The end of the roadBy Doug Zoerb, AEM Industry Correspondent

The electronic pension payments now land neatly in my checking account at the end of each month, tracing the journey I have taken through the equipment industry over the last 38 years.

Allis-Chalmers, AGCO (Deutz-Allis), Manitowoc (Grove), SPX (BOMAG) and soon, AEM.

I am proud to have been part of this industry and to have lived and worked through many interesting and exciting times. Equipment manufacturing is a tough business, inhabited by tough people, who frequently are forced to make tough decisions. But it’s true what they say – tough times don’t last, tough people do.

When I started out, a working Linotype machine could still be found in the back shop of the little weekly newspaper where I was first employed. Over the course of my career, we went from hot type to cold type to virtual type, from letterpress to no press.

One of my biggest thrills has been working at AEM, in the same century-old complex where I worked for Allis-Chalmers back in the 1980s. In my mind’s eye, I can still see the long-gone tractor plant across the street – razed along with the iron foundry for the salvage value of the Cream City brick. If you cut me, I still bleed Persian orange.

As I exit the stage, a few words of wisdom (hopefully):

First (and I spent a lot of time in Scouting as a youth) do any of you remember the Cub Scout motto? That’s right, it was, “Do Your Best.” Not “winning is everything” (although I am a diehard Packer fan from northeastern Wisconsin). Not “I’m okay, you’re okay.” Do the best you can, each and every day!

Second, remember the Golden Rule. You know: do unto others as you would have done to you. Kindness, understanding and compassion go a long way in this world.

The nice folks at AEM say they will miss me. When I worked at Grove, the boys out there in southern Pennsylvania used to say there was a way to tell how much you’d be missed when you left the company. Go out to the shed and get an empty five-gallon pail, they said. Fill it with water. Now stick your arm in the water as far as it will go. Now pull it out. See the hole? That’s how much you’ll be missed!!

I’m headed home now, up to a little rust-belt town on the shores of Lake Michigan. I don’t plan to disappear, but I am going to coast for a while.

Take care and see you down the road.