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ARA Region Nine director talks equipment theft

By Alberto Pianelli

June 6, 2023

Alberto Pianelli

Alberto Pianelli

Hello, American Rental Association (ARA) Region Nine members. I hope all your businesses had a busy spring and now have a bustling summer. Our business has been particularly busy. This is great news, but we all have to remember that during these hectic times we need to pay extra attention to theft and, in particular, the prevention of it at our facilities, at job sites and through conversion. Thieves continue to up their game. That means, especially when we are the busiest, we need to stay sharp and not let down our guard.

I bring this up because beginning this month and continuing on a regular basis, the In Your Region newsletter will focus on equipment theft. The stories this month will take a deep dive into just how big a problem it is for our industry, its impact on rental operations, the latest stats and the steps you can take to help prevent it from happening in the first place.

We all know that equipment theft is a huge issue. I know from personal experience the importance of using GPS and following set policies. It is easy to get distracted, especially when you are busy or the rental appears substantial. You can read more about my story in this issue of the newsletter.

Tracking your equipment is just one step. I also encourage you to register your equipment on the National Equipment Register’s (NER) HelpTech database, which catalogs and documents equipment. It is available to members of law enforcement 24/7 and has been instrumental in helping police officers recover stolen equipment. As an ARA member, you may register up to 1,000 pieces of mobile, off-road equipment for free. That is worth the price of membership right there.

In addition, if you are covered by ARA Insurance and have equipment stolen, your deductible will be waived. That is a huge benefit.

Theft of all kinds is big. Catalytic converter theft has become so pervasive that it was even one of the key issues addressed in March at ARA’s National Legislative Caucus in Washington, D.C. If you have been impacted, contact Alysia Ryan, director of ARA’s government affairs. The more we let our voices be heard on this issue, the better in helping pass the Preventing Auto Recycling Theft (PART) Act.

As far as letting your voice be heard, I strongly encourage members to contact their legislators at the local, state and national levels about how bills will impact their operations. As you know, many members from our region took part in ARA’s National Legislative Caucus. Then, the ARA of California sponsored State Legislative Day in Sacramento. These interactions are a great start, but we need to continue that dialogue with our legislators. Please reach out. They want to hear from their constituents.

I also would like to highlight a few other resources that can really benefit you and your staff:

  • The Employee Training Assistance Program from the ARA Foundation. This grant can help you train your staff by paying up to 50 percent of the training cost, with a maximum award of $2,500. If you haven’t looked into it, I highly encourage you to do so before the next quarterly deadline on June 30.
  • ARA Certified Service Technician and ARA Certified Sales and Marketing programs. These programs can boost skills, and those who successfully complete the program earn a professional designation. You can take either or both of these programs now and receive a 10 percent discount by using the promo code TAKE10OFF. Don’t delay as the promotion only goes through Aug. 31. If you or one of your team members sign up for both courses, there is an even greater discount. Contact for details.
  • The Women in Rental Conference, Oct. 23-24, and the Young Professional Network Conference, Oct. 25-26. Both conferences will be held in Clearwater Beach, Fla. Registration for each conference opens July 5. The events sell out quickly, so be sure to secure your spot early.

In addition, I would like to encourage members in Nevada to let me know whether there is interest in taking part in ARA’s MEWP Train-the-Trainer education. If you have mobile elevating work platforms in your fleet, this education is vital to train your staff and then take the next step to train your customers. The first step is taking part in the Train-the-Trainer program, which requires both online and hands-on training.

The ARA of California is offering the MEWP Train-the-Trainer program July 19 in Long Beach. Our Hawaii members will be able to take advantage of ARA’s training the morning of July 26. In the afternoon, there will be MEWP operator training. Then on July 27, those in Hawaii are invited to be part of a special meeting at Accel Events & Tents in Honolulu, featuring ARA’s Kevin Gern, vice president of education and risk management, and ARA’s James Auerbach, vice president, event segment and rental industry workforce development. They will address creating an in-house safety program and other ARA resources. Watch your email for more specifics on these events.

Before I close, I encourage everyone to take advantage of the two Night at the Ballpark events offered by the ARA of California — both on June 24. There are still tickets available for the San Diego Padres vs. Washington Nationals game at Petco Park in San Diego. The San Francisco Giants vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks game at Oracle Park in San Francisco has already sold out, which is awesome. Special thanks go to ARA Insurance Agency Robert Bell Insurance Brokers for sponsoring these games. Don’t miss this opportunity. Register now before the remaining tickets are gone.

I hope everyone has a productive and safe summer. And be sure to invest in theft-prevention protocols and tactics.

Until next time.

Alberto Pianelli, Region Nine director
F & B Rentals

Santa Ana, Calif.