The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) has elected a new president following Ania Hampton stepping down from the position due to ill health.

Ian Harwood will take over the position from Ms Hampton.

Mr Harwood has been an AIRAH board director for the past two years and a AIRAH member for more than a decade. He previously served as President of AIRAH’s Western Australia division committee, helping to re-energise its monthly seminar program and grow its membership.

AIRAH CEO, Tony Gleeson, said Mr Harwood’s director experience and knowledge of the industry will benefit the institute.

“Having worked with Ian over the past 12 months, I’ve seen the passion, experience and strategic nous he brings to the board,” Mr Gleeson said.

“I have no doubt his energy, ideas and oversight will serve him and AIRAH well as he assumes this essential role.”

The first female president in AIRAH’s history, Ms Hampton, reluctantly left the position as she was recently diagnosed with Ross River Fever. She has stepped aside from all her official duties in order to recover as quickly as possible.

“AIRAH owes Ania a debt of gratitude for her commitment, competence and enthusiasm she brought to the role, especially in the sponsorship of the new website and membership platform, and the introduction of the Women of AIRAH initiative,” Mr Gleeson said.

“The timing of her illness is really unfortunate, and we all wish her the best in her return to health.”

Mr Harwood has 22 years experience in the building services industry, including overseas positions, and is an Associate Director with Norman Disney & Young, based in the Perth office. He has an interest in the technical side of the industry, and has been active in the design and management of high-profile projects.

“Having been actively involved in AIRAH for the past decade, I feel extremely proud and honoured to be elected President,” Mr Harwood said.

“I know Ania is disappointed to have to step aside, but all the directors understand that the decision was made in her and her family’s best interests.

“With the backing of their respective boards, previous presidents Ania, Nathan Groenhout and Sean Treweek have worked tirelessly to set AIRAH up into the strong position we see it in today. I hope to see this position maintained while working toward addressing some of the challenges we see in our industry, and for our membership cross-section.”

Mr Harwood says there are changes afoot in the HVAC&R industry affecting people management, design and construction methodologies, sustainability best practice, controls and documentation practices.

“Change is the status quo, and the landscape is very different today to what it was even five years ago,” Mr Harwood said.

“Assisting our industry adapt to and embrace this is a continuing challenge, but one that AIRAH is well prepared to address.”

Originally set to become a director in May 2017 when Mr Groenhout steps down after serving his maximum term, Paul Bannister now joins the board effective immediately.

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