As HARDI's newly elected president, I am proud to serve, and I am committed to leading the association as productively and effectively as those who have preceded me. It is an honor to be able to follow in the footsteps of so many industry greats who have held the position before me. Some of you may know that Bill Barnett of Boutette & Barnett was to assume the presidency this year. However, due to extenuating circumstances, Bill needed to postpone his presidency for one year. Just as the backup quarterback who believes he had one more year to prepare for his starting assignment, I admit I was apprehensive upon learning in September that HARDI needed me to come off the bench a year earlier than planned. However, I am confident that my many years with NHRAW and HARDI as committee and council chair, regional director and executive committee member will provide the insights required to effectively lead this organization.
I believe in this organization. I am proud to be a member of this organization and am continually impressed with the quality of its members, staff and dedicated volunteers. HARDI has proven time and again how the association can adapt to the changing needs of its members, the turbulent economy and the challenges of government regulation. I honestly do not understand why any HVACR distributor in North America is not a member of this fine organization. As members who are committed to the strength and vitality of our association, it is incumbent upon all of us to actively recruit and spread the word of the benefits of HARDI. With the challenges we will face in 2009 and 2010, any HVACR distributor will be better off as a result of belonging to and actively participating in our association.
One of the major goals I would like to see the association accomplish in the next year is to develop processes by which we can more effectively attract talent to our industry and significantly cultivate the talent we have in our businesses. I believe we need to paint a compelling picture of the benefits of a career in our industry and then deliver that message to the nation's secondary schools and colleges in order to bring competent and qualified people into our businesses. Then going forward, we must continually challenge all our people and insist upon continuing education and training. The future of our businesses and our industry depends on the strength and talent of our people. I am aware that HARDI and a number of other HVACR industry associations are laboring to consolidate their respective educational offerings and are working with the Department of Education and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to bring the message of our industry to secondary and vocational schools. While that is terrific, I think much more should be done, in particular for HVACR wholesale distribution companies.
As we move into 2009, I am convinced it is going to be a year of great challenges and opportunities. I encourage every member to become engaged in the issues facing our association and our industry, and to communicate your thoughts, ideas and needs to HARDI staff, committee and council chairs, regional directors, HARDI officers and me at any time. Thank you for the opportunity to serve.