October 2013

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Tribute Our Leader's Legacy Through downturns, floods and hostile regulatory environments, Toby Mack has held the helm of AED with steady hand and forward thinking. By Kim Phelan In the hieroglyphics of association acronyms, there's one professional who is a fluent master in the language – aka business – of association management, and for his many accomplishments Toby Mack scores an E for excellence. Whereas he began his career in association work with the EIA (Electronic Industries Association), at the end of this month he is stepping down from his post as AED president and CEO to take up the chief executive position at the EEIA (Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance). Not only has Toby doubled the Es on his business card, he's also shouldering important work that will continue to benefit AED members. Or perhaps, after 24 years of AED leadership, Toby's extra E could also signify execution, for in that time, with the AED Board of Directors as his compass, he has both navigated the organization through numerous challenging cycles and has successfully built and expanded its infrastructure, helping to shape AED into the prominent industry-supporting and advocacy leader that it is today. It was November of 1989 when Toby officially came on board at 615 W. 22nd St., AED's headquarters built in 1964, overlooking the wooded, scenic Salt Creek – later to become his flooding nemesis. While he was CEO of the National The AED staff, based in Oak Brook, Ill., gathered for a commemorative photo with Toby in mid-September. Electronic Distributors Association, Toby became acquainted with his predecessor, P.D. (Bud) Hermann, through association executives' networking circles, and Hermann put Toby's hat in the ring to be his successor. Actually, Toby's first AED event was the 1989 summer Board Meeting, and he was formally introduced to the membership at the 1990 Annual Meeting in Chicago, with outgoing AED President and President of Ohio Machinery Tom Taylor presiding. Hermann remained on for a few months to make the transition smooth – then Toby got to work. A Formal Strategic Planning Process One of Toby's earliest tasks proved to be one of the most lasting in impact. He realized quickly that the association had for many years operated without a formal strategic plan – instead, every incoming volunteer president would identify his own half-dozen or so objectives, which became the focus of association endeavors for that man's term of office. Needless to say, "it didn't work so well," said Toby. "It created an environment where the senior elected officer could steer the organization according to his own beliefs about what AED should be doing." Together with Jay Paradis, then president of Brandeis Machinery & Supply, who would be AED President in 1994, Toby initiated a formal planning process that resulted in AED's first strategic plan, as well as a protocol for ongoing renewal, challenge and update every three years. "We started from scratch, hired a facilitator, and at the summer Board Meeting in 1994, we went through three days of developing a strategic plan for the association," said Toby. "It was a key inflection, giving us a lot more consistency and allowing us to focus on our strategic objectives over longer periods." The reset and renewal process has been a healthy exercise for AED Boards ever since. "It's great to sit together as a board and talk about what we should be doing, but what you really need is data," 28 | www.cedmag.com | Construction Equipment Distribution | October 2013 28_Toby_Mack_Feature_KP.indd 28 9/27/13 12:24 PM

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