The members of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) and the Gas Appliance Manufacturers Association (GAMA) have approved the merger of the associations as proposed by their respective boards in mid-November. The members' votes were tallied Dec. 15th, and now the two associations have merged to become the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), as of Jan. 1, 2008. The AHRI is a larger, combined group of manufacturers formed to collectively wield greater leverage on Capitol Hill, and enhance domestic HVAC positions in the global economy.

On Nov. 12 and 13, the respective boards voted unanimously to move forward, and are encouraging the support of the respective memberships. The memberships began receiving voting materials on Nov. 15. On Jan.1, the new combined association became incorporated under Virginia law.

“As an industry, we simply have to be more effective in shaping the environment that we are in, said Robert Wilkins, outgoing chair of ARI. “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.”

Both organizations would gradually align dues structures, with the goal of avoiding major changes. Overall dues would not increase because of the merger, though ARI representatives did not rule out increases in the normal course of business.