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International events group honors AEM for leadership, innovation
Workforce development efforts, President Dennis Slater recognized
AEM President Dennis Slater
AEM President Dennis Slater

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) is the recipient of two awards presented annually by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE). The awards program recognizes outstanding contributions to the exhibits and events industry. AEM's Construction Challenge teen competition, which is designed to generate interest inconstruction careers, received the IAEE Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions award, given for creativity, utility and value. AEM President Dennis Slater received the Distinguished Service award for his leadership of IAEE and the exhibits/events industry as a whole.

The AEM Construction Challenge was designed as a hands-on educational experience, with student teams using creative problem-solving techniques to learn more about construction careers and construction equipment, as well as industry contributions to quality of life. The first event was held in 2008, with five regional rallies across the United States and a finale competition at the CONEXPOCON/AGG trade show in March in Las Vegas.

Based on the event's success, AEM is expanding the Challenge in 2009. Regional rallies will be held in 16 cities across the United States. The finale will be held in late May 2009 in Knoxville, Tennessee, site of the global finals of Destination ImagiNation, which offers creative problem solving and critical thinking skills programs. Industry sponsors help underwrite cost of team participation at the finals, enabling students to take advantage of this unique endeavor. Challenge team sponsorships are still available.

"The off-road equipment industry faces critical worker shortages. The Challenge competition is just the beginning of our new workforce development committee's activities to attract interest in all our industry segments," Slater stated. Dennis Slater is a longtime and active member of IAEE, and is a past Chairman and member of the group's Board of Directors. "AEM is honored to be recognized by IAEE and supports the association because of its leadership in advancing the value of exhibitions as a vital business tool. We provide trade show services to help our members extend their reach in the marketplace, and participating in IAEE helps the AEM team better serve our members' needs," he noted.