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Heavy Equipment Dealers on Both Sides of the Border Face Similar Problem

Vermeer Canada is experiencing, just like many of its U.S. neighbors to the south of it: stunted growth. And that stalling is not due to lackluster industry performance but to a shortage of experienced talent.
Vermeer Canada, a full-service equipment dealer, sells and services both new and used Vermeer equipment, in addition to offering leasing options, sales support and parts. The company has been around for decades, opening its doors in 1948, and today the Brampton, Ontario-based business has 10 full-service stores nationwide.

Craig Drury, vice present of operations for Vermeer’s Eastern Canada region, was previously an AED board member, and the company he represents is heavily involved with and donates to The AED Foundation.
The Canadian heavy equipment industry faces many of the same challenges its U.S. counterparts do, says Drury. Labor shortages and a need for more training opportunities put a damper on reaching heavy equipment’s full potential. 

Vermeer

“We’re starting the process of getting relationships (underway) between AED and colleges,” Drury says. “We need to figure out where the value is. Each province has different needs, and reconnaissance is needed.”

Communication is also a key role for Drury. He continues to inform members of what AED and The AED Foundation are doing for the industry. As for Drury himself, his focus is on advocacy in Canada, and Ottawa in particular.

Relationships with policymakers need to be built, pertaining to skills development in particular, Drury says. “The government needs to open up spaces in colleges.” It’s not just communicating with policymakers, however.

 Getting the word out about career potential to students (and their parents) is crucial, too. Parents need to hear that their children can have a long-term and lucrative future in heavy equipment. Of course, the children (or teens) need to hear that, too.

There’s also the hurdle of getting over the mindset of seeing a university education as something elite to aspire to. It’s not a bad thing – not at all – but it’s not for everyone. Not everyone wants to become a doctor, for example. The industry also needs to do more to draw women and indigenous (native) peoples. “As an industry, we have not,” Drury says. “We’re starving after people, and (in terms of trying to bring women aboard) we’re not going after half the population.”

With developing technology, leadership opportunities and good pay, there’s a future awaiting those willing to chase after it. “We just need to get the word out.”

To learn more about bringing diversity to your dealership, download AED’s Women’s Roles In the Construction Equipment Industry Report at bit.ly/aedwice.

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