COLUMBUS, Ohio — Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) wrapped up its first ever virtual year-end Summit on Wednesday, December 9.

The new virtual format welcomed 349 wholesaler attendees from 127 member companies for a total of 695 attendees from 270 member companies present at the virtual event. The Products and Solutions Showcase sold out with 30 vendors.

Speakers included Kevin O’Leary, who not only discussed how he has pivoted operations since the COVID-19 pandemic, but answered many live questions from HARDI members, tailoring his presentation to the HVACR industry. Another speaker was Jim Donald, who emphasized the importance of building relationships not only with customers but also employees, in order to build healthy teams and organizations going into 2021.

Continuing from last year, HARDI presented the research from the second annual State of the Channel report. Sessions that branched out of the State of the Channel included "The Voice of Suppliers: 2020 and the Critical Role of Inventory," "The Voice of Contractors: 2020 and the Future of Sales and Service Expectations," and "COVID-19 & the Small Distributor: Staying Competitive in Uncertain Times."

Presenters Senthil Gunasekaran and Pradip Krishnadevarajan returned to explore the challenges facing small distributors and offered insights on how they plan to respond in the coming year. The pair continues their partnership with HARDI by introducing two new certification programs for 2021: Inventory Management and Pricing Management.

Next year’s Annual Conference is expected to take place in-person at Palm Desert, California, at the JW Marriott Desert Springs, December 4-7, 2021.

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