In the wholesale HVACR industry, growth depends on customer loyalty: more satisfied customers, buying more product at higher prices over longer periods of time. Underlying customer satisfaction and loyalty is customer service: consistently meeting customer expectations and building a sense of trust and connection with them over time. Customer service then is the centerpiece of profitable growth.

What, you may ask, is the driver of customer service? Getting, keeping and managing great employees and helping them accumulate expert knowledge and superior skills. This is why the Professional Development and Training Committee (PDTC) is central to HARDI's overall mission to “promote and strengthen the HVACR wholesale distribution channel.” The PDTC provides unparalleled educational offerings to all members of the HVAC industry, inclusive of all positions, from warehouse to executive, and inclusive of all skill/knowledge sets, from the greenest employee to the most seasoned vets, and everyone in between.

The Professional Development and Training Committee was the result of joining both the Educational and Executive Development Committees in 2010. Through the evolutionary process, the new committee has grown into three subcommittees, each with its own mission — Career Development, Technical and Product Training and Executive Development. The PDTC is headed up by Tom Hansch (G.W. Berkheimer Co, Inc.) Russ Geary (Geary Pacific Supply) and the committee's newest co-chair Kevin Dier (Johnstone Supply). Along with the three co-chairs, the group has three vice chairs who will individually concentrate on three subcommittees. They are Ken Perotta (Crescent Parts & Equipment), Career Development; Bryan Boyd (A/C Supply Company), Technical and Product Training; and Wayne Castor (GBG, Inc.), Executive Development.

The Career Development Committee focuses on providing training and development curriculum for each common job position within wholesale distribution. To do this, the members analyze the best practices and key competencies for success in each position, and build learning opportunities tailored specifically to elevate those in the position, or prepare the next generation to fill that position. They are working on a Branch Manager curriculum, which HARDI members have indicated is a position of the utmost importance to the success of any wholesale distribution business. The committee expects to release this curriculum in the fall.

The Technical & Product Training Committee focuses on product and technical training, which is a huge need in our industry. Last year this committee released the DLN, Distribution Learning Network. The DLN is a learning management system that comes with an extensive learning library of not only technical skills training, but leadership and soft skills training as well. The committee is working to make HARDI members aware of the DLN, and teach them how to utilize the system to reap a substantial ROI from their training and development programs.

The Executive Development Committee is currently working on several executive development programs such as travel to workshops, executive learning retreats and webinar-based programs. Later this year, look for more information on development programs tailored to HVACR industry executives.


Russ Geary is vice president of Orange, CA-based Geary Pacific Supply and co-chair of the Professional Development and Training Committee. Contact Russ at 916/481-0244 or russ@gearypacific.com.