Mark Stevens, director of laboratory services at AMCA (third from left), and AMCA President Pete Neitzel (second from right) give a guided tour of the association’s lab to a contingent from MPI of South Korea.
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It was difficult to say who had the widest smile, Barbara Morrison or Kim Yun-Kwang. Each had a solid reason for grinning ear-to-ear.

It was a monumental occasion for both parties at the Air Movement and Control Association International (AMCA) headquarters Nov. 7. On this day, AMCA and Korea Machinery-Meter and Petrochemical Testing and Research Institute (MPI) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a collaborative venture, whereby Korea MPI will act as AMCA's agent in Korea. It will be administering AMCA's certified ratings program (CRP) from its headquarters in Seongnam City, GyeonggiDo, South Korea.

Morrison, executive director for AMCA, was delighted to help newly elected AMCA President Pete Neitzel sign on the dotted line on the agreement papers with Yun-Kwang, Korea MPI's president and CEO.

"Many benefits will be derived by all parties, including promotion of identical procedures for product certification throughout the world, encouraging simplification, standardization, and cost reduction," said Morrison.

"Companies outside of the U.S. requiring access to certified ratings programs will only need to be licensed by one organization for a reasonable fee, benefiting the entire industry."

Through an interpreter, Yun-Kwang thanked his new friends in Arlington Heights, Ill.

"MPI is happy AMCA selected MPI for this alliance," he said. "MPI is looking forward to a long-term relationship with AMCA."

A small contingent from Korea MPI stayed through Nov. 11, receiving extensive training on the operation of the AMCA laboratory and CRP. Before the signing ceremony, Mark Stevens, director of laboratory services for AMCA, gave Yun-Kwang and his employees a guided tour of the association's testing lab. "We are happy to have been selected to bring international clients to AMCA," said Yun-Kwang.

In addition to creating a level playing field, Morrison said the agreement helps to prevent the establishment of two certification schemes. In essence, Korea MPI's role will be guiding licensees through the certification process, including the collection of documentation from the licensee. Morrison said AMCA would grant the license to use the CRP seal. "This agreement recognizes that both parties bring strengths, as well as needs, to the agreement," said Morrison.

"For example, AMCA would provide immediate worldwide brand recognition, a ‘passport to export' for Korean products, and a well-established, successful international CRP, and a deep knowledge of fan and other air system component testing and rating.

"MPI will aid AMCA with increased participation in the AMCA CRP, a company or consultant in Korea that will assist in administering the CRP and act as an AMCA International field office. MPI will provide geographic proximity to Korean companies, reducing language barrier issues, rendering their vast knowledge of Korean HVAC industry, and, of course, a complete understanding of the Korean culture."

This was a fast-paced accomplishment. Talks began in February of this year, but negotiations heated up after Morrison and Mark Stevens, director of laboratory services at AMCA, went to China in August. AMCA was interested in producing an MOU with the Chinese, but also took the time to meet with the Koreans in Shanghai. When Morrison and Stevens returned to the United States, an MOU was drafted and presented to AMCA's board of trustees, which refined it before accepting it.

The alliance will trickle down to every aspect of the industry, insisted Morrison.

"This alliance/partnership should allow contractors to be assured products going in and out of Korea will meet AMCA-specified ratings," she said. "And, this will set standards for other manufacturers in Korea and Southeast Asia, for that matter."

Publication date: 11/28/2005