This year I have had the distinct honor to meet with nearly every AED member in the Western and Rocky Mountain regions, either one-on-one or as part of a larger group focused on strengthening the equipment industry through political advocacy and workforce development initiatives. Collectively, this constituency of the AED membership is beginning to build and strengthen the infrastructure needed to provide the highest caliber of technical education for the technician workforce of today and tomorrow. Competitors are coming together on noncompetitive issues to build awareness about the highly rewarding and stable careers in equipment dealerships, in order to increase the depth of our industry’s talent pool. Additionally, dealers of all product lines, structures and sizes have been proven champions of political advocacy by educating lawmakers on the impact their decisions in D.C. have on small businesses.
It’s always valuable to look back on where we have come from and where we are going. With that in mind, I have provided several examples of the accomplishments of AED members in 2016 who chose to stay engaged with their Association for the benefit of the business, the employees and the industry:
▶ The AED Dealer 20 Group met in Salt Lake City, bringing together top-level management to work and share ideas as well as benchmark financially with each other.
▶ With the continuous help of nearly every AED member in Utah, Salt Lake Community College’s Diesel Systems Technology program earned AED accreditation, ensuring equipment technicians are receiving the highest quality of technical education.
▶ Support of industry, education and government secured the development of a new $43 million Career and Technical Education Center at Salt Lake Community College – the new home for the Diesel Systems Technology program.
▶ AED dealers, local education leaders and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development created the Utah Diesel Technician Pathway Program, beginning the journey for high school students to be involved in the rewarding career of diesel technician.
▶ AED dealer visits with Rep. Mia Love and Rep. Chris Stewart offered renewed perspectives on key issues for members of Congress to take back to D.C.
▶ What’s next? Working to ensure high school diesel programs in the greater Salt Lake City area are aligning with AED standards while strengthening the visibility of AED dealer employment opportunities.
▶ AED dealers formalized a sponsorship agreement and made a commitment to improve Community College of Aurora’s Diesel Power Mechanics program, offering a local program to recruit from and build upon.
▶ AED dealers began to standardize relationships with high school students and educators by offering job shadowing, internships and open house opportunities to generate awareness of careers in the industry and offer opportunities for students to explore their interests.
▶ Bobcat of the Rockies celebrated 50 years of AED membership.
▶ 4 Rivers Equipment celebrated 25 years of membership.
▶ Rep. Mike Coffman, Rep. Scott Tipton, and Rep. Doug Lamborn all visited a total of three AED dealerships throughout the state of Colorado for discussions of key federal issues.
▶ What’s next? As the AED dealers continue to support the local Diesel Power Mechanics program, a strategy and timeline will begin to take shape for achieving AED accreditation.
▶ Rio Hondo College’s Heavy Equipment Technology program gained support from the majority of AED dealers in the Greater Los Angeles area, in preparation to aggressively pursue AED accreditation by mid-2017.
▶ Artesia High School met with an AED representative to discuss becoming an AED-recognized high school.
▶ State Sen. Isadore Hall, staff from Rep. Linda Sanchez’ office, and Rep. Doug LaMalfa met with AED members to discuss key issues impacting equipment dealers.
▶ Coastline Equipment and Compass Equipment each celebrated 25 years of AED membership.
▶ What’s next? Continuing to build the infrastructure necessary for dealers to thrive in regard to hiring qualified technicians and providing educational opportunities for the existing workforce. Continuous political advocacy.
▶ The AED Foundation hosted the first-ever Rental Seminar in Las Vegas.
▶ The AED Leadership Conference was held in Las Vegas, bringing more opportunities for AED dealer professionals closer to the West.
▶ Rep. Cresent Hardy met with attendees of the AED Leadership Conference.
▶ What’s next? Exploring options for an improved local diesel program for AED members to support and hire from.
▶ Portland Community College’s Diesel Service Technology program achieved AED accreditation.
▶ Linn-Benton Community College, an AED-accredited college, expanded its diesel program.
▶ What’s next? Exploring opportunities for pathway program development throughout the state.
These are just some of the examples of AED members doing what they have been doing best for decades – coming together on common issues to solve problems and create ideas for moving the industry forward for the betterment of everyone’s business. The list is by no means exhaustive, but makes the case that there are many different ways to be involved with your Association while benefiting your business and setting the bar for those who will someday hold the keys to the dealership. Here’s to a smarter, stronger and more unified 2017. See you all at Summit!