Good advice from the Oracle of OmahaBy Dennis Slater, AEM President

Some years ago, investment wizard Warren Buffet was quoted as saying, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

While that sound advice from the “Oracle of Omaha” certainly applies to Wall Street, its message about the importance of forward-looking, long-term investment also characterizes the thinking behind AEM’s new Strategic Plan.

The new Strategic Plan was approved by the AEM Board of Directors at its meeting last July. Since then, work has been underway to develop tactics and budgets for its implementation, including an increased investment of resources to achieve its KRA (Key Result Area) goals.

That work culminated on November 18th with the Board’s approval of investments totaling $1.7 million in 2017 to execute the Plan’s year-one priorities. The action marks the beginning of an ambitious three-year effort to significantly enhance our support of our members and the industry.

Our AEM goals for 2017 are based on the Strategic Plan’s five KRAs and the priorities identified by the AEM Board. They are:

Advocacy Development

We will expand the scope of AEM’s legislative and regulatory outreach, to affect U.S. federal and state-level as well as Canada issues for greater membership representation.

Priorities for 2017 include:

  • Enhanced engagement through state-level advocacy as well as our grassroots I Make America program. We have hired a Director of State Affairs to focus on this area of growing importance, which includes state dealer laws and contractual relationships.
  • And, I Make America’s focus will include outreach to new members of Congress to explain our priorities.
  • Increased advocacy in Canada has been targeted, and we will develop the plan in 2017 to achieve this goal.
  • We will successfully complete the next phase of the Infrastructure Vision 2050 initiative. This includes direct advocacy efforts with members of Congress, the Administration and key agencies to promote long-term infrastructure policy. Under IV2050, we will also:
         - Promote and support a “first 100 days” infrastructure plan for the incoming Administration.
         - Host thought leadership events in Washington D.C. and around the country.
         - Engage trade show audiences at CONEXPO-CON/AGG, National Farm Machinery Show,
            Commodity Classic and ICUEE.
  • We will also successfully execute our legislative and regulatory agenda, including key issues of trade, tax reform and infrastructure investment.

Thought Leadership

We will position AEM as a recognized and influential industry voice. We want to articulate an industry vision, and keep members informed about potential issues that could disrupt their business models and industries.

2017 priorities include identifying key thought leadership topics for the year, as well as developing 2018 plans. We plan to kick off AEM’s thought leadership initiative at CONEXPO-CON/AGG. We will also integrate the topics into a new regional membership engagement program.

Optimize Customer Connections

The goals are two-fold:

  • To optimize and evolve AEM’s trade show model to deliver maximum ROI and return on objectives to members.
  • To optimize and evolve AEM’s show ownership positions in both construction and agriculture.

Priorities for 2017 include:

  • Successful completion of the CONEXPO-CON/AGG, IFPE and ICUEE exhibitions.
  • Achieve the new cooperation agreement for post-2020 CONEXPO-CON/AGG.
  • Establish a leadership and/or ownership equity position in an AG exhibition.
  • Deliver the research, recommendation and plan for the new 365 initiative for the CE and AG sectors. This digital experience is modeled on the CONEXPO-CON/AGG 365 program and will bring quality insights to the end-user year round.

Driving Data & Digital Direction

We will work with our members and the industry to influence and guide the implementation and flow of critical data within our industries, to enable our members to be successful in the global marketplace.

Our priorities for 2017 are:

  • Execute the long-term strategy for the AEM statistics program.
  • Complete research to learn how data is impacting our members.
  • Success in statistics programs in Latin America and for Agrievolution.

Agriculture Leadership

We will unite the agriculture equipment and technology industry under the AEM brand to achieve a leadership position.

Priorities for 2017 are to:

  • Develop and execute a plan to expand AG membership.
  • Build the AEM AG brand.
  • Finalize a plan for the AG CONNECT brand.

Financials, Membership and Services

We will achieve the objectives set for the financial performance, membership and ongoing core services and activities of the Association.

Priorities for 2017 are to achieve the budgeted net operating income; membership goals for retention, recruitment and engagement; and the participation and satisfaction metrics for our core services of advocacy, market information and exhibitions.

Ambitious but Achievable

Undoubtedly, these goals are ambitious, and we have set the bar high. However, I am confident our leadership team will meet this challenge to achieve our goals.

We look forward to a very busy and productive year in 2017, representing and advancing the interests of our members and our industries.