Overview: Financials & Profitability

July 14-16, 2019

HARDI’s Emerging Leader Summer Conference will help up-and-coming industry leaders learn to develop skills that can be utilized when working to develop skilled and successful teams on his/her own journey to the top.

The conference line-up includes renowned industry executives as well as additional experts that will share experiences and insights that will help attendees plan for their futures.

Who is an Emerging Leader?

An Emerging Leader is any employee of a distributor or supplier member who has been recognized as having the talent and potential to someday advance to the executive level of the organization.

Sometimes, as in the cases of family-owned companies, this is the next generation owner. Other times this is an unrelated (but still high-potential) individual who is on the way to the top.


Executive $725 | Social $150



Brandon T. Adams

Brandon T. Adams is an Emmy® Award Winning Producer and Host of the TV Series Success in Your City. He is a Podcaster, Speaker, Inventor, Advisor, Crowdfunding Expert and Media Expert. Brandon is a serial entrepreneur, owning a stake in a number of businesses, including the Accelerant Media Group, Live to Grind, Young Entrepreneur Convention, Arctic Stick (sold on Amazon), and an ice distributorship that serves three states.

Brandon is the Co-Host and one of two Executive Producers of Ambitious Adventures, a reality television program focused on the compelling stories of young entrepreneurs around the country. Ambitious Adventures received an Emmy Nomination and airs on the Entrepreneur Network, Facebook Watch, and Amazon Prime.

Brandon will share with the Emerging Leaders what he has learned about Success on Stages across the Country – from individuals living on the Streets, to Billionaires, CEOs, Celebrities, Movie Stars, and Professional Athletes. He has come up with a Success formula that everyone can apply to find their own version of Success in Business, Life, and Love.


Dr. Barry Lawrence

Distributors sit at the center of the channel. Therefore, they exercise a great deal of control over outcomes for customers’ and suppliers’ experience. As distributors pursue growth initiatives, they make decisions that will provide opportunities or challenges for their suppliers. They also put their own operations into new environments which may require new capabilities or more efficient management of their current ones. Building and sustaining growth initiatives requires an understanding of new customer requirements, operational challenges and capabilities they must address from within, and alignment with suppliers to gain benefits for both parties.

Dr. Lawrence in this session will bring a wealth of examples from the rich research conducted by Texas A&M’s Global Supply Chain Laboratory. This session will address Distributor growth strategies, customer expectations, operational capabilities to support growth, and supplier alliances that sustain relationships. He will use case examples from the hundreds of projects his teams have conducted with best in class distributors to demonstrate how to choose your growth strategy, implement, and sustain its success.


Dr. Paul Hallmann

Terms like artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data are being used a lot these days. Data analytics doesn’t have to be that complicated. For most small/mid-sized companies, there are much simpler paths to getting smarter and gaining efficiencies. HARDI Economist and Director of Market Intelligence, Paul Hallmann will discuss how you can enhance your own business intelligence capability the right way.




Take a trip down memory lane with our Scaventure outdoor Polaroid Scavenger Hunt game, a throwback to the days of the original classic instant camera! Capture your team on film while simultaneously exploring intriguing places and objects in Downtown Milwaukee. Will your team choose the easy finds or the ones that are worth more points? Will you opt for the silly photos or the more serious ones? Whatever choices you make together as a group, camaraderie and teamwork will win every time!

Polaroid Scavenger Hunt is cleverly disguised as pure fun, but there are countless lasting benefits your team will bring back to the workplace. No wonder the Ringling Bros circus clowns chose this freewheeling team building photo scavenger hunt when they decided it was their turn to laugh!  An absolute classic, and for a good reason.


The Emerging Leaders group will have the opportunity to network with all conference participants in this fun, casual evening activity. Edelweiss Cruises is Milwaukee’s premier cruise company featuring the largest fleet variety in the area. The Harbor Lady is our newest and largest vessel that features 2 levels, 3 outdoor spaces, and has a capacity of 145 passengers. It is almost exclusively used for large, upscale private events.

Mentor-led Roundtables

In these roundtable sessions, Emerging Leaders will have the opportunity to engage with an elite group of HARDI mentors who have stories, advice and opinions to offer. Over the course of three hours, Emerging Leaders will visit with each mentor for real-world, tactical problem-solving discussions in the areas of business strategy and decision making, operations, financials, HR, logistics, and more. This session will allow an Emerging Leader to address his or her real-world questions and issues with the men and women who are running some of the industry’s most successful businesses.

Think and Grow Rich Activity:

Facilitated Discussion and a Deep Dive into Successful Branding/Marketing Campaigns

Following the keynote, Brandon will lead an open discussion and go over the 13 principles of Think and Grow Rich The Legacy: How the World’s Leading Entrepreneurs, Thought Leaders, & Cultural Icons Achieve Success. Brandon will share how these principles they can apply to the Emerging Leaders’ everyday lives and businesses.

To close, Brandon will share how Emerging Leaders can implement successful branding and marketing campaigns. Brandon will walk through video examples and campaigns that he has successfully executed, equipping attendees with ideas they can bring back to their businesses.

Note: Each attendee will be shipped a copy of the book Think and Grow Rich The Legacy: How the World’s Leading Entrepreneurs, Thought Leaders, & Cultural Icons Achieve Success in advance of the conference. Estimated ship date is mid-May.



Milwaukee Marriott Downtown

323 East Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53202

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JULY 14, 2019

6:00 – 7:00 PM  Registration
6:00 – 7:30 PM  Welcome Reception

JULY 15, 2019

8:00 – 9:00 AM  Breakfast
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM  Featured Speaker: Dr Barry Lawrence
12:00 – 1:00 PM  Lunch
1:00 – 1:30 PM  Featured Speaker: Paul Hallmann
1:45 – 4:15 PM  Teambuilding Activity
6:00 – 8:00 PM  Networking Boat Cruise

July 16, 2019

8:00 – 9:00 AM  Breakfast
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM  Mentor-led Roundtables
12:00 – 1:00 PM  Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 PM  Keynote Speaker: Brandon T. Adams
2:15 – 3:30 PM Think and Grow Rich Activity: Facilitated Discussion and a Deep Dive into Successful Branding/Marketing Campaigns