An intimate but dynamic group of HARDI members gathered in Ottawa, Ont., Canada, June 25-27, to put the finishing touches on plans for HARDI's 2009 Annual Fall Conference. The Nov. 1-4 Conference, themed “Turning Up the Heat on Recovery: Education, Leadership, Technology,” will be held at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes, Orlando, Fla.

HARDI members have come to expect exceptional programming from the association, and the 2009 conference is sure to once again exceed those expectations with its programs, social events and networking opportunities.

Known as “the Coach to the World's Top CEOs,” keynote speaker Tony Jeary will kick off the conference with the subject of Strategic Acceleration: Succeed at the Speed of Life. Strategic Acceleration is about improving clarity, focus and execution to produce superior results faster. Jeary's high-energy presentation is certain to inspire all who attend and prepare them to lead their organizations to new opportunity and success.

Following the conference theme of recovery, other educational tracks attendees will hear should leave them with a positive outlook. HARDI's economist, Alan Beaulieu, always holds a standing-room-only session. This year, his Economic Recovery — Good Times Are Ahead workshop will provide economic forecasts with 96 percent accuracy so companies can improve their performance and profits. Successful leadership in tough times means creating a sense of urgency, getting mutual commitment to action and reexamining your personal leadership model. In his Leadership Techniques in an Economic Recovery educational track, Rick Johnson will cover the realities of effective leadership during economic recovery; discretionary energy and its impact on profitability; making sure you are on the “right” side of the storm; releasing the power of profitability in your employees; and recession-proofing.

Selling Has Nothing to Do with Selling says sales expert Richard Farrell. His educational track under the same title will provide practical, usable “time tested” sales information. Farrell stresses a nonselling posture that allows the salesperson to play the role of a “change agent” rather than a product-centric transactional salesperson. His session promises attendees will learn why most sales organizations are very good at a game no longer being played; why selling is more about sifting, sorting and selecting and less about the art of persuasion; and why closing is a nonevent and the real event is opening.

Chris Compton, HVACREducation.net, will host a session to demonstrate the new HARDI Distance Learning Network (DLN) (its launch will occur at this meeting). This new system not only allows member staffs use of HARDI educational courses but they will also have access to over 1,200 hours of mentored online courses developed by HVACREducation.net. Both BPI and NATE recognize all the courses. Additionally, the new DLN offers use of their Learning Management System (LMS) for employees of HARDI members. Attendees will hear how they can revamp their training programs for consistency of education, access to a wide group of quality programs and improved tracking of a person's progress through the stages of learning.

Another HARDI favorite speaker is Mike Workman, distribution management, leadership and business development expert. Workman will lead the closing keynote address with his discussion titled, Opportunities for Innovative Distribution: From Survive to Thrive. Workman will explore the art of the “long view”: the keys to moving from reacting to current conditions to creating a business environment with distributor advocacy; to defining what can be instead of focusing on what was; to prioritize and focus business on the most profitable segments (customers — suppliers — products) in such a way that there is alignment, not guesswork, to define those metrics that drive us toward thriving in unknown business, governmental and economic environments.

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Sound like a great lineup? There's still much more. HARDI owes its strength as an association largely to the work of its four product-based councils and 14 committees. Committees and councils meet at the annual and mid-year conferences as well as throughout the year via conference call to advance the issues, products and projects specific to the focus of each. These councils and committees will hold open meetings throughout the day on Mon., Nov. 2. Attendees are strongly encouraged to roll up their sleeves and attend the committees and councils that are of interest to their business and professional development. The work of these groups are the true cogs in the wheel that keeps the HVACR distribution industry moving forward. Members who become involved at the committee and council level have the ability to make the largest impact on the future of their business through the association.

On Tues., Nov. 3, the councils will hold programs specific to their focus. For example, the Hydronics Council will present a session entitled Condensing Boilers: Cash in on Energy Rebates and Stimulus Dollars, where attendees will learn about the newest and most efficient technology in hydronics. The Controls Distributors Council, Refrigeration Systems Council and the HVAC Systems & Equipment Council will also offer programs.

On Wed., Nov. 4, it's the HARDI Conference Booth Program, an ideal time for suppliers to meet with wholesalers. (For an update on new policies, see related article on page 26.)

HARDI conferences offer a lot of opportunity for education, networking and growth, but not all of it is done in the conference room setting. Any businessperson knows that work really does get done on the golf course. With that in mind, HARDI holds an annual golf outing in conjunction with the conference. The Sun., Nov. 1, HARDI Foundation golf outing will tee off with a 1 p.m. shotgun start. This is the second year that the golf outing will benefit the HARDI Foundation. Supplier members will sponsor golf holes, beverage carts, holes-in-one, long drives and more. The winning foursomes receive cash prizes.

Not to be overlooked for their value are the receptions, meal functions and closing banquet, which are woven throughout the conference. Each of these afford more opportunities for members to meet their peers and share best practices. Sunday night's supplier-sponsored opening reception has a reputation in the industry for being a premier event offering heavy hors d'oeuvres, beverages and more than a thousand industry executives. Also, don't miss the Wednesday night closing festivities. This gourmet sit-down dinner will highlight the passing of the gavel where David McIlwaine, HARDI's current president, will turn over the presidency to HARDI's first female president, Chrissy Nardini. A celebratory display of professional entertainment will follow, giving members one last chance to gather with their industry friends before heading back home to put into action all of the great ideas they acquired during the three-day conference.

For complete conference details and to register, visit www.hardinet.org/conference. Be sure to mark your calendars for future HARDI conferences, Oct. 23-27, 2010, at the Hilton Americas — Houston, Houston, Texas, and the 2011 HARDI Annual Fall Conference, Oct. 22-26, at the Grand Wailea Resort, Maui, Hawaii.


Kimberly G. O'Neal is the communications & project director for HARDI. Contact her at 888/253-2128 or koneal@hardinet.org.

JOIN HALO IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER

Heating, Cooling & Airconditioning Ladies Organization (HALO) is working to raise money for the American Cancer Society at the HARDI Annual Conference in Orlando this year. The ladies will once again hold a silent auction at the Opening Reception on Sunday, Nov. 1, featuring gift cards and other items.

New this year is a Cancer Walk around the beautifully landscaped Grande Lakes grounds. “Helping All Live On” — the one- hour walk will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 4. On-site registration will begin at 7:30 a.m., with walking to begin at 8:00 a.m.

Plan to walk in honor of someone whom cancer has touched — a family member, friend or yourself. Walk to prevent this horrible disease from touching the lives of those you care about. To preregister, contact the HARDI office to obtain a registration form. A minimal $25 registration fee will benefit The American Cancer Society.

To make an online donation, go to www.firstgiving.com/halo-hardiwalk.

Please contact Mary Martin at martin6033@sbcglobal.net or 614/878-9982 for more information.