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Katey Naylor, CEM, CERP — Rental Management's 2023 '12 to Watch Under 40'

By Connie Lannan

August 23, 2023

Katey Nalor, CEM, CERP

Katey Naylor, CEM, CERP, 39, was destined for a career in the event rental industry. Even as a youngster, she wanted to be a “party planner.” Today, as event director at Bright Event Rentals in Phoenix, she is living her passion of making clients’ dreams become reality through the magic of event rentals. Her path into rental was not straightforward. After college, she started as a banquet manager in Minneapolis, then as general manager of an off-premises catering company. Next, she transitioned to event venues and was the director of events at a nationally award-winning venue for five years.

“My husband and I then transferred to Las Vegas, where I worked in trade shows in both Las Vegas and High Point, N.C., for the furniture, home goods and gifting industries. Throughout my career, I have always been a consumer of rentals. It has always intersected with my career at so many different points. Looking back, I believe I saw my trajectory was going to be in rentals. I can see so many things from the other side and understand from both the operations and sales sides,” she says.

That trajectory was given a push with the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With the temporary elimination of the trade show circuit, Naylor and her husband relocated to Phoenix for more job possibilities. She handled an event for a large company and used Bright Event Rentals. Her work impressed the company so much that she was offered a position — a job she was thrilled to get. “It felt like kismet when this opportunity to work at Bright Event Rentals came up in Phoenix,” she says. Bright Event Rentals, which has locations throughout California and the one in Phoenix, caters to a diverse clientele, from event planners, corporations and nonprofits to individual brides and those planning a party in their backyard. “Our company rents everything from teaspoons to tents. We offer all the things a person needs to have the most beautiful event. I love the varied aspect of it. I could be on a golf course putting up a big structure tent one day and be in somebody’s backyard the next doing a twinkle tunnel for their dinner party for 30. Every day is a new experience, offering new challenges and adventures on how I can make our client’s dream come true,” she says.

The position at Bright Event Rentals allowed her to attend an ARA of Arizona event. “I was blown away by the networking opportunities as well as the educational aspect of it. I was eager to join the American Rental Association’s (ARA) Young Professional Network (YPN) and Women in Rental. When the opportunity to serve on the ARA of Arizona board came up, I immediately raised my hand,” says Naylor, who now serves as board secretary. She is excited about what the future holds. “I believe that technology and artificial intelligence are going to impact our industry greatly and am excited to see how they can improve upon current marketing and sales techniques,” Naylor says. Whatever technology upgrades occur, Naylor knows “the future of rental is Bright.”