The Heating, Airconditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International has named the first members of its new affiliate partner and energy-efficiency partner categories.

William Blair & Co. is HARDI’s first affiliate-partner member. The independent, employee-owned global investment firm was recently ranked No. 2 in the Wall Street Journal’s “Best on the Street” analyst survey.

William Blair & Co. provides services in investment banking, asset management, equity research, institutional and private brokerage and private capital. The firm is based in Chicago with offices around the world.

“HARDI believes it is vital that trends, opportunities, challenges and expectations for our industry are accurate and reasonable, so I couldn’t be happier to welcome our first affiliate member, William Blair & Co., who is the first to recognize the role HARDI can play in giving them a deeper understanding of what’s really happening in residential and commercial HVACR,” said HARDI Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Talbot Gee.

Consulting firm Resource Solutions Group is HARDI’s first energy-efficiency partner. The membership category was created to encourage collaboration between distributor members and those who run and implement energy-efficiency incentive programs, HARDI said.

“The pressure on utilities and HVACR companies to grow the market for high-efficiency HVACR systems is as intense today as it has ever been, so Resource Solutions Group deserves credit and praise for being HARDI’s first energy efficiency partner member because it shows their recognition and commitment to HVACR wholesale distributors as a vital key to advancing energy efficiency in residential and commercial heating, cooling and refrigeration,” Gee said.