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Gary Jones Jr., new TRA president, focuses on goals and economic indicators

By Gary Jones Jr.

July 7, 2023

Gary Jones Jr.

Gary Jones Jr.

Hello, American Rental Association (ARA) Region Four members. For those who don’t know me, I am Gary Jones Jr., owner of North Main Tool Rental in Houston and North Main Tool Rental Magnolia in Magnolia. I also am the new president of the Texas Rental Association (TRA) and am happy to be sharing my thoughts with you.

Those of us in Texas just wrapped up TRA’s premier member event, Roundup. It was a great gathering — jam-packed with plenty of valuable education, networking and fun. During our meeting, we installed our new board, of which I was named president. We are blessed to have many returning board members and a few new folks joining our ranks. I would like to extend a warm welcome to our new board members: Zack Smith from Buffalo Rental, Alfred Alvarez from Hilti, who is one of our new associate member directors, and Mike Morse from Losberger De Boer US, who is another new associate member director.

Our state chapter wasn’t the only one to welcome a new board member. The ARA of Oklahoma welcomed Leslie Hunter with Factor 110 Event Solutions in Oklahoma City.

To all the current and new board members, I offer a heartfelt thank you for stepping up and taking part in our state chapters. We need people who are willing to give back to their industry. Together we can share knowledge, develop lifelong friendships and discover new business alliances — all pretty powerful offerings.

New TRA president Gary Jones Jr., right, presents TRA Immediate Past President Keith Kitchens, CERP, with the Distinguished Leadership award during Roundup's Tuesday night dinner.

New TRA president Gary Jones Jr., right, presents TRA Immediate Past President Keith Kitchens, CERP, with the Distinguished Leadership award during Roundup’s Tuesday night dinner.

Speaking of people who have given so much to the association, I would like to offer a special thank you to Keith Kitchens, CERP, with Tomball Rental in Tomball, Texas, who has been serving as TRA president and just moved to the role of immediate past president. Keith has been on the TRA board for many years. He and his entire family have given so much of their time and energy to the TRA. I have learned a lot from Keith, and I hope I can do half as good of a job as he has done for our state chapter.

Another person who was so instrumental in TRA, ARA and our entire industry was the late Fred Dupy, who was president of American Party Rental in Austin, Texas. Like many others before me, Fred is the reason I got involved in TRA. Fred was great at reaching out and lighting the path for other rental business owners. At Roundup this year, we announced the creation of The Fred Dupy TRA Ambassador Award. The award is based on four of Fred’s most admired traits, namely his outreach as an ambassador, leader, philanthropist and dedicated industry professional. At next year’s ceremony, we look forward to honoring the first recipient of this prestigious award.

Fred also was passionate about helping those who are planning to go or are currently enrolled in trade school, community college, college or university as a way to gain the education needed to create a career in our industry. Fred was always promoting the ARA Foundation and affiliate scholarships, including those offered by TRA. This year a total of $123,500 in scholarship funds was awarded to 44 students by the ARA Foundation and its affiliate programs for the 2023-2024 school year. The recipients from Region Four include:

  • Lexa Thompson,, DeRidder, La., who received the ARA Insurance Scholarship worth $4,000 and the ARA Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship worth $3,500 for a total of $7,500.
  • Kennedy Stockton, Stockton Rental Co., Sheridan, Ark., who received an ARA Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship worth $3,500 and the ARA of Arkansas Scholarship worth $2,500 for a total of $6,000.
  • Kayla Terrell, Display Concepts Party Rentals, Amarillo, Texas, who received an ARA Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship worth $1,000 and the Texas Rental Association/Bill Loomer Houston Area Rental Association Scholarship worth $3,000 for a total of $4,000.
  • Reagan Musgrove, Tejas Equipment Rental & Sales, San Antonio, Texas, who received an ARA Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship worth $1,000 and a Texas Rental Association Scholarship worth $1,500 for a total of $2,500.
  • Cassidy Hargesheimer, Ryder System, Fort Worth, Texas, who received a Texas Rental Association Scholarship worth $1,500.

Please offer them your congratulations and encourage others in your operation to apply next year. These funds can make a significant difference. We need everyone’s help to spread the word about these scholarships.

One of my big goals as the new president is for the TRA board to host local meetings at different member and vendor locations in all seven areas of Texas over the course of the year. We have board members throughout the state, and we are planning to have meetings that are both educational and fun, so be on the lookout for more events and relevant training in the field.

The first event that is planned is TRA teaming up with our neighbor, the ARA of Louisiana, to offer a first-ever crappie fishing tournament and fish fry on Toledo Bend Reservoir. While the weather didn’t cooperate the first time, we have rescheduled the event for Oct. 20. We hope to see a big crowd for this one as bragging rights are on the line.

As I close, I would like to encourage all the rental operators in our region to keep a close eye on the economy. I am optimistic about the future, but I am not taking anything for granted. In my companies, we are keeping a close eye on inflation and what the Federal Reserve is doing with the interest rates. But we are mainly talking with our customers to better understand how their businesses are being impacted and what challenges they are facing. I strongly recommend you do the same as I have found that you will get a heads-up from your customers about what is going on way before you get a notice from the economic indicators. Customer interaction is critical, especially for smaller operators like me.

I hope everyone has a prosperous summer. Stay alert and be there for your team, your customers and your state association.

Gary Jones Jr., TRA president
North Main Tool Rental
Houston and Magnolia, Texas