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Great White North delegation shapes the future of rental in bayou country

By Brock Huffstutler

March 14, 2024

Kicking back at the Canadian Hospitality Reception at Generations Hall in New Orleans

The six-year hiatus from the Big Easy came to an end in February when The ARA Show™ 2024 kicked off at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, and ARA of Canada members showed up in force to take part in “Shaping the future of rental.”

“We went to The ARA Show for the first time in Orlando in 2020. We really loved going to that show. It gave us many ideas and that is why we came back this year,” said Natalie Lachapelle, Location Tout-En-Un, Varennes, Quebec.

The 67th edition of the American Rental Association’s (ARA) premier event — which is the world’s largest equipment and event rental industry-specific convention and trade show — offered attendees plenty of opportunities to network and learn from peers, industry experts and vendors.

Saturday, Feb. 17, featured the return of EventsU, a full-day program designed exclusively for those in event rental with plenty of rental-specific education and networking.

The education continued on Sunday with presentations delivered by engaging expert speakers and rental industry panel discussions covering tracks grouped into four themes: “Learn & Lead,” “Connect & Collaborate,” “Empower & Engage” and “Plan & Strategize.”

Manuel Antunes and Natalie Lachapelle of Location Tout-En-Un, Varennes, Quebec, take in an education seminar at the show

“The seminars were good and provided some refreshing tips. The more you know, the better it is for your customers,” said Manuel Antunes of Location Tout-En-Un.

Gene Elash, The Rent-It Store, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, said the show’s education sessions always have been a draw for him. “We rotate [coming to the show] every other year. I come for these sessions as well as to look at the equipment. When I first came it was probably these sessions that were the most valuable to me.”

Elash picked up some helpful tips in a session that provided instruction on how to spot Fake IDs “The big thing was talking about ID scanners and things to look at, so that was important for me,” he said.

Sunday evening saw Canadian members congregate at Generations Hall for the sold-out Canadian Hospitality Reception. Drinks, hors d’oeuvres and high spirits were on tap for the Canadians who were in town for the show and ready to mingle.

Then, following Monday’s Keynote Session presented by Jon Taffer of the hit TV show “Bar Rescue,” attendees focused on the trade show that featured more than 650 exhibitors.

Many attendees also enjoyed returning show favorites like the Young Professionals Network (YPN) Reception, the Women in Rental Breakfast and the ARA Foundation Charity Auction and Reception.

Cathy Cripps of All Celebrations, Ingersoll, Ontario, visits with exhibitors on the trade show floor

During the ARA Foundation auction, Dan Barry, Rental Network, Squamish, British Columbia, won an equipment rental contract package from James Waite Law. Barry said he took part in the event because he feels the Foundation does great work for ARA members. “It’s the best way to give back,” he said regarding the auction. “I wish I could do more.”

Marci Moe, Special Event Rentals – Red Deer, Red Deer County, Alberta, attended the Women in Rental Breakfast. She was impressed with the event and its keynote speaker, Dr. Michelle Rozen, aka The Change Doctor, currently one of the most sought-after actionable speakers on leadership, motivation and change. “Dr. Rozen was great,” Moe said. “She had some good pointers on how we can make change, make successful change and reach our goals. This was my first Women in Rental event and I feel encouraged and inspired.”

Just before the wrap-up of the show, many attendees shared an unforgettable evening with chart-topping country singer Mitchell Tenpenny at the Tuesday Night Event at House of Blues New Orleans.

“It was so nice to see the rental community thriving in New Orleans,” said Tony Conant, ARA CEO. “From the opening program to the final bell, rental operators got everything they came for — education, networking, buying and entertainment. The Sunday education lineup and Tuesday night at House of Blues were some of the best experiences folks had in many years. I heard nothing but positive feedback on the keynote speaker, Jon Taffer. He has a way of getting your attention and delivering a message that business owners need to hear.

“Equipment availability seems to be much better this year so the show floor was busy with deal seekers. The ARA Show proved again that it is the best place in the world to see rental equipment and products, get rental-specific professional development and network with the best group of people on the planet,” he said.

Click here to view the show wrap-up video from Rental Management.