T.S. Eliot once said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

Are you willing to push yourself to the limit?

Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) has an open invitation to do just that at its Annual Conference: NOVA 2017, Dec. 2-5 at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.


The conference will feature a wealth of business-building opportunities, including networking receptions, an expo floor with more than 250 exhibitors, multiple committee meetings, executive presentations, and more.

“HARDI’s Annual Conference is the event of HVACR distribution,” said Emily Saving, vice president, services and operations, HARDI. “By that I mean this is the largest annual gathering of HVACR distributors, and we’re excited to say that we’ve surpassed last year’s registration record a month out, making NOVA 2017 the biggest-ever HARDI Annual Conference.

“This year, we’ve brought back the concurrent learning tracks, which we debuted last year,” Saving continued. “And, as always, we’ve worked with each HARDI committee and council to ensure our event offers content that is both well-rounded and touches on the most important aspects of the HVACR distribution business.”

Three keynote speakers will provide informative and enlightening presentations.

Juliet Funt, founder and owner of Whitespace at Work, will provide the opening keynote, “Activity is not Productivity: Raising Execution Through Reclaiming WhiteSpace;” Alan Beaulieu, HARDI’s chief economist and a principal with ITR economics, will provide “The Economic Forecast;” and John Foley, former U.S. Navy Blue Angels lead solo pilot, will close the event with a presentation on “High Performance,” which he deems a mindset, process, and state of being that accelerates everyday performance and achievement.

“Everybody gets pretty excited for our keynote speakers,” Saving said. “Juliet Funt will offer a great perspective on making time for thinking and creativity, which is a great reminder to start our three days of content. John Foley will offer a closing intended to motivate and inspire attendees to reach new heights. Additionally, the many smaller meetings and networking opportunities will most assuredly offer something for everybody.”


Nineteen featured speakers were hand-picked to match the conferences’ Discover, Deploy, and Deliver session paths. Each of the three paths offer unique approaches to business improvement. The Discover path highlights the relationship between suppliers and distributors as they work closely to partner for maximum mutual benefit. Whether its advances in product technology or the development of a digital sales strategy, this track is full of possibilities. The Deploy track highlights internal strategies as attendees seek to align and lead their internal operations toward advancement. Whether its best practices in human resources, leadership, or inventory management, this track focuses inward, offering practical and precise advice. The Deliver path focuses on HVACR customers and helps attendees identify and meet their exacting needs, solidifying their positions as essential partners. Learn how to better support customers through marketing strategies, sales tactics, customer service enhancements, and more in this track.

One such presenter is Jamie McMillan, founder and owner of KickAss Careers, a school and community outreach program. In her “Bridging the Skilled Trades Gap” presentation, she’ll discuss how to engage, educate, and encourage the youth of today to become the skilled workforce of the future.

“Through the KickAss Careers Initiative, we have come up with a great program where we actually sat down with educators, teachers, and students to come up with a recruiting and retaining program,” she said. “Our goal is to raise awareness of careers in the trades. We have to engage students, which I feel is the No. 1 thing that needs to occur. Once they’re aware of the jobs, we have to keep on encouraging them and continue to serve as mentors for them in hopes they remain in these careers.”

James Ellis is a digital marketing strategist dedicated to helping people and businesses define their audience and message. For the last four years, he has used that thinking to help companies of all shapes and sizes hire and retain talent.

“Think of your average HVAC owner; they started in the company because they inherited it or grew it organically,” he said. “Typically, that’s the only job they’ve ever had. If all you know is one company, how do you know how to differentiate yourself? You don’t. That’s where someone like myself comes in. I’ve worked with lots of companies, have seen a lot of things, and have a wide perspective. Sometimes you need someone from the outside looking in to connect the dots.”


HARDI’s Annual Conference is a four-day event that brings together distributors, manufacturers, and vendors together to drive the industry forward.

While professional advancement is the focus of the event, HARDI members adhere to the mantra: work hard, play hard. Numerous optional activities, including Bai Hai golf, a tour of the Mob Museum, a hike on the Red Rocks, a tour of Aria and City Center’s mind-boggling investment in green infrastructure, and more will be available for attendees.

The cost of not attending far succeeds the cost to attend, said Saving.

“I’d hate to be the one losing ground while the rest of the industry advances,” she said.

For more information on the 2017 HARDI Annual Conference, visit http://nova2017.com.

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