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Barton James Named ACCA President & CEO

March 21, 2019
James will lead ACCA as it embarks on an ambitious strategic plan.

The Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) has named Barton "Bart" James as president and chief executive officer.

James had been serving ACCA as interim president and CEO since September, 2018. He was confirmed by the ACCA board of directors prior to the ACCA "Optimize" Annual Conference and Expo, March 3-6, 2019, in San Antonio.

ACCA Immediate Past-Chairman, Steve Schmidt, announced during the ACCA 2019 Annual Conference and Expo opening session, that James was affirmed as the new ACCA President and CEO.

“As ACCA underwent a leadership transition, the board was looking for an individual with a clear vision and plan to ensure ACCA remains the industry’s thought leader for years to come," Schmidt told the audience. "Throughout his time with ACCA, Bart has proven he is a strategic thinker who will execute important goals set by ACCA’s volunteer leaders. The ACCA Executive Committee was proud to recommend Bart to the board of directors and we welcome his leadership as our new executive.”

During the conference closing ceremony, Eric Knaak, ACCA’s 2019 Chairman of the Board, and vice president/general manager of ISAAC Heating and Air Conditioning, Rochester, N.Y., welcomed James's leadership and commitment to robust membership programs and industry collaboration.
Knaak said, “ACCA welcomes Bart as our new president and CEO. He has proven to be a thoughtful and detail-oriented leader who has set the stage for ACCA’s brightest years, with a strong focus on member engagement and industry collaboration. The board’s laser-focused objective is to unite our industry partners to ensure the industry is not duplicating resources, and we’re certain that Bart’s ability to foster strong relationships will help our association achieve that goal.”

Important Appointment, Important Time 

James's appointment comes at a time when ACCA is embarking on an ambitious strategic plan that has as a major goal to grow the association membership by 10 percent annually, and increase member participation in all-important committees. James expressed his commitment to the plan, and to ACCA members' needs when seeking to grow their businesses.

"Success moving forward will be defined by Membership Satisfaction, Membership Engagement, and Membership Success. This will be achieved by ACCA improving the member contractors’ businesses and providing our members a handsome return on their investment year in and year out for each and every member," James said.  
"Everything ACCA does will be member driven and member focused. And we will measure the success of our programs to ensure that we are giving you, our members, what you need to be successful."

Prior to joining ACCA in 2016 as Senior Vice President of Government Relations, James served as the Executive Director of the National Mitigation Banking Association, Director of Advocacy for the Land Trust Alliance, and Director of Public Policy for Ducks Unlimited. During this time, he designed and implemented strategic plans, built political advocacy campaigns, and directed lobbying activities to establish, maintain, and improve relationships with key policy makers.

James has also worked as a staffer with the late Congressman Jay Dickey, a political operative, and served as a political appointee in the Bush Administration at the United States Small Business Administration, and the United States Department of Agriculture.