APPLIANCE magazine is in La Quinta, California, U.S. where the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) officially ushered in Robert Wilkins as its 2007 chairman of the board of directors during the association's Annual Meeting. Wilkins is the president of Danfoss in the U.S.
This meeting will also see the end of the term of Debbie Hawkins, who made ARI history when she became the first woman to serve as chairman. Deborah Hawkins is president of Superior Coils, Inc. (Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.), maker of evaporator coils for the HVAC industry. Hawkins served in a number of ARI positions for several years before being elected chairman at last year's ARI Annual Meeting.
A Tremendously Productive Year
Hawkins helped lead ARI through the challenging early part of 2006. Speaking yesterday to meeting attendees, she noted that Jan. 23, 2006, was a particularly auspicious day for ARI and the air-conditioning industry. It was on that day that the U.S. 13-SEER minimum federal standard, impacting most residential air-conditioners, went into effect. It was also opening day for the biggest U.S. industry expo ever, the 2006 International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating (AHR) show. Finally, it was day that ARI launched its ARI Directory of Certified Product Performance, to provide product information in a more efficient and timely manner. The online Directory went on to serve up millions of user sessions in 2006.
Hawkins was also a global ambassador for ARI, and the industry, during her term. She most recently served as ARI signatory on a Memorandum of Understanding with Mexico’s electrical standards development agency, the Associación de Normalización y Certificación (ANCE). The two associations agreed to work together to develop HVAC/R industry standards.
Wilkins: "We must be both alert and proactive."
Incoming Chairman Wilkins said that it is appropriate for ARI to continue with the theme of Improving Life and the Environment, which is still relevant to ARI's mission and goals.
On the one hand, the industry that ARI represents is strong. "We are doing more good for more people in more countries," Wilkins stated. At the same time, "We face challenges that could hinder our ability to continue to provide society these benefits economically and efficiently."
Supplies are tightening globally, Wilkins pointed out. Increasing concern about climate change is bringing about new regulatory initiatives at the U.S. state level, as well as at regional and national levels.
"The vacuum created by a lack of U.S. government action has spurred individual states to act on their own, which could lead to a complex patchwork of regulations," Wilkins said. "How we position our industry to address these challenges will determine how well we grow and prosper in the coming years."
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