While most people in the country were merrymaking, ringing in the new year, there was one more reason for ARI and GAMA members to celebrate. At the stroke of midnight, Jan. 1, 2008, the merger of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) and the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) was official. The new association’s name is the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI).

The merger was approved by GAMA’s members on Dec. 14 and by ARI’s members on Dec. 17. In both cases, there was an overwhelming majority who supported the combining of the two associations. The tallies of the votes cast by GAMA’s membership were 131 in favor, 7 opposed, and by ARI’s membership, the vote totals were 117 in favor, and 7 opposed. AHRI will have a membership adding up to 370.

The AHRI board of directors named C. David Myers, vice president of Johnson Controls, as chairman of the new association. The current directors of the two merged associations make up AHRI’s board.

“The merger will create a more efficient and influential organization to serve the needs of cooling, heating, and commercial refrigeration equipment manufacturers and their customers. The interests of the memberships of the two associations are so closely aligned that we expect a seamless integration,” said Myers.

AHRI’s Integration Committee was given the task of working out the details of the new association’s structure and governance. Members on the committee are Dave Myers, ARI chairman; Pat Quilty, GAMA chairman; and Robert Wilkins, ARI immediate past chairman. AHRI will maintain a product section structure that equally represents all AHRI members’ interests. It was decided that ARI’s and GAMA’s standing committees would be merged, too.

AHRI will continue the work that both ARI and GAMA have carried out in creating industry standards and certifying heating, cooling, and commercial refrigeration equipment, as well as advocacy on behalf of its members.

“By coming together in one organization, the manufacturers of heating and cooling equipment will increase their collective power and significantly increase the effectiveness of our advocacy domestically and abroad,” said Wilkins. “We are convinced that one association can accomplish even more than two working separately.”

AHRI will have the financial and organizational resources commensurate with the size and scope of an organization representing a global industry. It will be uniquely equipped to represent the industry’s interests when addressing the challenges and opportunities in a fast-moving, expanding market for these products, Wilkins added.

“We envision a single organization representing HVACR manufacturers,” said Quilty. “AHRI will speak with one voice and one message while providing manufacturers with a strong advocate to address issues important to the industry with its membership of 370 manufacturers.”

Incorporated in Virginia, AHRI is headquartered in Arlington, Va., and has a staff of 65. The composition of the new association’s senior staff is:

• Jack Klimp, chief executive officer;

• Stephen Yurek, president;

• Mark Menzer, executive vice president;

• Warren Parker, senior vice president;

• Joseph Mattingly, general counsel; and

• Stephanie Murphy, chief financial officer.

As of press time, the position of the senior vice president who will be in charge of such areas as government affairs, regulatory policy, and research is vacant.

AHRI will reside, though in a limited capacity at first, on the Web at www.ahrinet.org.

The first AHRI Executive Committee meeting will be held on Feb. 4, 2008 at the association’s offices in Arlington and the first AHRI Annual Meeting will be held Nov. 16-18, 2008, at the La Costa Resort and Spa, Carlsbad, Calif.

Publication date:01/07/2008