The HARDI Research and Education Foundation is a forward-focused body committed to the consideration and implementation of educational and research programs in the field of distribution sciences and related disciplines within the HVACR industry.

Priorities of the foundation include:

  • To sponsor, co-sponsor, initiate or implement educational, scientific and research programs in the HVACR industry
  • To cooperate with other organizations, individuals, foundations, educational institutions or government agencies in conducting such programs in the public interest


The HARDI Foundation seeks to:

  • Financially support the education of students in the industry or desiring to enter, in the form of stipends and scholarships.
  • Undertake the sponsorship or implementation of research projects directly related to the heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration industry and the wholesale distribution of those products.
  • Pursue projects that will enhance the value and image of the industry.
  • Pursue good, safe investments of fund and have a yearly financial review performed.


In 2018 the HARDI Board of Directors assumed governance responsibility for the Foundation.


The HARDI Research and Education Foundation, was created in 2006 with a merger of the ARWI Research and Education Foundation and the NHRAW Wilder Educational Foundation. (The ARWI and NHRAW Associations were consolidated into HARDI in 2003.)


In 2013, the HARDI Foundation initiated a landmark research project called the Distributors Role in Demand Creation to quantify the value of HVACR distributors’ demand creation activities. The study was conducted by Mike Marks and Partners of Indian River Consulting Group (IRCG), a distinguished firm that has extensive experience in our industry and focuses exclusively on market access within distribution channels. The project was designed to provide substantial commercial value by answering important, real world questions.

Findings: The results of the study confirmed that distributors play a key role in generating downstream demand. This was presented at HARDI’s 2013 Annual Conference in Phoenix. At HARDI’s 2014 Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, Mike Marks further expounded on the findings and provided additional insights and actions that distributors can take.

After the findings were presented at HARDI Annual Conferences, there was enough interest and conversation that the Foundation decided to publish a book to share the research with others inside and outside the HVACR industry.

In 2015, HARDI compiled the research study and its many insights, creating Myths & Misperceptions: How Markets Are Really Made in HVACR, which was released in March 2015.

Continuous Improvement

To maintain world-class HVACR distribution, the HARDI Foundation remains focused on assessing pressing industry issues, exploring learning needs of the industry and uncovering effective means to respond to new challenges in the distribution of equipment, parts and supplies to the global HVACR market.

Through good governance, the foundation will pursue opportunities for contributions and industry financial support of programs.

No single business entity is fully capable of undertaking critical research and studies that will advance the industry as a whole. Only through the collective power of the membership as manifested through the HARDI Foundation, and in turn, the Foundation’s ability to reach out to other like-minded industry organizations, can distributors continue to refine and improve the channel.

Recent Activities

Documentary Project: In 2018 the HARDI Foundation funded a documentary project intended to showcase the variety of fulfilling career paths in the HVACR industry. “Hot Commodity” released on Amazon Prime in 2020. Read more about the project or watch it here.

Past Activities

Texas A&M School of Industrial Distribution: The Consortium on Sales and Marketing Optimization was completed in April of 2010 and the Optimizing Distributor Market Growth and Share consortium was completed in April of 2011. The HARDI Foundation also sponsored workshops following each respective consortium where HARDI member companies were able to participate and disseminate the results of the consortium as it applies to the HVACR industry.

Optimizing Residential HVAC Efficiency Programs: A 2011 research project identified how HARDI distributors could grow their business models by focusing on residential HVAC utility energy efficiency programs. The report specifically presents a series of recommendations for efficiency programs and distributors and how best to leverage partnership opportunities and achieve their shared objective of increasing the sale and installation of efficient residential HVAC equipment.
Download the report: Keys to Optimizing Residential HVAC Efficiency Programs

Profitability Assessment Tool (PAT): In 2007, the HARDI Foundation developed the PAT to help distributors readily identify their most profitable customers and measure and analyze the costs of providing services to their customers. Doing so helps distributors properly allocate their resources to their most valuable partners. Contact HARDI staff for more details.
Download the management report: PAT: Building and Protecting Your Profitability One Customer at a Time

Center for Energy Efficiency Optimization (CEEO): The CEEO was developed to research the opportunities that exist for wholesale distribution in advancing energy saving technology and practices in residential, commercial, institutional and industrial applications, including renewable energy technologies. While not trade specific, the initiative would provide a platform for any wholesale distribution entity interested in defining and developing their role in driving energy efficiency in their respective industry. 

Support the Foundation

The HARDI Foundation would not exist without strong support from HARDI members and other parties interested in advancing HVACR distribution.

We are always looking for people to help move the Foundation forward in any ways they can:

  • Volunteering for research projects
  • Making tax deductible financial commitments
  • Providing future project ideas


Contact Emily Saving to get involved.