MISSION AND HISTORY OF THE GYPSUM ASSOCIATION

The mission of the Gypsum Association (GA), a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1930, is to promote the use of gypsum while advancing the development, growth, and general welfare of the gypsum industry in the United States and Canada on behalf of its member companies.

Members include all the active gypsum board (panel) manufacturers in the United States and Canada. To be eligible for membership in the Association, a firm or corporation must calcine gypsum and manufacture gypsum board under the provisions of ASTM Standard C 1396.

The GA is the technical center for the application, finishing, and overall use of gypsum panel products. In addition to responding to technical inquiries, the Association maintains a library of technical publications, most of which are free to architects, specifiers, builders, contractors and code officials. The code-referenced GA-600 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual, now in its 22nd edition, is the GA's flagship publication.

Few associations have a history as long as the Gypsum Association. For more than 80 years, the Association has provided technical, promotional, and statistical information to its members and interested parties.

Gypsum Association History

  • Late 1920s

    Several constituents of the gypsum industry agree that creating a formal association offers a number of advantages over continuing to operate as Gypsum Industries, an informal research and standard- setting group.
  • 1930

    The Gypsum Association is formally established.
  • April 17, 1930

    Henry J. Schweim
    At the first meeting of the Gypsum Association, James Leenhouts is elected as President/Chairman and Henry J. Schweim (pictured) is hired as the “engineer of the Association.”
  • 1930

    Schweim, now Secretary of the Corporation and Chief Executive Officer, establishes the Association’s first office in Chicago.
  • 1931

    The Technical Problems Committee requests and receives approval to conduct four fire tests with the National Bureau of Standards.
  • 1933

    The Association volunteers to participate in the National Industrial Recovery Act by developing the Code of Fair Practice for the Gypsum Industry. To assist with the development of the Code, the Gypsum Association attempts to unite all U.S. gypsum companies under the Association.
  • 1934

    The Association expands its criteria for membership eligibility.
  • 1935

    The Pacific Coast division of the Gypsum Association emerges.
  • 1938

    The Association appoints an Advertising and Promotional Committee.
  • 1940s

    The Association works to develop a more fire-resistant gypsum board.
  • 1940

    1940 ABCs of Plastering
    The Association publishes The ABC’s of Plastering, to educate contractors and architects.
  • 1945

    During the post-war housing boom, the Technical Problems Committee and the Advertising and Promotional Committee seek Underwriters Laboratories labeling for gypsum sheathing and authorize $1,000 for fire testing of gypsum sheathing.
  • 1947

    Lloyd H. Yeager
    Henry Schweim retires and Lloyd H. Yeager (pictured) fills the vacancy. A decade-long public relations campaign begins that includes production of a series of films, such as Shaping the Future with Gypsum Board, and accompanying literature, including New Gypsum 2-Ply Wallboard.

    Research continues as the Technical Problems Committee receives approval to spend $1,000 on the development and fire testing of a system with a 1-hour fire resistance-rating.

  • 1947

    A 1-hour fire-rated system is achieved.
  • 1951

    New Movie - White Magic
    The Gypsum Association film, White Magic is shown in Paramount and Warner theaters, federal agencies, schools, etc.
  • 1955

    White Magic airs on television to an estimated audience of over 54 million viewers. The Advertising and Promotional Committee runs a series of articles in newspapers and magazines under the “Add a Room” campaign.
  • 1959

    Fire Res Design Data
    With significant tests and data to share, the Technical Problems Committee recommends producing a complete reference manual on fire resistance to be known as Fire Resistance Design Data Manual.
  • 1961

    The Association’s Board of Directors votes to incorporate.
  • December 29, 1961

    The Gypsum Association files for incorporation. Lloyd H. Yeager becomes the Association’s Executive Vice President
  • 1966

    A. Victor Abnee
    As Lloyd H. Yeager steps down, A. Victor Abnee, Jr. (pictured) takes over as General Manager.
  • 1966

    In response to demand, 20,000 copies of the Fire Resistance Data Design Manual are distributed to architects and another 1,800 are provided to building officials as part of a Design Data Binder.
  • 1968

