Tag Archive for 'Association of Equipment Manufacturers'

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AEM Elects Directors to AG and CE Sector Boards

                        Wacker Neuson and DISTek Integration Executives Take Leadership Roles


 The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has elected Johannes Schulze Vohren, Regional President North America for Wacker Neuson, to the AEM CE Sector Board and Jeremy Yoder, Executive VP and COO of DISTek Integration Inc., to the AEM AG Sector Board to fill unexpired terms.

Johannes Schulze Vohren, Regional President North America for Wacker Neuson

“We welcome Johannes and Jeremy and want to publicly thank them and their companies for their support of the Association and its goals,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. “AEM could

Jeremy Yoder, Executive VP and COO of DISTek Integration Inc.

not succeed and grow without the dedication of its volunteer leadership and active member participation. They help ensure AEM delivers quality results that continue to strengthen member companies and the industries they serve.”

AEM officers and directors come from an industry cross-section and work cooperatively on behalf of the entire membership. They provide strategic direction and guidance for Association initiatives that help members and the industry succeed in an ever-changing business environment. Key action areas include advocacy and public affairs, market information, exhibitions and events, and safety, regulatory and technical issues.

Johannes joined Wacker Neuson in 1994 and has held a variety of management positions including sales and product support for the U.S. international markets, business systems and information technology and ogistics. He has also worked in consulting and in international sales at Case IH and Tenneco Automotive.

Jeremy joined DISTek in 1998, serving many roles, including Vice President Engineering before becoming Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. He has more than 20 years of experience developing software solutions for the ag and construction equipment industries.

AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry supports 1.3 million jobs in the U.S., and 149,000 more in Canada. Equipment manufacturers also contribute $188 billion combined to the U.S. and Canadian economies. AEM is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019.


Learn more about AEM at www.aem.org.

Prepare for Disasters: Take 3 Steps to Create Innovative Response Solutions

Prepare for Disasters: Take 3 Steps to Create Innovative Response Solutions
The frequency and intensity of disasters are increasing, from mighty hurricanes hurling through warm ocean waters, to shifting tectonic plates that build earthquakes, to atmospheric weather patterns that create wide-scale floods.

Through it all, critical operations need to be up and running for our communities, companies, survivors, and families.

Desi Matel-Anderson offers a template to help teams find innovative real-time solutions to a variety of disaster response scenarios. She heads FIT (Field Innovation Team) and is the first and former Chief Innovation Advisor at FEMA and Think Tank Strategic Vision Coordinator.

Three-Step Planning Process

FIT’s Disaster Simulation Labs use a process called “design thinking” to help emergency preparedness teams better understand the problems they need to solve, identify whom they are solving them for and why, and prototype how they will go about solving them.


Many staff in your organization may find themselves in emergency situations. Defining and outlining potential disaster scenarios and the challenges they will likely face should provide insight and preparedness strategies that otherwise may have been overlooked.

Common challenges include:

  • Extreme weather: Teams must recognize that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events have been increasing, and acknowledge that what may have been a really good plan in the past may no longer be sufficient.
  • Infrastructure: A lot of legacy equipment in the field may need repair and in many cases replacement. Understanding where these deficiencies exist as well as the risk assessment is an essential component of the “what.”
  • Liability: Power companies face liability challenges from equipment failure, aged infrastructure, and security flaws. They are being held to higher accountability standards and are called to task when there are incidents.
  •  Resource Constraints: Upgrading and maintaining systems can be costly, and additional staffing costs can be a burden. Proper planning and budgeting is another essential part of the “what.”


Once an emergency preparedness team identifies a problem it needs to solve, it can start thinking about “who” they are solving it for. Put yourself in their shoes. For example, the “who” might be line workers. The “why” could be administering power to minimize dialysis disruption for a health clinic due to an electric outage.

Whatever the case, once the “why” is defined, team leaders should empower staff to help prototype the next step: “how” they will go about solving the “what.”


