Trending Content

From Big Sky to Down Under: Sneed takes part in International Rental Business Leadership Program

By Steve Campbell

July 2, 2023

Adam Sneed with Sunbelt Rentals (formerly operating as Big Sky Rents), Kalispell, Mont., recently traveled to Australia to take part in the International Rental Business Leadership Program. This program is a combined effort between the American Rental Association (ARA) and the Hire and Rental Industry Association (HRIA) of Australia that links young professionals from the U.S. and Australia with rental companies in the opposite country.  

Sneed connected with Orange Hire, which has locations throughout Australia. He was able to spend time at many of their locations and experience the Australian culture, which was a little different than what he had pictured before heading Down Under. 

“Growing up, all you think about with Australia is crocodiles and kangaroos. Orange Hire has locations in the big cities, which is where the business is at. It was definitely not what I had imagined being a kid watching nature shows, but it was a very humbling experience. It made me realize how small we actually are and truly how big the rental game is because it’s on every continent. It was a cool experience,” Sneed says. 

The trip gave Sneed a global view of the rental industry. It was one that hadn’t crossed his mind much from his location in rural Montana. 

Adam Sneed (second from right) with Orange Hire employees of the Toowoomba, Australia, location.

“I was very close minded. I never even thought about rental being everywhere else. It’s obvious that it’s there and it’s a big part of the Australian culture. A lot of guys that I saw are super dependent on the rental store, which in some parts of America I feel like the customers are too, but it was a cool experience to see their way of doing it,” Sneed says. 

Orange Hire has seven locations in Australia including the major cities of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. This allowed Sneed to see similarities and differences between how it’s done by Orange Hire and his own operation. 

“Anyone can go out and buy a piece of equipment and let you use it. It’s how you treat your customers before, during and after,” Sneed says. “Orange Hire did a great job from what I saw. Their model is a little different than mine. I like to help anybody that can walk in the door, but they were really focused on their key people. You had to have an account to do business with them. It was a little hard for me to grasp that being from Montana.” 

In addition to the experience with Orange Hire, Sneed got to take in a soccer game, an Australian Football League game (more like free-flowing rugby, he says) and attend the HRIA Convention, HIRE23, held in Sydney. The connections he made and ideas he learned abroad added to the once-in-a-lifetime experience with the International Rental Business Leadership Program. 

“It’s absolutely worth the trip. I definitely grew from the program. You grow from those relationships. I’m hoping a couple people I met are going to come out and visit me,” Sneed says. “It was one of the coolest experiences. Rental is so big. It’s such an enormous business in itself. To experience someone else’s innerworkings and get the all-access pass to someone else’s business doesn’t happen every day. It was such a cool experience, so I’d highly recommend anybody going.” 

Click here then scroll down to “YPN Programs” for more information and to apply for future years.