And Now, a Few Words from the Spokesman of ‘God’s Country’ - Business Outlook 2008
Construction Equipment Distribution magazine is published by the Associated Equipment Distributors, a nonprofit trade association founded in 1919, whose membership is primarily comprised of the leading equipment dealerships and rental companies in the U.S. and Canada. AED membership also includes equipment manufacturers and industry-service firms. CED magazine has been published continuously since 1920. Associated Equipment Distributors
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SECTION: Business Outlook 2008

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Contact Kim Phelan at (800) 388-0650 ext. 340.

And Now, a Few Words from the Spokesman of ‘God’s Country’

By John Riggs IV

Article Date: 01-01-2008
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

South Central Region
J A Riggs Tractor Co.,
Little Rock, Ark.

As an AED regional director for the region encompassing Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas - also know as known as God's Country - I was asked to produce a written report on the economy here. Before I could come up with a good excuse, the editor had me agreeing to be the regional economist and crystal ball-gazing guru who sits before the keyboard now. Here are my observations, with the help of Ms. Kim's questions:

What are the major trends/drivers in your regional economy that are impacting various segments of the construction industry?
I picked up the paper this morning and this headline and paragraph seemed to sum up things here: "RV Sales a Yellow Light, Some Say." (Bloomberg News) As the U.S. housing slump worsens, gasoline prices rise and consumer confidence wanes, recreational vehicle sales are forecast to slide this year and next.
There you have it. When Joe Bob down at that Motor Home Emporia ain't selling any rolling homes, then times is tough.

What are your region's biggest challenges going into 2008?
Besides getting a BCS (Bowl Championship Series) winning team out of this part of the world, our next biggest challenge would be to manage our businesses through a downturn without completely gutting our operations. Frankly, I think finding the BCS winner will be easier.

What is the buying/renting mood of end users/contractors - what trends do dealers' customers talk about these days?
I think the appropriate word for the mood is - foul. The trend is to not buy or rent anything unless you absolutely have to have it.

What construction segments (eg. road/infrastructure, various types of commercial, public works, housing, etc.) are doing best in your region? Which are suffering and why?
I think the bankruptcy lawyers and collection folks are doing the best, but I'm not sure what segment of our business to put them in. Other than those, about the only folks I see buying new pickups are people with oil/gas leases or who are putting in roads for the new wells that are being drilled for the people with the oil/gas leases.

What are some of your own company's strategies for tackling 2008 and how do you plan to implement them?
We're going to keep ourselves lean and mean and fight for every deal that we can find.


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