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The AED Foundation hosted a successful annual Heavy Equipment Technology Career Day and BBQ on September 13 at Salt Lake Community College’s (SLCC) Westpointe Campus in a continuing effort to showcase the equipment industry to local high school students. The event allowed local equipment dealers to directly interact with students and talk to them about their future careers. 

“Events like the Heavy Equipment Technology Career Day are critical to reversing misconceptions about the equipment industry and allowing students to see firsthand what a career in a dealership can look like,” said Jason Blake, executive vice president and COO of The AED Foundation. “This event, along with strengthening and expanding AED Foundation partnerships with local schools, dealers, and other like-minded organizations, is vital to ensuring that students are aware of the industry and the good-paying jobs that are available.” 

Over 300 area high school students from Salt Lake City, Jordan, Granite and Canyons school districts attended the Heavy Equipment Technology Career Day. Students had the opportunity to speak with local AED dealer members, watch a video to gain a better understanding of the heavy equipment industry and the technician career opportunity, check out heavy construction equipment, and learn more about the great career paths available in the industry. Building industry awareness and interest in students at the middle and high school levels is a crucial component of addressing the technician shortage.

“There is no dealer in Utah or across the country I’ve spoken to that doesn’t struggle to find qualified candidates for their open technician positions,” said Jeff Scott, vice chairman of The AED Foundation and president at Intermountain Bobcat. 

“This event is unique because it underscores the power of partnerships, gives students a firsthand glimpse at an industry that some may not have heard about previously, and is a great recruiting opportunity for dealers. I look forward to continuing to work with The AED Foundation and SLCC to expand this event in the future.”   


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The shortage of qualified technicians is an ongoing problem facing construction equipment dealers across North America. Engaging with students, parents, educators, and other stakeholders about the industry and addressing the technician shortfall are critical focuses for The AED Foundation.
Showcasing the growing technological sophistication of the industry is essential to gaining the interest of students, too. For the first time at this event, courtesy of United Rentals, students were able to use a VR (virtual reality) simulator, which allowed them to operate and drive a 125-foot JLG Boom Lift.

“This event was very interactive, and I was pleased with the level of engagement our students displayed,” said Natalie Shiozawa, a teacher at Horizonte Instruction and Training Center in Salt Lake City. “It is a fun way for students to learn more about possible careers in the heavy equipment industry, and we look forward to continuing to participate in the future.”


“The AED Foundation’s Heavy Equipment Technology Career Day and Barbeque is an important way for high school students to learn more about the construction equipment industry, and to learn about the state-of-the-art Westpointe Workforce Training and Education Center,” said Rick Bouillon, associate vice president of workforce and economic development at Salt Lake Community College. “We look forward to hosting future Career Day events at SLCC and maintaining a strong, lasting partnership with The AED Foundation and local AED construction equipment distributors.” 

Local AED dealers who generously supported and made the event possible were Arnold Machinery Co., Century Equipment Co., Ditch Witch of the Rockies, Honnen Equipment, Intermountain Bobcat, Kimball Equipment Co., Komatsu Equipment Co., Rasmussen Equipment Co., United Rentals and Wheeler Machinery Co.  

Attendees from AED and The AED Foundation included Senior Director of Member Engagement Phil Riggs and Associate Director of Development and Workforce Marty McCormack.

The AED Foundation looks forward to continuing its Heavy Equipment Technology Career Day at SLCC in 2020 and beyond. The AED Foundation is interested in expanding its offering of career-promotion events to help keep tackling the technician shortage. If you’d like to host a Career Day event in your region, please contact Marty McCormack or your regional manager.

Marty McCormack is The AED Foundation’s associate director of development and workforce. He can be reached at and 630-642-9108.


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