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ARA of Arizona’s WM Phoenix Open social scored a hole-in-one

By Connie Lannan

March 14, 2023

Graphic for the ARA of Arizona social event at the WM Phoenix OpenArizona members of the American Rental Association (ARA) received premier seats at the “Greatest Show on Grass” when the ARA of Arizona hosted its Feb. 6 social event at the WM Phoenix Open. A sold-out crowd networked with peers, watched some great golf and enjoyed complimentary food and drink — all from the vantage point of a luxury corporate suite that overlooked the course’s famous 16th hole.

Brady Castro, principal, PRO EM National Event Services, Phoenix, who serves as ARA of Arizona vice president, was instrumental in making this happen as his company handles all the events for this PGA Tour tournament.

“It was great to have everyone here to see the Phoenix Open and see what we do out here. It is a real showcase for Arizona as a state, so it was great to have our local chapter and our members out here to celebrate this event,” he says.

Gary Scharf, branch manager, Sunstate Equipment Co., Tucson, Ariz., was thrilled to attend.

“It was fantastic. I am a golfer. It was pretty amazing to be on the 16th hole and get to see these top golfers that you see on TV playing in front of you. The food and drink were fantastic, too, and I was able to network with other rental operators. There were great people there. The relationships that we will be able to build with those folks is tremendous. Afterwards we were able to tour everything, which was pretty cool. It was a great event and ARA of Arizona is a good organization. I was grateful to get the email for us to participate. Anything we can do to support the industry, we want to be part of that,” he says.

Scharf, who is new to rental and Sunstate, has spent most of his career as a landscape contractor. Because of that, he took a keen interest in the golf course itself. “The course is in phenomenal shape. Even the plants — and just the beauty of it all — is spectacular, but this time I was more interested in the golfers,” he adds with a laugh.

Krysta Gornick, owner, Verde Valley Rentals, Cottonwood, Ariz., also had a terrific time.

“My husband, Philip, and I went. It was a great opportunity to network and get back into the association. We haven’t been active in a while and thought it would be a fun way to meet people and see the event. We haven’t gone to this tournament before and to see the extent of the rental equipment — all the things that PRO EM provided for the event — was amazing. For us, that was a huge benefit to see the enormity of the rentals that were there,” she says.

The networking was particularly valuable for Gornick. “We had a great time talking with people from different event rental companies. It is beneficial to be able to share ideas, see people face-to-face and learn how others are doing things in the industry. We also talked with one of our suppliers — Scott Schuller, who is on the ARA of Arizona board. We had been corresponding through emails. I was able to meet him in person, which was really nice,” she adds.

Even though Gornick is not a golfer, that didn’t diminish any enjoyment. “It was a beautiful day. The weather was perfect and the setting was gorgeous. I was able to meet other rental operators, including ARA of Arizona board members Maureen Harkness from Cre8ive Event Rentals and Katey Naylor from Bright Event Rentals. Everyone was friendly and fun to talk with. I want to thank the ARA of Arizona for putting this event on. We really enjoyed it,” she says.