The Association of Equipment Manufacturers has inducted Robert “Bob” Vermeer, chair emeritus of Vermeer Corp., into the AEM Hall of Fame. The honor recognizes and celebrates outstanding individuals in the off-road equipment industry and their legacy of innovation, service and leadership.
“AEM is proud and privileged to honor the pioneering individuals who have invented, managed, built and led the off-road equipment industry,” said association president Dennis Slater in a Nov. 18 statement. “Their vision and dedication have contributed significantly to the growth and strength of our industry and economic progress and quality of life around the world; and their legacy serves as an inspiration for our leaders of tomorrow.”
Ray Hagie, founder of Hagie Manufacturing LLC, was the other 2016 inductee to the association’s Hall of Fame.
Vermeer was recognized for his “intense focus on the well-being of his team” and continuing the company’s legacy of “bringing innovative processes to Vermeer Corp. that were integral in expanding the business to where it is today,” said the AEM statement.
Starting his career at Vermeer in 1974, Bob Vermeer later assumed CEO responsibilities and served as chairman of the company’s board of directors beginning in 1989. He has been involved in all aspects of the business and strategy in support of the long-term health and growth of Vermeer.
Under Vermeer’s leadership, sales at the company grew nearly 13 times. He initiated a program to evaluate and coach dealers to higher levels of performance through improved customer relationships. Vermeer also oversaw key advancements in finance that improved equipment availability and allowed dealers to stock inventory globally, ultimately growing business domestically and outside the United States.
“A shining example of compassion and service, Bob spearheaded numerous employee and community service programs including the Vermeer Chaplain Program, the Vermeer Charitable Foundation Scholarship Program and the Vermeer Spirit of Caring Award,” the AEM statement said. “To stay connected to the pulse of the Vermeer people, Bob emphasized an open-door policy expectation of his leadership. You will often find him walking the production floor with a sincere interest in every person he meets.”
Active within the industry and community, Vermeer has served as chair of both the AEM and the Iowa Business Council. In addition, he has been a member of and served as an officer for several boards, including Central College Board of Trustees, Dordt College Board, Calvin Theological Seminary Board of Trustees and the Pella Chamber of Commerce.
AEM Hall of Fame inductees have been evaluated by an independent panel of industry experts on five criteria that are vital to the health of the off-road equipment manufacturing industry: 1) innovation, 2) industry contributions, 3) leadership, 4) corporate citizenship/social responsibility and 5) sustainability.
Honorees are publicly announced and celebrated during special ceremonies at AEM’s annual conference and take their place of honor in AEM’s Hall of Fame; for more information on the AEM Hall of Fame and all its inductees, visit www.aem.org/HallofFame.
Nominations for the AEM Hall of Fame are open year-round.