Leaders Unite Their Two Associations

December 22, 2008
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Stephen Yurek

Combining two national organizations, Stephen Yurek, president of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and Jack Klimp, CEO of AHRI, joined forces to lead two staffs and memberships through a successful union. According to Yurek, it was not only the commitment of the membership to the merger, but also the incredible drive and commitment of the staff that contributed significantly to this endeavor of combining ARI and GAMA.

David Myers, outgoing chairman of AHRI and president and vice president of Johnson Controls Inc.’s Building Efficiency Unit, was integrally involved in the merger process. According to Myers, it was his No. 1 priority within the association as he balanced an “already busy schedule.”

Klimp’s approach to the merger remained as it has been for his entire career, “To learn - to listen - and then to lead the staff in a way that best serves the membership and the industry going forward,” he said. “I have been involved in several activities at AHRI this year, but my focus has primarily been in developing a strategic plan for the organization going forward over the next five years, serving as kind of the ‘face’ of AHRI.”

Despite the large amount of work and effort that was expended on the associations’ merging, there was still daily business to attend to this past year.

“We accomplished much in 2008, especially considering how busy we were with the merger,” said Yurek. “We got Congress to extend and expand tax credits for highly-efficient HVACR equipment and we moved the ball forward on harmonizing our certification programs in China and India.”

Under his leadership, AHRI launched its new Website (www.ahrinet.org), a consolidated certification directory, and the 2 Degree Pledge campaign. “We continued negotiations with our friends in the environmental community on ways to accomplish energy savings nationwide through, among other things, accelerating replacement of the installed base of heating and air conditioning equipment in America,” reported Yurek.

Replacing the installed base was another of Myers’ top priorities. “We have had some key successes in that area, but my overriding priority during the year - aside from completing a successful merger - has been to showcase our association as being ‘for’ something, as part of the solution,” he said.

Jack Klimp

Looking ahead to 2009, AHRI intends to continue its efforts in the areas it has concentrated on so diligently in 2008. The changing of the guard in the White House is expected to bring new challenges to AHRI’s administration. “Our advocacy efforts, primarily in Washington, will be increased as a result of a new Congress and new administration,” said Yurek. “Their priorities, particularly in the areas of energy and environmental policy, will require our full attention.”

Energy bills and refrigerant choices will be on AHRI’s docket along with continuing involvement with counterpart organizations, particularly in India, China, Korea, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil.

“Internally, we will launch a new membership database and we will complete the transition to a new budget and accounting system, along with a new member dues and certification fee structures,” Yurek noted. “We will also work to harmonize our three certification programs into one, launching it under a new AHRI certification logo.”

Sidebar: 2008 HVACR Newsmakers

Name: Stephen Yurek
Title: President
Company: AHRI
Location: Arlington, Va.
Notable Quote: “Our advocacy efforts, primarily in Washington, will be increased as a result of a new Congress and new administration. Their priorities … will require our full attention.”

Name: Jack Klimp
Title: CEO
Company: AHRI
Location: Sidney, Ohio
Notable Quote: “My leadership approach is to learn - to listen - and then to lead the staff in a way that best serves the membership and the industry going forward.”

Publication date: 12/22/2008

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