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And the Winner Is …

The Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, served as the location for the mid-February gathering of IEDA dealer members along with dozens of product and service suppliers/exhibitors, as well as the association’s supportive sponsor-affiliates, which includes several OEM-authorized dealers.
The Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, served as the location for the mid-February gathering of IEDA dealer members along with dozens of product and service suppliers/exhibitors, as well as the association’s supportive sponsor-affiliates, which includes several OEM-authorized dealers.
IEDA’s closing party treated 200 attendees to an elegant rooftop gathering that included live music, open bars, cigar-rolling, bourbon-tasting, and lavish spreads of gourmet food.
IEDA’s closing party treated 200 attendees to an elegant rooftop gathering that included live music, open bars, cigar-rolling, bourbon-tasting, and lavish spreads of gourmet food.
Inaugural IEDA scholarship recipient, U.S. Army veteran Natasha Norman, speaks to attendees about her experience training in the diesel program at Western Technical College in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.
Inaugural IEDA scholarship recipient, U.S. Army veteran Natasha Norman, speaks to attendees about her experience training in the diesel program at Western Technical College in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.
Golfers head out to their starting holes at the IEDA Annual Golf Tournament, a popular feature of the Annual Meeting. Ninety golfers participated this year.
Golfers head out to their starting holes at the IEDA Annual Golf Tournament, a popular feature of the Annual Meeting. Ninety golfers participated this year.
Mike Marks (far right), Co-Founder of Indian River Consulting Group, moderated a unique panel discussion about Right to Repair that included the perspectives of industries parallel to construction equipment.
Mike Marks (far right), Co-Founder of Indian River Consulting Group, moderated a unique panel discussion about Right to Repair that included the perspectives of industries parallel to construction equipment.
Bryan Auction sponsored the first-ever annual IEDA auction, a perfect kick-off to the Annual Meeting weekend in Kissimmee, Florida in February. Over $10,000 was raised for the IEDA Foundation.
Bryan Auction sponsored the first-ever annual IEDA auction, a perfect kick-off to the Annual Meeting weekend in Kissimmee, Florida in February. Over $10,000 was raised for the IEDA Foundation.
If Oscars were handed out for events that produce the best networking and business learning experience, the Independent Equipment Dealers Association’s (IEDA) 2023 Annual Meeting would walk away with the show – including categories of best directed, best scenery, best attended, and best cast.

The Reunion Resort in Kissimmee, Florida, served as backdrop once again for the mid-February gathering of IEDA dealer members along with dozens of product and service suppliers/exhibitors, as well as the association’s supportive sponsor-affiliates, which includes several OEM-authorized dealers. IEDA is distinguished as the independent dealer organization whose members are individually vetted for ethical business practices by a board of their peers.

Nothing Happens Without Sponsors
Many dealers and suppliers supported the event with generous sponsorships. Titanium-level, $5,000-sponsors who of the 2023 Annual Meeting were: Advantage Construction Equipment & Parts, Inc., Alliance Funding Group, Easton Sales and Rentals, JT Bates Group, Machinery Trader, Newman Tractor, Streamline Financial, Stretch Transports, CIT, Ritchie Bros., ConTrac Equipment Ltd., Components Only, and Earthmoving Supplies. Gold-level, $3,500-sponsors were Niece Equipment, simex Baumaschinenhandel GmbH, Bryan Auction Co., FR8Star, United States of Freight, Trophy Tractor, UNI International, CJ Equipment Inc., RDO Equipment Co., and 2-C Equipment LLC. All these sponsors made the Annual Meeting a top-tier, extravagant weekend that was also affordable for all members.

Leading off the weekend, a first-ever IEDA members auction was sponsored by Bryan Auction on the front lawn of the Reunion Resort. A complementary catered lunch plus cash bar were provided to all, and a huge assortment of vehicles and equipment were sold throughout the day. A variety of fun consumer items were also auctioned, and all the proceeds were donated to the IEDA Foundation – a grand total of $10,000 was raised for the 501(c)(3) organization.

With a record-breaking total attendance of over 200 industry professionals, IEDA’s meeting officially kicked off Friday, February 17 in fine style with a welcome party – replete with abundant and excellent food and drink – that brought attendees together in the elegant Reunion lobby and patio. Live music – sponsored by Hall Equipment – provided a fun backdrop for lively conversations among dealers, suppliers and vendors, staff, and speakers.

