Guaranteeing Excellence - Best Practices
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Guaranteeing Excellence


Article Date: 04-01-2007
Copyright (C) 2007 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

How do you guarantee your managers have the training needed to deliver an exceptional performance?

Last April, The AED Foundation challenged the equipment distribution industry to support employee development and to seek a higher level of expertise through the introduction of its management certification program. To date, managers from seven equipment dealerships completed AED’s management certification programs. Today, 30 more individuals are working diligently on their requirements. 

The AED management certification programs, created by The AED Foundation, emphasize the four major components of leadership in the equipment distribution industry: people management skills, sales and customer management skills, financial management and branch and operations management.  

Two managers received certification in 2006 – Ed Boessling, parts manager at Equipment Support Services in Houston, Texas, and Mike Owens, service manager for Rish Equipment Co. in Bluefield, W. Va. During the 2007 AED University Manager Conference, five more managers received their plaques signifying completion of the certification program. 

Dawn Carnahan, a branch manager and division credit manager at K.C. Bobcat in Blue Springs, Mo., achieved branch management certification. Carnahan has worked in the industry for 10 years and became branch manager four years ago. 

“Dawn has been successful in all roles that she has filled at K.C. Bobcat and she is a vital part of our business,” says Steve Meadows, division manager for K.C. Bobcat. “I’m proud of the effort she put into the training AED has made available.”

Carnahan will be taking on a new human resources role at the dealership. 

“A lot of the human resources ideas have been really helpful,” she says. “I really got a lot out of it. When I became a branch manager four years ago, I didn’t know anything. The certification helped to round-out my knowledge. And with the AED name behind the certification, I know that I can do anything with this.”

Four service managers received their certifications in Las Vegas: Brian Carr, Nortrax Equipment Co. in Lutz, Fla.; Robb Foss, Bierschbach Equipment, in Sioux Falls, S.D.; Edward Phillips, Nortrax Equipment Co. in Miami, Fla.; and Doug Ramsey, Unified Equipment Resources in Pooler, Ga. 

For Carr and Phillips, the suggestion to pursue certification came from Bill Pyles, the regional director of service for Nortrax. 

“He felt that dealers did an excellent job of providing training for the technicians and customer support advisors, but they lacked an adequate training path for service managers,” says Carr.  

Carr and Phillips have a long list of accomplishments.  

“Ed has taken a distressed service department and turned it into one of our top performers,” says Pyles. “He accomplished this with his excellent team-building, people management and outstanding customer skills. Ed creates an excellent balance with customer satisfaction and service department profitability, 

“It would take several pages to list Brian’s accomplishments the last several years. He has also recently earned his degree in Business Management. Brian’s work ethic is commendable and he has the ability to take his department to even higher goals.” 

Carr found the most beneficial part of the certification program to be the People Management modules.  

“One of the things I implemented immediately was changing my approach to interviewing prospective employees by asking more open-ended questions,” he says. “This has helped me to gain a better understanding of the person’s qualifications and elicited a more productive discussion during the interview. I also enjoyed Ron Slee’s discussion on flat-rating in the Service Management module, and the benefits of implementing a flat-rate program. 

“I would highly recommend this certification program to other managers. The training and informative literature included with each module provided an excellent resource for improving my skills in all aspects of service management.”  

Doug Ramsey, service manager at Low Country Machinery, has been working for his company for six years.

“Through the AED Foundation’s Certification program, I learned how to keep track of work in progress, track sales per employee and so much more,” says Ramsey. “Being certified means that I’ve learned to make better decisions based on the skills I’ve learned. I would certainly recommend this program to other service managers – it really opens your eyes to what’s really going on.”

Dusty Zeigler, president of Low Country Machinery says they are very proud of Ramsey’s accomplishment. 

“He has traveled many milestones in his learning with AED and we look forward to the success of his next level of learning,” says Zeigler.

How It Works
Certification is available for parts, service, rental and branch operations management. Sales management certification will be available later this year.   If you’re interested in becoming certified or in pursuing certification for one or more of your managers, here’s how you get started: Each manager begins their certification training with their own Personal Development Plan, which outlines the manager’s educational path. The plan, developed from a short basic skills assessment the supervisor and manager complete together, is designed around the manager’s strengths and weaknesses.

Requirements include:

  • A minimum of three years management experience and current employment at an AED member company
  • A minimum of 44 hours of formal training (4.4 CEUs) for parts, service and rental management certification and 58 hours or 5.8 CEUs for branch operations management. Formal training must have been completed within the past five years in the required areas of People, Operations, Customer and Financial Management 
  • A score of 80 percent or higher on the Certification Examination
  • Written recommendation from the applicant’s supervisor or other appropriate company manager/supervisor
The formal training requirement can be met using AED self-study courses, AED seminars, and sessions at the AED University Managers Conference held each year. 

Managers can also submit previous training courses for credit through dealers, manufacturers and public or private educational institutions. This training must meet learning objectives as specified by the Foundation and must be verified with proper documentation.

Once the management certification is completed, AED certified managers receive a plaque and pin with their name and their company name on it. As an added bonus, they also receive free registration for the AED University Managers Conference the following January, where they are publicly recognized for their accomplishment. 

To encourage top flight performance, make it a point to recognize employees who exhibit the behavior and accomplishments you’e trying to foster. For more information on AED Certification and professional education programs available through The AED Foundation, visit AED University online at or call Carol Schrader, Director of Development at 800-388-0650.

These managers have earned certification through The AED Foundation.
Branch Management
Dawn Carnahan, Division Credit/Store Manager, K.C. Bobcat, Blue Springs, Mo.
Service Management
Brian Carr, Service Manager, Nortrax Equipment Co., Lutz, Fla.
Robert Foss, Service Manager, Bierschbach Equipment & Supply, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Edward Phillips, Service Manager, Nortrax Equipment Co., Miami Fla.
Doug Ramsey, Service Manager, Low Country Machinery, Pooler, Ga.
Mike Owens, Service Manager, Rish Equipment, Bluefield, W. Va.
Parts Management
Ed Boessling, Parts Management, Equipment Support Services, Houston, Texas

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