AEM CE Sector BoardAEM’s CE Sector Board met for the first time in 2021 via teleconference on Tuesday, March 23 to discuss priorities for 2021 and share member company updates regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The full agenda also featured updates from AEM staff about topics ranging from exhibitions, communications, advocacy, and standards and regulatory initiatives.

CE Sector Board Chair Rod Schrader, chairman & CEO, Komatsu America Corp., called the meeting to order and welcomed three new directors to the CE Sector Board meeting: Otto Breitschwerdt from Caterpillar, Inc., Angie Drake from The Toro Corporation, and Barry Ruffalo from Astec Industries, Inc.

Following is an overview of the agenda and discussion:

2021 CE Sector Board Priorities

AEM Director of Construction Sara Feuling focused her discussion on the work being done to support end-user technology adoption through the newly launched CONEXPO-CON/AGG Tech Talks, including an overview of the Feb. 4 live event featuring The Boring Company’s People Mover Project and the positive feedback received from it. She thanked the many AEM member companies that sponsored the program and shared a timeline for the upcoming April event focused on telematics, and the June event featuring safety.

AEM Senior Director of Utility John Somers shared an update on the cybersecurity priority, which continues to be a topic that is raised by other AEM committees. A survey was recently sent to AEM members to better gauge the current state of cybersecurity and address potential future industry challenges. Results of the survey will help set the content for discussion at the May 25 Member Education webinar on cybersecurity and will help determine the need for a cybersecurity task force to address member concerns. Somers encouraged all CE Sector Board directors to complete the survey.

In addition, Somers updated the CE Sector Board on the Equipment Utilization Program, which will provide equipment usage hour data and help them take advantage of market trends for future planning. The program will capture equipment usage data by product and by state, which will allow AEM to produce and index that can be used to identify market trends, monitor funding impacts and support infrastructure reauthorization.

Safety & Product Leadership

AEM Senior Vice President of Agriculture Curt Blades, who oversees the AEM Safety & Product Leadership department, provided an overview of mission and efforts underway of the Safety & Product Leadership team. He shared how the department is committed to promoting discipline and best practices for safe product design and use, and growing market access through safety, sustainability, and shared solutions. To improve surveillance of regulatory issues that could impact our industries, AEM has established several key initiatives, including a Regulatory Affairs Working Group, a compliance database, a core internal regulatory team, and improved communications to membership on all safety, technical, compliance, and regulatory issues.

AEM Director of Global Standards & Compliance Jason Malcore continued the regulatory discussion by providing an overview of our engagement in China. He explained how AEM has been granted the Department of Commerce Marketing Development Cooperator Program award in partnership with the Engine Manufacturers Association and the American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers. The award allows AEM to secure an in-country resource to coordinate our efforts and build a china-based committee to monitor regulatory issues, including engine emissions, international standards, foreign investments, and chemical management.

AEM Director of Product Stewardship Jeff Jurgens focused his discussion on the work of the Autonomous Machines Coordinating Committee (AMCC), which includes representatives from all AEM sectors to ensure diverse perspectives. The committee is providing technical direction regarding automation, collision avoidance, and pertinent technologies, and preventing duplication in standards and development. The AMCC recently distributed a white paper to various International Organization for Standardization Technical Committees requesting a working group to develop a single standard across all sectors for terminology and taxonomy related to autonomy.

AEM Senior Director of Technical & Safety Services Mike Pankonin provided an overview of AEM’s involvement with standards development related to the 21 committees that work on topics, including general safety, autonomy, and functional safety, as well as our work with other standards developing organizations. He explained how the AEM Compliance Database, which is populated by AEM staff based on content from technical committees, enables tracking of compliance issues and standards development, upcoming rule markings, and governmental legislation relevant to our members.

To strengthen the continued U.S. development of standards, AEM has submitted a proposal to support the secretariate of ISO TC 96/SC 6 for Mobile Cranes on behalf of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). He also mentioned the AEM/Department of Energy (DOE) “Hydrogen Fuel Cell Applications Workshop”, scheduled for Sept. 22-24, which will discuss the full span of hydrogen fuel cell technology, from production and design through supply chain and total cost of ownership.

Components Members Executive Committee

Parker Hannifin Vice President Ted Bojanowski provided the CE Sector Board with an overview of the work being done by the AEM Components Members Executive Committee. He shared a proposal to develop a supply chain signaling project.

Exhibitions & Strategy

AEM Utility Show Director John Rozum provided an enthusiastic update about The Utility Expo, sharing that the show is on target to be the largest ever, with exhibit space sales and financial goals on pace. He provided an overview of the health and safety initiatives in place, including how we are working with the Kentucky Exhibition Center and the state of Kentucky and following CDC guidelines to ensure a safe environment for all participants. A robust communications and marketing plan is in place to build excitement for the show, encourage registrations and reinforce positive sentiment about bringing the industry back together in Louisville, Sep. 29-31.

AEM Vice President of Exhibitions Dana Wuesthoff led a discussion about CONEPXO-CON/AGG 2023, providing an overview of the proposed 2023 budget for the show, new rules and regulations, and rate adjustments. She presented an action item for the CE Sector Board to vote on the proposed budget changes, which was approved, and the recommended budget and rate plan was sent to the AEM Board. In addition, AEM Senior Director of Marketing Stacy Wessel provided an overview and timeline for the introduction of a new brand and logo for the show.

Communications & Public Relations

AEM Senior Director of Communications Kate Huskin detailed the association's Communications and PR department's efforts in support of the AEM Strategic Plan, especially the goal focused on building positive perception of our industries. She reinforced the need to expand the AEM spokesperson list to include member company leaders, and invited members of the CE Sector Board to participate. The effort is focused on building a larger foundation of spokespeople to help share member company success stories and showcase the positive impact of manufacturing on our economy and society. She shared a recent example of how Austin Ramirez with Husco was interviewed by Fox Business News and how the team would work with Board members on similar media initiatives. As follow up, she will send an online form to the CE Sector Board members to enlist spokespeople.

Government & Public Affairs

The CE Sector Board also received updates from AEM Senior Vice President of Government and Industry Relations Kip Eideberg, AEM Director of State Government and Industry Relations Stephanie See, and Senior Director of Government Relations Kate Fox Wood about the association’s 2021 policy agenda and ongoing state, federal and Canada advocacy efforts.

Eideberg walked the CE Sector Board through specific policy priorities, including infrastructure, trade, and workforce development, and reinforced how the association’s specific recommendations in these areas are intended to help rebuild the economy, communities, and the country in 2021 and beyond. He also provided an updated on the Advocacy Team’s ongoing outreach and engagement with the Biden-Harris administration around shared policy priorities and the association’s focus on building bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill for pro-growth, pro-jobs policies.

Turning to state advocacy efforts, See updated the CE Sector Board on the execution of year one of the AEM Five-Year State Advocacy Plan. She shared highlights from the Advocacy Team’s work in the 2021 priority states, reviewed recent virtual meetings between member companies and Governors, and discussed the advocacy work currently underway across 40 different states, including efforts on illegal tampering (“right to repair”), dealer distribution bills, and infrastructure investment.

Finally, Fox Wood provided an update on the federal advocacy efforts, highlighting how the Advocacy Team is engaging with lawmakers and congressional staff to advance the association’s policy priorities through a record number of meetings during the first quarter of the year as well as strong policy leadership and focus on bipartisanship. She also discussed the success of the March virtual Fly-in, which included three dozen member company executives meeting with 35 members of Congress. Finally, she outlined the 2021 fundraising goals for AEMPAC and a new and enhanced donor outreach and engagement program.

Consent Agenda

Schrader provided highlights from the consent agenda that was provided to board members ahead of the meeting and he reinforced the importance of these reports, which included:

CE Sector

  • CE Technology Leadership Group
  • Trade Shows+

Joint Sector Services

  • Business Intelligence
  • Market Share Statistics
  • Membership
  • Safety & Product Leadership
  • Workforce Solutions
  • Government & Public Affairs

Joint Sector Committees

  • Component Members Executive Committee
  • Service Members Executive Committee
  • Aftermarket Support Committee
  • Sustainability Council
  • Futures Council

The meeting concluded with an open forum in which directors were encouraged to share their office environment updates for 2021 and company policies on getting back to in-person work, travel and events, etc.

The next meetings of AEM's Board of Directors and CE and Ag Sector Boards are slated for Aug. 5-6 in Boston, Massachusetts. For more information about the CE Sector Board, contact Megan Tanel at mtanel@aem.org.

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