Frank (William Franklin) Allison, the long-time executive director of IMACA, died on July 11th at age 80 in Fort Worth, Texas. A memorial service was held on July 20th. He had a large early influence and effect on the international mobile A/C industry. He served as president of IMACA for several years and received the “Legend” award from VASA in Australia.
He began his career as salesman of men’s clothing in Little Rock, Arkansas. He became skilled in business management, negotiations and problem solving. In the 1950s, he saw the potential of the growing aftermarket vehicle air conditioning kits being sold and soon joined Climatic Air of Dallas, Texas.
After opening the company’s Los Angeles office, Frank landed a huge order for A/C kits to be exported to Japan. One order alone was for 30,000 kits, destined for Tokyo’s fleet of taxis.
In the mid-1960s, Frank flew to Australia and began calling likely customers from the phone book. It was exhausting, but was probably the spark that ignited the mobile air conditioning industry in Australasia.
Frank left Climatic in 1974, moving first to AstroSonics and then to NGK Georgia. In 1978, he was appointed president of Frigette, a company beset at the time by many problems. A few years later he had turned the company around, although it took great effort to do so. He also expanded the company’s markets into Central and South America.
His reputation as a businessman and his well rounded knowledge of the industry was attractive to the International Mobile Air Conditioning Association (IMACA) and he became its executive director in 1987 – the heady years of new licensing, refrigerant change, retrofitting and more.
Mark Mitchell, a founder of the Australian organization VASA, credits Frank Allison directly for providing structure and guidance during the shaping of that industry association.
A full remembrance of Frank Allison will appear in the September-October issue of MACS ACtion magazine.