2009 has certainly been an interesting year thus far! The economy was very soft in January and February, and our industry remained under attack by rules and regulations coming out of Washington, DC, and, in some cases, states like California and Arizona. HARDI has been at the forefront of fighting these onerous regulations and will continue to be. Please consider attending the 2nd Congressional Fly-In in Washington, DC, on April 29 and 30. We can make a difference and have our voices heard if we have a large number of participants. We are holding this event again in conjunction with ACCA, PHCC and ASA, who, with HARDI, collectively represent a significant share of the HVACR and plumbing industries. You will have the opportunity to speak with your elected representatives and provide them with your perspective on what they need to do to grow the economy and help HVACR distributors.

While many of you were braving the cold and snow in February, 11 of your officers and members met in Dallas, TX, for a two-day session to work on crafting a strategic plan for presentation to the board and members. Our association has grown and prospered in the few years since the consolidation of NHRAW and ARWI, but Don Frendberg and I believe it is time to lay out our plan for the next five years. We had a very effective session under the expert facilitation of Patricia Lilly and some very insightful input by your fellow members and staff. I think you will be impressed with the plan when we present it to the members at the October convention in Orlando. We hope to have an outline of some of the strategic initiatives to present in Ottawa at the June summer meeting. We became clear on HARDI's purpose: HARDI's mission is to promote and strengthen the HVACR wholesale distribution channel. There are a number of strategic initiatives to accomplish and support our mission, so stay tuned, as we roll them out as the year progresses. If you have any suggestions or input on this process, please send me an e-mail or give me a call.

This April issue is the kickoff of the HARDI regional meeting season. Please take a minute to leaf back to the “Upcoming HARDI Events” section to check out the dates and locations of the upcoming regional meetings. I can attest that these meetings continue to expand in content and value, and if you or some of your associates have not attended a meeting in a couple of years, you are in for a pleasant surprise. I also encourage participation if for no other reason than the opportunity to discuss business issues in this troublesome economy. One of the greatest values of HARDI is in the peer relationships and forthright sharing between the members. In these times, it's comforting to remember we are not alone and that many of our industry friends are fighting and solving the same issues, and will share those victories just as you would. 'Til next time.