ARLINGTON, Va. - The Executive Committee of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute’s (ARI’s) board of directors voted to continue exploring a merger with the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA). The Executive Committee of GAMA recently held a similar vote, and also approved continued discussions. The two organizations share 31 common members.

During its discussions, ARI’s Executive Committee noted potential benefits of a merger, including the likelihood of a new association enjoying greater political clout stemming from a larger association with more members, more employees, and more consumers. Additional potential benefits include a stronger voice before federal, state, and international government entities, increased influence in standard and code-setting bodies such as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), American National Standards Institute (ANSI), and Canadian Standards Association (CSA), and improved industry synergy and sharper messaging on all issues.

Potential obstacles to be overcome during the exploratory process include how to successfully pair two different corporate cultures and governance systems. In addition, the dues structures of the two associations are different and would have to be consolidated.

The Executive Committee asked the Study Group to undertake the following tasks, to be completed and reported back by July 31, 2007:

1.A comparison of both the common and distinct government affairs issues.

2.Establishment of three cluster groups of companies to elicit their input on specific concerns they might have, and how those concerns might be mitigated.

3.Formulation of the potential structure of a combined association, with some level of detail, prioritization of issues, concerns, and services.

4.Benchmarking of other association mergers, noting what has been successful and what has been problematic.

Stephen Yurek, ARI president, said, “I want to assure everyone involved that this process will be undertaken in a methodical, deliberate manner, and that the views of every sector of the association will be carefully considered as we move forward."

Publication date:05/07/2007