As this article is published it is now June, and I hope it is hot and humid all over the country. This may sound a little selfish, but this is an industry that needs that type of weather to prosper; so I am comfortable wishing for discomfort.
Since my last article, I have attended the Western and Southeastern regional conferences. The Western regional in Las Vegas was the first Western-only regional conference. The gathering had excellent attendance — particularly for a first meeting — and the programs, which included discussions on social media in business, advocacy updates, strategic thinking about training and industry updates, were excellent. There was also some challenging (windy) golf, and Kelly Trolia and Russ Geary did a great job in the hospitality suite.
Charleston, which is a beautiful city, was the venue for the Southeastern regional meeting. Our meeting coincided with the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War (for those historically challenged — Fort Sumter in the Charleston Harbor is where the first shots of the Civil War were fired). The meeting, hosted by Jon Perry from CC Dickson, was well attended by wholesalers, manufacturers and manufacturer reps. Programs included: A great presentation by Barry Lawrence, Ph.D., on the need for collaboration between manufacturers and wholesalers, as well as a high-level preview of initial findings from the latest industry consortium (market share and growth); advocacy updates from Jon; strategic considerations about training from Emily; regionally specific benchmarking from ITR Economist Andrew Duguay and industry updates from Talbot. As usual, Eileen Mantel did a great job of organizing the logistics, and my part was sacrificing my svelte figure to the many excellent restaurants that Charleston offers (hopefully, irony is recognized).
Our organization continues to be involved in a number of initiatives. The HARDI Foundation is progressing with its mandate to invest in the creation and accumulation of industry knowledge by providing grants to study the role of distribution in energy-efficiency administration and the next A&M industry consortium (Compensation Metrics for Distribution Channels). Staff and committees continue with efforts that support our four strategic pillars (advocacy, networking, benchmarking and education). We will conduct two industry meetings with the leadership of ACCA and AHRI in the next few months, as well as our Fly-In and committee leadership conference in Washington, D.C.
I would also like to “plug” Susan Little's efforts to form a marketing focus group for all members. She is looking for marketing focused individuals to share best practices, industry needs and trends. There are two more regional conferences in June: the Great Lakes region in Lake Geneva, WI, and the Southwest region in Destin, FL.
This month's publication contains great reports from the HVAC Systems & Equipment, Controls Distributor, Distribution/Logistics Management and Supplier Member committees and councils. We have spotlights on distributor and manufacturer members, as well as industry news and technology updates and, of course, Don's column. Just a reminder for all members about the upcoming Hawaii conference; at the time of this writing, it is already more than 84 percent booked — so there is a sense of urgency to get your room booked. Hope to see all of you there.