In tough economic times, knowing the right people can make all the difference. Equipment Managers Council of America (EMCA) is opening a new chapter in Zionsville, Pa., just south of Allentown that will help contractors get to know others in their industry while also learning about industry topics and having fun.
The EMCA-PA covers territory from the Lehigh Valley in the north to Philadelphia in the south and Reading in the west. It holds meetings once a month.
“Most members are contractors, but dealers also join, along with glass companies, hydraulic repair shops, quarries, fuel companies — practically anyone associated with the industry,” said Michael Eder, president of EMCA-PA. “We provide education and safety information, but a big part of it is allowing contractors to get to know each other face-to-face.”
Eder has been a longtime member of the original EMCA in New Jersey, which has been around for almost 20 years and has approximately 400 members. Eder has stepped down as vice president of the EMCA-NJ to open up the EMCA-PA in his home state.
“It’s very popular in New Jersey, but you can’t expect Pennsylvania contractors to drive an hour and a half to a meeting after working a full day,” Eder explained. “We wanted to give them the same experience the New Jersey contractors have.”
The meetings normally start at 6 p.m. with a dinner.
“We can have anything from catered meals to barbecues to pig roasts,” Eder said. “It’s a lot of fun.”
After dinner, there is an industry speaker from 7 to 9 p.m.
“The meetings are very informal,” Eder explained. “It’s not just a speaker on a stage talking at you. It’s very open.”
The meetings are often hosted by members and can be held anywhere from an equipment dealer’s shop to a contractor’s building to a quarry.
“It’s great because the guys like going to other guys’ shops and seeing how they’re set up and it gives the shop owner a chance to show off. This also allows us to have the meetings at varied locations throughout the region.”
The talks keep members up-to-date about industry topics such as new regulations, new emissions policies and new technologies.
“We’re a nonprofit organization. We’re member-driven and we promote the heavy equipment industry,” said Eder. “We’re very proud of our safety training. We do a lot for safety, however what we want most is to offer an atmosphere where members involved in the management and repair of earth moving equipment can identify our common goals and concerns and help each other out.”
EMCA produces a monthly newsletter, which has articles on current issues, equipment history, manufacturers and people who have shaped the construction industry. EMCA also sets up activities such as a baseball game that members attend together, a service truck mini expo and other fun events.
“Once the Pennsylvania chapter gets going, I’d like to have a family picnic to allow contractors to bring their family and have a nice day together,” said Eder. “Our industry focuses very well on what we do but we also need to focus on who we are.”
Membership costs $35 per year for individuals and $100 per year for a corporate account, which allows anyone from a corporation to attend meetings.
“We have not raised our dues in 20 years. We want it to be affordable,” said Eder.