AEM CE Sector BoardAEM’s CE Sector Board of Directors met in-person and via teleconference on Thursday, August 5 at AEM offices in Milwaukee to discuss progress on our 2021 priorities and share member company updates on other industry-related topics issues. The agenda also featured updates from AEM staff regarding our service areas, including trade shows, market share statistics, advocacy, workforce, among other topics.

CE Sector Board Chair Rod Schrader, chairman & CEO, Komatsu America Corp., called the meeting to order and welcomed those in the room and those participating via teleconference. He presented the consent agenda and provided some highlights from some of the consent reports, including business intelligence, workforce, market share statistics, futures council, and membership.

The Board began with an open forum relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and several members shared updates from their companies regarding getting back to the office, CDC guidelines, mask mandates, and vaccination requirements.

Here is an overview of the agenda and discussion:

Exhibitions & Strategy

AEM Senior Vice President of Exhibitions and Marketing Nicole Hallada led the discussion about our strategic planning for trade shows, providing a look at plans for the next six months as we work to advance our strategic vision to provide greater ROI and increased value for exhibitors and attendees. Director of Digital Media Jennifer Richter provided an overview of the digital and data efforts in place, from planning through post show follow up featuring things like enhanced insights and exhibitor content amplification opportunities.

AEM Vice President of Exhibitions Dana Wuesthoff provided the Board with CONEPXO-CON/AGG 2023 update regarding exhibit space sales, our vendor partnerships, and the new show footprint, which incorporates the new West Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center, among other updates to our 2023 show campus.

And with about seven weeks to go until The Utility Expo, AEM Utility Show Director John Rozum shared the latest metrics and news regarding show layout, exhibit space sales and attendance. The show is on target to be the largest ever, with exhibit space sales and attendee registration pacing ahead of the record-breaking show in 2019. He provided an overview of the evolving 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.

Market Share Statistics

AEM Vice President of Business Intelligence Larry Buzecky and AEM Senior Director of Statistics Mike Lietke led the discussion regarding essential uses and values that AEM participants derive from AEM’s market data programs. They provided a review of the aggregated Ag Tractor and Combine report that is provided monthly for our AEM members and the industry at large through media coverage of the monthly data. They discussed the opportunity for sharing highly aggregated construction equipment data and how that data could support advocacy initiatives to showcase the strength of our industry, help build awareness of that strength through media coverage, and support future forecasting initiatives and research. After the discussion, the CE Board approved the action item to allow sharing underlying aggregated data by category for products currently listed in the AEM CE Index segments.

Workforce Toolkit

AEM Senior Director of Workforce Development gave an overview of the workforce toolkit, the assessment resources available for AEM member companies, and the engagement in the toolkit from AEM member HR leaders. She reinforced the ongoing hiring challenges our members are facing and the efforts she is working on to support those challenges and help members find key talent for growth. She also reminded the CE Board of the upcoming Workforce Solutions Virtual Summit, scheduled for August 19.

Government & Public Affairs

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 provided the CE Board with an update on select state and federal advocacy efforts in support of our industry.

Fox Wood provided an overview of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and highlighted the work done by the AEM Advocacy Team to build support for the bill among lawmakers in the House and spearhead a growing coalition of industry groups.  Eideberg discussed the recent release of a new report by IHS Markit that shows that infrastructure investment will create 100,000 equipment manufacturing jobs.

See spoke about the association’s ongoing advocacy efforts against illegal tampering and its success in defeating all “right to repair” bills introduced at the state level this year. She also discussed President Biden’s recent Executive Order and the steps AEM is taking to engage with the White House and the Federal Trade Commission to highlight the many unintended consequence that the Executive Order will have for equipment manufacturers. Fox Wood also outlined how the association is rallying industry partners and stakeholders against efforts at the federal level to pass so-called “right to repair” legislation.

Eideberg gave an update on the I Make America campaign and stressed the importance of grassroots advocacy to the success of the association’s overall state and federal advocacy efforts. Finally, he issued a call to action for all AEM member companies to mobilize their employees in support of the association’s grassroots efforts, including passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Finally, he outlined the creation of a new award for members of Congress who vote consistently with equipment manufacturers on the association’s policy priorities and who have established a strong record of support for the industry during their time in Congress.

Engine Emissions & Alternative Power

AEM Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs and Ag Policy Nick Tindall provided an overview of the Regulatory Affairs Working Group, which continues to discuss multiple topics, one being an effective strategy to engage with engine emissions. These strategic discussions led to the formation of the Engine Emissions Strategy Task Force to develop a strategy related to engine emissions to understand how future regulations may impact the industry. AEM Senior Director of Utility John Somers shared the names of the member companies represented on the task force and discussed the recent meeting where the task force objectives were established. In addition, Somers shared an update on the Alternative Power Technical Committee, which has been formed to address the more technical side of alternative power sources.

End-User Technology Adoption (Tech Talks)

AEM Director of Construction Sara Feuling offered an update on the CONEXPO-CON/AGG Tech Talks series. To help better meet the main objectives of the Tech Talks, which are technology education, adoption, and awareness, AEM adjusted its on-demand strategy to expand our reach by posting content on social media and mainstream video channels to encourage greater engagement. The final event for 2021 will be held at The Utility Expo and will be a hybrid virtual and in-person demonstration of various machine forms and applications for machine control.

Benefits of Construction Technology

Somers and Feuling shared the work being started by the CE Technology Leadership Group to develop a document to highlight and promote the benefits of construction technology. One of the objectives of this effort will be to help AEM educate lawmakers and the White House on construction technology while advancing our policy priorities related to infrastructure.  

The next meetings of AEM's Board of Directors and CE and Ag Sector Boards are scheduled for November 11 as part of the AEM Annual Conference in Phoenix, AZ. For more information about the CE Sector Board, contact Megan Tanel at mtanel@aem.org.

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