l-r: Talbot Gee, HARDI vice president, Richard Wirtz, HARDI associate director of education, and Mark Faessler, HARDI chairman for the meeting, talk in the hallway prior to entering the annual trade show exhibit.

HVAC contractors are well-known as people who like to start their days early. Therefore, it should not come as much of a surprise that the people who typically open up the counters where contractors gather for coffee and sunrise will-call orders, are also early risers. Those attending the Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) 2007 Annual Fall Conference, probably felt right at home as the first executive meeting began promptly at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

During his luncheon plenary speech, Mark Faessler, 2007 HARDI president, chided Executive Director Don Frendberg, that Frendberg had asked to add an extra day to the event schedule in order to have more work time, which drew laughter from the attendees.

Though the HARDI convention was held in the world-famous home of the Walt Disney gang, Orlando, Fla., it was certainly no Mickey Mouse affair. Of course, the obligatory golf, tennis, entertainment, and dancing were also available for those interested in a more festive approach to the four-day meeting.


In the world of distributors there are a few recognized experts, and the HARDI staff managed to bring most of them together for the variety of educational sessions. Adam J. Fein, Ph.D., provided a glimpse into the future for wholesale distributors and their customers, as he revealed his all-new report “Facing the Forces of Change®: Lead the Way in the Supply Chain.” His work represents the wholesale distribution industry’s leading trend study, according to HARDI officials. Fein has appeared at other HARDI events and is a highly sought-after consultant to both the distribution and manufacturing industries.

Another HARDI regular, Dr. Al Bates, a leading financial consultant, examined how customers impact the profitability of heating, cooling, and refrigeration distributors. During his session, Bates focused on the measurement aspect of the HARDI Profitability Assessment Tool and how that can then launch an action plan once problem accounts have been identified.

Mike Foster, an Internet technology (IT) guru, is no stranger to the HARDI group either. His session focused on IT security and the top 12 key strategies that executives must review and implement to make sure that essential information and assets are secure and continually protected.

Alan Beaulieu, Ph.D., senior economist, EcoTrends, presented a short- and long-term industry forecast and provided guidance to help attendees connect this information to a common HARDI sales and profit planning report structure.


Saturday was devoted primarily to an early morning executive board meeting, and some sunshine in the afternoon as many took to the tennis courts or golf course. Sunday was the day for concurrent committee meetings including: the HVAC Systems and Equipment Council Steering, the Executive Development Program, the Foundations Board, the Refrigeration Systems Council Steering, the Futures Studies Committee, and the Insurance and Risk Management Committee, to name a few.

Sign-ups for Sharon McGee’s “The Magnanimous Mentor” were noted to be extremely high. However, an illness caused a cancellation by McGee. HARDI made plans, before the meeting had concluded, to bring McGee to an upcoming event.

Frank Hurtte of River Heights Consulting presented a special program created for the Controls Distributors Council. Hurtte explored the value proposition that attracts customers and manufacturers alike to controls distributors.


During closing ceremonies, Randy Boyd, president and CEO of AC Supply Co., Fort Worth, Texas, accepted the gavel and 2008 HARDI presidency from outgoing president, Mark Faessler. Boyd has been a strong proponent of training and education for employees and has utilized the affordable HARDI programs such as Home Study Institute (HSI) which instructs more than 1,000 students each year in accredited courses. Boyd was presented an award during the national convention for his diligent work in the promotion of the HSI.

Faessler will assume past president duties for 2008 and encouraged all members to consider leadership positions as either regional officers, councils, or even going through the chairs to ascend to the presidency. As Faessler said, “You only get out of something what you put in.”

Publication Date:11/19/2007