The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) Hall of Fame recognizes the pioneers whose inventions, ideas, leadership and courage have contributed to the industry and our community’s quality of life.


Since 1993, the AEM Hall of Fame (formerly CIMA Hall of Fame) has honored pioneering individuals who invented, managed, built and led the off-road equipment industry that builds and feeds our world, recognizing everyone from the inventor of the steam shovel to the woman who led one of the world’s most notable equipment manufacturers to successfully take care of its people while improving its profits.


Anyone in the equipment manufacturing industry or the wider public can submit a nomination. We seek to recognize those who exemplify innovation, industry contributions, leadership and social responsibility, in the equipment manufacturing industry.


In 2020, the AEM inducted Art Moore, founder of Snorkel Lifts; and brothers Ray and Koop Ferwerda, inventors of the Gradall hydraulic excavator.


This year, AEM is expanding the traditional idea of a Hall of Fame member and looking to recognize contributions to our industry from more diverse corners of the equipment manufacturing world including those from different roles and positions, as well as from smaller manufacturers.


“The AEM Hall of Fame is a collection of individuals who made the industry that made modern America possible,” said AEM President Dennis Slater. “We look forward to celebrating the next innovator-leader as selected by our independent panel.”


The 2021 induction class will join the 65 existing visionaries and leaders already inducted. An independent panel will select who will be recognized at AEM’s Annual Conference in Phoenix.


AEM Hall of Fame Image


As the Association seeks nominations it also took a moment to honor to inductees who died in the past year: Cyril Keller, co-inventor of the skid-steer loader, and Helmut Claas, former Chairman of German agriculture machinery powerhouse CLAAS.


Cyril Keller, a member of the 1999 induction class to what was then known as the Construction Equipment Hall of Fame (now AEM Hall of Fame) died Oct. 28, 2020 in his hometown of Fergus Falls, Minn. at age of 98.  Keller was inducted, along with his younger brother Louis (1923-2010), for his development of the first skid steer loader.


Keller is survived by two brothers, three sisters, two sons, six daughters, 23 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.


Helmut Claas, a member of the 2013 induction class of the AEM Hall of Fame died Jan. 5, 2021 at the age of 94. Claas was inducted for his leadership and engineering skills, co-designing CLAAS’s DOMINATOR (1971) series combine harvesters, JAGUAR (1973) series forage harvesters and XERION (1978) tractors, the latter two product lines remaining on sale to this day.


His daughter, Cathrina Claas-Mühlhäuser, manages decision making and development at CLAAS today.


Nominations for the 2021 AEM Hall of Fame  class are open until June 11, and can be submitted online at this link.


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