Thomas H. Phoenix, P.E. ASHRAE President & Kent Rawhouser IAQA President – Blockbuster Merger of ASHRAE & IAQA

Air Date: 8-29-2014 | Episode 337


This week on IAQ Radio we welcome ASHRAE President Thomas H. Phoenix, P.E. and IAQA President Kent Rawhouser to discuss the recent blockbuster merger of the two organizations…

Full Description:

Early in August we had ASHRAE Immediate Past President Bill Bahnfleth, PhD and talked briefly about how the merger came about, this week we get into much more detail about the merger and how it will affect members of both organizations.

Thomas H. Phoenix, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE, ASHRAE-Certified Building Energy Assessment and Building Energy Modeling Professional, is principal and vice president, Moser Mayer Phoenix Associates, Greensboro, N.C. As ASHRAE’s president, he chairs the Society’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee.  His presidential theme is “People, Passion and Performance.” Mr. Phoenix started his career in HVAC over 30 years ago as an engineer with the Division of Plant Operation of the North Carolina State Board of Education. After a few years he had an opportunity to enter the design and consulting field of the HVAC business and has been working in that discipline since then. In 1989 Mr. Phoenix established the engineering department, and became a partner, in the architectural/engineering firm of Moser Mayer Phoenix Associates, PA. His design portfolio includes schools, research and testing laboratories, industrial manufacturing facilities and numerous classroom, residence hall and food service projects for colleges and universities.

Kent Rawhouser is a veteran disaster restoration professional with a thriving business in Wisconsin. Mr. Rawhouser has been active in the disaster restoration community for decades and could have stayed within his comfort zone for the rest of his career. Instead over the past 7

years he has spent a significant amount of time volunteering and keeping on top of the intersection of disaster restoration and indoor air quality.  As part of this effort he became much more involved with the Indoor Air Quality Association becoming a member of the Board of Directors and most recently being elected president of the association. Mr. Rawhouser has also been very active at the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) during his career in disaster restoration and has served on many committees and other positions at RIA.

Z-Man’s Blog

Under the Umbrella

On today’s episode of IAQradio, IAQA’s President Kent Rawhouser and ASHRAE’s President Tom Phoenix took questions on the ASHRAE/IAQA merger. One definition of umbrella is: something which covers or embraces a broad range of elements or factors.[i]

The history of the merger can be traced to discussion between IAQA President Don Weeks and counterparts at ASHRAE. When IAQA sent out Request for Proposals for association management services to multiple potential service providers, ASHRAE was one of the recipients.  ASHRAE’s proposal got the attention of IAQA’s leadership.

Nuggets from today’s interview:

  • The knowledge and expertise of both groups is complimentary. ASHRAE members design, maintain and operate buildings. IAQA members focus on indoor air quality, remediation and building science.
  • IAQA has 2,500 members and ASHRAE has 53,000. ASHRAE is a successful model to follow.
  • While no formal survey was conducted, IAQA leadership did discuss the merger with members.
  • Both organizations have chapters.
  • Active chapters of both organizations will be encouraged to work together.
  • ASHRAE’s management experience and efficiencies are being applied to IAQA. IAQA headquarters has been shifted to Atlanta, GA. IAQA members now communicating to a different place and with new people. IAQA is very happy with both the cooperation and quality of the management staff.
  • IAQA will have a dedicated association executive.
  • Governance and autonomy? Both groups will remain autonomous. The boards of directors will remain separate. It is likely that the Presidents of both groups will sit on each other’s boards.
  • Commonality in education. Education is important to both IAQA and ASHRAE. Education will remain in the forefront. The ASHRAE Learning Institute has a large portfolio of training courses. ASHRAE has certification programs. Opportunities for both groups to attend the other’s courses. Opportunity for new course development including certification courses.
  • Commonality in standards. While both groups are involved in ANSI standards writing, ASHRA’s standards writing process is highly respected.
  • Benefits of the merger include: access to each group intellectual and technical information and members.
  • IAQA gains a new potential resource for funding.
  • What’s in it for both group’s members: opportunity, knowledge, expertise, contacts, networking, “cross pollination”, etc.
  • Both groups will abide by their respective commitments and agreements (Memorandums of Understanding, convention, etc.) with other organizations.
  • Optimistic and confident. No needs for backup plans, both organizations are committed and confident that the merger has been assembled properly.

One Definition of opportunity is: Exploitable set of circumstances with uncertain outcome, requiring commitment of resources and involving exposure to risk. [ii]  I see many benefits in the merger of IAQA and ASHRAE and wish both groups great success. Kent’s closing comments sums it up  “change is always a challenge and something which needs to worked through, keep your eyes on the future.”


[i] http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/umbrella

[ii]www.businessdictionary.com/definition/opportunity.html

Today’s Music:  

Together Wherever We Go, from 2008 Broadway Revival Cast, Patti Lupone

Z-Man signing off

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