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Minnesota members charge into 2023 with holiday party fun

By Brock Huffstutler

February 7, 2023

ARA of Minnesota Holiday Party 2023The ARA of Minnesota kicked off 2023 with a celebration of the previous year’s successes at the state chapter’s Annual Holiday Party, hosted at Medina Entertainment Center in Medina, Minn.

The party included a buffet-style dinner, refreshments, unlimited bowling, and the opportunity to catch up on the rental happenings of 2022 and discuss what lies ahead in 2023.

See what some of the participants had to say about the festivities:

“The holiday party is always one of my favorite events of the year. It’s just a great time to see my rental friends and I even met a couple new ones!” says Chad Wagner, president, A1 Rent It, Wayzata, Minn., and ARA of Minnesota treasurer.

“Business relationships are built on more than just dollars and cents,” says Dennis Von Ruden, president, General Equipment Co., Owatonna, ARA of Minnesota holiday partyMinn. “Social events such as the Holiday Party are a great opportunity to also build interpersonal relationships. Sometimes that’s best accomplished by sharing a meal and a conversation. Such events help to humanize the rental industry as we work together to address our common problems and celebrate our mutual successes.”

“Dinner was delicious with beef tips, chicken parmesan, salad, rolls, vegetables and potatoes. Prizes were donated by Toro, Ditch Witch, Makita USA, CCC of NY and Great Northern Equipment Distributing (GNE). Everyone had a great time, and it was fun to see so many old friends. We also honored Walt Linder as he retired from GNE after 26-plus years and 41 years in the power equipment industry,” says Doug Haas, president and CEO, Crown Rental, Burnsville, Minn., and American Rental Association (ARA) Region Six director.

ARA of Minnesota members help Walt Linder of Great Northern Equipment Distributing, third from left, celebrate his retirement.

ARA of Minnesota members help Walt Linder of Great Northern Equipment Distributing, third from left, celebrate his retirement.

Jerry Kortesmaki, owner, London Road Rental Center, Duluth, Minn., celebrated his 20th Holiday Party this year. “It was so great seeing my rental family and seeing the next generation take over. These people are really family, and like most families say, we should get together more often. The nice things that were said with the ‘Happy Bucks’ going around almost brought tears to my eyes,” he says.

Kevin Fitzgerald, manager, Hiawatha Reddy Rents, Minneapolis, who also serves as ARA of Minnesota president, explains that “Happy Bucks” is a state chapter program where “at all of our meetings, everyone donates a $1, $5 or $20 — whatever they feel comfortable donating — and says something that they are happy or thankful for, or excited to see in the future.”

“The holiday party was a wonderful event. I went because I hadn’t seen people in such a long time. It felt good to be back among my peers and see how well everyone is doing. We have had a few key people in our state retire and they were able to make it to the party. I loved being able to catch up and congratulate them on their retirement. The food was scrumptious! The board worked hard on a raffle with great prizes from our vendors. Our stores are so much stronger because of the support of these companies. A few stores won some great pieces of equipment. There were over 60 people, including independent reps and their spouses. The ARA of Minnesota is truly a family group with second and third generations joining the industry,” says Rachel O’Brien, ECP-SM/MT, president, J&F Reddy Rents, St. Louis Park, Minn.