The consolidation of the hvacr industry’s two main wholesale-distributor associations is still moving forward. The result would be like a new association, with new bylaws, regions, and governance, and a name that is “clear and distinct from either existing association,” according to a task force with members from the Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Wholesalers International (ARWI) and the Northamerican Heating, Refrigeration and Airconditioning Wholesalers (NHRAW).

Committees are also working to make sure that the best aspects of each organization are preserved.

According to ARWI president Johnnie Drury (Fox Appliance Parts of Atlanta, Lake City, GA), and NHRAW president Jim Truesdell (Brauer Supply, St. Louis, MO), to help make sure the change is acceptable, members of both groups are being polled every step of the way. At last January’s meeting, results from a recent member survey of both associations confirmed “overwhelming support of the consolidation from members of both associations,” said the groups in a joint statement.

Five project teams are continuing to gather information to make sure that no important service, product, or detail that either association offers is overlooked, the associations stated earlier this year. Each team is co-chaired by one member from each association. The chairs will be joined by additional members from each respective association.

The teams are defined as:

1. Quantitative Analysis (financial aspects, dues, and budgeting);

2. Conventions and Meetings (scheduling, programs, and traditions);

3. Education (member services, training programs, and industry information);

4. Governance (membership, officer and board structure, staffing, legal issues, and regional meetings); and

5. Project Management (schedules, deadlines, and communication of the task force endeavors).

ARWI’s Drury says that based on membership responses so far, the consolidation is “not an if, it’s a when.” Moreover, “It’s not a merger. We’re forming a brand new organization,” he says.

Of course, some members in each group are still hesitant. Drury says those members seem reluctant to embrace change in general. “They object to the change because ‘That’s the way it’s always been,’” Drury explains.

After 40-some years in the industry, he has experienced a number of changes. This one, he believes, would be “a great step forward for everybody.”

“This is a complex process,” says NHRAW’s Truesdell. “Nevertheless, the two executive groups and the consolidation committee are working smoothly, and are moving toward putting a proposal together before the two memberships for their consideration.”

A meeting of the executive group and consolidation teams is expected to be held in June.

Publication date: 04/29/2002