AEM BoardExamining new revenue opportunities for the association while ensuring a bright future for exhibitions and events was a key focal point of discussions held by the AEM Board of Directors during its most recent meeting held in-person at AEM’s Milwaukee office earlier this month.

The Board received updates from AEM senior leadership and staff on how exhibition revenue has significantly subsidized AEM services over the years, including recent expansion of AEM activities through its Strategic Plan goals. As a result, the Board supported AEM’s intentions to look into new revenue opportunities to augment revenue produced from exhibitions. New revenue programs being explored cover a wide range of AEM service areas, including – but not limited to – machine utilization reporting, technology adoption education and new safety material programs.

As part of its efforts to continue to provide support and services for its members, the equipment manufacturing industry and the customers it serves, it was determined that membership dues should be increased in 2022. The Board approved AEM’s Membership Committee’s recommendation to increase membership dues next year as follows:

  • 5.0% catch up CPI adjustment for on-time renewals
  • 2.0% additional adjustment starting Feb.1, 2022, for late renewals and new members

In approving the dues increase, the Board recognized the need to review future increases as the association looks to reduce subsidies for services currently provided to members.

Exhibitions and events remained at the forefront of the Board’s discussions throughout its most recent meeting, as those in attendance discussed planning progress and new features for CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023, including a “service first” floorplan layout, new vendors, cost savings and enhanced services for exhibitors and sustainability efforts. Exhibit space sales are over 1.4 million net sq. ft. and expected to achieve the pace from the 2020 show later this year as companies determine their final space needs.

The Board also received an update on the progress and success of the upcoming Utility Expo, as the show approaches its opening of Sept. 28. In addition, the Board supported AEM Show Strategy recommendations to leverage trade show data to produce valuable insights for exhibitors in AEM exhibitions. Investments will be made for data infrastructure upgrades, including a data hub, data warehouse and data integrations of existing AEM systems. The plan is to launch and test a small-scale MVP (Minimum Viable Product) at The Utility Expo next month, leading up to secure a data services vendor to support CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023 program. 

In other action, the Board expressed support for Government & Public Affairs initiatives related to the following activities:

  • Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework: AEM’s advocacy team is working closely with bipartisan groups, including the G22 Senators group and Problem Solvers Caucus, to support the proposed $1.2 trillion infrastructure agreement.
  • Right to Repair: Directors discussed the recent Biden Executive Order and AEM’s meeting with the administration to present the association’s views.
  • Grassroots Advocacy: It’s a “Year of Action” for I Make America this year with the focus on supporters contacting their members of Congress.
  • Champion of Industry Award: The Government & Public Affairs Committee has established this award to recognize the voting records in Congress to support our positions and engage with AEM members. Four recipients were selected for this year.
  • AEMPAC Support: AEM relies on these contributions to continue to have access to lawmakers.
  • Fly-in: More than 50 members are signed up for the fly-in, scheduled for Sept. 20-21 in Washington, DC.

Lastly, the Board also:

  • Thanked longtime AEM Executive Assistant Wanda Sova for her many years supporting the AEM Board, the association and its members, as well as congratulated her on her retirement.
  • Received the Treasurer’s Report, which included the following results for 2021: a forecasted Net Operating Income (NOI) of $724,000, versus budgeted NOI of $206,000, due to expense reductions. AEM is in position to achieve its “break even” NOI for the 2022-2024 budget cycle. Preliminary projections indicate a break-even 2022, followed by $5.99 million NOI in 2023 which will cover the projected $5.43 million loss in 2024. Budget planning includes reductions in use of investment reserves during these uncertain financial conditions. The targeted break even NOI will be achieved by focusing activities on priorities, reducing and managing costs for personnel and G&A, while reducing use of investment reserves to rebuild funds for future use.
  • Held an Open Forum to provide each Director with the opportunity to provide their insights regarding 2022 priorities for AEM to support the membership and our industry. The insights provided are being compiled by staff and will be distributed separately. The guidance will then be used by staff to develop the proposed 2022 priorities and budget to be presented for approval in November. The Board also discussed how their companies are adopting COVID-19 policies, protocols and procedures related to reopening or operating their workplaces.
  • Received updates on the following AEM events:
    • Digital Education/Member Education Webinars
    • CONEXPO-CON/AGG Tech Talks
    • Product Safety & Compliance and Liability Seminars
    • Workforce Solutions Virtual Summit
    • AEM Annual Conference

The next meetings of the AEM Board and Sector Boards will be held in conjunction with the AEM Annual Conference, scheduled for Nov. 10-12 at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Phoenix, Arizona.

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