It’s the second year of HARDI’s Focus Conferences and two of the four topics on the 2014 circuit are brand new — Operations and Logistics Optimization and Purchasing Optimization. A total of four conferences will be held in March, April, June, and September of this year. Each conference begins with a cocktail reception and later an update on HARDI. The rest of the time during the conference is filled with informational and networking sessions including special speakers and industry professionals who address the specific topics outlined for each region.

According to HARDI, the 2014 Focus Conferences will continue to keep members updated on current issues in legislation, as well as how economic factors play a role in strategic operations for HVAC professionals. Jon Melchi, HARDI’s director of Government Affairs will provide members updates concerning advocacy at all four conferences. Andrew Duguay, senior economist at ITR, will also be attending each conference to give members his regional forecast, explaining what trends they can expect in the market that could possibly affect business growth and performance.

In a press release from the association, members who attended any of the 2013 Focus Conferences were reported to be adamant that the conference sessions were a worthwhile investment for anyone looking to stay ahead of the curve.

“I thought it was a very well organized event with very good speakers,” said Ed Ruth of Plumb Supply Co., in regard to the Strategic Leadership Conference. “The content of the presentations was very relevant and informative.”

Julie Decker, of Carlisle HVAC, saw the benefit of the Marketing and Sales Optimization Conference for all that attended.

“I thought the conference was outstanding,” she said. “It was educational and helpful for both distributors and suppliers. Well done.”


Operations and Logistics Optimization, March 9-11

This brand new conference session topic will be held at The Wigwam, a resort in Litchfield Park, Ariz. Featured speakers include Rick Blasgen, CEO, Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP). He is the keynote speaker for this conference and will be discussing the importance of supply chain management, trends that the CSCMP is seeing globally, and how global supply chains are expected to drive change. A section within his program will take a specific look at supply chain talent as well as discuss how to approach current economic uncertainties.

Also on the docket are speakers such as Ken Ackerman, president of K.B. Ackerman Co., Columbus, Ohio; Jim Apple, partner and co-founder of Progress Group, Atlanta; and Mike Mills, vice president of education and professional development at Blue Ridge Inventory Group LLC, Marietta, Ga.

Together the group will address system optimization, best practices, transportation trends and pitfalls, and more. A HARDI member panel will explore case studies and collaborate during this session.


Strategic Leadership, April 13-15

Hailing from Nashville this year, the conference takes an inside look at increasing profitability, macro distribution trends, government affairs, and an economic update. Guy Blissett, Wholesale Distribution Lead at IBM will delineate four major trend areas from his Facing the Forces of Change®: Decisive Actions for an Uncertain Economy. The areas include analytics, services, technology, and human capital.

Another analytics specialist, Randy MacLean, will host a session called, “Analytics-Driven Leadership Using Analytics to Post Record Profits.” MacLean is the founder and president of WayPoint Analytics.

“Profits come from thousands of money-making and money-losing transactions, with a tiny fraction contributing astonishingly large profits,” he said. “With the right analytics, you can get that 150 percent by retaining profits usually overlooked and lost with traditional management methods.”


Marketing and Sales Optimization, June 22-24

The Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wis., will host this combination of two conferences covering marketing and sales. Marketing topics will focus on utilizing CRM, mobile optimization, supply chain social media, marketing for revenue growth, and the relationship between sales and marketing. Sales topics will look at sales management and SWAT-team selling. Special guests include Sam Richter, Jim Pancero, Mark Dancer, and more. The two tracks will diverge and combine throughout the conference. This will make it one of the more jam-packed schedules of the four conferences.


Purchasing Optimization Conference, Sept. 14-16

This conference’s final details are still in the works. It will be held at the Newport Harbor Hotel & Marina in Newport, R.I. The date originally announced had to be changed. The new date is Sept. 14-16.

Those looking to attend any of the conferences are encouraged by HARDI to register as soon as possible.

 For more information or to register, visit