Kevin Smith Utolity ExpoAEM is looking forward to bringing the utility industry back together again in Louisville, Kentucky this fall at The Utility Expo. Set for Sept. 28-30 at the Kentucky Exposition Center, show attendees will be afforded the uniquely valuable opportunity to see, touch and learn about the latest tools and cutting-edge technology impacting their jobs.

As this year's show continues to draw near, AEM recently caught up with Kevin Smith, GM of AEM member company and Utility Expo exhibitor Ditch Witch, to discuss the company’s long history as an exhibitor at The Utility Expo (formerly ICUEE), what his organization has in store for attendees at this year’s show, what advice he has for prospective exhibitors, and much, much more.

AEM: The Utility Expo is just a little more than a month away. From a long-time exhibitor’s perspective, why do you feel it’s important for Ditch Witch to have a presence at this year’s show?

Smith: We have such great relationships thanks to The Utility Expo, and it’s such a really tight-knit group. And, as you consider those long-term relationships, it’s going to be great to get together face-to-face at the show, because so many key players are going to be in attendance. The show really serves as the perfect opportunity to examine and discuss future needs, as well as consider how we’ll have to work together as an industry.

At the end of the day, if you really think about it, what we do in this industry matters. We’re improving people’s lives with the work we do building the world’s infrastructure. To me, that’s why I think it’s going to be exciting to be at The Utility Expo, because it highlights so many of those solutions that truly improve people’s lives.

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AEM: What does Ditch Witch have in store for attendees of the show, and what are you most looking forward to seeing or experiencing in Louisville next month?

Smith: For us, it’s going to be all about our strong focus on the jobsite and what we have to offer to help customers be more productive. Workforce continues to be a major constraint for everyone, so finding mechanized solutions to help contractors be more productive is very important to Ditch Witch.

We’re also really excited to be able to showcase to all our customers what’s available through this broader Ditch Witch division that we have with our worldwide dealer organization. We’re really looking forward to talking about that, along with how we can deliver more solutions to our customers. In addition, we’ll have some really exciting new products that we’ll be able to showcase along the way.

Ultimately, though, we can’t wait to get back to Louisville and talk about how we can do things together as an industry.

Utility ExpoAEM: Organizations of all types and sizes experienced so much since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged last spring. We saw organizations adapt a lot since that time, and the expectation is for exhibitions and events to continue to evolve moving forward. In what ways will your organization grow and evolve in order to get the greatest possible return on its investment in The Utility Expo and other exhibitions and events?

Smith: If you think back through the history of trade shows, it used to be the premier way to truly go and learn about new technical solutions, and then you take that information back and you begin to make decisions for the future. And in today’s environment, we’ve seen a lot of ways to be able to learn more about solutions that are out there, in terms of using the internet and a lot of other avenues. But to me, The Utility Expo – or as it was previously known, ICUEE – stands alone as the premier event for the utility industry. Dating back all the way to the 1960s, when those events were held out in the cornfields of Illinois, the show has grown into an extremely valuable gathering for the industry. That’s because it provides not only a unique perspective, but more importantly,  it’s hands-on. Attendees can really get ahold of equipment and get a strong sense of its capabilities and understand how these solutions can make them more productive.

So, to me, that’s our focus. We’re going to look at The Utility Expo as an opportunity to help our customers understand these solutions, as well as being able to see them and engage with them in a way that they can take back to their organizations and help position them for the future.

AEM: We have a lot of AEM members who are excited to be back in Louisville this fall. But for new companies who may not have been involved in The Utility Expo in the past, if you could give a piece of advice to an AEM member, or a prospective exhibitor, who is really taking a look at that initial opportunity in that show, what would that advice be?

Smith: If you’re in the utility sector, you need to be at this show. There is no doubt it is the right people who are there looking for solutions of the future. And it’s truly an opportunity to discuss best practices and learn from folks throughout the industry. It’s not just focused on one area. And as I like to tell people, we’re meeting customers where they are – talking about their needs and our ability to interact with them to improve the overall market.

So, I’d encourage anyone interested in exhibiting at the show to do so. It’s been great for Ditch Witch. We’ve been a part of it since the beginning – over 50 years and counting. It’s an extremely valuable trade show for us to be a part of, we appreciate AEM’s support of it throughout the years, and we look forward to more to come.

About The Utility Expo

Formerly known as ICUEE, The Utility Expo is the largest event for utility professionals and construction contractors seeking comprehensive insights into the latest industry technologies, innovations and trends. The biennial trade show, known for equipment test drives and interactive product demonstrations, takes place in Louisville, Kentucky. The next edition will be Sept. 28-30, 2021. For more information, visit

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