A few weeks ago, the AHR Expo took place in New York City. The majority of our suppliers were represented there, and a large number of our wholesalers and manufacturer representatives were in attendance. If you have never attended before, it is a great event to observe what is happening with our industry and why it continues to be so dynamic.

I had the opportunity to talk with many of our members at the Expo, and I'm pleased to say that, across the board and irrespective of what we may hear to the contrary in the media, our industry and the economy are doing very well, and everyone is extremely optimistic for the future.

Beyond the vast array of equipment, manufacturers and the opportunity to renew and establish new business relationships, the Expo has afforded HARDI the occasion to showcase the association and enlarge our exposure to Plan & Spec distributors and representatives. In recent years, HARDI has presented a seminar which focused on issues critical to Plan & Spec distributors and representatives. This year's program highlighted the hot issue of “going green” and included a presentation from James Dirkes, a Professional Engineer and LEED® AP [accredited professional] with The Building Performance Team. He spoke on the hidden benefits of “green” that impact the bottom line and make sense to contractors, distributors and business owners. Additionally, Jerry Hansen, president of Energy Saving Products Inc., spoke of the plusses (and pitfalls) of getting involved in energy-efficiency programs and how they can benefit the building owner, the environment, and the distributor and manufacture rep businesses. This program helped kick off the association's initiatives into the whole panorama of “green issues” and the determination of how, what and where our segment of the industry needs to be positioned to be most efficient and effective for our manufacturers, contractors and the environment. There is no question that “going green” is a necessary and complex process, but the association's board, committees and councils were emphatic at the recent annual conference in Orlando that we must study these outcomes carefully to ensure optimum long-term benefits for all. Without question, we will be talking a lot more about this subject in the future.

Since my last letter, I have had the opportunity to attend the annual meetings of two of our industry associations representing many of our industry's top manufacturers. In October, I was invited to the AMCA (Air Movement and Control Association International) meeting in Scottsdale, AZ, and in November, the ARI (Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute) event in Key Largo, FL. Being my first exposure to the workings of these two leading industry associations, I must say I came away extremely impressed with their overall commitment to the industry and dedication to raising the standards through certification of HVACR equipment manufactured not only in North America but around the world. HARDI has been actively involved in building alliances with our industry partners for quite a while, but it was rewarding to receive such a gracious welcome and to experience the respect and appreciation expressed for the work of HARDI.

In future issues, I will be talking more about the upcoming Congressional Fly-In and Mid-Year Business Meeting and Regional Meetings, but I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention the upcoming Methods of Management Golf Retreat with Michael Marks, March 9-11, 2008, at the Loews Lake Las Vegas Resort. If you are inclined to blend education with golf, this is an event you will not want to miss. I can guarantee you an outstanding value and event. Go to the HARDI website at www.HARDInet.org/events for more information and registration. See you there!