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Independent Home Improvement Conference Announces Keynote Lineup

Bringing the industry together for three days of fun, sun, education and networking, the Independent Home Improvement Conference (IHI Conference) has set the lineup of keynote speakers for the afternoon general sessions. These keynote speakers will share insights on change leadership, creating growth, customer service, employee retention and more.

The IHI Conference takes place Aug. 27-29 at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort in Marco Island, Florida.

Here’s a look at the keynote lineup:

Al Comeaux

Change agent and former executive at Travelocity, GE and American Airlines
From cutting his teeth as a high schooler working at an independent hardware store to leading Fortune 500 companies as a senior executive, Al Comeaux draws on decades of experience researching, leading and championing organizational change from the inside out. Today, Al helps leaders steer organizations successfully through change, and his 2020 book, “Change (the) Management: Why We as Leaders Must Change for the Change to Last,” is already considered one of the best change management books of all time.

Mastering Change: Cultivating Mindsets for Lasting Success | August 28 at 12:45 p.m.
If your past initiatives or new programs have failed to gain traction, you’re part of a common struggle. Shockingly, around two-thirds of change endeavors collapse annually, causing businesses staggering losses of $2 trillion. Why does this happen? Renowned speaker Al Comeaux pinpointed a critical factor: We often approach change with our default mindsets, failing to recognize the unique leadership mindset it demands. Without embracing change, businesses risk stagnation and irrelevance. In this keynote, Al draws from his extensive career, beginning at a hardware store and spanning leadership roles at Travelocity, GE, Sabre and American Airlines, to delve into the transformative mindset essential for navigating change successfully and propelling businesses forward.

Read the Q&A with Al.

Arthur Greeno

Chick-fil-A restaurateur in Tulsa, Oklahoma, author and Guinness World Record holder
Despite facing numerous challenges as a child, Arthur Greeno has found success as an entrepreneur and philanthropist in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with 36 years of experience. At just 22 years old, Arthur owned and operated two Chick-fil-A restaurants. As a result of his investments in company culture and his dedication to his team, his restaurants have an average staff tenure of six years, with some members having been with him for over 20 years. Several team members became franchisees themselves after working at Arthur’s restaurants. He is the author of “Dysfunctional Inspiration” which tells his story of perseverance, and he is the president of Tulsa Pop Kids, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing children’s literacy. 

What’s in the Sauce? Customer Service Secrets from Chick-Fil-A | August 29 at 12:30 p.m.
“How do you train your staff?” This is a common question posed to Arthur Greeno, owner and operator of two Chick-fil-A restaurants in Tulsa, Oklahoma. While there’s a widespread assumption that they boast an outstanding training regimen, their success stems from a different source. The true secret lies in recruiting individuals with a genuine passion for service. Their goal is to treat each guest as an esteemed visitor, recognizing their individual narrative above all else. Achieving this level of service is challenging and not inherently intuitive for many. In this session, Arthur will unveil the essential elements for cultivating exceptional customer experiences, empowering attendees to embark on a journey toward unparalleled hospitality.

Read the Q&A with Arthur.

Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger

Former University of Notre Dame football player and inspiration for the movie “Rudy”
As the son of an oil refinery worker and third of 14 children, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger rose from valleys of discouragement and despair to the pinnacles of success. It took years of fierce determination to overcome obstacles and criticisms, yet Rudy achieved his first dream—to attend the University of Notre Dame and play football for the Fighting Irish. Rudy’s life story is immortalized in the blockbuster film “Rudy” and today he is an Emmy Award-winning motivational speaker, author and producer. 

Unleash Your Inner Rudy: Embrace Resilience and Make Every Second Count | August 29 at 3 p.m.
Embark on an extraordinary journey with Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, whose life story epitomizes resilience and determination. Against all odds, Rudy fulfilled his childhood dream of playing football for Notre Dame, immortalized in the film “Rudy.” Today, he’s an iconic figure, Emmy Award-winning speaker, author and producer. Join Rudy as he shares his message of dreaming big, staying focused and overcoming obstacles, empowering attendees to tackle challenges with renewed vigor.

Read the Q&A with Rudy.

Early-bird pricing is now available through May 1 for the IHI Conference. Get the best rate now to hear these inspiring keynote speakers in person. Register now at ihiconference.org.

A big thank you to IHI Conference sponsors!

  • Platinum Sponsors:  ECI Software Solutions and Midwest Fastener Corp.
  • Gold Sponsors: AO Smith (Reliance Water Heaters), Epicor and SENIX Tools and Badger Technologies
  • Wholesale Sponsors: Do it Best and Orgill

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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