I am honored to be HARDI's president, following in the footsteps of the association's great leaders and becoming the third generation from G.W. Berkheimer to serve the industry. The 2012 Annual Conference was a true success and a wonderful setting to inaugurate my leadership with HARDI.  I would like to thank Bud Mingledorff for contributing his service, leadership, and down home Southern wisdom to the association. With his leadership, 2012 has been an exceptional year for HARDI. Undoubtedly, Bud is relishing in his title as past president, and he can also be justifiably proud of the development of many meaningful HARDI initiatives over the past year. I look forward to working with Bud, HARDI's Board of Directors, and all of our members during my tenure as HARDI president. I would also like to sincerely thank all HARDI members for allowing me to serve as a HARDI officer. I am particularly looking forward to the opportunity to represent our members when HARDI participates in meetings with our industry partners and our elected representatives and other officials in government. 

The 2012 Annual Conference was a true reflection of HARDI's substantial development throughout the year. Conferences held in Orlando are always well attended and this year was no exception. We hosted more than 1,100 HARDI members and guests, and the conference booth program was a sell-out. The new resource center became an effective meeting place for hundreds of our members. It established a great presence for The HARDI Education and Training University, or HEAT.U, and the launch of the new branch manager certification and counter specialist certification programs. The leadership of HARDI took the theme "Develop Demand, Success is Deliberate" very seriously and worked diligently to provide the members with extremely valuable programs and the finest speakers.  It was a very enthusiastic, positive environment that I was proud to be a part of.  I've had numerous people comment on the fantastic energy among our membership during the conference. I found it particularly inspiring to see countless devoted members eagerly coming together to initiate discussions that will continue well after the conference, and provide a catalyst for many important initiatives throughout 2013.

Looking forward to 2013, I will focus on maintaining our forward momentum, despite headwinds from the economy and Washington.  Bud said it best," Don't screw it up." I will also strive to keep us on course while continuing to lead HARDI down its current path of success and development.  I look forward to seeing the continued development of HARDI's strategic pillars: Advocacy, Benchmarking, Education, and Networking.

The first networking event of 2013 will be the HARDI Icebreaker taking place on Jan. 27 at the Dallas Hyatt Regency, prior to the AHR Expo. If you have yet to put this on your calendar, I strongly encourage you to do so. It's a great event and a wonderful opportunity to meet with hundreds of industry friends in a great social setting. We hope to exceed last year's turnout of more than 500 guests. We believe the HARDI booth may very well prove to be even more successful this year. It always turns out to be a great meeting place for hundreds of our members and a great resource for many prospective members. Further, we are excited to transition the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Central/Great Lakes, and Western regional conferences from being regionally-focused, exclusive events, to becoming national conferences hosted by the respective regions. These events will feature more topic-specific workshops led by subject-matter experts and will be priced affordably so members can send more of the appropriate staff at varying levels within their organizations. We anticipate these innovative events to be highly successful, and the HARDI leadership is working diligently to ensure the programs will be extremely valuable. I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity and attend with other members of your staff so they can become even more knowledgeable in their areas of expertise. As always, you can visit the networking and events section on the website for registration and more information.

I look forward to seeing you there,

Brian Cobble
2013 HARDI President