“As we continue to grow our membership, we have to continue providing year-round value,” he said. “Our mission is to help our members be more profitable and successful at what they do. I’m trying to build on the legacy of past executive directors and add more resources.”
IEDA was established in 2002 when a group of dealers experienced issues obtaining equipment and came together to tackle the problem. The nonprofit trade association now supports a network of more than 125 independent dealers who buy, rent, and sell heavy used equipment worldwide. Headquartered in Chicago, the organization serves as a forum to connect qualified dealers, build relationships, and foster ethical business practices.
When IEDA offered him the position of Executive Director, “I couldn’t have been more thrilled,” he said. “I absolutely love the people in this industry. They’re hardworking and highly ethical. The way they’ve survived so many ups and downs in this cyclical industry gives great testament to their will and perseverance. It’s amazing to have a job where you deal with great people.”
That results in part from IEDA’s rigorous membership standards. Potential members must submit an application and be approved by the Board of Directors.
“Our priority as an organization is to grow with the right type of people,” Gordon said. “There’s a strict process to become a member, including an application and five references. I call all the references and the Board makes sure that each member they approve is a highly ethical person with great business standards.”
IEDA divides membership into three categories:
- Standard members (with a roster that currently includes dealers operating throughout the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, and Australia)
- Associate-Level Members (service-related companies such as finance, insurance, shipping, component parts, and web development)
- Sponsor-Level Affiliates (the companies from whom many Standard members buy their equipment, including equipment manufacturers, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) dealers, and auction companies).
Each year, IEDA hosts events for networking and education. This year, the mid-year meeting will take place in Chicago September 10-12, 2021. IEDA’s next Annual Meeting and Vendor Expo will occur February 11-13, 2022, in Orlando, Florida.
“These publications provide information people need to know about right away,” Gordon said. “When you look at our membership, a lot of these guys do the actual work of loading trailers and moving equipment. They’re not sitting behind a computer searching for news that might affect them, so on Tuesdays and Thursdays we include at least three articles that are fresh and relevant to their businesses. We try to stay in touch on the hot topics that will affect their bottom lines.”
That includes economic indicators in a variety of markets, from housing to pipelines and energy. “When you’re doing anything with economics, forecasting, or indexing, that needs to be in front of members as soon as it comes out,” Gordon said. “They need to see those industry indicators now, not three months later.”
To provide more in-depth information on timeless issues, IEDA also produces a quarterly newsletter.
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“I tap into my resources, people I’ve known for years, to write articles on sales, product support, how to have more of a digital presence, and other topics that help members be more successful,” Gordon said.
The organization is also looking at producing new webinars.
“We’re talking with our members to find out what they need and what keeps them up at night, and we’ll see if we can address some of those concerns,” Gordon said. “We want to help them navigate uncharted waters, to better understand the landscape and plan for the future.”
First, “We want to have a seat at the table when it comes to workforce development,” he said. “There’s a shortage of technicians in this industry, so for the first time this fall IEDA will give away two $5,000 scholarships.”
In addition, “We’re looking at how we can support political candidates who are pro-construction and pro-business, who understand our members’ concerns and what they do,” Gordon said. “We’re exploring what that might look like, from a potential political action committee to getting involved in groups that have similar concerns so we have more first-hand knowledge of what’s going on.”
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That includes issues that affect other types of businesses as well, such as right to repair. “That’s a hot topic for a lot of industries right now,” Gordon said. “We want to stay informed because most of our members have a different perspective on this issue than OEMs and factory-authorized dealers. We’re glad to see right to repair gaining more attention and momentum at state and federal levels.”
Gordon continues to explore political advocacy options for the Board of Directors to consider.
In the meantime, “We’ve got a great team assembled to grow our membership and make the organization stronger,” he said. “We’ll continue to work hard to make sure members have the tools to go forward into the ever-changing landscape of the construction distribution world.”