Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) Leadership Academy

It’s Time to Start Thinking Ahead
Who is next in line? How are you grooming that next-generation executive for the responsibilities of steering your company in the future?

AED presents a new 1 1/2 day conference tailored for pure dealer leadership development, teaching the skills and building the confidence for the road ahead.

Who should attend:
The AED Leadership Academy, formerly known as Future Leaders and even further back as Young Executives, has been renewed and refocused as a development course for the up-and-coming talent in your dealership. They might be a new-to-the-industry graduate or a seasoned veteran, but they have been designated to eventually assume a key position in your organization. This conference will help them further develop their leadership style, gain insight into executive operations, and network with other budding distribution professionals.

Meet the Faculty

Keynote Address from Former McDonalds CEO
In 1966, Ed Rensi started as a grill man at McDonalds making 85 cents an hour and working 100 hours a week to provide for himself and his newly pregnant wife. Fast forward 18 years,12 addresses, and several job titles later – Ed was still employed at McDonalds, but this time as the president and CEO.

Along the way, Ed developed Chicken McNuggets, founded the Ronald McDonald House, and personally served McDonalds’ 50 billionth hamburger. He was given the Presidents Volunteer Award by President Reagan for his extensive charitable work, and he even found time to create his own NASCAR team in Team Rensi Motorsports.

He also managed to learn a thing or two about leadership, vision, and strategic thinking during his years at McDonalds, and at AED’s Leadership Academy, Ed will share some of his accumulated wisdom with the next generation of distribution professionals on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Melissa Caldwell, Caldwell Consulting
Melissa is an independent consultant with over 25 years experience in diverse industries. Her work with managers includes enhancing current leadership skills and building upon individual strength and styles. She will guide the group through two leadership-oriented sessions. The first will teach participants how to maximize their performance through effective coaching and feedback and knowing how the two differ. The second will evaluate how effective leaders manage their time and avoid the supervisor trap.

Partner Insights
Information to advance your business from industry suppliers

Steve Smith, EquipmentFX
Steve logged 20 years in the equipment industry before founding EquipmentFX in 2009, where his team builds sales and marketing systems for dealers, helping them share their story and value proposition. Steve will highlight current and emerging technologies with the group and show them how they can accelerate customer creation and satisfaction.

Rex Collins, Somerset
Rex has worked with dealerships as a CPA for over 23 years and was also the CFO of a multiline dealership for three years. He currently leads the Dealership division at Somerset CPAs. Rex will help participants better understand income statements, balance sheets and their related formulas. Participants will also learn to calculate absorption, debt-to-equity, current ratio, inventory turns and several other key metrics that are vital to operating a profitable dealership.

Manager Roundtable Discussions
Four seasoned managers will lead fast-paced sessions discussing best practices, real-life scenarios, and common pitfalls. Attendees will form small groups and circulate through stations for Branch Management, Sales & Rental, Marketing, and Product Support, learning from both the moderators and one another as they progress.

Network with Your AED Executive Peers
In addition to the academic sessions, participants will have the opportunity to relax and network with one another at two evening social events. On Tuesday, Oct. 25, all attendees are invited to a welcome reception after arriving at the Swissotel in the heart of downtown Chicago. The following evening, the group will embark on the Odyssey dinner cruise on Lake Michigan with the Chicago skyline as a scenic backdrop. Dinner, drinks, live music and new AED friends will highlight the evening.

Meeting Location and Accommodations

323 E Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: 312-565-0565

  • Mention AED to receive the special rate of $219 per night.
  • Complimentary Internet
  • Complimentary Breakfast Buffet
  • Reservations must be made before October 3rd to guarantee the conference rate.
Swissotel Chicago:

Airport and Transportation Information:
O’Hare International Airport is located approximately 18 miles northwest of the Swissotel, which is in downtown Chicago. Taxi’s are available on site and average $30 one way to the hotel. If you are traveling light, you can board the Blue Line train for $2 at O’Hare and exit the Washington stop. The hotel is a 7 block walk east.

Midway Airport is located approximately 12 miles from the Swissotel. Taxi’s are available on site and average $25 one way to the hotel. If you are traveling light, you can board the Orange Line train for $2 at Midway and exit the Randolph/Wabash stop. The hotel is a 6 block walk east.

Refund Policy: For seminar cancellations, notice needs to be received at AED in writing at least 14 days prior to the event date for refund. If cancellation notice is received less than 14 days prior, credit will be extended to the registrant to attend another AED event within the same calendar year.