Summer is officially underway, and my term as president of HARDI is more than half over. So far, it has been fast-paced and exciting with no shortage of things to do and places to go.
If you have not attended at least one of the many HARDI events so far this year, you have missed a terrific opportunity to gain valuable business resources and interact with other members.
The retreat events, beginning with Executive Development in Vail and followed by the new Management Methods meeting in San Antonio, were two of the best ever. I was particularly impressed with the San Antonio golf event and the in-depth discussions and interchange Michael Workman facilitated; carrying those discussions to the golf course was an added bonus. Even more important is the fact that he will be presenting at the Annual Fall Conference in Orlando where he will share more of his thought-provoking insight into the ever-changing distribution and HVACR industries. Like it or not, the face of this business is constantly changing, and the more educated and flexible an owner or manager, the better the chances of success.
I have mentioned numerous times my interest in increasing the exposure of the regional meetings. With two of them now behind us, I am pleased with their success and look forward to the same accomplishments at the remaining meetings. I am thankful for all the hard work of the regional planners and the HARDI staff in Columbus. A great deal of time and effort has gone into achieving positive results from each meeting, and I believe we are positioned for strong continuing growth.
This past April, HARDI had a presence at the 2007 China Refrigeration Exhibition in Guangzhou, China. Don Frendberg and I, along with an interpreter, manned the HARDI booth for three days as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce Pavilion. Our friends at the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) and the Air Movement and Control Association (AMCA) were also present in the pavilion. Overall, there were more than 900 companies from 33 countries represented at the exhibition.
It was a wonderful experience, and we believe it was a great success. The intent in exhibiting was not to attract new members but to promote the concept of wholesale distribution to a part of the world where distribution is virtually nonexistent. To that extent, we easily met our objective, as we spoke to more than 70 suppliers with plans to bring their products to the North American market at some point. It is difficult to determine how or when many of those companies might elect to join HARDI, but I firmly believe they are well aware of the value of wholesale distribution. It goes without saying that China is salivating over the potential of our markets and is gearing up to take advantage of it.
Personally, I was surprised at the number of U.S. companies exhibiting at the show and the large size of their booths. It was also interesting to see the large number of copper, dryer and valve manufacturers in attendance and the breadth of the product lines of foreign manufacturers like Sanyo and Mitsubishi.
All in all, the trip was very interesting, and I believe our mission of expanding the HARDI “brand” and introducing wholesale distribution to Asia was a great success.