Dear AEM Members,


During our March 25 meeting of the AEM Board of Directors, I promised to provide a new plan to realign the Association’s 2020 goals and priorities to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and our focus to assist members and the equipment manufacturing industry.

Our staff and leadership continue to address all 15 priorities approved by the AEM Board for this year, but there have been significant shifts in our initiatives, particularly in the areas of supporting our members and reducing our financial risks.

The Association priorities and goals for 2020 were established based on the objectives of the new Strategic Plan, which was approved by the Board in August 2019 for implementation from 2020 to 2022. These 2020 priorities and goals are based on the following:

  • The objectives identified in the new Strategic Plan for the four key goals areas.
  • Priorities identified by the AEM Board in August for Year One (2020) of Strategic Plan implementation. (Items 1-7 listed below)
  • Staff input regarding the top priorities for membership, financial and operations activities that support the Strategic Plan objectives. (Items 8-15)

The 15 priorities are listed followed by the realignment made in response to the COVID-19 impact.

1. Positive Public Perception: Set a baseline through research, then take the first steps to develop and implement a plan to build positive public perception of our industry with the public, member employees, students, investors, government officials and legislators by telling our stories and presenting our positions.

Realignment: The focus for 2020 to build positive public perception has shifted from research and development of a plan to supporting members as they cope with the impact of COVID-19. Support includes: 1) providing information, guidelines and resources to help members keep their employees healthy and safe while maintaining their operations and factories, 2) advocating to make sure our members are designated as essential businesses, 3) representing their interests in DC, Ottawa, and state and provincial capitals, 4) providing enhanced market intelligence information, 5) assisting members in receiving financial assistance to manage through the pandemic, and 6) building positive awareness of the innovative solutions our members are providing for the industry and for their communities

2. CONEXPO-CON/AGG: Deliver CONEXPO-CON/AGG success in terms of exhibitor ROI, net revenue, sales, attendance and exhibitor/attendee satisfaction.

Realignment: The deliverables of this priority remain the same with the recognition that some measurable goals will be realigned to reflect the impact of cancellations caused by the emerging COVID-19 pandemic leading up to and during CONEXPO-CON/AGG.

3. HAI: Business success with the execution of plans for the next generation statistics program plan and development and implementation of a long-term strategic direction.

Realignment: The execution of plans for 2020 continue, but there will be a slower pace of investment in the development of the new statistics platform, recognizing the needs to reduce overall spending and financial risk.

4. Workforce: Achieve the workforce development objectives, including the engagement of youth and educators, and the successful launch of an AEM-led workforce development summit.

Realignment: The shock to the economy and employment caused by COVID-19 has not changed the need nor the objectives of our workforce development activities. The launch of the summit continues, but will be a virtual event for this year.

5. Trade: Advocate for free and fair trade policies and agreements, urge lawmakers to address unfair trade and investment practices by trading partners, and oppose the unilateral imposition of tariffs.

Realignment: Even with advocacy resources shifting to support our members during the pandemic, advocating for free and fair trade policies continues to be a priority.

6. Federal Policy: Work with policymakers of both parties and administrators to help shape federal legislative and regulatory policies to support a dynamic and growing economy that allows equipment manufacturers and communities they serve to thrive.

Realignment: Support of our members in response to the COVID-19 crisis became the top priority in March and continues to be a focus, while we work to achieve the federal policy objectives we set for 2020.

7. State Policy: Continue to expand the scope of our state advocacy efforts to effectively represent the interests of our industry to achieve public perception, legislative and regulatory success, with a priority on the Right to Repair issue.

Realignment: State policy issues have shifted during the pandemic, but AEM remains vigilant in continuing to expand our state advocacy efforts. We have successfully worked with governors to make sure our members as designated as essential businesses, while continuing to work on the broader 2020 policy priorities.

8. Strategic Plan Year One: Successful implementation of the Plan objectives, including core services of market information, technical services, advocacy, exhibitions and industry sector leadership.

Realignment: Pressed “pause” on implementation to refocus activities to support members in responding to the impact of COVID-19. Implementation slowed with focus on top priorities to benefit members in 2020, while longer-term initiatives including research was delayed. Strategic Plan will move from 3 years (2020 to 2022) to 4 years (2020 to 2023) with spending for 2020 reduced from $2.5 million to $1.25 million to reduce financial risks for AEM while recognizing the members’ focus on responding to the crisis challenges instead of using new AEM services.

9. Membership: Achieve objectives for member retention, satisfaction, recruitment, engagement, and volunteer leadership participation.

Realignment: Membership objectives remain in place, but shifting to member retention, satisfaction and engagement with less emphasis on recruitment.

10. Financial: Achieve 2020 budget plan, including Net Operating Surplus, prudent use of investment reserves for services to benefit members and an unqualified 2019 audit opinion.

Realignment: Budget management initiatives include the $2.0 million reduction in budget expenses and $1.25 million in Strategic Plan spending to reduce financial risks as we respond to the economic downturn and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Additional measures will be taken as warranted. We are also putting more emphasis on our revenue creation concepts as we provide additional services to members in response to the pandemic and look to further reduce our financial risks.

11. Operations: Completion of the Milwaukee office reconstruction to provide for a better work environment for employees and for recruitment of talent.

Realignment: Office reconstruction completed and within budget. Plan developed and implementation underway to establish protocols for the office reopening and use to protect the safety and health of employees and guests in response to COVID-19.

12. Diversity & Inclusion: Achieve objectives set to improve diversity and inclusion in volunteer leadership.

Realignment: The goal remains the same. We continue to identify and engage volunteers in opportunities to join AEM committees, working groups, boards and other leadership groups.

13. Technology: Identify technology drivers and achieve adoption by members and the industry while determining the role of AEM can serve in supporting members.

Realignment: The goal remains the same, but there’s a recognition that progress will be at a slower pace as manufacturers are more focused on responding to the negative impact of COVID-19.

14. Education/Thought Leadership: Achieve participation, satisfaction and revenue goals and deliver networking opportunities and thought leadership at AEM-organized events and in the delivery of content.

Realignment: Many events shifting to virtual due to travel and safety restrictions caused by COVID-19. Other events moving forward for now with safety/health protocols being established by AEM. Additional webinars added to provide information and support to members to help them deal with the health, safety and financial impact of COVID-19. There’s a recognition that in-person events, if held, will have lower attendance.

15. Exhibitions: In addition to CONEXPO-CON/AGG, achieve success metrics for participation, satisfaction, branding, and long-term strategic planning for exhibitions, including CONEXPO Connect.

Realignment: With CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2020 successfully completed, planning is underway for our 2021-2023 exhibitions. Plans are being developed and implemented to successfully organize and hold exhibitions in this “new normal” of pandemics. Strategy includes more flexible terms for exhibitor and attendee participation, implementation of safety/health protocols, and reduced financial risk. For Connect, we are reworking our development and implementation plans to reduce our financial risk and recognize that members are focused on operating during these challenging times.

We are committed to our ongoing efforts to serve our membership while ensuring the safety and well-being of the Association’s staff, our member companies, and our employees as we navigate our way through these challenging times.

We will continue to share information related to AEM services as things develop. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or your staff liaisons for committees or programs if you have questions.




Dennis Slater, AEM President