Greetings! The very successful 2007 Annual Fall Conference is fresh in my mind. If you're like me, you are still trying to digest all of the information presented during those four demanding days in Orlando. Just when we think we understand this business, we come away with new insights on evolving industry trends, a new profitability tool, more-effective forecasting techniques and a whole new look at what the people in Washington, D.C., are trying to do to our businesses and industry. Speaking for the more than 1,400 attendees, I'm sure most feel better informed and more productive simply by having participated in the meeting. And if you add the wealth of business relationships that were developed or further enhanced, then it is certain our businesses will all profit in the year. I'm not sure how we will make the conference even better next year, but I know the thought processes are already underway.
As your new president, I am delighted with all of our accomplishments in 2007 and look forward to the exciting year ahead and the opportunity to take the association to yet another level.
I have a number of goals in mind as we continue to increase the presence and influence of HARDI in the HVACR and wholesale distribution industries. One of those goals is the further enhancement of HARDI's educational products. As many of you know, at AC Supply Co., we strongly emphasize continuing education because it produces talented, competent and loyal employees. Our investments in training and education continue to produce immeasurable results. I want to see the Home Study Institute programs broadened and, if practicable, taken to a higher level technologically.
I also want to see more members making use of the valuable tools the association offers. Programs like the Profit Planning Report, Monthly Trends Reports and Compensation Surveys take my company data and, when combined with other companies' data, provide the most realistic indicators of performance available anywhere in our industry. Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of our wholesale members take advantage of this critical information, and I hope to see that increase significantly this year. I know how this information helps my company grow, and I'm sure others will benefit from these timely and inexpensive tools.
As many of you know, discussions of “green initiatives” were very prominent at the Fall Conference. Whether you buy into “global warming” or not, there is no doubt that, as an industry and critical members of the supply chain, we need to be concerned with the conservation of energy and natural resources. It is clear that, as an industry, we must play a vital role in the development and delivery of “green” products and services to our customers in home and commercial building construction. Therefore, one of our objectives must be to clearly define our industry position and responsibilities in this arena and then ensure that we adequately communicate our mutual efforts to our industry partners and governmental rule-making bodies.
One of my personal goals is to get Don Frendberg to stop scheduling all those 7:00 a.m. meetings at conferences. I believe a more realistic start would be 9:00 a.m. when “normal people” come to life. He keeps telling me if we do not start early, we cannot accommodate all the meetings and events desired by the members, and if I would just wait until 2009, when the Fall Conference is extended a day, everything will be OK. But I'm not sure I can wait that long. After all, if Mark Faessler could get a convention to Maui, I should be able to sleep in when I'm president. We'll see!