CNH Construction CEO/president addresses House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

November 2010, Vol. 65 No. 11

Jim McCullough, CEO and president of CNH Construction, which offers Case, New Holland and Kobelco branded construction equipment, testified on Sept. 29 before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to report on progress thus far of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

McCullough, who also serves as vice chair of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), noted that the association launched “I Make America,” a national grassroots effort to broaden awareness about the vital impact of equipment manufacturing both on the U.S. economy and global competitiveness.

McCullough pointed out that the heavy construction equipment industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economy and substantially influences the economy of every state and congressional district. He said, “In 2008, equipment manufacturers, distributors and independent maintenance providers had a $364.9-billion impact on the U.S. economy, supported more than two million American jobs, and paid $111.3 billion in wages, salaries and benefits.” He added that a 2009 study by IHS Global Insight showed that during this recession, the sector lost approximately 50 percent of its pre-recession activity.

Although he thanked Chairman Jim Oberstar for his support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, McCullough emphasized the need for long-term funding solutions, rather than short-term extensions. “Research shows that investment in the nation’s highways, bridges, water and transit infrastructure creates about 18,000 jobs for every $1 billion spent,” McCullough said.

“More than that, investing in infrastructure is critical to America’s ability to compete globally,” he said. “We are slipping compared to other nations that are investing heavily in their infrastructure. We need access to increased efficiency when we transport goods and people so that we compete on a level playing field with other developed and developing countries.”

McCullough noted that AEM’s second-quarter survey of its membership indicated that the construction industry is beginning to recover, with some upturn in hiring and capital spending, and some upward pressure on wages and salaries. However, “You have to ask the question, ‘Up from where?’” he said. “Our numbers are nowhere near where they were before the economy imploded.”