As I near the completion of my term as president, I am continually impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of our members directed toward the betterment of our industry and the growth of the Association. It's now three years since the consolidation, and I don't believe any of us who served on the task force ever believed that bringing the two associations together would create such a strong and dynamic voice in the industry.
In my opinion, one of the greatest advances HARDI has accomplished has been in promoting the economic influence of wholesale distribution and the important contributions we continue to make in the growth and development of the HVACR industry. Our regular dialogue and involvement with our partners at ACCA, ARI, GAMA, RSES, NATE and others provide the opportunity for HARDI members to initiate change on a local and regional basis in areas such as energy efficiency, industry recruitment and training, technician certification and governmental regulations, to name a few. We continue to promote and support ARI in the development of an industrywide refrigerant reclaim program which we consider to be one of the most pressing issues facing our industry today. I am pleased that we are making progress on this important industry initiative.
As I reported previously, this past year has seen the expansion of HARDI's image and brand on a global basis. To this end, I am pleased to report several important continuing developments in that undertaking. In late September, our Executive Vice President Don Frendberg attended, by invitation, the 48th Annual FEST Congress in Algarve, Portugal. FEST is the European Federation of the Sanitary and Heating Wholesale Trade and represents wholesale distribution associations in 17 European countries. Don's presentation encompassed an overview of HVACR distribution in North America with specific information on the history, influence, operations, governance and program initiatives of HARDI. This opportunity came as a follow-up to our visit to the Mostra Convegno Expo Comfort in Milan, Italy, this year and will be followed by the attendance of several of FEST executives at our Annual Fall Conference.
A further expansion of HARDI's global presence will be our exhibit at the China Refrigeration 2007 Exhibition in Guangzhou, China, in April 2007. We will be exhibiting along with ARI, AMCA and the U.S. Department of Commerce in the U.S. Pavilion. I continue to believe, as do many others, that HARDI has a major responsibility to educate the Far East on the value and efficiency of wholesale distribution when introducing and marketing products in North America. Since wholesale distribution is virtually an unknown concept in that part of the world, a comprehensive introduction and education on the long-established and efficient wholesale distribution concept is critical to avoid failed product introductions and potential market disruptions.
A further global market development worth mentioning is the introduction of a consortium of several Italian HVACR manufacturers at this year's annual meeting. This group has requested the opportunity for introductions to arrange distribution agreements with HARDI distributors in the United States. To do so and be in accordance with HARDI bylaws, each company will apply for HARDI Supplier membership and will be fully registered attendees at the conference. While this is certainly not the beginning of the movement of international products into the expansive U.S. market, it does represent the first time it is being done specifically through the HARDI network of wholesale Distributor members. It is imperative for the continued growth of the wholesale distribution industry that HARDI continue to explore and promote these opportunities.
Again, it's been a fantastic year, and I look forward to welcoming you to Palm Desert and the world-class HARDI 2006 Annual Fall Conference.
See you there!