This issue of HVACR Distribution Business should hit your desk when summer is in full swing. I'm optimistic, indeed, dreaming it will be a hot summer everywhere and our businesses will likewise be heating up. Your association's board and individuals with strong interests in the committees and councils just concluded the Summer Business Conference in Oak Brook, IL.

We have said it many times before, but it bears repeating. This is your association, and we invite and encourage you to attend committee and council meetings, and to participate in and get involved with the many leadership opportunities. Any organization is only as great as the interest and involvement put forth by its members, and while HARDI is energetic and enthusiastic for its programs, and our offerings are excellent, there is still a demand for your ideas and expertise. With all that is taking place in the economy, the impact of government on our businesses and the need to protect our interests in changes affecting the HVACR and metals industries, it takes many minds and collaboration to ensure that we will all be viable businesses in the future.

A prime example of a collaborative effort is the ongoing work of the Sheet Metal/Air Handling Products Committee, as it tackles the critical, long-debated subject of establishing standards for HARDI members involved in the handling and sales of galvanized sheet and coil steel. Standards and ethical practices need both recognition and acceptance from our members and suppliers on coating weights, thickness (gauge) standards, labeling and actual weight criterion. By finally establishing standards and accepted business standards, HARDI will eventually change and improve the industry. Everything must have a starting point, and where better than with the ethical and committed industry participants at HARDI?

Another initiative underway is the merging of the Education and the Executive Development Committees. One of the outcomes of the 2009 Strategic Planning Session was an education initiative to develop curriculum that encompasses operational and soft skills for management and executive expertise. The curriculum will include internal and external opportunities and address the needs of small and large distributors. As the initiative has developed, we have rebranded the home study curriculum and are rolling out a comprehensive online distribution learning network. Throughout the process, the Executive Committee has been looking at more efficient ways to achieve results for all the planned education activities without redundancy of volunteer or staff efforts. Accordingly, it was the Executive Committee's recommendation to combine the Education and Executive Development Committees, because much of their work and discussions share similar alignment in the educational and training objectives related to career paths. For the most part, the volunteer leadership of both committees will continue; they have agreed to develop task groups that will work within the new committee to continue existing programs and develop targeted programs and initiatives in the areas of Technology, Program Development, Career Development and Research and Publications.

I am extremely excited about this initiative and the potential value from new products and programs for all HARDI members. But the bottom line is that all the beneficial outcomes for our businesses and industry only come about through the dedication and involvement of our committed industry members. Won't you consider adding your experience and expertise to the effort?