Wholesaler group heads to San Francisco for first convention

The name might be new, but HARDI's convention will have many of the same programs that made the former NHRAW's annual meetings so popular: in-depth discussions on sales, suppliers and everything related to the wholesale industry.

The Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International, or HARDI, is a new group, formed in January after the Airconditioning & Refrigeration Wholesalers International merged with Northamercian Heating, Refrigeration and Airconditioning Wholesalers Association. This year's convention, the first for the new group, will be held Dec. 7-9 at the San Francisco Marriott. The program includes 18 committee meetings, four council sessions, two workshops, three educational seminars and a keynote speaker. A trade show is scheduled for Dec. 9.

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay.

Committee meetings

Here is an overview of this year's convention events.

From 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Dec. 7, the following committee meetings are scheduled:

· Government Relations Committee. Led by chairman John Tice, committee members and attendees will discuss U.S. and Canadian legislation of concern or interest to small businesses and the HVACR industry.

· Guest Educator Idea Exchange Committee. Professor Richard Wirtz and other academics will review conference activities and sessions during this meeting.

· Future Studies Committee. David Draga of the Morris Group will talk about issues that may affect HVACR wholesalers.

· Insurance and Risk Management Committee. Jim Luce and other HARDI trust members will review the insurance program offered by the association.

· Wilder Foundation Board of Trustees Committee. Led by chairman David Mcllwaine, this session will discuss scholarships and grants available to students enrolled in logistics and distribution-related programs.

At 10: 15 a.m., these committee meetings are scheduled:

· Management Methods Committee. Mcllwaine and other members will discuss compensation, sales trends and forecasts, and the association's new credit-manager services.

· Executive Development Committee. Chairman Russ Geary and other members will talk about leadership education, evaluate "CEO Conference II" and "Branch Managers' School," and "HARDI family" activities such as the youth exchange programs.

· Manufacturers' Rep. Committee. Keith Cosart will lead this discussion on issues of concern to manufacturers' representatives.

· Habitat for Humanity Committee. This meeting will include a report on the 2003 Habitat for Humanity Jimmy Carter Work Project. HARDI was a major contributor to this project. Royce Henderson will lead the discussion.

· Distribution/Logistics Management Committee. David Boggs and others will discuss warehouse issues with members of the Council of Logistics Management and the Warehousing Education and Research Council. The meeting will also include an update on U.S. steel prices and a talk on training.

· Membership Committee. Bill Shaw, chairman of the Membership Committee will talk about ways to increase HARDI membership.

The city's famous Chinatown district.

The Center for Advanced Technology

At 1 p.m., association officials will hold a meeting to introduce the new HARDI Center for Advancing Technology. The center is designed to help wholesalers get products to customers more efficiently, according to officials. The center was created in cooperation with the American Supply Association. Center director Ken Price will present an overview of the center and its services. HARDI is urging wholesalers and suppliers to attend.

At 2 p.m., these committees will meet:

· Associations' Former Presidents' Advisory Committee. Former Air-Conditioning & Refrigeration Wholesalers International President Johnnie Drury and former NHRAW President Jim Truesdell will lead this discussion.

· Education Committee. The subject of this meeting is "Filling and Maintaining the HVACR Career Pipeline." Five people involved in industry recruiting and training will talk about getting young people involved in the HVACR industry. Organizers are encouraging attendees to ask questions and comment. Dan Hinchman will lead the discussion.

· Controls Distributors Steering Committee. Ron Mackiewicz will discuss wholesaler and supplier activities in this members-only meeting.

· Supplier Members Committee. This business meeting, led by Stan Pattie, will immediately follow the Center for Advanced Technology presentation.

· Supply Chain Technologies Committee. This informal discussion, led by Brian Cobble, also follows the technology center presentation.

Real estate along winding Lombard Street is among the priciest in the city.

Learning to ‘Winget'

At 9 a.m. Dec. 8, keynote speaker Larry Winget will address attendees. Winget is a somewhat unusual speaker on the convention circuit. With his in-your-face style and biker attire, he doesn't look like a traditional business-management expert. He calls himself a philosopher of success who just happens to be hilarious.

Winget teaches principles that he says will work for anyone in any business. He says people need to lighten up, be more flexible and take responsibility seriously. Winget has written more than 12 books.

At 10:30, HARDI officials will hold these council sessions:

· HVAC Systems and Equipment Council. Larry Taylor, former president of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and owner of AirRite A/C Co. in Fort Worth, Texas, will talk about where dealers see the industry heading. Richard Specht of American Standard will talk about the manufacturer's point of view. Greg Trimbach will moderate this discussion.

· Refrigeration Systems Council. This meeting is called "Commercial Refrigeration's Future Without R-22." The HVACR industry has already seen the phase out of low-temperature refrigerants such as R-12 and R-502. Now, its R-22's turn. Component and equipment manufacturers will talk about what this means for the industry. Doug McAllister will lead the discussion.

· Controls Council. Mackiewicz will act as chairman for this discussion of ways to improve business for controls distributors.

· Plan and Spec. Rep. Council. Bill Couture will act as chairman for this discussion on the similarities and differences in the commercial "engineered-products" business and the "full-line" wholesale industry. This meeting will have a "large committee" format.

Downtown San Francisco.

Sales, recruiting seminars

· At 1:45 p.m., these three seminars will be held:

· "Winning the Sales War," presented by Tom Piscitelli. Too many sales staff don't understand the difference between serving customers and actually selling to them, he says. Piscitelli will explain why that distinction is important. Piscitelli says selling is about changing customers' behavior. Salespeople must get customers to use new products, commit to long-term business relationships and give their company the "last look" when being compared to another company.

Piscitelli has almost 30 years experience in the HVAC industry, and frequently speaks to groups on selling skills.

· "Utilizing the Profit Planning Report in Open Book Management," hosted by Bill Fotsch. According to HARDI officials, the Profit Planning Report can help wholesalers improve efficiency. But it must be used by everyone, from executives to regular employees. Fotsch and a HARDI member will show how the report and open-book management can successfully improve a distributor's operation.

· "The Keys to Motivating and Retaining Talent," hosted by Joanne Sujansky, Ph.D. Many business owners do not realize how important a role they play in recruiting and maintaining quality employees. Sujansky will show attendees how to create an environment where employees will want to contribute.

At 3:30 p.m., consultant D. Bruce Merrifield will host "Grow Your Winners, Transform Your Losers." This workshop will give owners how-to tips on improving profits from new and existing customers. Merrifield is a widely published author and convention speaker.

For more information on HARDI's convention, write 1389 Dublin Road, Columbus, OH 43215-1084; call (888) 253-2128 or see http://www.hardinet.org on the Internet.