PHOENIX - Come early and stay late was the simple message from Randy Boyd, 2008 president of the Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI), prior to the 2008 Fall Conference. As usual, HARDI packed a lot into its four-day conference, and if you were one of the hundreds of wholesalers and distributors in attendance, you probably did make plans to tack on a few days to enjoy the J.W. Marriott Desert Resort and Spa and the beautiful surroundings.

Boyd, of A/C Supply in Fort Worth, Texas, presided over the annual conference, which offered members professional and business development. HARDI created key codes in the program to help its members quickly sort through the learning opportunities. Sessions were coded as distribution trends, specialty focus, management focus, and financial. The meeting rooms were generally full, with a variety of more than 30 educational sessions mixed with committee meetings to keep people busy.

The major workshop presentations drew equally large crowds and sometimes provided a humorous respite from the normal meeting fare. Steve Rizzo was the keynote at the Monday morning opening workshop session. Rizzo, a former headline comedian turned professional speaker, offered a unique and insightful perspective on learning to be happy and successful at the same time. Rizzo’s first 10 minutes in front of the audience looked as though it were right off the center stage of Comedy Central. The constant laughter from the audience set up the speaker’s main message, when he abruptly stopped the routine to say, “Do you see how much better you feel because you have been laughing? Laughter has been scientifically proven to be good for your health.”

However, the humor didn’t stop entirely. Rizzo sprinkled his New York brand of comedy throughout his program as he explored the mysteries of motivating and maintaining positive attitudes of a cohesive team.

Nancy Hightshoe was the highlighted speaker at the HALO (Heating and Airconditioning Ladies Organization) breakfast and business meeting. HALO is the ladies auxiliary of HARDI that is comprised of interested and participating spouses of HARDI members. HALO elects its own officers and conducts a number of worthwhile charitable activities in support of the HVACR industry.

Hightshoe presented Out of Harm’s Way, a personal safety program and interactive seminar, which focused on frequently encountered situations in professional settings, the home, and traveling.


As part of the HARDI guest educator program, each year the organization invites leading educators in the fields of HVACR and distribution management. Guests selected by the HARDI education committee included: Chris Brueggeman, Ranken Technical College; Anthony Bell, Western Iowa Tech Community; Dan Souza, Fresno City College; Don West, Johnson County Community College; and Larraine Kapka, Sinclair Community College.

The purpose of the guest educator program is to improve the quality and sustain the pool of new employees for the industry through closer cooperation with the academic community.

During the HARDI 2008 Supplier Awards Presentation, special recognition was given to many of the nearly 240 exhibiting companies in attendance. The recipient of the 2008 Booster Award was James Bachman of DuPont Refrigerants, Wilmington, Del. The award is based upon a supplier’s contribution in unusual and outstanding ways to the association and the industry.

The following companies were honored for having participated a total of 10, 20, 25, and 50 years in the HARDI Conference Booth Program. For 10 years: Ford Wire and Cable Corp., Fujitsu General America Inc., Imperial Sheet Metal Ltd., and Infor. For 20 years: EWC Controls Inc., Mitsubishi Electric and Electronics USA, NEUCO Inc., and Nordyne Inc. For 25 years, Beckett Corp., Mon-Eco Industries Inc., Nu-Calgon, and Universal Enterprises Inc. (UEI). For 50 years: Cain Manufacturing Co. Inc., and Standex, Air Distribution Products.

The next HARDI Fall Conference will be held Oct. 25–28, 2009 in Orlando. For more information, visit

Publication date:12/01/2008