(L-R): Brian P. McGuire, president and CEO, Associated Equipment Distributors; Dan Stracener, president, Tractor & Equipment Co.; Stowers, 2017 AED chairman, Wes Stowers Machinery Corp.
The Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) held its annual Summit and CONDEX Jan. 15 to 19 at The Mirage in Las Vegas.
The event drew more than 1,600 attendees and featured 138 exhibitors in CONDEX and 60 suite holders. Of the exhibitors, 47 exhibited for the first time.
On Jan. 18, Diane Benck, owner and vice president of general operations of West Side Tractor Sales and RCE Equipment Solutions, was signed in as the AED 2018 chairwoman. This honor was particularly significant as Benck is the first female chairwoman in the 100-year history of AED. She is also the first John Deere dealer in this role.
The keynote speaker was Leon Panetta, who served as the director of the CIA from 2009 to 2011 and ran the operation that brought Osama bin Laden to justice, and was an influential political strategist for two U.S. Presidents, a former secretary of state and a congressman for 16 years.
Other featured speakers included:
Rep. Cheri Bustos, who is one of only 12 Democratic House members holding a seat in a congressional district won by President Trump in 2016. Bustos has shown that focusing on job creation and economic growth is a winning combination regardless of political party.
Michael Dominquez, who is senior vice president and chief sales officer of MGM Resorts International. In this role, he provides executive oversight for the global sales strategies of the company's 42,000 hotel rooms and its three million square feet of meeting space (more meeting space than in all of New York City).
Laura Ingraham, a widely recognized conservative voice.
During the event, six professional dealer educational tracks, with more than 35 different sessions were offered. Tracks included leadership, rental, sales, management, product support and technology.
Prior to the Summit and CONDEX, The AED Foundation also announced the final tally for its annual Fundraising Gala held at Casa de Shenandoah in Las Vegas — a record breaking $100,000. The Gala, hosted by Platinum Sponsor Wells Fargo Equipment Finance, Gold Sponsor Sentry Insurance and Silver Sponsors BOKF Financial and Volvo Construction Equipment North America, featured a meet and greet with Las Vegas Legend Wayne Newton.
Funds raised support The AED Foundation sponsored Career and Technical Education programs and cutting-edge research on workforce issues. The Foundation focuses on three primary areas:
Accreditation — The AED Foundation programs set the National Criteria for Construction Equipment Technology College Programs.
Career Promotion — The AED Foundation programs offer not just job training, but long-term career pathways and continuing education.
Research — The AED Foundation funds the research that backs up its claims on the importance of workforce development and shares that data with legislators, educators, the media and other stakeholders.
The AED Foundation also recognized key leaders within the organization.
The Lester J. Heath, III Award was presented to AED Board Member John Crum, senior vice president of Wells Fargo Equipment Finance. This award is given in honor of Lester Heath, the first president of The AED Foundation, to an individual demonstrating outstanding contributions to the Foundation through involvement and support of Foundation activities including training, accreditation and workforce development.
The Foundation Champion Award was presented to John Deere Construction and Forestry Division and was accepted by AED Board Member Jason Daly, director of consumer product support of John Deere. This award recognizes distinguished service or merit of a manufacturer or service provider that has provided significant contributions to the workforce goals of The AED Foundation.
The Foundation Partner Award was presented to Volvo Construction Equipment North America and accepted by Ryan Sherwood, vice president of retail development of Volvo. This award recognizes distinguished service or merit of a manufacturer or service provider that has provided significant contributions to the professional education goals of The AED Foundation.
AED Honors Long-Time Members
During the Summit, AED recognized companies that have been members of the association for 25, 50 and 75 years.
- Finning Canada
- Howell Tractor & Equipment LLC
- Road Machinery & Supplies Co.
- Rogers Brothers Corporation
- Ruffridge-Johnson Equipment Co. Inc.
- Tractor & Equipment Co.
- W.I. Clark Company
- Wajax Equipment
- Bright Equipment Inc.
- Finkbiner Equipment Co.
- Monroe Tractor & Implement Co. Inc.
- Birkey's Construction Equipment Co.
- BLS Enterprises, Inc.
- Douglas-Guardian Services Corp.
- George & Swede Sales & Service Inc.
- Lano Equipment Inc.
- Scott Equipment
- Vermeer Corporation
- Vermeer Midwest
- Wiese USA