This outing started our day off with a bang, or maybe a loud FORE, as attendees were put into foursomes and got the opportunity to meet and connect before the conference began. It was a morning of fun for all involved and supported The AED Foundation as well, with the proceeds going to The AED Foundation and its mission to construct paths to opportunity for the construction equipment industry. We hope to continue this fun event in future years, so we can give our members memorable moments and support a great cause at the same time.
The event kicked off on Wednesday, September 13, with our engaging keynote speaker, Luke Williams. Bringing real-world technological examples into his discussion (think along the lines of Netflix and Blockbuster), he described how new innovations can lead to disruptions within an already established company. His speech made the audience think outside the box about how they can get ahead of the curve and avoid disruption in their own companies by being the disruption.
From there, many other topics were covered: economic outlooks, telematics, political and legislative updates, rental, workforce and much more. Many sessions had multiple speakers, one with dealership background, one with manufacturing background, and occasionally an end user to give the audience different perspectives on a given topic.
What I saw as the most beneficial sessions for attendees were the dealer and OEM panels. For these panels, three OEMs and three distributors were invited to share their perspectives on upcoming challenges and issues. These panels provided discussion-based sessions where audience member OEMs picked the minds of the dealer panelists, and vice versa, in a sort of open-forum style. These panels made attendees think creatively about their own challenges and gave them more insight into what their clients or providers are thinking about for the future of their businesses.
After an eventful day of educational sessions, cocktail receptions were held as an additional opportunity for attendees to network and meet on common ground. Since this conference focuses so much on being a place where business affiliates can meet under one roof, these receptions are important to give industry leaders a chance to talk outside of the educational setting.
We hope that everyone who was in attendance at this event enjoyed their time in Chicago and gained valuable insight. Our biggest annual event, the 2018 Summit, is just around the corner, and we are excited about again providing opportunities for you to continue your education through AED. We look forward to seeing everyone there!