Steve Yurek

ARLINGTON, Va. - A changing of the guard has occurred at the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI). Stephen Yurek, former COO and general counsel for ARI, was named president of the association and Mark Menzer, formerly senior vice president of ARI, was named as the executive vice president.

“I am very honored to have been selected as ARI’s leader by the membership,” said Yurek. “I am looking forward to working with not only members, but also the extended HVAC community.”

Yurek came to ARI from the education community. As an attorney and engineer, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, a Juris Doctor, has served as the vice president of business development and public affairs for Compass Learning Inc., as well as functioned as general counsel and COO at the National Association of Secondary School Principals. Having been with ARI for several years in multiple positions, Yurek has found that staying ahead of the trends of major HVAC industry issues, such as energy supply, environmental concerns, and technician education, are going to be the challenges he will address during his administration.

“I want to lead ARI to the forefront of the industry,” said Yurek. “Keeping our members ready to face any challenge and stay ahead of the curve is where I am going to focus my efforts.”

With energy supply issues developing rapidly on Capitol Hill, Yurek noted that the issue of natural resources, the environment, and energy efficiency will continue to hold the attention of ARI as it attempts to monitor Europe and help effectively address continuing changes in the global climate, both political and geographical.

“The responsible use of refrigerants is another key we will focus on,” remarked Yurek. “We want to help contractors learn how to install refrigerants correctly and to properly recycle or destroy used refrigerants.”

Yurek will also be addressing trade education and diminishing workforce concerns. The recent budget released by President George Bush has taken direct funding and the requirements to spend the money on career and technical education programs, and has transferred it to a discretionary grant system that allows secondary and other education establishments to use the funding on programs not related to vocational education.

“As a whole, our industry is looking for workers to head into the installation and maintenance fields,” said Yurek. “HVACR is a profession not just a trade, and we need the government, schools, and society to understand that the development of these future professionals is vital to the HVACR industry’s health, as well as to the achievement of our goals to improve the environment through quality HVACR installations.”

“We are excited to have a person of Steve Yurek’s character, vision, and experience leading our association during a challenging time,” said Robert Wilkins, ARI chairman. “Steve’s knowledge of the industry and his state and federal policy and regulatory experience made him the obvious choice to communicate to policy makers our positive message of ‘Improving Life and the Environment.’ I and all the members of ARI’s board of directors look forward to working with Steve to keep ARI a forward-looking, dynamic association.”

“ARI is already the leading international global association for HVACR,” said Yurek, “and I intend to keep it that way.”

Publication date:02/19/2007