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Celebrating those who give to the industry

by Ashleigh Petersen and Connie Lannan

The American Rental Association (ARA) Industry Awards Lunch held during The ARA Show™ always offers the perfect opportunity for show attendees to network, celebrate and honor those who have given back to the industry so generously. This year’s lunch on Sunday, Feb. 12, which begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Orange County Convention Center North/South Building, Orlando, will be no exception.

During the lunch, ARA will honor Doron Broadfoot and James “Jim” Ziegler, who will be inducted into the Rental Hall of Fame, the most prestigious award offered by the association. Click here to learn more about the latest inductees. In addition, recipients of the Industry Ambassador Award, the Exemplary Service Award, the Industry Impact Award and the Rising Star Award will be recognized.

Advance registration and a ticket are required to attend this event, which is sponsored by Ditch Witch, Perkins Engines, and Trime US. Tickets are $40 per person for ARA members and include lunch.

The awards and the respective recipients to be presented at the lunch include:

Industry Ambassador Award: Frederick “Fred” Dupy

Dupy will be honored posthumously with this award that recognizes an individual who has demonstrated long-term leadership and service to the association at the national, state or local levels.

Dupy, who was president of American Party Rental in Austin, Texas, until his death in May 2022, was a tireless advocate for industry service. He always put ARA members and the association first. He was a longtime member and served at the national, state and local levels. He was very active in the Texas Rental Association (TRA), serving in various roles on the board, including two terms as president. Dupy received the Region Four Person of the Year award in 2004 and 2012. He was named TRA Person of the Year in 2013. Prior to his TRA service, Dupy served on the board of the Heart of Texas Rental Association for many years.

Dupy was a passionate supporter of the ARA Foundation and its programs, especially those supporting scholarships and education. He was serving his second term on the ARA Foundation Board of Trustees at the time of his death and was the board chair in 2020. During his time on the ARA Foundation board, Dupy also served on the scholarship and disaster grant review committees. He and his wife, Monica, were generous financial supporters of the ARA Foundation. Many will remember seeing them on stage each year at the show while being recognized for their philanthropic efforts. They received the 1976 Club Award six times and the James Keenan Award eight times since 2012.

On the legislative front, Dupy participated in ARA’s National Legislative Caucus in Washington, D.C., on a regular basis from 2007 until his death. He also participated in TRA Legislative Days for several years.


Exemplary Service Award: Jeff Lignugaris

Lignugaris, president, Northside Tool Rental, Atlanta, and an active member of ARA and ARA of Georgia for more than 20 years, will be honored with this award that recognizes an individual or group that has made a significant contribution in a defined area of association service (such as government  affairs, education, technology or workforce development).

As a result of his years-long active and direct involvement in legislative advocacy to help equipment rental operators in his state, Lignugaris was crucial to getting legislation passed in Georgia in 2022 — which offers expanded property tax relief to more equipment and event rental companies. He was involved with the first initiative that secured relief for those owning equipment over 5,000 lbs. and was recently successful in lowering this weight limit to 1,500 lbs.

Lignugaris continually went to great lengths to make himself available to help with this legislative initiative. He was frequently asked to write and send letters of support, meet with ARA staff as well as ARA’s lobbyist and testified repeatedly on behalf of the measure. He provided names and contact information for other members in targeted counties who needed to be heard in order to persuade various legislators of the need for this relief. His knowledge and relationship with other members provided invaluable assistance.


Industry Impact Award: Jody Kerr

Kerr, manager, Toro, Bloomington, Minn., will be honored with this award that recognizes a manufacturer, supplier and/or independent manufacturer representative rental industry professional who made a significant impact on the association and/or industry during the past two years.

Kerr has continually supported ARA — previously serving on ARA’s Exhibitor Advisory Council from 2014-2017 and as Associate Member director on the ARA Board of Directors from 2015-2017.

A founding member and supporter of the Women in Rental Committee, she also has reviewed materials and provided valuable input for the ARA Foundation Mentoring Program. Kerr has volunteered at multiple ARA Foundation/The Toro Company Foundation Community Impact projects. She is a valuable resource for associate member input and advice on challenges faced by this member segment.

In addition, she is an active ARAPAC [ARA’s Political Action Committee] supporter and always is ready to serve wherever and whenever needed to benefit ARA and the industry.


Rising Star Award: Dillon Hughes

Hughes, owner, Only 1 Rentals, Navasota, Texas, who has served on the TRA board since 2014 and is the current TRA immediate past president, will receive this award that recognizes a young professional who has demonstrated leadership at the grassroots level.

The youngest member to serve as TRA president, Hughes also has stepped up to assist with workforce development initiatives and participated in the TRA Legislative Day.

On the national level, he has served on the ARA Young Professionals Committee and has attended the ARA National Legislative Caucus multiple times. He also has attended the ARA Young Professional Conference and the ARA Leadership Conference. He was named to Rental Management’s “12 to Watch Under 40” in 2018.


Celebrate with rental peers at the Welcome Reception

This year’s Welcome Reception at The ARA Show, to be held from 5-6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, will offer American Rental Association (ARA) members the chance to relax, connect with regional peers, enjoy some delicious hors d’oeuvres and see the presentation of the Leadership Impact Awards.

The Leadership Impact Awards recognize members from each region whose leadership benefits their state and/or local association and its members over the past year.

Advance registration and a ticket are required. Tickets for ARA members are $40 per person for this reception, which is sponsored by ANA, Airstar America, Anchor Industries, Barreto Manufacturing, Bluebird Turf Products, Diamond Products, Ditch Witch, Fame Rental, Lew Hudson Sales, Record360, Tireboots by Universal Canvas and U.S. Jack Co.

Those who will be honored with the Leadership Impact Award at this year’s show are:

  • Region One: Stefani Donabedian-SoucyMobile Air & Power Rentals, Worcester, Mass.
  • Region Two: Reggie EdaOxon Hill Rentals, Fort Washington, Md.
  • Region Three: Kevin Marchin, M & M Sales, Belmont, N.C.
  • Region Four: Marty BamburgBamco of LA, Shreveport, La.
  • Region Five: Dan FielitzGeneral Rent-All, Massillon, Ohio
  • Region Six: Joshua SwansonGreat Northern Equipment Distributing, Rogers, Minn.
  • Region Seven: Brady Castro, PRO EM National Event Services, Phoenix.
  • Region Eight: Megan “Mac” Whittlesey, CERP, Ideal RentAll, Mount Vernon, Wash.
  • Region Nine: Jared Medaris, CERPExpo Party Rentals, Fresno, Calif.
  • Region 10: Rob Potter, Cooper Equipment Rentals, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada.