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ARA of Wisconsin adds two new board members

By Connie Lannan

February 7, 2023

Shae Sepic, CERP

Shae Sepic, CERP

Shae Sepic, CERP, account manager, Event Essentials, Windsor, Wis., and Craig DeKarske, vice president of sales and marketing, DPL Telematics, Los Altos, Calif., recently joined the ARA of Wisconsin board of directors.

Sepic is not new to the event rental and hospitality side of the industry. “I have had various roles in the hospitality industry way back to my first job at age 14. I then ended up participating in an internship with a production and event rental company in college, which led me to spending years in the event planning and catering side of things. I joined the Event Essentials team four years ago,” she says.

With her boss, Robert Copley, CERP, Event Essential’s sales manager, becoming the new Region Five director at the end of The ARA Show™ in Orlando this month, he will move off the state chapter board. He approached her about joining the board.

“I am very passionate about learning, which is a nice way to say that I ask a lot of questions. I love to have a very thorough understanding of everything I take on. I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to get to learn from peers who have had different experiences and routes to where they are at now in the industry,” she says.

While this is a new venture for Sepic, she knew she had made the right decision about becoming involved at the state level after attending her first Young Professional Network (YPN) Conference this past November in Arizona.

“It was great. I loved the intimacy, the size, the networking and learning opportunities. Going solidified my decision to invest more in ARA and take on a board role. It definitely affirmed my decision,” she says.

Sepic is excited about her new board role and feels she will be able to bring another perspective to the board. “I am very detail-oriented and very organized. The older I get and the longer I am in the industry, I see how it can help to view things from a different lens, perhaps offer a new approach or another solution to something. I am excited for the opportunity to see how things happen and see what opportunities we have to move in the direction we all want to go,” she says.

Craig DeKarske

Craig DeKarske

She also knows this will provide a wonderful learning opportunity. “I enjoy seeing Robert talking with people from his Peer Advisory Group and other rental operations if he has a question about an efficiency issue or how they do something. Gaining those relationships and seeing ways people take on different aspects, whether it be clients, jobs or board roles, will be great. I am excited to learn from that and use more of the resources offered by the state chapter,” she says.

Sepic is eager to help the board in any way she can. “I would like to see increased attendance and would love to see younger individuals, women in particular, get more involved and take on more roles in this effort,” she says.

DeKarske, a tried-and-true Green Bay Packers fan who was born and raised in Wisconsin and started his career in the state at OmniQuip, is also enthusiastic about his new role on the board.

“I have been in the industry 21 years, with DPL Telematics for a little more than three years. I cover all the sales and marketing for the company and have worked with many Wisconsin rental operators over the years,” he says. “I remember The ARA Show was the first industry trade show I went to. I looked forward to it every year. Throughout the years, ARA has been a great tool for learning for my career. The ARA members really take advantage of their membership and value the vendors that belong to the organization. ARA offers learning tools that help our business as a vendor. Also, the networking opportunities are endless. Especially the last three years through the COVID-19 pandemic, the state organizations have taken a more prominent role for networking and brand awareness,” he says.

DeKarske looks forward to assisting the board and bringing in some new ideas. “I spend a lot of time in the Midwest and have attended many different state chapter events. I feel I can share what I have seen with the other members of the ARA of Wisconsin board,” he says.

He also is eager to learn from his fellow board members. “Since I haven’t been directly involved with the ARA of Wisconsin board members yet, I look forward to learning how I can better serve them and my other customers,” DeKarske adds.

There are two goals he would like to achieve during his tenure.

The first is to bring in more young rental professionals and women in rental to the state chapter, be that through specialized events offered by the state chapter or through board service. “Young rental professionals are the future of our industry. Women in rental also are so important. The national events are great but getting more participation from these members on the state level throughout the year would be beneficial for all involved,” DeKarske says, adding that he would “like to serve as a mentor to up-and-coming young rental professionals to use my knowledge and experience to lead the future of our industry.”

The second goal is to further awareness of the organization to both rental store members and manufacturers/vendors. “This could be through marketing, various meetings that would teach something new, or visiting stores and employees to see how ARA is doing well or could improve in other areas for them,” he adds.

DeKarske is raring to go and can’t wait to meet his fellow board members in person at the show in Orlando. “I am very excited and am ready to hit the ground running,” he says.