25 Years of Building a Model for Dealer Success

Article by: Dennis Vander Molen, 2016 Chairman, The AED Foundation

In April of 1991, The AED Foundation (AEDF) was founded with the mission to enhance the success of member companies by encouraging continuous learning, providing educational opportunities for today’s employees, and improving the availability and quality of equipment industry employees in the future.

This month marks exactly 25 years as an organization and we are taking this opportunity to look back at how The AED Foundation has impacted our industry with the following:

  • Creation of national technical standards for college diesel technician curriculums
  • AED Foundation Accreditation Program that currently has 40 accredited programs at 30 colleges in U.S. and Canada
  • Development and implementation of technician pre-hire assessment
  • Development of industry-specific professional education delivered via webinars, seminars and online courses
  • Certification of over 80 managers at AED dealer members as a part of our certified manager training

New Features of the AED Foundation in 2016

The AED Foundation has already taken strides to enhance member’s services. A new Learning Management System allowing access to webinars in a live & “on demand” feature was implemented. If you haven’t already, take a couple moments to view this new system at https://lms.aedu.org/.

The Foundation has consistently been the champion for workforce development. AEDF commissioned a team of public policy researchers from the College of William and Mary to analyze the industry’s technician shortage based on a 2015 survey of AED’s members in North America. The report was release at 2016 AED Summit provides a series of recommendations including improvements to federal workforce policy and steps to strengthen community-based relationships for recruiting and developing talent. Full report can be found at http://bit.ly/AEDReportSkills

In February I visited with representatives in Washington D.C. to discuss how we can lead changes to many of the workforce issues identified in the report. AED will continue to build these relationships but I encourage you to do the same on a local level. Send the Skills report to your governor, elected official and anyone on a state level involved in workforce funding. If you have questions about the report please reach out to Steve Johnson at (630) 468-5134.

The AED Foundation accredited its first Canadian diesel technology college program. This affiliation is an important part of the Foundation’s school partnership strategy for North America; as well as AED’s strategy for Canadian members. In addition, the networking of college diesel-equipment technology programs across North America is beneficial for all the schools as well as the equipment industry. The Foundation has identified additional programs in Canada that could lead to additional accreditations.

Looking Forward

As we look ahead to the next 25 years, The AED Foundation is dedicated to continuously develop school partnership programs based on industry needs in partnership with AED-affiliated dealers, manufacturers, technical colleges, and volunteers.

However, AED dealers need to be involved in the development of industry too. I challenge you to step back and think about how you are currently using AEDF services. If the answer is not at all…why is that? The Foundation has many industry-specific services (seminars, webinars and certifications) to assist you as a company to grow and develop your talent pool. Start working with an AEDF accredited technical school if you aren’t already. Developing technicians takes time and resources, start planning now for you dealership future.

Finally support the future of the AED Foundation by investing in the 2016 Annual Campaign. You are supporting the progress The AED Foundation is making for the construction equipment industry as whole! Your tax-deductible donation will allow us to continue serving you better. Visit bit.ly/investaedf (case sensitive) to contribute online or contact Rebecca Lintow at (630) 468-5113; rlintow@aednet.org.