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ARA of Indiana board names new associate member director

By Connie Lannan

March 14, 2023

Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy

Mike “Murph” Murphy, outside sales representative, Anchor Industries, Evansville, Ind., recently joined the ARA of Indiana board as its new associate member director. He replaces Daun Kouchoukos with Hilti, who finished her board service in January after the birth of her second child.

Murphy, an Indiana native, is excited about his new board role. “I already knew Matt Mutton from Mutton Party and Tent Rental, who serves as the board’s vice president, and Robert Copley, CERP, from Event Essentials, who is the incoming Region Five director. When I was told there was a position available on the board and asked whether I was interested, I said, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’ I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to connect with members and be of service,” he says.

Event rental has been part of Murphy’s life since he was a sophomore in high school. “I started working at a rental business in South Bend as a summer job. All my friends were working there. It was more of a social time as, back in 1992, we didn’t have cellphones, and this was a way for all my buddies to stay together all summer long,” he says.

That summer work eventually turned into a career because of everything rental offered him. “I was blessed. I worked for a larger company in South Bend. We did all the stuff for Notre Dame. Other than building relationships, which I love, our company facilitated all types of events, from the Garth Brooks concert to all the commencements and weddings. I got to see things that others don’t get to see, and with weddings you start from nothing and see this beautiful thing emerge. It is gratifying to see that and nice to see someone’s special day come true for them,” he says.

He moved to the manufacturing side in November 2018. This move had its beginnings back in 2008 at the TRAM (Tent Renters Association of the Midwest) show in Ohio. “I attended a party at the show that was offered by Anchor Industries. Bernard ‘Biff’ Gentsch had just come back to Anchor. I went up to him and said that if anything would come available to let me know because I might want to do this someday. Well, he never forgot that conversation. When something became available in 2018, he let me know. That is how I started at Anchor,” Murphy says.

He is so glad he made the move. “What I really like is the traveling, meeting people and developing relationships with customers. That is probably my favorite part of the job,” he says.

Because of his many years in event rental, the transition to the manufacturing side “was pretty seamless,” he says. “A lot of the product I already knew about. I am still learning, though, and grateful that my predecessor did a very nice job in this territory.”

He was just getting into the flow of his new job when the coronavirus (COVID-19) hit. “That was difficult,” Murphy says, adding that during that time requests for tents from event rental operators “skyrocketed.”

Even with the supply chain issues, “we did a pretty good job with everything as Anchor is not foreign-dependent. Certainly there were some parts and pieces that were challenging, but as a company the pandemic made us much stronger. We learned so much about the need to have backups for our backups,” he says.

As he prepares for his new role on the state chapter board, Murphy believes his years of experience on both sides of the aisle will be a strength. “I can bring my 20 years of experience in the rental business as well as a manufacturer’s attitude. I can share what manufacturers are talking about, which I feel will be helpful,” he says.

As far as goals he would like to achieve during his tenure, Murphy says it is too early to form anything concrete. “Right now I am learning my role and seeing what is needed,” he says, adding that he enjoyed meeting board members and other ARA of Indiana members at the ARA of Indiana/ARA of Ohio mixer and during the Welcome Reception at The ARA Show™ in Orlando last month — and is now ready to assist the state chapter in any way he can.

Please thank all who are serving on the ARA of Indiana board:

President: Brian Flinn, MacAllister Rentals, Indianapolis

Vice president: Matt Mutton, Mutton Rental Center d/b/a Mutton Party and Tent Rental, Fort Wayne

Treasurer: Gina Glas, CERP, A Classic Party Rental, Indianapolis

Secretary: Alex Bauman, In-A-Pinch? Rent It!, Martinsville

Board member: Brandi Prairie, Midwest Rentals, Lafayette

Board member: Skip Messinger, Hoosier Tent & Party Rental Co., Avon

Associate member director: Mike Murphy, Anchor Industries, Evansville