Distributors, Events

HARDI 2023 Annual Conference Ascend Surpasses Last Year’s Record-Breaking Attendance

December 27, 2023

COLUMBUS, Ohio, December 12th, 2023–Heating, Air-conditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) concluded its Annual Conference Tuesday, December 5th in Phoenix, AZ with another year of record-breaking attendance.

HARDI welcomed more than 1,940 attendees to Phoenix, including 519 wholesaler attendees from 180 companies, 40 Solution Center providers, 34 unique member sponsors, and a sold-out Booth Program featuring 250 vendors to its 2023 Annual Conference, Ascend in Phoenix, AZ. This year’s conference surpassed all before it with the highest number of attendees to date and is a testament to the HVACR industry’s enthusiasm for networking and consuming educational content. “We are beyond excited to see the members come together to collaborate and connect,” said Allison Greene, HARDI’s Marketing Director. “The HARDI team’s hard work provided a superior collection of speaker content and networking opportunities to enable members the opportunity to elevate their strategic planning as well as their personal growth initiatives.”

The event featured six keynote speakers whose presentations inspired and informed the nearly 2,000 attendees with topics focusing on innovation, workforce management, and current geopolitical factors impacting not only the industry but global affairs. HARDI welcomed Meagan Johnson, known as a Generational Humorist, who kicked off the conference with her opening keynote presentation, Zap the Gap: Generational Differences Reexamined, which explains the differing generational values that impact marketplaces and the workforce. Geopolitical strategist, Peter Zeihan, wowed attendees with his expert understanding of demography, economics, politics, and technology to help them prepare for an uncertain future. The conference concluded with Olympian and NY Times bestselling author Vince Poscente’s inspiring presentation about activating one’s purpose and accelerating growth, which challenged the audience to do what the competition is not willing to do.

The conference featured 26 breakout sessions, many of which showcased valuable insights on business development and benchmarking data by HARDI’s Market Intelligence team. The conference’s four Regional Forecast sessions examined region-specific economic and regulatory factors that will impact the industry in the coming months.

HARDI used the event as a platform to make important announcements regarding changes to its Board of Directors. This year, it was announced that Rhonda Wight, Refrigeration Sales Corp, will be ending her second term as HARDI Chair and the Board will welcome Loran Liu, Standard Supply and Distributing Company, as the new Chair. Along with Rhonda Wight, it was announced Brian Blaushild of Famous Enterprises served his last term on the board. Both outgoing board members provided invaluable insights and expertise for members throughout their time and while their presence will be missed, they’ll remain active members of the HVACR community. HARDI’s newest Board Members are Todd Shadden, Century HVAC Distributing, Inc. and Layne Miller, Geary Pacific Supply. “We can’t thank our outgoing board members enough as they’ve been vital and welcome leaders in the community. The newest Board Members, Todd and Layne, will surely do the same as they’ve already made valuable contributions in their short time on the Board and to HARDI’s community,” said HARDI CEO, Talbot Gee.

With a growing number of HARDI’s LATAM members, it is even more important that there are more opportunities for them to network and connect with each other as well as the greater HARDI membership and staff. The Annual Conference is just one of those opportunities and it is a pleasure to have them on-site and in-person.

Finally, HARDI recognized 16 graduates from its Emerging Leaders program. “Program participants from both distributor and supplier member companies worked very hard to become official graduates of HARDI’s Emerging Leaders program. The 3-year program curriculum developed and refined their individual executive skill sets, and the Talent Management team is honored to be able to recognize their achievements in front of such a large crowd of colleagues and friends,” said Stella Keane, HARDI’s Vice President of Talent.

Next year’s Annual Conference will be held in Atlanta, GA at the Marriott Marquis, December 7 -10.

For questions or further information, please contact Allison Greene at agreene@hardinet.org.


HARDI (Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International) is the single voice of wholesale distribution within the HVACR industry.

HARDI members market, distribute, and support heating, air-conditioning, and refrigeration equipment, parts and supplies. HARDI Distributor members serve installation and service/replacement contractors in residential and commercial markets, as well as commercial/industrial and institutional maintenance staffs.

HARDI proudly represents more than 460 distributor members representing more than 5,000 branch locations, and close to 500 suppliers, manufacturer representatives and service vendors.

For more information on HARDI’s activities, visit https://hardinet.org.