HARDI annual conference
From left: NATE COO John Lanier talks to HVACR Workforce Development Executive Director Don Frendberg and Mingledorff’s Chairman of the Board Bud Mingledorff at HARDI’s Evolve ’13 in Phoenix. Photo courtesy of ACHR NEWS.


One of the main highlights of Evolve ’13, HARDI’s annual conference held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix late last year, was the presentation of results from the Demand Qualification Project, a landmark research project launched in an effort to better understand distributors’ roles in the demand creation process. The study was conducted by the HARDI Education and Research Foundation and Indian Rivers Consulting Group.

Based on some of the research findings, IRCG Managing Partner Michael Marks encouraged distributors to segment their customers by how the customer wants to buy. He also noted that, according to the study, 87% of contractors already know what they want or need by the time they get to a distributor’s counter.

Later in the presentation, Marks cautioned manufacturers and distributors to take a close look at what they consider to be company growth. “Much of what individual manufacturers and distributors see as growth,” he said, “is really share shift within existing markets.”

ITR chief economist Alan Beaulieu’s biggest advice during his “The Economy Is on Your Side” presentation was to plan for growth now. He noted that although 2014 is predicted to be soft compared to the last year or so, it is not supposed to be as severe a drop as before. Beaulieu emphasized growth as he looked at overall trends to come noting now is the time for a business to smartly borrow money to expand its space, technology and equipment. He said interest rates are still at a considerable low and it looks as though they will be trending up the second half of 2014 and beyond.

“Borrow now and pay with inflationary dollars later,” he explained.

His financial message was one that showed a tighter second half of 2014 and definite changes to the economic landscape, but it also encouraged attendees that the end has not come financially and the United States is in a period of slow growth as opposed to a recovery.

Royce Henderson, president of http://www.cdjones.com/Charles D. Jones, Co., of North Kansas City, Mo., was installed as 2014 HARDI president.

—Angela D. Harris