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Jill Cole, ARA of Tennessee president, introduces some new industry leaders

By Jill Cole

August 8, 2023

Jill Cole

Jill Cole

Hello, everyone. I’m Jill Cole, owner of Southern Events in Franklin, Tenn., and I also have the privilege of serving as the current president of the ARA of Tennessee. Being part of my state ARA (American Rental Association) chapter’s leadership team for the past three years has enabled me to see up close the strong talent we have in those serving our industry on a volunteer basis. It’s so inspiring to collaborate with those who are interested in improving our industry through the development of education and training programs or peer-to-peer networking events.

With that in mind, I would like to thank a few of the folks from our region who stepped up to begin or continue their journey of association service this spring and summer — during our busiest season. I’m sure each will offer valuable, fresh insights to their individual ARA state chapters’ board of directors:

ARA of Alabama

Robin McLendon, rental and sales support administrator, Thompson Power Systems Rentals, Tarrant, Ala. McLendon has been with Thompson — which rents large generators, compressors, HVAC and distribution gear — since 2018. She says she learned of the opportunity to become part of the ARA of Alabama board through “the ARA magazines and emails,” adding that she was motivated to act on the call to serve because “I wanted to help and be a part of the great organization.”

ARA of Florida

Jane Hutton

Jane Hutton

Jane Hutton, director of special projects, Arena, Orlando Hutton brings more than 30 years of event rental industry experience to the ARA of Florida board.

In her position at Arena, Hutton says she takes on “a lot of diverse projects. I do a lot operationally within our warehousing operations. There have been a few things that we’ve changed, and I have spearheaded those projects. I’ve also had a pretty good book of business for several years, so I keep up with those people. I do a lot of project management as well.”

Hutton’s contacts in the industry led to an invitation to join the ARA of Florida board of directors to fill an open spot. “I was one of the original Women in Rental Committee members and now I’m on ARA’s Event Rental Shared Interest Group and Event Rental Advocacy Workgroup, so I’ve been involved in the association for many years, and I have a lot of friends in Florida,” she says.

Hutton has participated in ARA’s National Legislative Caucus in Washington, D.C. She says her initial priority as a board member is to educate members about the industry concerns ARA presses on Capitol Hill through the event and encourage active participation in making small steps locally that can make a difference.

“One of my goals would be to get the state more involved in what we do at caucus,” Hutton says, adding that the effort would be “to just level up and get ready for caucus so that all the members are aware of what we are doing there. I don’t think a lot of people really know what caucus is about. We have tool people and we have party people, and I think if we got more active with our local legislature in promoting some of these issues. When they do actually get to the federal level, they would have a little more legs. I know everybody’s busy, but it doesn’t take a lot to make a phone call or send an e-mail and try to get in front of some of our own state-level Congresspeople.”

ARA of Georgia

Paul Hofius

Paul Hofius

Paul Hofius, CEO, Pro Grade Equipment, Tallapoosa, Ga. Hofius has been involved in the equipment rental industry for 16 years, three and a half of them as CEO of Pro Grade Equipment, where he says, “I am responsible for the growth, stability, direction and daily operations of the business.”

Hofius holds a certification in forklift and mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) as a Trainer, and as a member of ARA’s Young Professional Network (YPN), he says the element he values most about his business’s ARA membership is “networking and learning new ways to benefit our business, team and customers.”

As an ARA of Georgia board member, Hofius’ goals are direct: “I want to learn more about the opportunities and resources offered through ARA,” he says.

ARA of Mississippi

Myers Marshall

Myers Marshall

Myers Marshall, owner, Taylor True Value Rental, Hattiesburg, Miss. Marshall purchased the business Jan. 1, 2022. He says his motivation for doing so was to find a change of pace from his previous line of work.

“I spent the nine years before that in New Orleans working for a steel processing company and was looking for a change,” he says. “Going from no rental experience to owning a rental company was obviously a drastic change. My wife and I met at school in Hattiesburg and always liked the idea of moving back. When the opportunity to purchase Taylor Rental was presented, it was hard to pass up.”

Marshall says he answered the call to serve on his state chapter board because “being new to the industry, I think [board service] is a great way to get involved and meet new people. I think it can only help my growth in the rental industry and hopefully can help make a difference for someone else.”

During his time on the ARA of Mississippi board, Marshall says he wants to share about the resources available through ARA and see that knowledge result in a heightened level of member involvement. “With the Mississippi chapter being re-established not long ago, I’d like to see the involvement pick up from the members. There is a lot of great information being provided by ARA that is not utilized,” he says.

ARA of South Carolina

Jon Roebuck

Jon Roebuck

Jon Roebuck, national account manager, BOMAG Americas, Ridgeway, S.C. Roebuck will serve as an associate member director on the ARA of South Carolina board, providing input from the viewpoint of ARA’s segment of manufacturer/supplier members.

“I am excited to join the ARA of South Carolina board of directors,” Roebuck says. “South Carolina is becoming a haven for new and growing industries. The rental companies that are part of the ARA directly support and help facilitate that growth and I am proud to be part of that future.”

Thanks to all of these folks again for stepping up. Have a safe and profitable month!

Jill Cole, ARA of Tennessee president
Southern Events
Franklin, Tenn.