Associations' D.C. 'Fly-In' Rated a Success

June 2, 2008
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WASHINGTON - The Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) partnered with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors – National Association (PHCC) and the American Supply Association (ASA) on a joint daylong blitz on Capitol Hill.

The four organizations combined to bring over 200 HVACR, plumbing, heating, cooling, pipe, valves, and fittings distributors and contractors to Washington, D.C. The goal of the event was to promote efficiency, small businesses, and awareness of the distribution and installation sectors of the industry to policy makers.

HARDI and ACCA organized over 100 meetings with House and Senate officials. Sixty HARDI members participated in the distributor association’s first congressional fly-in.

“Not only does HARDI have to do this again next year, but I might fly back myself within the next year to finish some of the conversations I started today with my representatives,” said Russ Geary of Geary Pacific Supply.

A fellow HARDI distributor from California, Kelly Trolia, CEO of Burke Engineering, echoed Geary’s sentiments. “This was fantastic because I connected with several of my representatives that I expected to have nothing in common with.” Trolia said she had already discussed follow-up meetings with a number of her elected officials, many with whom she was able to find middle ground despite differences in political philosophies.

“Distributors have flown under the radar in our industry for many years, often intentionally,” said HARDI Executive Vice President and COO Donald Frendberg, in his opening remarks at the fly-in.

“But having so many of you here as part of our first congressional fly-in is a testament to today’s new and unique challenges that demand HVACR distributors stand up and represent their interests in Washington and the industry.”

HARDI’s 2008 president, Randy Boyd of A/C Supply, acknowledged he agreed to participate primarily to support the association in its inaugural advocacy effort but said he left Washington anxious for HARDI’s next fly-in and with a better understanding of how important HARDI’s role in advocacy efforts has become today.

“I never had any interest in getting politically active before this experience where it became so obvious how important building a relationship with my representatives is to my business. We say that this is a relationship business all the time, and now I really see how that also applies to our elected officials.”

HARDI members focused primarily on issues such as pending climate change-HFC legislation, estate tax policy, promoting incentives and credits to advance energy efficiency, and reinforcing the value of the last in/first out accounting system among other issues.

HARDI officials said they have begun working on next year’s congressional fly-in.

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Publication date: 06/02/2008

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