There are four key phases in disaster planning: Preparedness, Response, Recovery, and Mitigation. Leveraging technology and innovation is becoming increasingly necessary to effectively manage each of those phases. In working with emergency preparedness teams, we’ve seen many examples of real-time innovation once people are empowered to think creatively.

At one of our Disaster Simulation Labs, participants role-played a scenario where a giant solar flare knocked out the power grid in New York City and left millions without power. That was the “what.” The “who” was the utility provider and emergency responders. The “why” was that the grid needed to be restored ASAP. Teams looked at technology as they worked together to build prototypes of the “how.”

Leveraging Technology and Social Media

The technology they used included robotics. Drones could be used to help provide situational awareness, such as neighborhoods with downed powerlines. Robotics could also be used on the ground to assist humans in reinstalling portions of the power grid. That innovative, yet practical approach would also work in a tornado response scenario.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is also being leveraged in disaster response. For example, AI can analyze images and identify things like flooding, damaged buildings and blocked roads. AI can also be used to analyze social media posts to help filter out the illegitimate.

Social media can be effective during a disaster; however, emergency management teams need to be building these channels long before a disaster ever happens. It’s part of the preparedness component. When a social media page, hashtag, etc. are up and running, verified and reliable—and the public has awareness—social media can be a very powerful tool both before, during and after a disaster.

Innovation Isn’t Always About Technology

Sometimes technology can let you down, and you may need to go “old school” with more “manual” tactics to resolve problems. It’s about collaborative exploration that pulls on diverse knowledge-sharing. A few examples of this came from Nebraskan communities during a recent workshop we ran:

  • Use of airboats for rescue and evacuation in areas populated with shallow rivers and creeks
  • Modification of golf carts to transport mobility-challenged evacuees
  • Pre-disaster campaigns for electricity-dependent community members to pre-register for priority assistance

 The Bottom Line: Innovative Thinking Can Produce Results
Globally, responders have common knowledge of emergency situations. However, each community and its responders are dealing with their own unique set of challenges. At times, people can become trapped in the way they have always done things. But when the tried and true is no longer producing the needed results, that’s when innovation is needed the most.

When discussing new and innovative ways to overcome challenges, you can see the “lightbulbs go on” in the room, and that inspires everyone.

Want to learn more? Give your team the real-life tools to effectively respond to crisis situations. Attend the Disaster Simulation Lab at ICUEE 2019. The full education schedule will available online. To be the first to receive information about ICUEE 2019, sign up for show alerts.


Desiree Matel-Anderson, Chief Wrangler

Desi Matel-Anderson is the Chief Wrangler of FIT and CEO of the Global Disaster Innovation Group, LLC. Desi is the first and former Chief Innovation Advisor at FEMA and Think Tank Strategic Vision Coordinator. During her tenure at FEMA, she led the first innovation team down to Hurricane Sandy to provide real-time problem-solving in disaster response and recovery and ran think tanks nation-wide to cultivate innovation in communities. Her emergency management experience began when she volunteered in Northern Illinois University’s Office of Emergency Planning. She then worked with the Southeast Wisconsin Urban Area Security Initiative, and the City of Milwaukee Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office. In addition to her regional emergency management duties, she worked as an assessor of the Emergency Management Accreditation Program Assessor nation-wide.

She has since worked on numerous emergency management projects with agencies, communities, organizations and companies. She also lectures on innovation at Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley and several other universities across the country and serves as consultant on innovative practices and infrastructure for agencies and governments, nationally and internationally. Desi attended the National Preparedness Leadership Institute at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and School of Public Health in 2011, served on the Advisory Board of Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Institute in 2013, and holds a faculty position at the Harvard Kennedy School. She obtained a Juris Doctorate from Northern Illinois University in 2009.

