The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) has named Curt Blades as SVP, ag services.
Blades will be responsible for strategic direction of agriculture programs and services for the AEM membership, and will serve as primary liaison with ag-specific industry organizations, customer groups and government agencies, both in North America and worldwide.
He replaces Charlie O’Brien, who announced his retirement from AEM earlier this year.
“We are very pleased to welcome Curt to the AEM team and look forward to the expertise and enthusiasm he brings,” said AEM President Dennis Slater.
“He has a strong agricultural and management background and while we had some big shoes to fill with Charlie’s departure, we are confident that Curt will help us achieve continued success.”
Blades served as Group Business Development Director for Meredith Corporation and as a member of the strategic leadership team for Meredith Agrimedia business unit. In addition to strategy, he has extensive experience in management, marketing, sales and research.
He joined Meredith in 2002, with previous positions including management roles at MachineryLink and Farmland Industries. He has been active in the National Agri-Marketing Association, Agribusinesss Education Foundation and Agriculture Council of America. Blades earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from University of Missouri and a master’s degree in agribusiness from Kansas State. He grew up on a 5,000-acre farm in northeast Missouri, and was involved in 4H and FFA.
Charlie O’Brien announced in April his intention to retire from AEM to take care of family and a family business.
“We want to extend a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Charlie for his decade of service and unselfish willingness to work during a transition period to help provide uninterrupted service to the membership,” said Slater.
O’Brien joined AEM in 2007 and prior to that held positions of increasing responsibility with John Deere Credit.
“Charlie has been an invaluable member of the AEM senior leadership team and highly respected throughout the industry, and we are grateful for his knowledge and guidance,’ said Slater.
“He played a critical strategic role for AEM and his dedication is evident in the growth of our Ag sector programs and services during his tenure.”