The new association would be named The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), and would consist of more than 370 members representing more than $27 billion in sales.
In an official statement, Patrick Quilty, GAMA chairman, said, “The compelling reason for the merger is the creation of a single organization representing our industries that will provide one voice and one message on important issues, while ensuring stronger advocacy to address increasing regulatory and legislative initiatives at the federal, state, and international levels. A single, stronger organization will better represent our interests.
“In addition, the new, larger association will be better able to attract, develop and retain quality staff, and natural synergies can be used to increase member services in the areas of standards, certification, and advocacy,” he noted.
“I, personally, am very excited about the possibilities that this merger could bring,” ARI Chairman C. David Myers told ARI members gathered at their annual meeting in Key Largo, FL, Nov. 11-13. “There has never been a more important time for us to interact with policymakers here and abroad, and with a larger association - indeed, in the top 15% of associations in America - we can have the lobbying clout commensurate with our manufacturing prowess.”
“As an industry, we simply have to be more effective in shaping the environment that we are in. I think that together ARI and GAMA can be more effective, but it also means we can be more effective working with our trade allies, the contractors, wholesalers and distributors,” Robert Wilkins, outgoing chairman of ARI, told The ACH&R News, a Supply House Times sister publication, at ARI’s convention.
“By working together, we can really get out in front of the issues that shape our industry rather than only react to them,” said Wilkins. “As we work together over the next several years in addressing legislation and regulatory issues, we will be in a better position to represent the industry, including the contractor and wholesaler interests.”
C. David Myers, who is a vice president of Johnson Controls and president of its Building Efficiency Unit, would serve as the first chairman of AHRI. Current GAMA President Jack Klimp would serve as CEO of AHRI during a two-year transition period. Current ARI President Stephen Yurek would serve as president of the new association.
At issue for the voting members: Will smaller manufacturing companies feel properly represented as small fish in an even bigger pond? The NEWS asked Robert Wilkins.
“Many of the smaller companies already appreciate the advantages that an association can bring in the form of lobbying for beneficial industry legislation. Sometimes, it is not something these companies can perform on their own behalf. We firmly believe that the combined association will provide even greater benefits to the smaller, as well as larger, members of both ARI and GAMA,” said Wilkins.
While there are several issues to consider, members of ARI’s Executive Committee on Nov. 2 agreed that the main compelling reason to merge is: “A stronger and broader voice for air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration manufacturers to respond to increasing and more complex energy and environmental issues through greater standards, certification, and advocacy activities.”
The committee reviewed several terms of the proposed merger and made recommendations for inclusion in the final agreement. Some of the recommended terms were:
On Jan. 1, 2008, the new combined association, if approved, would be incorporated under Virginia law.