2021 AED Summit will be hosted in Las Vegas, NV from January 12 – 15, 2021 at The Mirage Hotel Las Vegas. Register today at www.aedsummit.com.
When thousands of equipment distributors, manufacturers and service providers representing hundreds of companies gather in January for the AED Summit, they will have an opportunity to hear from the former parts runner at Ryan Incorporated Central, an earthmoving business based in Janesville, Wisconsin.
That young man climbed the corporate ladder to work in marketing for the family business. He also became the 54th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives – the youngest speaker in nearly 150 years, serving in that position from October 2015 until January 2019.
Paul Ryan earned a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio before beginning his political career as a young congressman of 28 when first elected in 1998 to represent Wisconsin’s First Congressional District.
In Congress, Ryan served as chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he proposed a plan to balance the federal budget and pay off the national debt. Later, as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, he spearheaded efforts to simplify the tax code, protect health care choices, advance free trade and strengthen the economy.
After an unsuccessful vice presidential run with Governor Mitt Romney in 2012, Ryan continued to lead efforts in Congress to rebuild our national defense, expand domestic energy production, combat the opioid epidemic, reform our criminal justice system and promote economic opportunity.
Equipment and the economy
Thanks to relatives working in the construction industry, Ryan gained an appreciation for how essential quality equipment is to a successful business – and to the economy. “Our economy can’t grow without new construction,” he emphasizes, “and we can’t complete construction projects without quality equipment.”
While in Congress, he met with equipment manufacturers and distributors, who provided an understanding of the industry’s challenges. Today, he says, “the COVID-19 pandemic and the shocks it has caused to our economy are going to affect every industry in the country.” Predicting a lengthy aftermath of obstacles, such as access to capital and changes in the labor markets, he remains optimistic about the equipment industry. “I believe that equipment distributors will be integral to our economic comeback following the COVID-19 pandemic. Equipment dealers need to remain nimble as things resettle.”
Ryan assures that infrastructure continues to be a top priority for both parties in Congress. With agreement about the need to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, he expects that equipment distributors will play a significant role.
He also anticipates that issues such as asset recycling and new resources to replenish the Highway Trust Fund will be front and center in any forthcoming infrastructure package. “On the tax front, making permanent the full expensing of capital expenditures like plant and equipment remains a priority for many of my friends in Congress. Outside of that, equipment distributors are acutely impacted by other parts of our tax code, federal regulations and international competition, so there is no shortage of policy issues to keep an eye on.”
However, he adds, “AED has always been a constructive voice as Congress considered issues of importance to its members, so continuing to bring solutions to lawmakers and speaking to how potential policies and legislation will affect the industry and its employees will be critical in the years ahead.”
Equipped to speak
In 2014, reflecting on his life and time in Congress, Ryan published a book: “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea.” He now serves as a distinguished visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in the practice of public policy, focusing on projects aimed at expanding economic opportunity, fighting poverty, expanding the use of evidence and data in developing public policies, and defending free-market capitalism. “They believe in a growing economy, entrepreneurship and in the ingenuity of the American people, which are values that I know the Associated Equipment Distributors shares.”
Ryan is the keynote speaker for “Dinner and a Conversation” with AED President and CEO Brian P. McGuire on the final night of Summit, January 14. AED’s Summit is the premier event representing the industry dedicated to heavy equipment distribution. He intends to focus on the importance of equipment dealers. “I have nothing but respect and admiration for the work that equipment distributors do,” he states. “They are so vital to the growth of communities and businesses around the nation, so I am excited to thank them for all they are doing and discuss the future of the industry.”
Construction and equipment were frequent topics of conversation at family gatherings for the former congressman who grew up in Wisconsin.
“Wisconsin is home to several notable equipment distributors,” he says. “Over the years, I had the chance to tour some amazing facilities, see some awesome product lines and even operate some heavy equipment.”
Although he may not be putting on any equipment demonstrations at the Summit, former Speaker Ryan will address some serious problems facing the industry that require a joint effort from legislators, industries and individuals to solve.
Reluctant to reveal too much of his speech, Ryan says with a smile, “I need to save something for the conference in January!” Members who attend the Summit to learn what’s new to help their businesses, as well as to see or display new products and services, can also look forward to gaining a valuable glimpse into legislative priorities.