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Inaugural ARA of Massachusetts Fall Summit delivered on many fronts

by Brock Huffstutler

ARA of Massachusetts' Fall Summit 2022

Bonny’s Equipment and Party Rentals, Brockton, Mass., and B.C. Tent & Awning, Avon, Mass., were among those honored as Highly Engaged Members at the ARA of Massachusetts Fall Summit

On Oct. 20 – 21, members of the Massachusetts equipment and event rental community, along with some guests from neighboring states, gathered in the Boston metropolitan area for the first ARA of Massachusetts “Fall Summit.”

The event, hosted at The Westin Waltham Boston, featured a diverse menu of business education, networking opportunities with industry peers and face-to-face time with industry vendors — all designed to help participants take their businesses to the next level.

“It was great to catch up with members I have not seen in a while,” says Brian Grant, president, Grant’s Rental, Bridgewater, Mass. “The event was well organized; I am proud to be a member.”

The program kicked off on Thursday, Oct. 20, with Vendor Night, an opportunity to visit with vendors manning tables full of information on their latest offerings for the rental market.

Friday, Oct. 21, was jam-packed with business education with some top-shelf guest speakers, including:

  • Dan Crowley of Peer Executive Groups, who discussed how to grow your business using an elite people strategy. “I enjoyed Dan’s honest, personal talks. What I really took away from his talk was his theme of not losing sight of your key employees,” Grant says.
  • Ami Kassar of MultiFunding, who addressed ways business owners can develop creative, cost-saving alternatives for the business debt needs and structure. “I found [Kassar’s] presentation to be very informative and eye-opening, especially for a younger business owner like myself. It was very beneficial to learn about the difference between an SBA loan when compared to a traditional loan,” says Jared Nigro, owner, Evo Tents, Northbridge, Mass.
  • Meghan Lynch of Six-Point Creative, who delivered a marketing-focused presentation on how smaller companies can enhance their brand. “My favorite portion of the event was learning from Meghan. She has inspired me to interview my clients to find out what they are really looking for in a rental company,” Nigro says.
  • James Auerbach, American Rental Association (ARA) vice president, event segment and rental industry workforce development, who spoke about the latest association resources available to members. “Auerbach was to the point about all the great resources available to rental stores,” Grant says. “I am guilty of not taking the time to look and ask! It was a wake-up call, explained at a down-to-earth level.”
Dan Crowley, Peer Executive Group

Presenter Dan Crowley of Peer Executive Group engages with the audience

Roundtable discussions, delicious meals and raffle prizes also were on offer for those in attendance.

An awards presentation also was held on site, where Gene LaPierre, a consultant with B & S Sales, Hanson, Mass., was inducted into the ARA of Massachusetts Hall of Fame. Other recognitions included:

The members of the ARA of Massachusetts board of directors (as of October 2022):
President: Stefani Donabedian, marketing director at Mobile Air & Power Rentals, Worcester, Mass.
Vice president: Laura Albert, vice president, Interstate Rental Service, Boston
Treasurer: Joe Kikta, owner, Milford – 495 Rental Center, Milford, Mass.
Secretary: Stephen Cugini, operations manager, Atent for Rent, Dedham, Mass.
Board member: Sean Deacy, director of operations, PEAK Event Services, Woburn, Mass.
Board member: Steve Reitter, owner, Steves Rental, Millis, Mass.
Board member: Sean Atlas, president, Atlas Event Group, Shrewsbury, Mass.
Board member: John Gallo, strategic accounts manager, United Rentals, Boston
Associate member director: Dan Dalton, territory sales manager, Anchor Industries, Newbury, Mass.

ARA members interact at the ARA of Massachusetts Fall SummitHighly engaged ARA members in Massachusetts:
ATS Equipment, Boston
Atent For Rent, Dedham, Mass.
B.C. Tent & Awning, Avon, Mass.
Bonny’s Equipment and Party Rentals, Brockton, Mass.
Michael’s Party Rentals, Palmer, Mass.

Companies celebrating more than 40 years of ARA membership:
Rent-A-Tool, Swampscott, Mass. — 59 years
Sudbury True Value Rental, Sudbury, Mass. — 49 years
Robinsons Hardware & Rental, Hudson, Mass. — 44 years
AA Rental Center, Waltham, Mass. — 40 years
Interstate Rental Service, Boston — 40 years

“I look forward to attending the next conference,” says Nigro, who is a member of ARA’s Young Professional Network (YPN).

Nigro’s comment is just what longtime members like Grant hope to see at future ARA of Massachusetts events. “I am happy to see young members in the industry with a passion for the business, and to meet Stefani [Donabedian] and Laura [Albert] — great leaders for ARA of Massachusetts,” he says, adding that he is pleased with where the chapter’s leadership is at this juncture.