Contractingbusiness 770 Richardcook

Taking a Cue from an Exceptional Act

Dec. 1, 2010
If you look in the dictionary under hard act to follow, the following definition is listed: Middle-age average guy follows attractive, smart, personable,

If you look in the dictionary under "hard act to follow," the following definition is listed: Middle-age average guy follows attractive, smart, personable, dynamic lady who was very successful in her tenure as president of HARDI. In a life full of challenges, this may be one of the bigger ones.

Despite this challenge, I am honored to be selected by HARDI members for the position of President and am fully committed to spending the time, resources and effort to representing the organization in a professional manner, continuing with the execution of the goals established by the strategic plan, and listening to the stakeholders' concerns and issues.

As my wife and co-workers often remind me, this is an honorary position; so why do I devote so much time to the organization? There are several reasons.

First, I believe there is a close ratio between what you put into life and what you receive. What effort I've put into our industry in general, and HARDI in particular, has more than repaid itself. Second, the management tools that HARDI offers are the basis for many of the decisions or strategies that our executive team uses in both the short and long term.

If one thinks of the HARDI profit, trends and compensation reports; the A&M methodology for best practices and financial metrics; the seminars at the regional and national meetings; the insight into regulatory and legislative impacts (as well as the ability to influence events); the networking with other companies (distributors and manufacturers); the work of the councils and committees; the HARDI educational initiatives; and the interaction with other industries (ACCA or AHRI, for example), one realizes that HARDI has all the tools to help you optimize your distribution business.

If you are a manufacturer, there is no better way to understand the challenges and rewards of the distribution industry. There is no other entity in the HVACR industry — including buying groups, manufacturers or universities — that does all of these things.

Third, the people in our industry are exceptional. I believe the majority of HARDI members are living the "American dream." For the most part, the people I have met in this industry are ethical, believe in a strong work ethic and are a big part of the economic engine that drives this country's prosperity. I learned early in my career that associating oneself with outstanding people is one of the best ways to be successful; certainly, the people in HARDI fill that role, and I have learned (and continue to learn) a great deal from our members.

We still have economic and regulatory challenges in the coming year. Most of the country had a hot summer, which was good for business. It will be interesting to see what happens this winter — to determine if the weather or the economy is the driving factor for business.

For this year, my priorities are to continue executing the strategic plan, which includes education enhancement, benchmarking and information sharing, advocacy and membership growth. I would like to see progress on a distributor value quantification tool. Finally, I want to continue the tradition of great service from previous HARDI presidents; it is hard to appreciate the time and monetary investment they have provided until you get to see it firsthand.

I would love to hear from all HARDI members. Please share with me your thoughts, concerns or issues. My e-mail is [email protected]; phone number is 713/830-2392.