The progress associated with efforts to plan for upcoming AEM exhibitions drove discussions at the most recent meeting of the AEM Board of Directors, held via teleconference late last month.
The Board received updates from AEM staff about several shows and events scheduled for 2021 and beyond, including The Utility Expo, CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023, and World of Asphalt. In addition, the Board supported the direction recommended by AEM’s Exhibitions Strategic Taskforce to focus on a pair of key priorities – hybrid event experiences and data monetization opportunities – to help ensure the future success of association exhibitions and events.
Updates given on upcoming AEM exhibitions are as follows:
- The Utility Expo 2021: More than 1.24 million net sq. ft. of exhibit space has been sold, and The Utility Expo – scheduled for Sept. 28-30 – is on track to exceed the record-breaking 2019 ICUEE event. The health and safety of all show participants is a top priority of The Utility Expo, and show leadership is taking proactive steps to follow policies and guidelines of the CDC and the Kentucky Exposition Center to ensure a safe and rewarding in-person experience for all. In addition, a concerted focus on outdoor demonstration exhibitions puts The Utility Expo in an excellent position to be safely and successfully held.
- CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023: Planning is underway for the next edition of CONEXPO-CON/AGG, with priorities focusing on increasing the exhibitor and attendee value and experience, a “service first” focus on the show floor layout, emphasis on new technology in product areas, and experiential activation opportunities.
- World of Asphalt: The National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA) and AEM shifted the 2021 show to a virtual conference, People, Plants & Pavers, which was successfully held in March. Plans are moving forward for a return to an in-person show in March of 2022.
In other action, the Board expressed support for Government & Public Affairs initiatives related to the following activities:
- State Advocacy: The team is executing on Year One of the 5-year plan to broaden the scope of issues and increase the level of engagement in more states.
- Federal Advocacy: AEM is actively engaged in working with federal lawmakers to advance policy priorities, including the March 11 fly-in and initiating public affairs opportunities with the Biden administration.
- Grassroots Advocacy: The I Make America campaign will launch its “Year of Action” that includes a new, state-of-the-art grassroots hub where supporters can engage directly with state and federal lawmakers. Plans include a return to facility visits, including bringing lawmakers to member facilities.
- Infrastructure Vision 2050: AEM is returning Infrastructure Vision 2050 back to its original focus of supporting cutting-edge research that explores the challenges and opportunities facing U.S. infrastructure in the next 30 years and the role the industry can play in building a better future.
Lastly, the Board also:
- Reviewed the audit report of the Strategic Plan implementation for 2020. While COVID-19 paused AEM’s implementation and extended the plan an additional year through 2023, significant progress was made in all strategic goal areas. In addition, staff quickly shifted its focus to provide needed COVID-19 assistance to support members.
- Received the Treasurer’s Report, which included the following financial results for 2020: a net operating income of $5.69 million, or $2.48 million over the budgeted net operating income of $3.21 million. January 2021 NOI is a $1.45 million unfavorable variance versus the budget, but is in line with expectations as revenue from exhibitions beginning in May will offset this deficit.
- Approved the CE Sector recommendation to approve the proposed budget and rates for CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2023. The approved budget addresses the trend of rising operational costs by tightening operations and streamlining programs.
- Introduced and welcomed Laura Ness Owens of Doosan Bobcat and David Gilmore of Deere & Co. to the Board. Both were elected to the Board in November.
- Confirmed its support of the succession plan being implemented by the AEM Officers Group.
- Received a report on planning for the following AEM conferences and events, as the association addresses the continued impact of COVID-19: Annual Conference, AEM’s Member Education Webinar Series, the Workforce Summit, and the Product Safety & Compliance and Product Liability seminars.
The next meetings of AEM’s Board of Directors and Sector Boards are scheduled for Aug. 5-6 with plans for a hybrid in-person meeting with virtual participation available.