At the time of this writing, I just returned from the AHRI convention, which followed our very successful HARDI convention in Houston. I would like to share some observations about both.

The HARDI convention was one of the best in recent years, based on comments I received from members. Increased attendance, a higher percentage of distributors to total attendance, a great slate of speakers, both in general sessions and in councils/committees, characterized the conference. We restructured the format, including the vendor tabletop in the middle of the conference — changing certain committees and councils to include subcommittees when appropriate and, of course, the fellowship with old and new friends. Chrissy did a great job presiding and was able to take home a little bit of Texas with her in the form of a 10-gallon hat. The issues of “dry shipped units,” 25C tax extensions, commodity prices, impact of the elections and the economy were heard in the halls and meetings. Initial feedback from members also suggest the “urban” location worked well, and we will consider this for future meetings.

The AHRI convention was an interesting experience also. First, I should note that Don Frendberg received the prestigious “Public Service Award,” in recognition of his many years of service to the industry; it was nice to see manufacturers (as well as the distributors) recognize him. Many of the committee meetings were about “harmonizing” standards with both domestic (i.e., ASHRAE) and international standards. A couple of other items may interest members. Any member thinking about starting a DAC reclaim program should review AHRI Guideline Q-2010, Content Recovery & Proper Recycling of Refrigerant Cylinders. Second, there is a website in development, www.PhaseOutFacts.org. Please remember this website is in its early stages, but it looks like a good start.

HARDI staff has two new members: Susan Little, director of marketing and Jon Melchi, manager of government affairs. Many of you met Jon at our Houston meeting, where he gave a couple of excellent presentations; you will be hearing from Susan in the near future if you haven't by now. Hats off to staff, particularly Sue and Eileen, for doing a great job of running the Houston meeting; it is almost impossible to describe how much work goes into that.

Finally, at the time of this writing, HARDI will have undergone a transition that has been handled as well as any I have observed anywhere. Don Frendberg is stepping down as executive vice president/COO to become chairman. Talbot Gee assumes the role of executive vice president/COO and will handle day-to-day duties of running the organization in conjunction with our excellent staff. Don has been instrumental in the merging of ARWI and NHRAW into HARDI, with their two different cultures and personalities. The hard work has paid off, and the HARDI organization is stronger and speaks with one voice for the HVACR distribution industry, particularly in Washington, D.C., and continues adding value to our trade year after year. Don was the right man at the right time, and we all owe him a big “THANKS” for his hard work and commitment to the organization. In addition, he accomplished one of the hardest things any leader can do — pick the right successor. He will stay on staff and be active in many activities and projects throughout the year and attend our Hawaii meeting. It is not too early to start making plans and reservations — it will be a great meeting in a wonderful location. See you there.