AED Members Gather in Chicago for Annual Summit

The Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) kicked off 2020 with their annual Summit and CONDEX.
The conference was held January 14-17 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago, with 1,690 dealers, manufacturers and service providers networking under one roof for three days.

“I’d like to thank all the dealers, manufacturers and service provider partners who attended our 2020 Summit and CONDEX,” said AED President and CEO Brian P. McGuire. “It was an outstanding event, and we continue to strive to deliver high-quality events and services for our great members.” 

Established in 1919, AED is an international trade association based in Schaumburg, Illinois. It represents companies involved in the distribution, rental and support of equipment used in construction, mining, forestry, power generation, agriculture and industrial applications. 

The numerous sessions offered throughout the Summit covered topics on improving and strengthening business in the areas of management, leadership, sales, rental, product support and technology. To complement these sessions, there were inspirational guest speakers, including Kris Paronto, former Army Ranger and private security contractor, now a notable author who shared his story and ended his appearance with a book signing. 

To conclude the Summit, AED hosted Dinner and a Conversation with Chris Christie, where the 55th governor of New Jersey shared his knowledge with the audience over dinner and drinks.

One highlight of the event was The AED Foundation Fundraising Gala, an evening offering food, drinks, entertainment and a live auction hosted by Ritchie Bros. More than $250,000 was raised that evening to help address professional education and workforce development in the industry. 

During the Gala, AED presented its annual awards: 

- Ron Barlet, president of Bejac Corporation in Placentia, California, was elected to chair the 2020 AED board of directors.

- Jim Behrenwald of AIS Construction received the Morton R. Hunter Sr. Distinguished Industry/Association Contribution Award.

- Michael Vazquez of MECO Miami received the Chairman’s Award.

- Diane Benck of West Side Tractor Sales received the P.E. MacAllister Democracy Award.

- Liebherr Construction Equipment Co. received the Foundation Partner Award.

- LBX Co. received the Foundation Champion Award. 

- Steve Johnson of The AED Foundation received the Lester J. Heath III Award.

- Jonathan Campbell of Wheeler Machinery received the Paul D. (Bud) Hermann Emerging Leaders Award.

The AED Foundation also honored eight technicians with the 2019 Technicians of the Year Award: 

- Canada: Clayton Kennon from SMS Equipment

- Great Lakes: Randy Ciolkosz from Miller-Bradford & Risberg Inc.

- Midwest: David DeGood from Bobcat Enterprises Inc.

- Northeast: Steve French from Rock & Recycling Equipment

- Rocky Mountain: Loren O’Connor from Sunstate Equipment Co. 

- South Central: Dalton Koelzer from Vermeer Texas-Louisiana

- Southeast: Jeremy Ford from Ascendum Machinery

- West: Jake Dugger from Coastline Equipment

Another element of the Summit is the Construction Dealer Expo, or CONDEX. On the CONDEX floor, manufacturers, distributors, dealers and service industry providers showcase their latest products and innovations. This year there were 136 exhibitors, 31 of which were first-time participants. 

Sixty-nine hospitality suites were also available, designed to allow manufacturers to meet with current and prospective dealers/distributors to discuss business opportunities as well as to build new relationships and cement current ones. 

Another special touch of this constructive Summit were the customized receptions throughout the three-day event. AED arranged the following extra opportunities for participants to meet and greet their associates:

After Hours Welcome Reception, Summit Breakfast (where AED welcomed everyone, presented awards and discussed future goals), Women in Equipment Distribution Reception, Summit Reception, Fun/Run Walk 5k, Manufacturer’s Advisory Group Breakfast, Small Dealer Committee Meeting and Canadian Breakfast. 

What sets the AED Summit apart from other events in the industry is that it is designed for quality over quantity, and it makes networking the No. 1 priority by creating numerous opportunities in an organized, professional ambience. AED creates a vibe where you can conduct business in a relaxed setting and have fun at the same time.  

Every year the Summit is held in January or early February, rotating between Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas, allowing members to start off the year with big opportunities.
“We look forward to seeing you throughout the year and at the 2021 Summit & CONDEX January 12-15 in Las Vegas at The Mirage,” McGuire said.

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