As a precursor to the 2011 Annual Conference, Heating, Airconditioning, Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) hosted its first ever Distributor Town Hall Meeting.

Facilitated by HARDI President Richard Cook, President-Elect Bud Mingledorff and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Talbot Gee, the event provided candid sharing on a slate of topics including the DOE’s Direct Final Rule on Regional Standards due this Thursday, discussions surrounding the importance of benchmarking and discussing ways to improve manufacturer-distributor relationships.

HARDI will use feedback from this closed-door forum in the development of their 2012 industry initiatives and strategic planning.

Monday morning kicked-off with Susan Little, HARDI Director of Marketing introducing a new branding initiative, communications strategy, website and myHARDI, a private social media platform exclusive to HARDI members. Each element of the campaign is designed to reinforce and clarify HARDI’s membership pillar resources while providing a fresh, modern look and feel to the association.

HARDI Foundation Board of Trustees President, Bill Shaw announced the development of a new HARDI Foundation Endowment Fund. The endowment will provide distributor and manufacturer member companies a forum to drive research projects. Shaw followed this with the announcement of HARDI’s current Chairman, Don Frendberg, being appointed as the Endowment Development Director beginning in January 2012. In this role, Frendberg will be responsible for setting the strategic vision for the endowment and building and raising the funds necessary to make the enhanced Foundation endeavor a success.

Texas A&M University Profession Emeritus, Mike Workman delivered the first of two keynotes he will present during the three day conference. The lively and interactive presentation focused largely on the nature of wholesale distribution and the challenges the HVACR industry faces with maximizing profitability in tough economic times. Workman offers a fresh perspective on the topic, and put forth valuable take-away recommendations for realizing 2006 profits with an adjusted, 2012 mindset. Results of interactive polling of manufacturers and distributors conducted as a part of Workman’s presentation will set the tone for his second presentation scheduled for Wednesday.