Sellick Equipment is a manufacturer of rough terrain forklifts based in Ontario, Canada. The company – which recently celebrated a major expansion of its facilities – is a member of AEM’s working group steering increased Canadian advocacy efforts, a major strategic goal for the entire association.

To help commemorate the company’s expansion, AEM asked Vice President David Sellick to answer a few questions about the facility expansion, the top public policy issues for equipment manufacturers in Canada, and how AEM can help to advance the industry’s priorities in Ottawa.

AEM: What is the history of Sellick Equipment?

Sellick: The company was founded in 1968 by Walter Sellick and his two sons, Howard and David. The company has grown in the decades since from a rented, 2,500 sq. ft. shop, to an old, 70,000 sq. ft. plant, and now to a modern 126,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility. Sellick has developed a vast dealer network throughout North America providing quality equipment with total product support. Sellick is a leading manufacturer of rough terrain forklifts.

AEM: How does this new facility help your company grow?

Sellick: This new facility will increase our productivity and allow Sellick to broaden the product line into larger capacity forklifts.

AEM: What are some of the biggest market challenges facing Sellick Equipment’s growth over the next five years?

Sellick: One of our main challenges is adopting the Tier IV emissions requirements while trying to maintain value pricing for the end user. We also expect to integrate more electronics into equipment, and will have to manage the opportunities and challenges associated with that.

AEM: How important is maintaining NAFTA to your company?

Sellick: NAFTA is very important for Canadian exporters, as the United States is our largest market. The NAFTA agreement allows Canadian manufacturers free and fair access to the U.S. market, and vice versa for U.S. equipment manufacturers who sell into Canada. (Canada is the top export market for manufacturers of farm and construction equipment.) We also source a number of components from the United States, which also hinges upon the preservation of the NAFTA agreement.

AEM: If the Federal Canadian Government invested more in workforce development programs, do you think that would have a positive effect on the skilled labor pool?

Sellick: Like many other manufacturers across both Canada and the United States, we depend on a skilled workforce to be successful. We are hopeful that the Federal Canadian Government will help develop a skilled workforce, especially as the boomer generation retires.

AEM: Why is it important for AEM to take a bigger role on advocacy issues on behalf of the industry in Ottawa?

Sellick: The equipment industry needs a unified voice on public policy issues. That voice doesn’t end at the borders of the United States. Given how important the Canadian market is for the success of our industry, it only makes sense that AEM takes a larger leadership role on these issues in Ottawa.

AEM: As an association representing both construction and agricultural equipment in the United States and Canada, talk about the unique role AEM can play as a voice for the entire equipment manufacturing industry in Ottawa.

Sellick: One of the most important roles for AEM to play right now is to advocate for the renewal of a fair NAFTA agreement. AEM must also have a leading voice in developing safety standards as well as environmental and dealer relation legislation.

For more coverage of NAFTA renegotation talks and Canadian advocacy priorities, subscribe to the AEM Industry Advisor