Chairman’s Message

MHEDA’s 2024 Chairman of the Board, Van Clarkson:

Van Clarkson, President – Fairchild Equipment

We’re in This Together

Hello, MHEDA members!

I hope this message finds you amidst a tremendously successful year. Personally, I’m proud of what we have all accomplished to date, and am currently in the process of budgeting, planning and strategizing for 2024.

In pursuing economic foresight, I came across an article surveying 1,000 executives of publicly traded companies on their economic outlook for 2024. This study indicated more than three-fourths who responded to the Q3 2023 survey anticipate either a static or modest growth trajectory for 2024.

Not surprisingly, the current news landscape appears inundated with a barrage of doom and gloom narratives — wars, plummeting manufacturing rates, a decline in residential construction, record-high consumer debt, inflation, wage pressures and soaring gas prices to name a few.

What does it all mean at the end of the day? It means we are all facing uncharted waters and no one truly knows how to navigate them. Even if it means a flat or marginally negative trajectory in 2024, is that entirely bad? Sans the context of the last two tumultuous years, a plateau or dip in performance might not be met with the same wariness. So let’s keep that in perspective.

There are going to be a plethora of opportunities for all MHEDA members to sustain their success. As the leaders of your organizations, you have a unique opportunity to guide your teams through the economic landscape. As I look through the business trends our Executive Board developed a few months back, I see many keys to success through uncertainty.

Here are some suggestions that you may consider:

1. Stay informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest economic trends and forecasts. You can leverage the resources provided by MHEDA, such as webinars, newsletters and conferences, to stay informed.

2. Collaborate: Foster collaboration among your peers in networking groups like MHEDA-NET. Encourage them to share their experiences, best practices and challenges. This can help them learn from each other and find innovative solutions to common problems.

3. Innovate: Encourage your team to innovate. Explore new markets, products and services. They can also leverage new technologies such as automation, robotics and artificial intelligence to improve their operations and customer experience.

4. Diversify: Encourage your team to diversify their offerings. They can explore new product lines, services and even geographies. This can help them reduce their dependence on a single market or product.

5. Invest: Encourage your members to invest in their people, processes and technology. This can help them improve their efficiency, quality and customer satisfaction.

And lastly, make certain you mark your calendars and attend Convention in San Diego, scheduled from April 20-24, themed “Riding the Waves of Change.” The selection of content and speakers were curated to help us navigate through uncertain times. Of course, our one constant, wizard economist Brian Beaulieu, will also be there to help us figure it all out.

I am truly honored to be your chairman in 2024 and look forward to seeing you in April! I’m also extremely proud to be our new CEO Jeannette Walker’s first chairman. We are very fortunate to have landed such a brilliant and energetic CEO to replace an industry legend like Liz Richards. You too will learn this soon enough.

Please feel free to reach out to me or any member of the MHEDA Board of Directors and staff at as we embark upon another year together in this wonderful industry that has been so good to all of us.

Van Clarkson, President
Fairchild Equipment
Menomonee Falls, WI