It was great to see so many South Central region dealers at Summit in Chicago in January. I want to highlight Fabick CAT and congratulate them on being a 25-year member of AED. This year we had the pleasure of welcoming Charles Wilken, vice president of marketing at Fabick CAT, to accept the award. This was Charles’ first time attending Summit and it was great to have him there. I would also like to point out that a great leader from the South Central region, Steve Meadows, president of operations at Berry Companies, was elected vice president of finance for the AED board of directors. Steve has been a longtime member of the AED Board of Directors as a member at large, and his commitment to AED in ascending to this new role is welcomed. Congratulations, Steve!
At 2020 CONEXPO in Las Vegas on March 11, The AED Foundation released an updated study on the skills gap and the technician shortage. If you haven’t already done so, please go to www.aedfoundation.org to download the report, “The Equipment Industry Technician Shortage: Reassessing Causes, Impacts and Policy Recommendations.” This is a research report prepared by the College of William & Mary for The AED Foundation. It provides an updated look at the impact the skills gap is having on our industry, estimates how many technician positions will need to be filled over the next five years, and provides recommendations for addressing the technician shortage. We welcome your feedback on the report and how the findings affect your dealership.
In 2019, dealer engagement in the South Central region was at an all-time high, and this year we expect to exceed those numbers with the seeds that were sown in 2019. I thank you all for your continued participation in the events, seminars, webinars and other activities offered by your Association.
I look forward to several great events this year, including congressional visits, school accreditations and AED-sponsored seminars and conferences. Later this year, a meeting is planned with Representative Steve Watkins at White Star Machinery in the Topeka metropolitan area. We are also looking forward to
Washburn Tech in Kansas, achieving AED Foundation accreditation.
There are two “can’t miss” events in the South Central region this year, the first being the 2020 Basic Rental Management Seminar at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Dallas on May 14-15. The second is the No. 1 year-over-year sold-out seminar, and my personal favorite, the 2020 Sales Management Seminar in Austin, Texas, October 21-22. Autumn is one of the best times to visit Austin, and you get the excellent opportunity to learn with one of AED’s most popular presenters, as well as a chance to win a copy of the greatest sales movie ever: “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
Lastly, I want to reach out to the dealer members of the great states of New Mexico and Colorado; you have been very well represented for the last several years at AED by Phil Riggs. Now the baton is being passed to me, and I’m going to try to raise the bar even higher than Phil did under his insightful watch. If I have not had a chance to meet you yet, you will be hearing from me soon.