A Farm Equipment Staff Report
With 19 presenters across a mix of general sessions and dealer-to-dealer panels, Farm Equipment’s 2015 Dealership Minds Summit in Cincinnati (at the historic Hilton Netherland Plaza), on January 13-14 attracted 158 industry officials — a new attendance threshold for the event.
During the conference’s opening, Mike Lessiter, Farm Equipment editor/publisher, explained the genesis for a dedicated conference on transition planning for the next generation, an idea that drew great enthusiasm from the Farm Equipment Dealership of the Year alumni and Editorial Advisory Board, which helped plan the event.
“Transition planning is very much an art, not a science,” said Lessiter, whose company is in its second generation. “It’s usually personality driven and it’s a process never completed. And while no one can write a recipe for another’s business or circumstance, awareness of the challenges and landmines out there increase your odds for success.”
Stressing interaction throughout a variety of presentations and formats, the Summit — with no company line or endorsed program — was described by attendees as a think tank event. Discussions spanned the immediate and practical (ways to better connect techs and their spouses to the business) to the more complex and daunting decisions (evaluating various funding sources), and attendees say they began formalizing a Rolodex and playbook before they left town. Dealers hailed from various regions with all brands represented, and many executives were meeting each other for the first time at the event.
While the prepared presentations scored high from attendees (3.46 on 4.0 scale), it was the face-to-face networking and free-flow dialog of hallway conversations and informal roundtables that dealers valued most. The pages that follow cover only a portion of the knowledge shared from the podium during the event. Stay tuned to Farm Equipment and www.farm-equipment.com for additional material.