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The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) has appointed its first female president in its 95-year history.

Ania Hampton was unanimously elected president by her fellow directors at the recent AIRAH board meeting. Ms Hampton will take over from Nathan Groenhout, who served three years in the role.

“Ania is an experienced professional with HVAC in the genes as a second-generation building services engineer,” Mr Groenhout said.

“While she will put her own unique stamp on the role – like all of us before her – I know that she will continue to enhance our member value.

“I believe she has a great strength in connecting to people across our membership, and will shape a future-focused Institute that delivers real value to members.”

Ms Hampton, who is the director of her own engineering practice, Edefice, plans to lead a collaborative and consultative board and to engage with AIRAH members.

“I want people to be as passionate about AIRAH and HVAC&R as I am, and be engaged and excited about what we’re doing,” Ms Hampton said.

“I want our members to be recognised in the industry as leaders and technical experts, and for the wider public to value our profession and contribution to their everyday lives.

“I want to be remembered for my enthusiasm and ability to get stuff done. At the end of my tenure, I’d like AIRAH to be regarded as a vibrant, diverse and contemporary organisation leading our industry.”

Ms Hampton said the key issues for her include education, training, and engaging with future HVAC&R leaders.

“I would like to see AIRAH and its members engage with students at both tertiary and secondary level and inspire them with the terrific and vital work that we do,” Ms Hampton said.

“The PRIME initiative is a wonderful opportunity for our industry to work together to deliver real emissions-reduction outcomes, and I’m thrilled that AIRAH will continue to drive this forward.

“Improving our member services and diversity is a big priority, and the launch of the Women in HVAC&R committee is just the first step. It’s an exciting time to be part of AIRAH and I’m delighted to be president.”

Mr Groenhout said that during his three years in the role he has taken the Institute through a period of substantial change.

“With a year left on the board and a new CEO it was the right time to transition the leadership and allow others to take our organisation forward,” Mr Groenhout said.

Mr Groenhout said the highlights of his leadership include the AIRAH Graduate Training Program coming to fruition, helping the organisation restructure and transition to a growth phase, and putting a focus on diversity and membership.

“Being succeeded by a woman under 40 is a great realisation of the vision to make AIRAH relevant to the whole industry,” Mr Groenhout said.

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