As spring is upon us I'm pleased to convey a number of exciting developments underway at HARDI.

You'll be proud to know that the association continues to grow. With a record number of new members in 2006 and a great start already this year, I predict the number of new members may surpass last year. In a time when many associations are losing members or unable to maintain the status quo, it says a lot for the enthusiasm, energy and value generated from a HARDI membership. I believe there are a number of reasons for this.

First and most important are the efforts of our existing members in recruiting new candidates for membership. A significant number of our new members have indicated that wholesalers, manufacturer's reps or suppliers encouraged them to join HARDI and become involved in contributing to the further strengthening of wholesale distribution and the HVACR industry. Please accept my thanks for your continued support and commitment.

Second is the expansion of the HARDI brand through our exhibit and activities with the AHR Expo. HARDI's involvement each year at this premier industry trade show continues to enhance the HARDI brand by drawing increasing numbers of members together, while introducing potential members to the importance of HARDI membership.

And third, HARDI represents one of the best values for its members. In a recent trade association survey, we remained the association with the least cost and highest value proposition available to its members.

Another exciting development is the establishment of a new Council dedicated to the interests of existing and potential members involved in the hydronics and radiant heat end of our business. Recently approved by the HARDI Board, the new Council will operate in a similar manner to the three very successful Refrigeration, Controls and HVACR Systems and Equipment Councils. I am pleased to announce that former President Randy Tice of APR Supply will chair the Council, and Bill Bergamini of ILLCO will serve as vice chair. Both of these gentlemen have extensive experience in the hydronics business and the issues that sector of our industry faces every day. The Council has begun its planning process, including the creation of the following mission statement: To advance the application of hydronic and radiant heating technology through increased distributor marketing and customer education, with strong emphasis on product knowledge training to achieve high-performance and energy-efficient designs for end-users.

The Council will meet at the Central/Great Lakes regional meetings as well as at the Southwest/West/HARDI Mid-Year Business Meeting. If you are interested, please plan to attend any or all of these regional meetings and get involved. Also, if you have input or suggestions for the direction of the Council, I know both Randy and Bill would welcome it.

One more comment on the regional meetings as they quickly approach: You know by now that the enhancement of these programs is one of my major objectives this year. I once again strongly encourage all members and, in particular, wholesale distributors to get engaged and involved in their regions. As with Committees and Councils, our regions are a strong part of our culture, and, likewise, contribute to the strength, value and direction we provide to the industry. The regional meetings also provide a great opportunity to expose HARDI to those members of your company who cannot attend the Annual Fall Conference. The meetings provide a variety of opportunities for industry and business education, relationship-building and exposure to industry issues that probably will affect your business in the future.

I'll see you there!