AEM: What the State of the Union Needs to Address Bipartisan solutions needed to get policies passed, support 1.3 million U.S. jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater issued the following statement today on what the equipment manufacturing industry needs to hear from

Dennis Slater, AEM President

President Trump during tonight’s State of the Union Address and from Democrats in their response:

“Equipment manufacturers want President Trump and the Democrats to work together this year to pass legislation to support 1.3 million equipment manufacturing jobs and keep our nation strong,” said Dennis Slater, president AEM. “Without everyone working together, the American worker and U.S. consumers will bear the brunt of continued D.C. gridlock. We urge both Republicans and Democrats to find common ground on solutions that will rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, create greater access to free trade, bolster the U.S. agriculture economy, and secure comprehensive tax reform that levels the playing field for our industry in a globally competitive business environment.”
In addition to 1.3 million good-paying jobs supported by equipment manufacturers in all 50 states, the industry also contributes $158 billion year to the U.S. economy.
In 2019, AEM has four main policy priorities:
Infrastructure is the backbone of America’s economy. To have the strongest, most resilient economy in the world, America must have the best infrastructure in the world. That is why AEM is urging policymakers to pass comprehensive legislation to rebuild our infrastructure, create good-paying jobs, grow our economy, and help reclaim our infrastructure advantage. AEM believes that the federal government must continue to maintain a strong role in funding U.S. infrastructure construction, maintenance, and modernization. This includes providing a long-term and sustainable funding mechanism for the Highway Trust Fund, connecting urban and rural America, ensuring that projects are delivered in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner, providing job training programs for the workforce, and maximizing the use of smart technology.
On January 25, AEM began a two-week public affairs campaign titled “Start with Infrastructure.” The campaign’s goal is to demonstrate the wide-ranging benefits of infrastructure investment to the nation’s economy and keep infrastructure at the top of policymakers’ lists to take action on in 2019. The campaign features digital and social advertisements in the Washington, D.C. media market. AEM is also hosting a town hall discussion on the “Prospects for Infrastructure in the 116th Congress” with members of Congress and business leaders at the Newseum this Friday, February 8. A live stream of the event will be available at www.twitter.com/imakeamerica.
With about 30 percent of equipment made in the United States destined for export, it’s important that the Trump administration and Congress support pro-growth trade policies that keep U.S. equipment manufacturing competitive in an increasingly competitive global market. Tariffs artificially raise the cost of domestic production, eliminate export markets for U.S. equipment manufacturers, and risk wiping out many of the benefits of tax reform. While other countries’ unfair trade practices must be addressed, taxing American consumers and businesses will not solve the underlying problems.
In addition, the retaliatory tariffs put into place by China significantly hurts U.S. farmers and the broader agriculture economy, further threatening to reduce the domestic sales of agriculture equipment. In 2019, AEM will continue to urge the Trump administration and Congress to promote free and fair trade through the successful ratification of the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), and launch negotiations with other trade partners to create improved market access for U.S. manufactured goods and services, and find a long-term solution to the ongoing trade dispute with China.
AEM members have regularly spoken out against the tariffs and AEM joined the free trade coalition “Americans for Free Trade” as an executive member last year along with more than 80 of the nation’s leading trade associations and businesses.
A strong farm economy not only assists farmers and ranchers but also helps protect the 320,000 agriculture equipment manufacturing jobs across the United States. That is why AEM wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture to implement the 2018 Farm Bill quickly. It’s also why AEM wants the Trump administration and Congress to expand rural broadband coverage and expects the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to follow the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) law as written and allowing year-round sales of E15.
In 2019, AEM will also work with the EPA to expand its understanding of the full range of Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) and improving the DRT program so it achieves its intended purpose.
Tax policy
AEM led the equipment manufacturing industry’s efforts to reform our outdated tax code and secured many of the changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that President Trump signed into law in 2017. While the final bill was not perfect, it represented the kind of comprehensive and permanent tax reform that will tilt the playing field back in favor of equipment manufacturers in the United States.
AEM supports all efforts to make the new tax code even stronger for equipment manufacturers, including making permanent full expensing for short-life investments, the deduction for qualified business income, and 100 percent bonus depreciation, as well as making the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (BEAT) a true alternative minimum tax.
For more information about AEM’s top advocacy positions, please visit www.aem.org/advocacy.
AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry supports 1.3 million jobs in the U.S., and 149,000 more in Canada. Equipment manufacturers also contribute $188 billion combined to the U.S. and Canadian economies. AEM is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2019.

