The most obvious news at this year’s event was that the rules have changed and attendees could see each other’s faces with the relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions. For most in attendance, the last time they were able to attend a public event was just a little more than a year ago, at CONEXPO in Las Vegas.
The big buzz at this year’s AED event was the dwindling inventory and lack of availability of the industry’s lifeblood – equipment – and dealing with the stark reality that this situation is not going to change anytime in the near future. Equipment distributors are being faced with difficult decisions on how to manage their current inventories of new equipment and rental fleets.
Another major topic of discussion was the infrastructure bill currently being worked on in Washington, D.C., and whether a compromise is in the making. AED brought in local U.S. Rep. Dina Titus (D), who expressed considerable optimism that a compromise bill was indeed in the making. Ordinarily, this would have a positive spin for the industry. But for some, it only increased concern as to how the equipment for a major infrastructure rebuilding program would be supplied.
AED also released to its membership the results of its commissioned research report that took a look at diversity within the equipment distribution industry and provided recommendations for ways to continue building a robust workforce.
The event concluded with a dinner with Paul Ryan (R), 54th Speaker of the House and former parts runner for Ryan Inc., his family’s earthmoving business in Janesville, Wisconsin.
As is always the case, the CONDEX exhibit hall was full of displays from manufacturers from around the world showing their new products in the hopes of doing business with AED members.