    The Technical Problems Committee recommends including sound, structural, and assembly information, in addition to fire safety-information, in the Fire Resistance Data Design Manual.
  • 1970s


    By the early 1970s, the use of gypsum board in apartment and office buildings has grown substantially, due in large part to its fire-resistant and sound- attenuation properties.
  • 1973

    All model building codes reference the Fire Resistance Data Design Manual as a source of fire-resistive designs.
  • 1975

    The Technical Problems Committee begins work on product standards for gypsum products used in manufactured housing.
  • 1976

    GB in Mfg Housing
    The Advertising and Promotional Committee receives approval to spend $5,000 to develop the film, Beauty with Safety, and receives authorization to begin work on a document titled Gypsum Board in Manufactured Housing.
  • 1979

    The National Institute of Building Sciences releases a manufactured housing study that rates gypsum products favorably.
  • 1980

    A revised version of Beauty with Safety and the film Time to Live air on cable television.
  • 1988

    Jerry A. Walker
    Victor Abnee retires as Executive Director and Jerry Walker (pictured) is hired as the Association’s new Executive Director. The Association moves from Chicago to Washington, D.C.
  • 1990s

    The Gypsum Association develops an educational video and interactive CD-ROM set based on GA-214 Levels of Gypsum Board Finish. The Home Upgrade Program, the Grassroots Fire Resistance, and the Sound Reduction Program are initiated.
  • 1996

    levels of finish
    The first document to effectively instruct wallboard finishers on proper techniques associated with specific levels of finish quality, GA-214 Levels of Gypsum Board Finish, is revised and published in conjunction with a video.
  • 2002

    The Association initiates funding for a multi-year program to promote the use of gypsum board in both fire-separation walls and as part of roof-underlayment systems.
  • 2003

    140205_ga_099web
    Michael Gardner, Director, Promotion and Code Services, is promoted to Executive Director.
  • 2004

    A four-color page insert is placed in numerous architectural trade magazines. The insert receives a favorable rating in a reader’s poll conducted by a leading architectural journal.
  • 2005

    Gypsum board manufacturers in the United States ship more board than ever before—more than 36 billion square feet.
  • 2008


    The Association relocates from downtown Washington, D.C., to the Maryland suburb of Hyattsville.
  • 2012

    The Association completes a Life-Cycle Assessment Summary of gypsum board; the first of many steps in a process to accurately assess the sustainability of gypsum board.
  • 2013

    Stephen Meima
    The Association hires its first Deputy Executive Director, Stephen H. Meima.
  • 2014

    The Gypsum Association publishes its first Type III, Industry Average Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for Type X North American Gypsum Boards.
  • 2014

    Stephen H. Meima is promoted from Deputy Executive Director to Executive Director of the Gypsum Association.
  • 2015


    The 21st edition of GA-600 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual is released. For the first time, it is accompanied by an electronic counterpart.
  • 2016

    After performing a Life-Cycle Assessment of glass mat sheathing, the GA releases Type III, Industry Average EPD for Glass Mat Gypsum Sheathing.
  • 2016

    The Gypsum Association rebrands and introduces a new logo. The new design embraces both the traditional and the more contemporary aspects of the Association’s mission and acknowledges the full range of innovative gypsum panel products that Association members offer.


    Reflecting the expansion of gypsum panel product offerings, the stack of wallboard depicted in previous iterations of the logo now suggests more: It can be seen either as a series of horizontal boards or as an entire building.
  • 2017

    The Association moves to Silver Spring, MD.
  • 2018


    The 22nd edition of GA-600 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual is released. This edition contains an expanded section on acoustics and provides the option of a more robust e-version of the Manual.
  • 2019

    With the translation of technical documents GA-236-2017, GA-253-2018, and GA-801-2017, the Association expands its library of Spanish and French publications.
  • 2019

    GA video
    In conjunction with the redesign of gypsum.org, the Association releases the educational video, A Guide to GA-600-2018 Fire Resistance and Sound Control Design Manual.