Last year, HARDI hit new milestones across the board. We saw record-breaking attendance at the annual Congressional Fly-in, Marketing & Sales Focus Conference, and, of course, the biggest HARDI event ever in the Annual Conference: NOVA 2017. These are fantastic indicators of the growing engagement by HARDI members with the organization, the valuable resources available to them, and their peers in the industry. I am proud to take the helm at HARDI and lead us on this continued trajectory of growth toward new heights in 2018.

Speaking of engagement, one thing that makes our industry so special is the people with whom we build our businesses. We are standing on the shoulders of giants when it comes to preserving the legacy of our predecessors. Young people are the future of this legacy and require our special attention.

We’ve talked at length for decades of the growing shortage of workers in industries like ours. Recruiting young people is a challenge for a lot of us, and our industry needs to get out ahead of this problem by coming up with and implementing creative solutions.

My goal this year is for HARDI members to continue working on how they recruit young talent but with a slightly different approach. Rather than focusing on recruitment and hiring practices, I think a tangible solution lies in refining our companies’ identities and building company brands that internally provide fulfillment to younger folks who join our ranks. We need to provide these answers.

There’s a handful of upcoming HARDI events that offer great opportunities for members to jump right in on addressing talent recruitment and retention. At the end of February is HARDI’s first 2018 Focus Conference series, the Strategic Leadership & Finance, Feb. 25-27 in San Diego. New this year, we’re offering a human resources (HR) workshop led by HARDI’s HR consultant and labor law expert, Pam Krivda, April 18-19 at HARDI headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. She will provide her expertise on a range of topics, including recruitment and retention, especially when it comes to millennials. And let’s not forget the Congressional Fly-in in May. There is always potential for us to receive a legislative boost on this front.

I’m looking forward to a successful 2018,

Troy Meachum