More was to come the next day. First, a hot breakfast buffet was provided by sponsors Granite Mountain Machinery and RAW Machinery. Then, from economic outlook and contractor data to a federal policy discussion, compelling Right to Repair panel, and sales-focused keynote, the meeting’s business program addressed some of the most relevant, poignant issues in the independent dealer’s daily life today.

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“This was the best event I’ve personally taken part in by a long shot,” said IEDA 2023 President Steve Udelson, Co-Owner of Easton Sales & Rentals. “Executive Director Dave Gordon and his team give 110 percent and it shows in everything they do for the IEDA. I had so many people come and tell me how glad they were they came. And that’s what it’s all about – giving our members a great event and great tools they can go home with. They’re the real rock stars, and we are excited to keep growing and building this organization to make them more successful.”

Behind Every Scholarship is a Powerful Story
During the business program, members enjoyed a hearty lunch buffet, sponsored by RJB Hydraulic Hammers and Machinery Trader. Gordon opened the lunch program with a focus on the association’s new IEDA Foundation that awards $5,000 scholarships to students enrolled in heavy diesel technician programs at post-secondary institutions. After the four 2022 winners were announced, a dynamic video introduced those students and gave a close-up about their lives and stories. Another video showed local television news coverage about the scholarships, students, and the school.

The IEDA scholarship program was launched in the fall of 2021 when IEDA gave three $5,000 scholarships to students at Western Technical College in Lacrosse, Wisconsin. At the Annual Meeting, IEDA introduced one of the inaugural scholarship recipients, 33-year-old U.S. Army veteran Natasha Norman.

Following her six-year service to her country, including one tour of duty to Iraq, Norman struggled with PTSD and addiction. She is also a single mom to four-year-old daughter, Aurora, and, she said, to a black lab service dog named Diesel. She set her mind on pursuing training, at first in Western’s automotive technician program, where she graduated with a 4.0 GPA, but it didn’t feel right, she said. So, despite the challenges of child-rearing and an 84-mile round trip school commute, she went in another direction.

“I knew I wanted to wrench,” Norman said. “I wasn't happy with the small stuff. And right across the road from the auto program was the diesel program. I figured, why not? So, I did it, and that's where I found the place I wanted to be. The instructors were amazing. Being a female, it's a little bit harder in the field, but they did not treat me any differently.

“A wise man told me if you do what you love, you'll never worked a day in your life, and that's what I found in the diesel world,” Norman continued.

Upon graduation, she was hired full time at a Peterbilt six-bay shop and she couldn’t be happier, she said.

“I feel right at home there. It's a very great learning environment and as long as you're willing to work and learn – then it's kind of too easy,” she told the IEDA crowd. “The scholarship helped me so much, especially with getting my first set of tools. That money helped me breathe a bit easier. So, I greatly appreciate that and everything you guys do. It's amazing. I know all the students awarded appreciate it.”

That’s a Wrap
A final highlight of the business program was a unique panel discussion about Right to Repair that put four different perspectives and diverse industry angles of the issue on stage. Facilitated by program moderator Mike Marks, the group dissected the status of state and federal legislative activity, current manufacturer positions – including John Deere’s memorandum of understanding – as well as predictions about where the issue will go from here. Panelists were Gay Gordon-Byrne, Executive Director of the Repair Association; Bob Redding, Government Affairs Expert for the Automotive Service Association; Jared Wilson, a young Missouri farmer who has personally engaged in legal action against Deere over R2R; and Bruno Gattamorta, Chief Commercial Officer at Cojali USA, who discussed R2R in Europe and ways dealers can work around R2R problems using commercially available diagnostic software.

Sunday morning, 90 golfers – double the group from 2022 – took to the links for a scramble-style, 18-hole rounder on the Reunion’s Arnold Palmer course. Golf tournament sponsors were Wheeler Cat, Easton Sales and Rentals, Robertson Equipment International, and simex Baumaschinenhandel GmbH.

That evening, the closing Big Bash party, sponsored by Alliance Funding Group, Coleman’s Equipment Pty Ltd, and MG Machinery LLC, welcomed a 200-plus crowd to the posh rooftop environment called “Eleven,” featuring indoor and outdoor-poolside spaces and bars where members networked late into the evening. A cigar-rolling table was sponsored by Calvin Group Inc. and a bourbon-tasting station was provided by Specialty Equipment Insurance Services. Live music sponsored by DGI Trading and Hall Equipment Co., lavish gourmet spreads, plus a warm, star-sprinkled Orlando evening made for a memorable finish to a production even Hollywood would be challenged to rival.

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