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Heating Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) welcomed more than 1,840 attendees, including 536 wholesaler attendees from 187 companies, and a sold-out booth program featuring 250 vendors to its 2022 Annual Conference, IGNITE, in Houston. This was the highest number of attendees in the history of HARDI’s annual conferences and a testament to the appetite the HVACR industry has for networking and educational content regarding trends, tools and practices that impact growth.
“We are thrilled to see so many members come together to share ideas, grow and connect,” said Allison Greene, HARDI marketing director. “Our team worked incredibly hard to provide a collection of speaker content and networking opportunities that would enable our members to super-charge their strategic business planning as well as their personal growth initiatives.”
The event featured six keynote speakers whose presentations aligned with the conference’s four main themes: business growth, external impacts, organizational development and personal advancement. HARDI welcomed Billy Beane, executive vice president of Baseball Operations of the Oakland A’s, whose engaging and informative presentation “Moneyball: Lessons for Life & Business from Baseball’s Best General Manager” was highly attended and praised.
Anirban Basu, chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group, returned to the HARDI mainstage with a witty analysis of major factors shaping economic outcomes. The show concluded with comedian and actor Dion Flynn’s interactive improv-centered keynote presentation, rife with lessons about the art of connection.
The conference featured 26 breakout sessions, many of which showcased valuable insights and benchmarking data made possible by HARDI’s Market Intelligence team. Four regional forecast sessions examined how economic and regulatory factors will impact specific regions of the country in the coming months. The Voice of Supplier, Voice of Contractor and State of the Channel sessions gave attendees a look at the association’s yearlong research initiatives.
HARDI used the event as a platform to make important announcements regarding changes to its board of directors. In 2019, HARDI adopted a bold new governance model designed to take the growing association to yet another level of sophistication and scale. One of those changes included instating two-year chair terms. It was announced that Rhonda Wight, Refrigeration Sales Corp, will become the first-ever HARDI chairperson to serve a second year.
Outgoing board members Scott Weaver, APR Supply, and Carlton Harwood, Ferguson Enterprises, were thanked for their exceptional and dutiful service. Additionally, HARDI’s new slate of directors was unanimously approved by the general membership and will serve three-year terms, concluding at the 2025 Annual Conference: Lauren Roberts, cfm Distributors, Kansas City, Mo. (2nd term); Steve Roe, Heating and Cooling Supply, Waterloo, Iowa; and Kevin Baxter, Munch’s Supply, New Lenox, Ill.
“A key attribute of our governance model is a very strategic nomination process in which we inform the membership what kinds of skills and talents the board is prioritizing for the next class,” noted HARDI CEO Talbot Gee. “This results in multiple exceptionally well-suited nominees and ultimately makes for a difficult nomination process, which we think is a great problem to have. Kevin, Steve and the return of Lauren for a second term are perfect expressions of the process and are already making valuable contributions to the board and HARDI.”
Finally, HARDI recognized 20 graduates from its Emerging Leaders program. “Program participants from distributor and supplier member companies have worked incredibly hard over the course of a three-year curriculum to develop their executive skill sets, and we’re honored to be able to recognize them for their achievements in front of a large audience of their colleagues and friends,” said Nick Benton, HARDI vice president of operations.
The 2023 Annual Conference will be held in Phoenix at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge, Dec. 2-5. For questions or further information, please contact Allison Greene at email@example.com.
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