Just in case you haven't noticed, it's February already, and we're almost halfway through winter. It has certainly been a robust winter for the majority of the nation in comparison to a very mild summer. It seems to challenge some of the logic behind global warming, but nevertheless it's good for our industry, and I know many of our members are quite pleased to be entering a new year with strong heating equipment sales. Let's hope the same holds true for air-conditioning equipment when summer finally rolls around.

Early this year, HARDI hosted the seventh annual 2010 Professional Development Retreat in Vail, CO. I would like to take this opportunity to recognize the efforts of Scott Weaver at APR Supply in bringing that meeting to fruition this year. Due to the anticipated economic conditions in 2009, the Board had decided to suspend the meeting this year, fearing major losses from decreased attendance.

Months ago, Scott contacted staff and asked if the meeting might proceed if they could arrange sponsors to cover the cost of a presenter, which is typically the largest single expense of any educationally related meeting. Staff agreed, and Scott set about to arrange for Michael Marks to facilitate the meeting and solicit sponsors. On behalf of HARDI and the meeting participants, I would like to extend our thanks to Bradford White Corp., EWC Controls, Dynatemp International and Zonefirst for their generous sponsorships and for stepping up in support of the association. If you have never experienced this great event and enjoy winter sports, I highly recommend that you plan to attend next year.

As we move into 2010, HARDI must achieve a number of major objectives as competition to the association increases and governmental legislation and regulations continue to impact numerous businesses. The following strategic initiatives, developed by the 2009 Strategic Planning Committee, will be the focus of staff and the association committees and councils this year.

  • Education
  • Strengthening the HARDI Brand
  • Advocacy
  • Membership Growth and Engagement
  • Benchmarking and
  • Leveraging Member Strength for Information Sharing Development of Services and Standards

All of the above, in addition to a concentration on improving and enhancing regional and annual conference programs and attendance, will be the focus of efforts this year.

In December, as is now practice, the Executive Committee visited HARDI offices in Columbus to meet with staff, discuss agendas for the year ahead and review the progress of ongoing projects. The meeting was extremely productive, and once again we came away engaged and energized for the tasks ahead.

One discussion of note is the announcement that Don Frendberg will be retiring as executive vice president/COO of HARDI at the end of 2010, and Talbot Gee will take over the reins of the association. With a successful succession plan firmly in place, Don has elected to move ahead his retirement a year earlier than anticipated. Don offered, and the Executive Committee and Talbot accepted his offer, to work half-time for the association for the foreseeable future.

As we move forward, I welcome member input and participation in our continuing efforts to improve the association. Please do not hesitate to call me at 636/349-5560 or e-mail cnardini@americanmetalssupply.com.