It's June, and it's sure hot down here in Texas! Yee-Haw! I told you last issue it was coming and, not to brag, I was right once again. I only wish I could convince my wife, Kitty, how many times I am right.
Nevertheless, we have now almost completed this year's series of regional meetings, and I must say they have been the best ever. I had the opportunity to attend the meetings and report what is going on with your association. Realizing that I only spoke to a fraction of our members, I'd like to take this opportunity to review just a few of the important things I mentioned that make our association great. For those who have already heard some of this before, I appreciate your indulgence.
As of this past January, HARDI is now 5 years old. That's obviously young for an organization, but if you added up the ages of the two great organizations that came together, it is more than 125 years old. For hundreds of reasons including many new members, enhanced educational programs and products, greater industry exposure and influence, continually increasing member value, and a growing and vibrant organization, the consolidation has been a “win-win” for all concerned.
Today's membership totals more than 1,000 companies with 467 wholesale distributors, 386 suppliers and service vendors, 146 manufacturer representative firms and 6 marketing groups. Our wholesale member firms represent more than 3,400 locations, more than 34,000 employees, and 2007 estimates for total sales are in excess of $22 billion. Above all, the association is in excellent financial condition with adequate reserves in case of emergencies.
As many know, the association's committees and councils, just like the regional meetings, are a big part of the association's culture and its continuing growth and success. Many of our groups get together by conference call on a regular basis, or as needed, to discuss issues and concerns related to their businesses or specific aspects of the industry. For example, the Steel Interests Group (for those involved in sheet and coil steel), Refrigeration, Government Relations and Controls are just some of the groups that cannot afford to wait until the next formal HARDI meeting to stay on top of their industry issues. The HARDI staff in Columbus is ready to set up conference calls for any members who want to speak with peer companies as a group or just organize discussions on issues relevant to the distribution business. Any member should feel free to ask assistance of the staff for any need you might have. After all, it is your association, and any way they can help to make your business or the industry more successful is to all our benefit.
And speaking of benefits, the Board recently approved a one-year trial run for the new T.R.E.N.D.S. program. This exciting program is developed and administrated by our favorite economist Alan Beaulieu and his Institute for Trends Research. The program will track, analyze and forecast various economic data on a regional basis and correlate it with HARDI distributor performance measures. The end product is a quarterly report of HVACR-specific leading indicators for member distributor companies provided in an easy-to-understand format with “Management Objectives:” clear action items members could consider implementing. The quarterly reports are provided at no cost to distributor members and are available for purchase by suppliers, consultants and others in the industry. Several wholesalers and I were involved in “fine-tuning” the program, and I can tell you it will be very useful for my business.
This program is one more way that your association is continuing to increase the value of your membership. If you have any questions on it, I'd appreciate if you would give me a call.