I had the opportunity to attend two major events in March that involved both AEF and AEM participation. The first event in New Orleans was a joint AEF Plugfest at the same venue and overlapping with the Commodity Classic show which is partially sponsored by AEM. A little over a week later was another event sponsored by AEM: Ag on the Mall.
If 2020 was the year that COVID-19 hit us like a tsunami wave, 2021 seems like it was the year we all tried to figure out how to respond to it. In the news, companies would roll out back-to-office plans only to have them postponed or modified. In-person events would get scheduled and then change to virtual or be cancelled, or in some cases, held in person but with restrictions or mitigations. If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic has at least improved our knowledge of the Greek alphabet.
You would have to be living under a pretty big rock to not realize that the in-person-conference scenario has changed quite a bit in the last 18 months. I know of a few in-person events that have happened since most everything shut down in March 2020, but they are few and far between. So, needless to say, I am looking forward to a chance to get back together with some fellow industry professionals at SAE COMVEC in mid-September. Of course, I expect there to be some differences from the last time we did in-person COMVEC, but as engineers, we live in a constant state of change anyway.
I just scrolled through old blog posts and realized I have been writing a Year in Review post since at least 2014. If I did not know better, I might think I was being typecast for this role. Either way, if 2020 is the last time I do a Year in Review, then it certainly is one that provided a lot of differences to highlight.
Each year in September, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) holds a Commercial Vehicle Congress (COMVEC). At this event, engineers and technologists come together to collaborate on technologies for commercial trucks, defense vehicles, and off-highway equipment. DISTek has been a participant and exhibitor at COMVEC for many years. It is a perfect fit for our industry focus, and many of the technologies discussed are wholly, or partially, driven by electronics and software.
I have been a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for a number of years and have attended several different SAE events over the last decade. In 2018, I started attending the SAE WCX, a show focused on passenger car technologies, formerly known as the World Congress. Insights into the technologies of today and tomorrow in passenger cars are definitely informative as DISTek seeks to be ready for new technology applications in the Off-Highway industry where we focus. Of course, not everything is directly applicable, but much of it is to varying degrees.
I just looked back at my Year in Review blog post for 2018 from a year ago, and I see that it was posted in late February with a stated goal to get the next one done on a timelier schedule. So here you go, hot off the press and still in January! In 2018…
In mid-September, the Agricultural Electronics Foundation (AEF) once again hosted a fall ISOBUS Plugfest in Europe, this time in Antibes, France. Antibes is in the French Riviera along the Mediterranean coast – the views were spectacular, the food was great, and the hospitality was fantastic. The conference center facility was well-suited to host the Plugfest and even though it did not have an attached hotel, there was ample lodging within walking distance to meet the needs of the Plugfest attendees.
The next ISOBUS Plugfest is just around the corner from May 07-09 in Lincoln, NE. If my quick mental count is correct, this Plugfest is lucky number 13 for me. I first attended in Austria in September 2012 and have been at each Plugfest since … except in 2016 when I had to miss the spring event due to a freak medical issue. In the seven years I have been attending, AEF has almost doubled in membership, hundreds of products have been AEF certified, and Plugfests have lengthened from two to three days each.
For the second year in a row, my year-in-review blog is being delivered well into the new year. That is getting dangerously close to a bad habit, so I will have to work on that for next year. On the plus side, this should get posted in February and thus I am technically only a month late of my goal of January for the target date. Normally I would not start at the end of the year, but this year is an exception because the single biggest piece of news is what happened at the very end of the year …
In June 2015, I moved to the greater Milwaukee area to launch a new DISTek office. At the time, I was the only employee in the area but we wanted …