As you read this issue, I hope  you are attending HARDI’s annual conference, and if you're not in Las Vegas, you should be. During my  years covering this industry, I have never  been to a more information-packed event that ties networking, education opportunities, and pleasant camaraderie than this annual event.

We often read about how to attend a conference so in the end — when returning to your job — you are more effective. I’m going to add a basic piece of advice that needs repeating. When you return, have a meeting with your team or even by yourself if you’re the only one who attended. Debrief, go over what you must do, what you should do, and stop feeling guilty about what you won’t do. Then, begin to implement what you learned. I know several wholesalers who have told me they follow this approach because it provides an answer when you look back six months later and ask: “What did I get from that experience?”

I’m realistic enough to know that changes in companies are seldom tidal waves. Rather, it’s the constant small ripples that build up over time and gradually result in a difference in the company landscape that you can ultimately measure. 

In a new twist for 2018, HARDI is offering its new Conference in a Course Series.

People who cannot attend one of HARDI’s Focus conferences can purchase video-recorded seminars and sessions. (This does not apply to the annual conference). Those who attend the focus forum will be able to access the video recordings at no cost. It’s a great idea, eliminating any reason you might have for not availing  yourself of the information at the sessions. 

It’s ironic that the annual conference is in Nevada this year, because my first foray into the industry was at a Northamerican Heating, Refrigeration & Airconditioning Wholesalers Association (NHRAW) conference in Reno in 1998.

Coming full circle, this is my last conference as the editor of Distribution Center magazine. The new editor-in-chief is Herb Woerpel, who has been the managing editor of The NEWS for the last five years. Herb is an astute and seasoned editor, and he will enhance the content of the magazine.

Look for some changes, fresh ideas, and a new direction under his guidance, which will be a pleasant surprise for all.

While I’m leaving the editorial front, I’m not leaving the industry, so I’ll be easy to find.

With my exit, I want to thank many people. Alas, I would need two columns to list all the wonderful folks I’ve met over the years (and would still probably omit a few). The bottom line is that you know who you are.

There are three exceptions I must mention.

One is Talbot Gee, the person who always demonstrated exceptional vision and talent and who has never disappointed me. Another is Joey Henderson (who then worked for George Wheelock), the first person I met at that NHRAW conference. He told me that I was about to meet some of the finest people ever in the HVACR industry. Joey was right.

Finally, to my readers for your support, comments, and suggestions. You have been the best audience a writer could hope for. (And, yes, for you sticklers, I ended my final column with a preposition at the end of a sentence). Thank you.