The Stuff of Which Champions are MadeBy Mary Sedor
Article Date: 01-01-2009
Copyright(C) 2009 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.
Four AED Foundation investors stand out as exemplary industry advocates.
Muhammad Ali. Michael Jordan. Wayne Gretzky. Joe DiMaggio.
This group of men, listed on ESPN’s Top 100 North American Athletes of the 20th Century, represents an ideal. In each respective sport, they’ve shown their athletic prowess and have not only tasted victory – they created the recipe. Look up the definition of champion and you’ll find a description of someone who wins first place in a contest.
A champion can also be a person or company that shows fervent support of an issue. What’s missing from both of these definitions is what really makes a champion – that “something extra” that sets them apart from the rest.
The AED Foundation has a special designation for those people and/or companies that go above and beyond to support the work of the Foundation. They are, indeed, Industry Champions.
While The AED Foundation greatly appreciates all of the support it receives from industry leaders helping to ensure a future of continued excellence in the equipment distribution industry’s workforce and professional development, it particularly recognizes the Industry Champions who have supported the Foundation’s 2008 Annual Fund to the highest extent possible. The Annual Fund supports the Foundation’s professional education and workforce development initiatives.
This year’s AED Foundation Industry Champions are ACP/Reed Construction Data, Glenn C. Williamson, Kobelco Cranes North America Inc. and The John Deere Foundation.
ACP’s Advertising Auction Raises Funds
For the last five years, Associated Construction Publications (ACP)/Reed Construction Data has auctioned off advertising space in the Reed Construction data booth at AED’s Annual Meeting & CONDEX in January. The proceeds from the auction directly benefit The AED Foundation.
“The idea surfaced several years ago because we wanted to find a way to raise funds for the Foundation and to also recognize our customers in the process,” said John Weatherhead, retired group publisher of ACP/Reed Construction Data. “It attracted a lot of interest at the AED Annual Meetings and we’ve done it ever since.”
Typically ACP/Reed has two auctions, one for a national ad and one for a local ad in an ACP publication. Last June, Weatherhead presented The AED Foundation with a $12,800 check for the 2008 Annual Fund.
Weatherhead, who announced his formal retirement from ACP/Reed last spring, says that the auctions will continue under the leadership of Group Publisher Bill Cariello. (Check out the auction in Reed Construction Data’s CONDEX Booth 835 Jan. 15 and 16 in San Diego!) ACP/Reed will continue to support their customers, the industry and help solve a real industry need through their support of The AED Foundation, he said.
“I’m proud of AED and their members and how they’ve taken on this issue,” said Weatherhead. “I think we’re a better industry because of it, and it’s helped AED become a better association.”
Williamson Gives of His Time and Money
The AED Foundation works to accredit post-secondary schools to graduate well educated students from high-quality technical heavy equipment programs.
Evaluation Team Leaders (ETLs) personally visit and accredit only those schools whose technical programs meet AED National Technical Standards, which are developed and updated by The AED Foundation’s Technical Training Committee.
As head ETL, Glenn C. Williamson donates countless hours as well as his expertise and all of his own expenses for The AED Foundation’s technical school accreditation program. In addition, he also serves as the chairman of the Technical Training Committee.
Each year, Williamson invests in the Annual Fund to the highest level. He has made a bequest in his will to the Legacy Fund that will help ensure the Foundation’s work for future generations.
Williamson is the former owner of Caprock Vermeer in Lubbock, Texas. Like many in the industry, he got his start as a technician. In 1970, he went to work for an equipment dealership in sales, which he says was not an easy transition. Williamson worked for the dealership for several years and eventually purchased it in 1979. His relationship with AED began in 1983 when he became a member.
Williamson says that his significant involvement with training and education may stem from the fact that he struggled as an equipment dealership owner. He says he did not have the training or background to run a dealership, but instead learned every lesson the hard way.
“I came into this business almost totally unprepared,” he said. “I always struggled with the fact that I didn’t have good knowledge about what I was doing and I knew it was expensive to experiment on a machine. So things like that make you realize that you don’t want other people to have to learn it the hard way, not when we have formal education to train people.”
He is a strong advocate of not only technical training, but also training in all aspects of the dealership. He became a charter investor in the Foundation in 1994 after seeing the Foundation’s mission.
“I believe in having everyone in the organization trained to peak performance, and this is one of the things the Foundation does well,” he said.
Williamson says he continues to support The AED Foundation and their education efforts because he enjoys kids and believes in education.
“This gives me a chance to give back to an industry that has treated me very well,” he said.
Kobelco Cranes: Supporting Professional Education
Another important aspect of The AED Foundation is its professional education efforts. The AED Foundation provides industry- and position-specific resources to train and retain dealership employees. The AED Foundation also offers the only management certification in the industry. AED Management Certification recognizes industry professionals for the completion of position-related training, their skills, expertise, and job performance at an exemplary level.
In addition, AED University offers dealership managers the industry- and position- specific learning resources required to achieve certification through seminars, self-study programs, online courses, and at the Managers Conference held at AED’s Annual Meeting.
In 2008, Kobelco Cranes North America, Inc., generously sponsored all seven of The AED University education seminars in branch, rental, sales and product support management. Kobelco’s donation allowed The AED Foundation to add two additional training programs to the line-up last year. Kobelco is also a 2007 investor in the AED Foundation’s Annual Fund.
“We felt like this was a way to give back to an organization that has been very good to us,” said Jack Fendrick, vice president of Kobelco Cranes North America.
Kobelco places a special emphasis on education when considering a donation, he explained.
“It is our belief that education helps everyone,” he said. “Not only does it help the individual who is being educated, but it helps the company that he or she works for, as well as our industry as a whole. Every dollar spent on education has the potential to multiply its value.”
Kobelco chose to invest in The AED Foundation because AED is an organization dedicated to helping dealers.
“We feel that investing in The AED Foundation is an investment in our dealers,” he said. “If we can donate money to an organization that is helping to further educate our dealer network, and that education in turn will help them become more successful, then in the end we’re investing in our own future. AED is a first-class organization and we’re proud to be a member.”
Deere Furthers Workforce Development
The AED Foundation received a grant in 2008 from The John Deere Foundation in recognition of the Foundation’s work to solve the crisis-level shortage of skilled technicians in the construction equipment industry through the Vision 2012 program.
Vision 2012 is The AED Foundation’s program to repopulate the industry’s dwindling technician workforce with 1,200 well-trained technicians graduating each year from AED-affiliated technical schools nationwide by 2012.
“The grant that we received from The John Deere Foundation clearly shows their leadership in this industry and their support of our workforce development efforts,” said Carol Schrader, AED Foundation director of development. “We are grateful for their significant contribution and look forward to growing our relationship with them.”
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