HARDI Conference Highlights Change

September 24, 2007
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Walter Jones (center) with Nordyne Inc., O’Fallon, Mo., discussed multiple issues with participants at last year’s Conference Booth Program.

Change is inevitable. It is the driving force that requires humanity to adapt and improve on the status quo. Not only is change inevitable, it can be also far reaching. The HVAC industry is not immune to changing forces, especially in the distribution link of the supply chain. With this in mind, the Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) devised its 2007 annual fall conference, “Facing the Forces of Change® in HVACR Distribution.”

Taking place Oct. 6-9, at the Orlando World Center Marriot® Resort, Orlando, Fla., this year’s conference not only focuses on a theme of change, but it also marks the fifth anniversary of HARDI’s founding.

The organization has put together four days of professional and business development, and according to HARDI, “it’s the industry’s marketing event of the year. This is a very engaged conference where time and time again members gain priceless business expertise - knowledge that propels businesses and executives forward in their company, their market, and the industry.”



BUSINESS BEFORE PLEASURE

The conference opens on Saturday, Oct. 6 with breakfast, meetings, and an afternoon of fun. HARDI’s board of directors will convene to discuss multiple issues affecting the organization and the industry. General membership attendance is allowed by R.S.V.P. Open meeting guidelines apply.

After the board meeting, members have the choice of three activities before the evening’s festivities begin. The HARDI golf outing will take place at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club. The four-person, best ball 18-hole outing is limited to 144 golfers and requires registration prior to the event.

If golf isn’t a participant’s idea of fun, HARDI is offering a co-ed round robin tennis tournament for all skill levels. There will also be a Winter Park scenic boat tour. This pontoon excursion is a narrated one-hour cruise through the lakes and connecting canals of historical Winter Park, Fla.

Conference registration and convention receptions will take place Saturday evening.

Russ Geary (left), chair of the executive development committee, and Scott Weaver, vice chair of the executive development committee, spent time with participants last year explaining the benefits of the executive development retreat.

BOARD MEETINGS, CHARITY

Sunday brings a new pace to the conference as multiple committee meetings convene. The Heating and Airconditioning Ladies Organization (HALO), a ladies auxillary comprised of interested and participating HARDI member spouses, will elect its own officers and consider several charitable activity options during its Sunday morning board meeting.

Later, during the supplier member-sponsored opening reception that evening, HALO is hosting a silent auction, featuring gift certificates. This year, the ladies are raising money for Habitat for Humanity Valley of the Sun project in Phoenix. The auxiliary will also continue to support the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project.

HALO will also remain busy throughout the conference with several social functions including a business meeting featuring guest speaker Sandy Pheil, founder and president of marketing and life coaching firm Alchemy Partners Inc., Decatur, Ga.; and a cooking lesson outing at Truffles & Trifles, the largest cooking school in the Southeast.

EDUCATION MATTERS

Monday morning’s keynote speaker, Adam Fein, Ph.D., Pembroke Consulting Inc., and author of Facing the Forces of Change®: Lead the Way in the Supply Chain, will provide a glimpse into the future for wholesale distributors and their trading partners.

During the discussion of his new trend study, Fein will share how to anticipate how the HVAC channel will change; provide perspective on the macro trends that will affect a company; and identify strategies for helping a company deal with a changing environment. He will draw on his extensive research and consulting experience for this “dynamic, content-rich presentation that will help members to think strategically about the industry.”

Other education sessions include Allen Beaulieu, principal and senior analyst for the Institute for Trend Research, Concord, N.H.; Mike Foster, CEO of Foster Institute, Napa, Calif.; Michael Schatzki, principal, Negotiation Dynamics, Far Hills, N.J.; Mike Workman, president of Michael E. Workman Associates Ltd., College Station, Texas; and Dr. Al Bates, president of Profit Planning Group, Boulder, Colo.

Beaulieu’s “Planning for Change” will look at interest rates, demographics, and the changing political landscape as participants explore ways to make timely and effective decisions that will enhance profits and market positions.

Foster uncovers the IT security menaces that threaten a company’s network. His plain English presentation is an interactive executive briefing where he reveals the top 12 key strategies that must be reviewed and implemented within an IT department to ensure that a company’s essential information, network, and assets are protected.

“Negotiation Dynamics, Get the Real Edge in Your Negotiations,” presented by Schatzki, provides attendees with a set of strategic negotiating tools to give attendants “a real edge in all of its negotiations while maintaining positive, long-term relationships.”

Workman’s “Keeping up With the Rules of Change in HVACR Distribution” will cover the changing metrics, expectations, opportunities, and influences of current and new channel options; what it takes to establish and manage expectations; and how to be rewarded for value contribution.

Bates’ session will discuss customer profitability and will examine how customers affect the profitability of HVACR distributors. This two-perspective presentation will illustrate how to develop meaningful ways to measure the profitability generated by different accounts, and by suggesting approaches for improving results.

Other key topics include mentoring, hydronics, a barcode standard update, and radio frequency identification (RFID) outlook, among others.



FAITHFUL STAPLES

Business, fun, meetings, and education aren’t the only reasons for members to attend the 2007 fall conference. Two staples of the HARDI convention to be repeated this year are the Conference Booth Program and the HARDI Solutions Center. Networking is considered one of the significant benefits to conference participation. With already 195 confirmed participants at the time the association released this information, HARDI is expecting more than 240 HARDI member supplier and service vendor firms to secure booth space in this program.

According to HARDI, the Conference Booth Program is designed to provide an opportunity for meaningful talks between distributors and policy-level executives of supplier member firms. “This program gives distributors and their suppliers the opportunity to establish face-to-face relationships that are very important to the success of their business dealings.”

The Solutions Center is showcasing the offerings of service vendors and purchasing/marketing groups. “Members will have resources available for business services, education and training, technology, software, and reference material from industry organizations,” said HARDI.

“The Solutions Center will be limited in number and segmented by service category to help HARDI members quickly and easily find solution providers for their most urgent business needs.”

EXECUTIVE FEEDBACK

Also making its way into HARDI’s conference lineup, the Industry Leaders Forum will be featured on the last day of the event. A panel of invited executives will represent the refrigeration, controls, HVAC systems and equipment, and the hydronics facets of the industry. HARDI members will have the opportunity to submit questions and inquiries of the executives prior to the session.

According to HARDI, this program is now a regular feature of its annual fall conference, with varying high-profile executives each year. “This year’s program is jam-packed as ever with outstanding speakers, committee/council meetings, programs, and an overabundance of learning and relationship-building opportunites,” said Mark Faessler, 2007 HARDI president, Progress Supply Inc. “I’m sure you will find that this conference will be a worthwhile investment of your time and others in your organization.”

For more information, visit www.hardinet.org.

Publication Date: 09/24/2007

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