Utility Contractor Offers 7 Lessons in Entrepreneurship to Kick Off the New Year

Utility Contractor Offers 7 Lessons in Entrepreneurship
to Kick Off the New Year

 Going from selling directional drill rigs and underground equipment to running your own utility construction business requires a big leap of faith and a lot more. Scott Kandziora shares what he’s learned since he co-founded Milwaukee-based Underground Specialists in 2000.

1. Grab onto new utility technology 
Kandziora sold for Ditch Witch for five years out of college. Self-contained directional drilling equipment had just begun to transform the boring industry. “I grabbed on to the new technology because it gave me credibility with veteran customers,” says Kandziora. He trained crews on the rigs that he sold and saw a lot of people were not doing it right. He saw an opportunity to make money by doing things the right way.

2. Find a partner
Kandziora convinced Jerry Peterson, a former Ditch Witch principal, to go into business with him. Peterson had the industry contacts in Wisconsin and the funds needed for the start-up. “He really mentored me,” says Kandziora. The two worked together until Peterson retired in 2004 and Kandziora bought his share of the business.

3. Diversify your services
When Underground Specialists first launched, installing fiber optic cable for telephone companies was the primary source of income. By 2002, that market had dried up. “It forced us to go into the sewer and water market, where there was a lot more to learn about drilling,” says Kandziora.

When the government began subsidizing geothermal systems in the late 2000s, Underground Specialists pursued that market. They gradually added electrical and vacuum truck work to the mix.

In the last five years, the company expanded work in electrical, adding additional equipment and crew members to complete parking lot bases. “Diversification helps boost your sales,” he says. “When one market is down, another tends to perform well.”

4. Get utility crews invested in the business
Before Kandziora owned his own company he witnessed a lot of utility construction workers who just didn’t care about their work. “I never wanted to hear that from my employees,” he says. His solution was to create a profit-sharing system that allows employees to reap the benefits that come from working above and beyond on the job to help the company be profitable. “It promotes the attitude I want,” he says. When the company was too small to be able to provide health insurance for employees, he provided additional pay as compensation.

In today’s tight labor market, Kandziora is more inclined to hire less experienced workers and train them. “They don’t come with problems or bad habits learned from other contractors,” says Kandziora. Among his crew are a former landscaper, truck driver, roofer and a machine hand that are now all underground operators. Three supervisors are responsible for training the new hires on the drill rigs.

5. Be self-motivated
“I see a lot of small business owners sitting at home and waiting for the work to come,” says Kandziora. “I don’t think you can do that in this market. You have to be prepared to work long hours.” Kandziora believes it’s important to complete every bidding opportunity. “It’s easy to drop the ball and say, I’ll bid the next one.”

6. Recognize when you need to let go of the reins
Expanding from one crew to two crews in 2017 was a huge step for Kandziora’s business. “As a new business owner, it took me a long time to let go of the reins, to not be on every job site, controlling every aspect of it. It’s very difficult to let go and trust guys to keep the good name that you have been building. I finally realized that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to sell the company when I wanted to retire,” says Kandziora. Finding and keeping good employees becomes even more important when you grow.

7. Stay up-to-date on the latest products and technology
Kandziora recognizes the importance of staying up-to-date on technology but admits with a growing company, it’s difficult to find time for reading. “Attending ICUEE is my opportunity to catch up on what’s new and what’s out there and it gives the guys a team-building experience,” he says. The entire team is included because each person has their own ideas of what might help on their projects. At the next ICUEE show, he will be paying special attention to vacuum trucks, drill rig electronics, drill rig innovations, and trucks.

“At ICUEE 90 percent of the equipment will directly help us on our sites. The fact that we can get on the machine is a huge benefit. It’s different from any other show we go to.”

Save the date for ICUEE, The Demo Expo for the Construction and Utility Industries, Oct. 1-3, 2019, Louisville, KY. To get the latest information about the show, sign up for show alerts.