The Heating, Airconditioning, and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) partnered with the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Contractors (PHCC) and the American Supply Association (ASA) on a joint blitz on Capitol Hill May 1, 2008. The four organizations combined to bring over 200 HVACR and PHCP/PVF distributors and contractors to Washington, D.C., to promote efficiency, the value and strength of small businesses and awareness of the distribution and installation sectors of the industry to policy makers.
HARDI and ACCA organized over 100 meetings with House and Senate offices. Sixty HARDI members participated in the distributor association’s first Congressional Fly-In widely praised as a complete success.
“Not only does HARDI have to do this again next year, but I might fly back myself within the next year to finish some of the conversations I started today with my representatives,” pronounced Russ Geary of Geary Pacific Supply.
A fellow HARDI distributor from California, Kelly Trolia, CEO of Burke Engineering, echoed Geary’s sentiments saying, “This was fantastic because I connected with several of my representatives that I expected to have nothing in common with.”
Trolia said she had already discussed follow-up meetings with a number of her elected officials, many with whom she was able to find middle ground despite great differences in political philosophies.
“Distributors have flown under the radar in our industry for many years, often intentionally,” stated HARDI EVP & COO, Donald Frendberg, in his opening remarks at the Fly-In, “but having so many of you here as part of our first Congressional Fly-In is a testament to today’s new and unique challenges that demand HVACR distributors stand up and represent their interests in Washington and the industry.”
Frendberg’s statement rang true with HARDI’s 2008 president, Randy Boyd of A/C Supply, who acknowledged he agreed to participate primarily to support the association in its inaugural advocacy effort but left Washington anxious for HARDI’s next Fly-In and with a better understanding of how important HARDI’s role in advocacy efforts has become today. “I never had any interest in getting politically active before this experience where it became so obvious how important building a relationship with my representatives is to my business. We say that this is a relationship business all the time, and now I really see how that also applies to our elected officials.”
HARDI members focused primarily on pressing issues such as pending climate change/HFC legislation, certainty and sanity in estate tax policy, promoting incentives and credits to advance energy efficiency and reinforcing the value of the LIFO accounting system among other issues. HARDI is already working on next year’s Congressional Fly-In. Information about HARDI’s policy positions can be found at the association’s Government Relations center on www.hardinet.org.