There is a famous quote which goes, “The only thing constant in life is change.” While the quote is attributed to Francois De La Rochefoucauld, a French writer, I'd like to think he was a former wholesaler, because nothing more accurately describes our business. In what seemed like a very few months, we went from a bustling economy to a stagnant one, unheard of fuel prices that dropped to a level we now consider respectable and commodity prices that spiked to new highs and then plummeted so far that we now have to worry about deflation. In spite of the roller-coaster ride during the past year, there's little doubt of where we are now, and I don't believe anyone truly knows how or when it will improve. To me, this is the time when the relationships established and maintained in HARDI are more important than ever. As evidenced in past recessionary periods, this is when all channel and business partners must begin engaging in serious and meaningful conversations. We need to urge a constant dialogue with employees, customers, manufacturers, banks, leaseholders and any other of our countless partners in this game with us. Everyone needs to understand each other's requirements and expectations because the tolerance for surprises is very small, if not totally nonexistent. There's no doubt that we will all survive these times, but it will be a heck of a lot easier if we're all working together.
As HARDI president, I am sad to announce the resignation of Bill Barnett from the board and the position of president-elect. Bill has accepted a buyout from his business partner and is uncertain if he will remain in the industry. I would like to share a portion of his resignation letter, as it reflects the fine individual he is, one we all admire and respect.
I believe the time is right for the board to move on and add a new officer, rather than waiting until October. The several extra months of experience for the new board members will benefit the association. I appreciate the officers' consideration last September to let me stay on until the outcome of the business deal was known. Many thanks to David for stepping up to the presidency last October, and Chrissy [Nardini] I am sure will also make a fine president next year. I apologize for all the board juggling caused by my situation.
It has been my distinct pleasure to have served on the HARDI board for the past several years, including the NHRAW/ARWI transition board. During this time, I have met so many sharp business minds in a great atmosphere of caring and sharing. I know I will stay in touch with the association and the many good friends made along the way.
On behalf of the board of directors and the officers, I wish to extend to Bill and his wife, Debbie, our best wishes for the future and our thanks for all their support and contributions to the association. The association is decisively stronger because of their past and hopefully future involvement.
Upon receipt of Bill's resignation, the Executive Committee decided to fill the vacant position now rather than electing two new officers at the annual meeting in October. I am pleased to announce that Bud Mingledorff of Mingledorff's Inc., Norcross, GA, has accepted the invitation to serve as co-secretary/treasurer with Richard Cook (who will also serve as vice president) for the next nine months, effective immediately.
I assure you that your Executive Committee is not sitting back waiting to see how the current economic situation affects HARDI. We instead are working with a dedicated group of wholesaler and supplier members to embark on a strategic planning process to ensure that HARDI not only survives but flourishes in the years to come. We will share details of the outcome of this process in future communications. I am extremely optimistic as to the future possibilities for HARDI, a view I believe most of you also share.