Issue link: http://read.dmtmag.com/i/376201
September 2014 | Construction Equipment Distribution | www.cedmag.com | 45 Best Practices "The laws they create have a real impact on your employees and your employees represent important votes." This fall, before November elections, is a perfect time to schedule a visit. A dealer visit could include a meeting with senior management, a tour of the facilities and most impor- tant to the representative: an opportunity to address and interact with employees. No fancy lunches, AV equipment or expertise is needed; just a willingness to make a few calls and get your point across with elected officials. 2. Leverage AED's political program.* The reality is that political campaigns are expensive and by financially contributing to campaigns you build relationships. AED's Political Action Committee (PAC) allows equipment distribu- tors to speak with a common voice in the political process by helping to elect federal candidates who share the political goals of the equipment industry. Perryman wants to see the AED PAC double in the next few years. Over time, he has changed his thinking about PACs and believes AED's PAC allows our Washington staff to be more effective. "Now when I call up there and go to meetings, lawmakers know AED and our industry," said Perryman. AED helps identify individuals on key committees that will make a difference to our industry and solidifies those relationships through PAC contributions. Perryman also emphasized the importance of members participating in AED PAC check delivery meetings with congressional candidates. "Hand them a PAC check with a roomful of local dealers and that is powerful." Vermeer Equipment of Texas Inc. is one of the few dealers with a PAC for employee-owners. A portion of the funds collected go toward the AED's PAC while another portion goes toward supporting candidates who support ESOP- related issues. The PAC fund generates from $6,000-$8,000 annually. "We encourage employees to get involved in the political process and to gain an understanding of their impact on our business," said Perryman. 3. Have friends on both sides of the aisle. Perryman believes it's smart to maintain relationships on both sides of the aisle to truly advance the needs of the industry. "You can't get caught up in social issues," said Perryman, "you have to narrow your focus to industry issues." Republicans and Democrats alike are both in a position to impact deal- ers. Similarly, it is important to know what committees your representatives are on and what their interests are. According to Perryman, when AED asked him to testify before the House Energy & Mineral Resources Subcommittee about the positive impact of the oil and gas shale play on his business, prior relationship-building with a congressman helped AED's cause. "When they look you in the eye and they remember seeing your people, your employees, and machines, you can make a big impact that way," he said. 4. Attend the AED Fly-In. For Perryman, AED's Washing- ton Fly-In was instrumental in helping him forge relationships with national lawmakers for the first time. "At first I found it was difficult to get face time, but yet, as you follow-up and meet staff people, you find out it is not a whole lot different than the sales process in our industry," said Perryman. AED's Fly-In, held every spring, provides members with political and economic intelligence Representatives from Vermeer Texas-Louisiana hosted Rep. Mike Conaway (R-28) at their Midland, Texas, branch in October 2013. Pictured from right to left: Micky McCalib, sales representative; Jason Rush, vice president, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas); Whit Perryman, CEO; Drew Floyd, sales representative; and Eric Dudley, service foreman. (continued on page 55) Micky McCalib, sales representative, Vermeer Texas-Louisiana and Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) during a visit of the Midland, Texas, branch.