The HARDI Foundation

June 1, 2010
:fountion Pronunciation: \faun-'da-sh n\ Definition: An underlying base or support :HARDI fountion Charge: To support Excellence in Distribution through


Pronunciation: \faun-'da-sh n\

Definition: An underlying base or support

:HAR•DI foun•da•tion

Charge: To support Excellence in Distribution through Research and Education

Priorities: To increase the skills among distribution managers and employees; to explore effective methods of delivering continuing education; and, to stimulate careers in HVACR distribution.

Did you know?

  • That the HARDI Foundation provides scholarships to member employees to broaden their knowledge of the profession?

  • That the HARDI Foundation funds major research to help HVACR companies improve their performance?

  • That the HARDI Foundation helped launch the only Learning Management System linked to online education for the HVACR industry?

  • That you can help define the next major initiative for the HARDI Foundation?

While most members are well aware of the many benefits of membership, some are unaware that HARDI has an active and engaged nonprofit Foundation that serves as the backbone for advancing much of the research for the HVACR industry.

The HARDI Foundation resulted from the merger of the ARWI Research and Education Foundation and the NHRAW Wilder Education Foundation, and now administers both the Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Wilder Fund.

With education, research and workforce development as its anchoring mission, the Foundation has focused its efforts on the individual, the industry and the future.

The Individual

The HARDI Foundation believes in education and, in that regard, funds a scholarship for up to four members annually to Indiana University/Purdue University “University of Industrial Distribution.” This week-long event, held every March in Indianapolis, brings more than 300 distributor staff together and provides comprehensive and practical exposure to giants in the industry. This is an unmatched learning opportunity that focuses on current state-of-the-art best practices in sales, marketing, finance and customer service. One of our scholarship recipients from this year, Tony Meier, Meier Supply Co. Inc., expressed his experience this way: “I have to say that the UID conference in Indianapolis was outstanding and, hands down, some of the best training I've had a chance to attend. Not only was it well organized, but the instructors were phenomenal and there was plenty of time for networking. I imagine we will be looking into sending at least one person from our company each year. All in all, it was a great trip.”


The HARDI Foundation supports its members' business growth by funding practical applications such as the Profitability Assessment Tool, which creates a simple spreadsheet electronically to help companies analyze individual customer profit or loss activities. This year, it also contributed $25,000 to the Texas A&M Center for Distribution Research & Education to ensure the HVACR industry's representation in the Sales and Marketing Optimization Consortium. Results of this research will provide both a 1-1/2 day seminar in the fall, and seeded the content for the Sales Manager Bootcamp held during the Northeastern Regional Meeting and in conjunction with the Central and Great Lakes Regional meeting. (Check the August issue of HVACR Distribution Business magazine for a full article on the results of this initiative.)


To maintain world-class HVACR distribution, the HARDI Foundation must continue to research important issues and the educational needs of the industry and provide effective tools to address new challenges in delivering equipment, parts and supplies to the construction trade and institutional markets.

New challenges continually confront the business of distributing. These challenges are often the very energy that fuels the entrepreneur's spirit. But whether it's the high price of steel and copper, the competition for brand recognition, the increase in federal regulation or the drop in housing starts and sales, challenges to sustaining business and increasing growth abound. Add to this technology changes, energy conservation requirements and new advancements in equipment and processes, and you can see that wholesalers and suppliers need to be at the cutting edge of “knowing” the future.

Don Frendberg, executive vice president/COO of HARDI, says, “It is important to note that a principal objective of the Foundation is to become engaged in studies that affect HARDI and every one of its members — wholesalers, manufacturers and manufacturer reps alike. We will continue to focus on perpetuating the HVACR wholesale distribution industry and maintaining the constant growth it has experienced over a quarter century. Wholesale distributors are critical channel partners who provide unique and highly valued services to a very diverse industry.”

The HARDI Foundation will continue to fund the research and educational products that will help the members. They can't do it alone. Members built the foundation — by the members, for the members — and it is sustained by member contributions. (For a listing of recent Foundation projects and scholarships awarded, see sidebar.)

To suggest new research activities or to help support the HARDI Foundation, please visit the HARDI Foundation Web page at All are welcome to participate in this dynamic resource for the HVACR industry.

Patricia Kutt is HARDI's education director and secretary of the HARDI Foundation. Contact her at 614/345-HEAT (4328) or [email protected].

HARDI Foundation Recently Funded Projects and Awarded Scholarships


  • Co-funding of 13-SEER Webinar
  • Quick Guide to Market Research Resources for the HVACR Industry
  • $4,000 in HVACR/Supply Chain Tuition Scholarships awarded to employees of HARDI member firms


  • Case study project on organizing for in-house employee training
  • $4,000 in HVACR/Supply Chain Tuition Scholarships awarded to employees of HARDI member firms


  • Travel awards to HVACR & Plumbing Instructor's Workshop
  • HARDI's “Connections for Life” DVD
  • Profitability Assessment Tool (PAT) developed by Al Bates, Ph.D.
  • $1,000 in HVACR/Supply Chain Tuition Scholarships awarded to an employee of a HARDI member firm


  • $500 Scholarships awarded to nine University of Industrial Distribution attendees


  • Launch of HARDI's Distribution Learning Network (Learning Management System)
  • $500 Scholarships awarded to five University of Industrial Distribution attendees


  • $25,000 to fund HVACR distributor participation in the University of Texas A&M Sales and Marketing Optimization Consortium
  • $1,500 scholarship awarded to two University of Industrial Distribution attendees

Foundation Board of Trustees


Bill Shaw, Standard Supply & Distributing Co.


Chrissy Nardini, American Metals Supply Co. Inc.

Vice president

Richard Cook, Johnson Supply


Bud Mingledorff, Mingledorff's Inc.


Dan Hinchman, Aireco Supply
Joe Thompson, O'Connor Company
George Wheelock, Geo. F. Wheelock Co.
Sam Roti, Arkema
Dick Foster, Zonefirst
Brad Barksdale, Mueller Industries

Executive vice president

Donald L. Frendberg, HARDI, Columbus, OH