The next generation of HVAC wholesalers had a chance to meet and learn from current executives at HARDI’s first Emerging Leaders Conference.

The July 20-22 event in San Francisco was aimed at anyone who works at HARDI member companies that officials believe may have the potential to become an executive. Fifty people attended the meeting, including Brandon Bateman, a director with Airefco, a wholesale distributor.

 “I attended the Emerging Leaders Conference to enhance and further develop my leadership abilities, while networking with people experiencing the same elements of our industry,” Bateman said.

A roundtable discussion gave current executives the chance to meet and mentor with younger members of the Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International.

Mentor participants in the discussion included current HARDI President Royce Henderson, president of Charles D. Jones & Co.; Tom Roberts, president of CFM Distributors Inc., and current secretary-treasurer of the HARDI directors board; Richard Cook, president and general manager of Johnson Supply; and Bud Mingledorff, chairman at Mingledorff’s Inc.

In another popular event, Randy Disharoon of Global Strategic Accounts, used Lego blocks to illustrate how to building leadership from within a company.

“The high caliber of mentors, combined with the leadership seminar by Randy Disharoon and conference activities, provided a great atmosphere for building leadership skills and expanding your network,” Bateman said. “Randy was able to illustrate the challenges of communicating effectively in a very interactive way. It is impossible to not reflect on your own communication style after participating.”

Emily Saving, HARDI’s education direction, said she was happy with the association’s first conference to focus on this issue.

“I was very pleased with not just the turnout, but the energy and excitement that all of the attendees and mentors brought to the meeting,” she said. “We have a fantastic bunch of young executives and I am excited to work with them on more events like this.”