Building a Future

Updated Feb 19, 2013

Fun day draws a new generation to landscaping

How do you attract new people to an industry with an aging workforce? That was the question David Demby of David’s Landscaping and Design in Erie, Pennsylvania, found himself asking a couple of years ago. He felt the best method of informing people about great careers in landscaping and construction was to put the word out – in a big way.

So, Demby pitched the idea of a “Construction Fun Day” to the mayor’s office, equipment dealers and volunteers. As part of the town’s annual “Celebrate Erie” event held during the summer, Demby and his friends brought more than a dozen machines to the event and turned half a city block into a career fair and Kids’ PlayZone, an area that allowed them to check out the landscaping equipment first hand.

“The kids love the equipment. It will sit in their minds for a long time.”

The event didn’t just attract young children, says event planner Laura Schaaf, assistant to Mayor Joseph E. Sinnott. “David’s original idea was to engage older children and teens interested in career exploration,” she says. “The three-day event presented a unique opportunity.”

Demby says an army of volunteers helped pull off the gathering. “Many of the local dealers – Bobcat, Case, Caterpillar and Kubota – participated by bringing equipment,” he says. “We let the kids crawl all over them and blow the horns. We even had a Peterbilt there with a sleeper.”

Demby’s company gave away a free landscape design, and there were giveaways for the children, as well. Steve Latimer, a local Case Construction Equipment salesman, provided free hard hats for the kids, and all of the volunteers were on hand to give out information on careers in landscaping and construction.

Demby says he hopes this year’s event – which is slated to be larger – will be even more successful. “The kids love the equipment. It will sit in their minds for a long time.”

The 2012 Construction Fun Day and Kids’ PlayZone will be held August 17-19 in downtown Erie, as part of Celebrate Erie.

For more information, visit

– Amy Materson, managing editor, Equipment World magazine

Photo: “Construction Fun Day” attendees saw equipment including skid steers, excavators and trucks.

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