A wave of consolidations several years ago reduced the number of manufacturers industry-wide. When an umbrella organization for a number of companies bowed out of GAMA's Commercial Food Service Division, that division became dormant. Now, however, GAMA is starting to rebuild interest in the division. Communications are going out encouraging membership as a way for companies to "enhance their positions as industry leaders, assure no unwanted surprises, and protect your bottom line," said GAMA President Evan Gaddis.
The avoiding-any-surprises component relates to GAMA's ability to "focus on federal and state legislative and regulatory issues and activities," said Gaddis. He noted that he, along with GAMA's legal counsel and technical staff, work with full-time lobbyists to monitor issues affecting commercial food service manufacturers.
"This provides assurances that our members are not surprised," he said. "GAMA has a strong record of influence and accomplishments at all levels of government. When necessary, GAMA will pursue litigation to challenge adverse regulations."
He added, "We have the ability to address issues affecting refrigeration equipment if this would add value to the food service equipment industry."
Plenty To OfferFrank Stanonik, chief technical advisor for GAMA, said the technical staff deals with issues involving safety, efficiency, emissions, indoor air quality, installation requirements, and building codes. In the case of food service equipment standards, he noted that several years ago "GAMA did coordinate the manufacturers' efforts to remove many non-safety-related performance tests from the Z83 standards and to combine those standards into the single Z83.11 standard that exists today."
A current project, he said, involves "GAMA leading the way in an effort to maintain an effective process for the continued development of the Z21/Z83 standards for gas appliances and equipment. Our members believe that the current committee process for developing and revising the Z21 and Z83 standards provides them with the best mechanism to participate effectively in these activities."
He noted that GAMA also participates in relevant standards activities of Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL); the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers; the National Fire Protection Association; and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He added that GAMA also represents the industry before such agencies as the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Trade Commission, Department of Commerce, and Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Many - if not most - manufacturers in the HVACR industry, and those in the commercial food service sector as well, are looking to China for growth, and GAMA has said it is part of that equation. GAMA and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association have opened a shared office in Beijing.
"GAMA's initial objectives were harmonization of standards and protection of intellectual property rights," said Gaddis. "Our international expansion has been most successful and our progress is exceeding our initial expectations."
With the addition of the GAMA China Coalition, Stanonik is optimistic in regard to the rebirth of the Commercial Food Service Division.
"We know of no other trade association that is better equipped than GAMA to provide complete technical, legal, legislative, and statistical services to the food service equipment manufacturers," he said.
Publication date: 07/25/2005