AED’s Summit offers attendees unfettered access to the inner workings of the construction equipment distribution industry. Education sessions, OEM panels, keynote and featured presentations and CONDEX are only some of the ways OEM and dealer professionals can develop their business strategies and leadership skills at Summit. Along with these universal draws toward the conference and trade show, Canadian dealers find additional value in attending Summit.
This year’s Summit takes place on Monday, February 4, through Thursday, February 7, at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Orlando, Florida. Aside from offering a much-needed reprieve from those long Canadian winters, Summit provides a unique opportunity for Canadian dealers to come together to tackle the challenges that are unique to their markets. Some of these challenges include the uncertainty and instability of NAFTA negotiations, currency fluctuation, and tax changes.
Jeff MacDonald, president of Amaco Construction Equipment Inc. in Ontario, commented on the attraction of Summit: “Summit provides an opportunity to visit with current manufacturing partners, explore new manufacturer partners, and attend speeches and seminars to improve various facets of our company.”
MacDonald elaborated on the usefulness of Summit to Canadian dealers: “There are many seminars at Summit with useful information to assist our day-to-day operations. Often trying to incorporate one or two good ideas can go a long way to improvement. Shared information and best practices are key; after all, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel yourself.”
Beyond education, AED’s annual membership meeting will occur at this year’s Summit. Canadian dealers will want to participate and voice their perspectives regarding the direction of their member services. Remember, AED’s representation of their Canadian members on Parliament Hill depends on the feedback presented at these meetings. Proactively manage your AED membership by attending and participating in the membership meeting.
Garry Frelick, president of Douglas Lake Equipment Ltd., also commented on the value of an AED membership: “I have personally been involved with AED for over 20 years and have represented the Canadian region on the AED board of directors and executive council. I have attended numerous AED Summits in both good and bad economic times and have witnessed quite an evolution within the Association and its membership. I have always believed that the strength of any association is its membership, so you need to get actively involved, and that’s part of the real value in being a member. You get back what you put in, and I have developed many lifelong relationships through my direct involvement.”
One Summit event that is specifically designed to unify Canadian dealers and their collective voice is the AED Canadian Breakfast. For the third year in a row, the Canadian Breakfast will give our northern dealers an opportunity to discuss a variety of important topics to help them stay at the forefront of federal issues that can impact the cost of doing business.
Sure, the events at Summit are designed to further business prospects and professional development. Yet sometimes the impromptu networking opportunities can end up being the greatest value of the gathering. But don’t take it from us. Here is what one Canadian dealer had to say about such opportunities:
“I always have ‘takeaway moments’ at Summit, either through attending a breakout session or having a business conversation with a colleague in a social environment. Our business issues are many and quite challenging, and I always enjoy discussing our challenges/opportunities with some of my friends and appreciate gaining different perspectives. Many of the members have a very high industry IQ, and I value their comments and enjoy the time spent networking within the group. Another benefit of the Summit is that it has provided me the opportunity and venue to meet directly with many of our suppliers and their senior management teams (via Hospitality Suites). We have numerous product lines/vendors, and most attend the Summit, and I usually have a full schedule of supplier meetings,” said Frelick.