

Starting with just 22 members, the association had close to 600 members just 11 years following its inception. As it continues to grow, Field Training School was developed in 1978 with the Certified Fence Professional Certification to follow in 1987. In the late ’80s, IFIA also revamped its publications, creating the professional Fencepost magazine. AFA Members today have access to not only Fencepost magazine, but several other informative publications, including AFA Voice (distributed at FENCETECH each year), and the monthly newsletter FenceSense.

AFA offers several educational opportunities to its members in addition to Fence Installation School and CFP Certification, including Operator Installer School, Sales Training School, Automatic Gate Systems Design School and nationally recognized Certified Automated Gate Operator Installer and Certified Automatic Gate Systems Designer programs.

Today, AFA is the largest professional association representing the fence, deck and railing industry with members in every U.S. state, Canada and 18 other countries outside of North America. More than 1,370 member companies and 20 chapters represent more than 8,500 employers and employees in the industry.

With access to over 25,000 industry-specific education and training seminars, along with opportunities to grow business and improve profitability, AFA members enjoy the opportunity of peer-to-peer networking and resource sharing through chapter membership and annual events like FENCETECH. Every AFA member is also a member of one of the 24 local subsidiary chapters of AFA.

Historical Timeline

  AFA hosts the 55th FENCETECH.
  AFA and NOMMA co-locate FENCETECH and METALfab to form the largest gathering of the fence and ornamental and miscellaneous metals industries
  Vinyl Manufacturers Association (VMA) launches certification program
  AFA moves to self-management and hires its own Executive Director
  AFA’s 50th Anniversary
  Certified Installer Program is completed with all 8 core modules
  American Fence Association’s Education Foundation sponsored 5 scholarships
  Volunteer State Chapter merged with Memphis
  Canadian Fence Chapter formed
  Operator Installer School (OIS) 5-year anniversary
  Fence Installation School launched
  Vinyl Fence, Deck and Railing Manufacturers Association (VFDRMA) performance standards approved and introduced as an SDO for ANSI consideration
  AFA volunteers donated and installed 300 feet of ornamental iron fencing at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia
  The Vinyl Manufacturers Association (VMA) a division of AFA, finalized venue, dates and curriculum for Deck & Railing University
  AFA’s Certified Installer program is in the planning stages and will focus on elevating professionalism through education.
  First Certified Automated Gate Operator Installer (CAGOI) exam given at FENCETECH
  DECKTECH becomes the official name of the “Deck and Railing Pavilion”
   AFA Operator Installer School is introduced and AFA has 1717 members
  AFA Sales Training School Launched
  “Composite Fence and Railling Association (CFRA)” becomes AFA’s second division
  AFA Voice is printed and distributed for the first time at FENCETECH New Orleans along with the first “Deck and Railing Pavilion”
  AFA first division formed as “Vinyl Fence Deck and Railing Manufacturers Association” (VFDRMA)
  FenceSense newsletter introduced
  IFIA changes name to “American Fence Association” and logo changed to AFA diamond
  FENCETECH is adopted as the official trade show name
  FencePost newsletter becomes FENCEPOST magazine
  IFIA Certified Fence Professional program launched
  The first President’s Award presented to Bill Shirley
  1980 IFIA Field Training School launched in Houston, Texas
  IFIA diamond logo is introduced replacing the oval logo
  Distinguished Service Award was first presented
  IFIA oval logo receives trademark from U.S. patent office
   Executive Committee is formed, buys property, hires staff and boasts a record 34 Chapters
  IFIA Board head count reaches 42, prompting creation of the Board of Governors
  K.C. “Abe” Willis is elected to a second term as IFIA President commemorating the first decade of the association
  Trade show is named “International Fence Industry Exposition”
  Membership reaches 202
  IFIA and CLFMI hold joint trade show in New Orleans called “United Fence Industry Exposition”
  Membership reaches 169
  First Fence Post newsletter is mailed out to membership
  First recorded conference call between the President and Committee Chairs is held at a cost of $188
  First mid-year meeting held
  Membership reaches 90, association operates in the black for the first time
  IFIA incorporates in CA as a not-for-profit organization
  General membership meeting vote case to rename the association to “International Fence Industry Association”
  First Fence Trade Show held in Anaheim, CA
  First organization formed to represent the industry is the “Fence Contractors Association” in southern California