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903 E. Ohio St., Indianapolis, IN 46202

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Bringing Together Customers and Manufacturers

by: Jessica Hoover
Over the course of two days, the attendees of General Equipment & Supplies’ 2022 Aggregate Expo were given the opportunity to attend education sessions led by industry experts, visit aggregate and construction trade show booths and an outdoor equipment display, and network during and after the expo. The event was held at the Holiday Inn in Fargo, North Dakota.
A Rock-Solid Foundation
The Aggregate Expo has grown significantly since its beginning in 2004, when General Equipment first created the event as a way to bring together its customers and manufacturers while providing valuable education and networking opportunities. A few years after the initial expo, the company tried its hand at exhibiting at CONEXPO.

“We determined that CONEXPO was beneficial, but not as beneficial as our Aggregate Expo was, since it focused on just our regional customers here,” said Jon Shilling, President and CEO of General Equipment. “Now, we do a customer event at CONEXPO and also put on the Aggregate Expo every three years.”

The customer event at CONEXPO is a way for General Equipment to visit with and entertain customers, while the Aggregate Expo focuses on education and equipment. Since 2010, the Aggregate Expo has been going strong every three years, with the most recent event in 2022 attracting over 400 attendees.

Education for Everyone
The Aggregate Expo had two full days of both advanced and entry level education sessions, led by industry experts from Superior, Komatsu, Major Wire, Terex MPS, General Equipment, and more. Class topics ranged from crushing tips, screen maintenance, and drones to material handling, belt maintenance, and water pumps.

“I think it’s important for customers to come and learn and bring nuggets of information back to their teams,” Shilling said. “I think there’s a lot of good info that is put out by our manufacturers and ourselves that helps our customers be more efficient at what they do.”

One of the new classes this year, “I’m a Leader – Now What?” by CoreCounts, did particularly well with attendees. General Equipment invited CoreCounts to present at the expo after working with them to train their own managers.

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“We thought our customers would be interested in a few classes on how to be better managers,” Shilling said. “Melissa Marshall from CoreCounts put on three classes, and they were jam-packed. People were extremely interested in them. That’s one thing we learned. Not only are people interested in applications, but they are also interested in learning how to manage their people better and learn how to be a better company for their people. We will for sure be bringing that back.”

Booths Galore and Equipment Outdoors
All of the trade show booths at the expo were manned by manufacturers of General Equipment. They represented each region that General Equipment covers: North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

“I think it’s important for people to come to the expo because it gives them a chance to get to know our people and it gives them a chance to know how dedicated we are to them,” Shilling said. “It helps them understand that we truly care about their business, not just selling them the next piece of iron.”

There were 47 pieces of both new and used equipment on display in the parking lot outside of the Holiday Inn, totaling to around $20 million. The types of equipment included conveyors, belt feeders, screen plants, cone plants, cone crushers, log washers, hydraulic excavators, jaw crushers, horizontal grinders, and more.

After-Hours Gathering and Goodie Bags
Networking at the expo didn’t stop at just the trade show booths or education sessions; it continued on at an after-hours social at the end of the first day, which included a live band and an open bar from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“I think one of the things we did better this year was keeping the customers engaged with the cocktail hour and entertainment afterwards,” Shilling said. “It gave us a good opportunity to keep the customers hanging around so our salesmen could talk, connect, hang out, and have a good time.”

Everyone at the Aggregate Expo received a goodie bag with a quarter zip jacket, 20-ounce Yeti mug, hat, deck of playing cards, notebook with schedule, and a hangover kit. Attendees were able to put their name in for a drawing of giveaway items as well.

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Year after year, Shilling said that General Equipment tries to put on a better show than the last and welcomes feedback from customers. The company would also like to thank their diamond sponsor, Bell Bank and Bell Insurance, for their support in helping General Equipment provide an exceptional experience at the Aggregate Expo.

Founded in 1984 by four former employees of General Diesel and Equipment, General Equipment supplies heavy construction and aggregate equipment to the construction, mining, and oil exploration industries, as well as the municipal governments in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa.

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