HARDI Emerging Leaders
HARDI’s Emerging Leaders program debuted in Dec. 2013 at the association’s annual conference. There was strong attendance at the round table discussions held by industry members Bud Mingledorff, chairman of the board at Mingledorff’s Inc.; Bill Shaw, CEO of Standard Supply & Distribution Co. Inc., Nancye Combs, president and CEO of HR Enterprises Inc., and Dave McIlwaine, president of HVAC Distributors Inc. At the end of the program, a feedback video was made to explain what the group was and how participants felt about their participation.

“Emerging leaders is a group of young individuals who are up and coming in the industry that are put together with a handful of mentors,” explained the video. “A lot of us are from family owned companies. We’re trying to learn as much as we can to be better prepared to take that next step into becoming an executive in the company.”

There is a team of leaders and mentors working to fulfill the Emerging Leaders mission; to assist in the development of the next generation of HARDI executives through access to learning and networking platforms.

Emily Saving, director of HARDI’s Education and Research Foundation is leading the charge on this program. She is joined by a team of HARDI members including Dan Lauterhahn, vice president of sales for Packard Inc., and co-chair of the Professional Development and Training Committee.

“It’s my job to ensure the relevance of the HARDI membership moving into the future,” said Lauterhahn. “We want to make sure our work is in alignment with the HARDI Executive Committee, as well as to lead and take responsibility for obtaining the necessary resources for new curriculum.”



Emerging Leaders and its headship are now preparing for the Summer Conference to be held July 20-22 in San Francisco. The group will stay at the Hotel Nikko, where they will participate in a specially-designed leadership scavenger hunt, mentor-led round table discussions, a lunch and learn session, and hear from special speaker Randy Disharoon, director of Global Strategic Accounts at Rexnord. Disharoon will be using classic Lego blocks during his presentation to illustrate the concepts of building leadership within, building up, building around, and building out. The presentation has been described as interactive and energetic; a challenge to the way attendees view leadership skill sets.

Another activity, the scavenger hunt, will take place outside of a classroom and in Union Square. According to HARDI, participants will work in teams to solve a series of puzzles and advance through a set of clues.

“Only the most effective team will win,” said HARDI. “However, every participant will gain insights as to their personal leadership style.”

Participants are instructed to dress casually, wear good walking shoes, and consider sun protection.

“Being part of the Emerging Leaders will be an incredible gateway into understanding and experiencing what it takes to be an effective leader within our own organizations,” Lauterhahn explained about the upcoming conference. “All Emerging Leaders should gain priceless knowledge about who they are and have them discover their own leadership talents.”



As for those interested in joining the Emerging Leaders, HARDI invites any employee of a HARDI member who has been acknowledged as having the talent and potential to someday join the ranks at an executive level of the organization.

“Sometimes, as in the cases of family-owned companies, this is the next generation owner,” said HARDI. “Other times this is an unreleated, but still high-potential, shining star who is on the way to the top.”

One attendee of the mentor sessions in December noted that he was third generation who felt it was not only important for him, but for the company as well. Another explained it was exciting that she could gather with her peers and move through the HARDI experience together; that there was a group to be a part of as they were growing.



The companies that these emerging leaders represent make an investment in time and money to send their employees to these sessions. According to Lauterhahn, it is worth it. He explained that not only will the participants benefit from the training, but that the company that sent them will also benefit.

“Our emerging leaders will promote strategic thinking, enhance leadership skills, develop team communication skills, and have the opportunity to work alongside and ask questions of some of the most well respected industry leaders that HARDI has to offer,” said Lauterhahn. “HARDI’s new Emerging Leaders program will be a comprehensive, multi-disciplined professional development program designed to prepare high-performing managers and senior managers for the next stage of their career.”



Emerging Leaders will meet at the HARDI Annual Conferences, and there are special conferences that will be arranged as well. There is more to this program, however, than the conference learning opportunities. The group has developed a LinkedIn account where members can discuss items that come up in their daily work environment and maintain a connection with those that meet at events.

There is also a new webinar series being developed.

“We are trying to bring a diverse group of speakers with numerous discussion topics to talk with our industry peers about things that are most important to their businesses,” explained Lauterhahn. “The Emerging Leaders Task Force has brought many good topics to the table already and we are excited about realeasing these topics in the near future.”

The first topic was presented by Lacey Robinson, “Understanding the Affordable Care Act: Past, Present, and Future.” During the webinar, Robinson discussed what’s already transpired, where it is today, and what strategies should be used in the future. According to Lauterhahn, there was outstanding attendance and the feedback from the webinar was excellent.”

For more information, visit www.hardinet.org/emerging-leaders.