With the immediacy of information today and the fact that we write several months before you receive this publication, I find it difficult to not relate specifically to current affairs. I guess that is the difference between novice writers and publishing professionals. Anyway, I hope everyone is experiencing a very “hot” summer, and that air-conditioning and refrigerant sales are robust.
Although some may disagree, I often think how fortunate we are to be in a weather-related industry. Business is constantly changing, it's never dull or boring, we always have something to “talk” about and blame, we deal with the nicest people in the world, and we make the most money when they are too hot or too cold. I don't think any other industry can make the same claim.
HARDI is involved in promoting its presence and “brand” globally through the development of alliances and participation in select foreign trade expositions which provide the best opportunity for relationship development and industry outreach.
Our previous involvement with the Mostra Convegno Expo Comfort in Milan, Italy, initiated a great relationship with FEST — the European Federation of the Sanitary and Heating Wholesale Trade. Similar in characteristics to HARDI, FEST represents 17 national European associations of heating and plumbing wholesale distributors with 2,000 members, 5,500 branches, 150,000 employees and 50 billion Euros (US $66.8 billion) in annual sales.
Last fall, I was asked to address the 48th Annual FEST Congress in Algarve, Portugal, and illustrate the organization and direction of both HARDI and the American Supply Association. The presentation was well-received, and as a result I believe a greater understanding of our common interests and objectives was achieved.
Subsequently this year, HARDI and FEST jointly agreed to a Memorandum of Mutual Cooperation declaring our intent to support and collaborate in the following areas of mutual interest:
- Information on laws and government regulations.
- International services to the members.
- Import and export information and opportunities.
- Product expositions, training seminars and educational information.
- International standards applicable to heating, ventilating, air-condi- tioning and refrigeration products.
- Safety information on proper operation and maintenance of heating, ventilating, air- conditioning and refrigeration products.
- Other areas of mutual interest to the parties.
In our continuing effort to develop a mutual understanding, Frans Geurts, FEST Director General, and a trade contingent of 20 wholesale distributors will participate in the HARDI Annual Fall Conference in Orlando. Mr. Geurts will address the conference, explaining the FEST organization. Following the conference, HARDI staff will assist in arranging opportunities for the trade contingent to visit a number of North American wholesale distributors. If you are interested in hosting the group at your facility, please let me know.
In part as a result of the HARDI presence at the 2007 China Refrigeration Show in Guangzhou, China, this year, GAMA asked us for assistance in arranging a wholesale distributor visit for a group of 20 Chinese manufacturers and Gas Appliance Association representatives. The trade contingent, made up largely of water heater and controls manufacturers from the Guangzhou area of China, will also be visiting several U.S. manufacturing firms, the CSA testing facility and the GAMA offices in Washington, DC.
This represents one more indication of the growing international nature of our industry which has forever been traditionally domestic in its promotion and perception. I believe our industry needs to be much more prepared for the global changes that are coming our way, for we are not immune to them.
Executive vice president / COO