PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — Fun in the sun with the correct mix of business and pleasure was on the agenda as the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) traveled to Palm Springs, Calif., and hosted its highest attended annual meeting to date, as more than 600 people attended the three-day conference.

The event started with a Need to Know session where the major issues affecting the HVACR industry and AHRI were highlighted. Those topics included:

• The AHRI certification program added 456 OEM and 163 PBM licensees, which exceeds previous year’s additions. More than 100 applicants are undergoing evaluation for entry into the program.

• AHRI participated in a successful HVACR Industry Awareness Congressional Reception. They also submitted comments on eight regulatory issues, including minimum energy performance standards. AHRI also spent much time on S 3925, the Implementation of National Consensus Appliance Agreements Act of 2012 (INCAAA). Portions of that bill were included in HR 4850 which was passed by the Senate. In the end, a new bill, HR 6582, made it into law.

• AHRI published 10 new and revised industry standards and implemented new policies for its statistical program.

• AHRI released the interim report of its Low Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation program. The report provides an update on the current status of the program, and illustrates the estimated global warming potential (GWP) values and safety classifications of the potential replacements for R-22, R-134a, R-404A, and R-410A.

Political Talk

In addition to the product-section meetings, attendees listened to informative presentations from speakers, including political analyst Charlie Cook. Cook blamed the people in the room — and their predecessors — for the current political situation.

“Before there was air conditioning, Congress was not there all year-round. You guys are the ones to blame,” Cook joked.

Cook then got serious and broke down the recent presidential election. He identified a great ground game by President Obama, a decision by the Romney campaign not to respond to negative advertising in key swing states during the summer, and the changing demographics of the country as the three main reasons the president was elected to another term.

“Usually, incumbents do not get re-elected with these types of economic metrics,” Cook said. “There was a tactical error by the Romney folks to allow Obama to define him. Also, the Republican primary was so long and had so many people that it pushed all the candidates far to the right.”

Cook believes the country is facing enormous problems and he blames the way congressional districts are drawn.

“Before, the voters would pick their representatives; now, the representatives pick their voters,” he said. “We have very conservative districts and some very liberal districts. There are not many in the middle. That makes people in Congress think compromise is a four-letter word. They see compromise as a sign of weakness. In that environment, it is very hard to get anything done.”

New Officers

During their time in Palm Springs, AHRI elected new association officers and presented awards to industry leaders. The Richard C. Schulze award — presented in recognition of distinguished service and commitment to AHRI — was given to Gary Berlin, Nortec; Bill Hansen, Trane; Diane Jakobs, Rheem Manufacturing; Eric Lannes, Bradford White Corp.; John Mandyck, Carrier; and Neil Rolph, Lochinvar.

Senior editor, and former publisher of The NEWS, John Conrad, received the AHRI Public Service award, which recognizes deserving individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to the HVACR industry and in furthering AHRI’s goals.

The Distinguished Service award, which recognizes individuals who are leaders in the industry and who have made significant contributions to the industry throughout their careers, was given to Ray Hoglund, Dover; Joe Mattingly, AHRI; and Pat Quilty, Honeywell.

In addition, Ajita Rajendra, president and COO of A.O. Smith, ended his year as AHRI chairman. Harry Holmes, president of Morrison Products, will serve as AHRI chairman in 2013.


Attendees also were able to navigate the La Quinta Resort and Club a lot easier due to the new AHRI app. While the app had all the meeting information, it was not created to only be used for a week. After downloading the software, users may access the AHRI Update, connect to AHRI’s social media outlets, and view a calendar of upcoming meetings and industry events, which can be personalized to fit each individual’s schedule. The app is free and can be accessed from any smartphone or tablet device.

Publication date: 1/14/2013