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New Orleans, staying customer-centered and more — Maureen Harkness covers it all

By Maureen Harkness, CERP

March 14, 2024

Maureen Harkness, CERP

Maureen Harkness, CERP

Hello, my fellow American Rental Association (ARA) Region Seven peers. Maureen Harkness here, your new regional director. Yes, that is my official title as of the conclusion of The ARA Show™ in New Orleans last month. It still seems rather surreal, but I am so excited to be taking on this role.

Speaking of the show, it really was awesome. I always leave energized and full of ideas I can take back to my team. The show is a buzz of activity. It is the place to immerse yourself in rental. If you had the opportunity to go, I hope you also left full of hope for the coming year. If you weren’t able to go, I highly recommend you attend next year. It is an experience you simply can’t get anywhere else — one that will benefit you personally and professionally.

I loved that I had the opportunity to see so many members from Region Seven at the show, particularly at the Region Seven Reception, the Women in Rental Breakfast, the Tuesday night event as well as other points during the event. That was awesome!

It also was exciting to see Herb White, president and independent manufacturer representative (IMR) with Continental Divide Marketing in Golden, Colo., be honored with the Leadership Impact Award for our region. Herb has served as the associate member director on the ARA of Colorado board for many years. He is so deserving of this award. Please offer your congratulations. You can learn more about Herb’s service in the story in this issue.

ARA of Arizona members enjoyed luxury-suite views overlooking the 16th hole at the WM Phoenix Open.

ARA of Arizona members enjoyed luxury-suite views overlooking the 16th hole at the WM Phoenix Open.

Our state chapters also have been busy offering and planning events. On Feb. 6, the ARA of Arizona offered members a fantastic opportunity to be part of the WM Phoenix Open, thanks to sponsor PRO EM National Event Services. It was incredible. Attendees received an all-day pass and were able to overlook the iconic 16th hole from a beautiful skybox. Kudos to the ARA of Arizona board for pulling off such a fantastic event. Everyone had a blast networking and taking it all in.

Regarding the ARA of Arizona, I want to welcome Thomas Laverde with Herc Rentals in Phoenix to the ARA of Arizona board. Thank you, Thomas, for stepping up to serve in this way. You will be a great asset to the board.

On March 27, the ARA of Colorado will offer the ARA Certified Forklift Train-the-Trainer program at Arvada Rent-Alls in Littleton — at a discounted price. This is the brand-new, comprehensive training offered by ARA. Graduates will be qualified to train staff and customers on Classes 1-5 as well as Class 7 (rough terrain) forklifts. Whether you are in equipment or event rental, this is a must as all your employees have to be certified to operate this equipment. Go to the ARA Calendar of Events for registration information.

But that is not all. The ARA of Colorado is also hosting a Rockies game outing Saturday, April 20. This is a terrific opportunity to network and just have fun. Go to the ARA Calendar of Events to register.

ARA of Colorado members will be able to take advantage of the ARA Certified Forklift Train-the-Trainer program.

ARA of Colorado members will be able to take advantage of the ARA Certified Forklift Train-the-Trainer program.

To members in New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming: Although your states do not have state chapters, there are plenty of online ways for you to become involved with ARA, be it the Lunch ’N Learn programs, webinars and other opportunities. If you want to get more involved with ARA, please reach out to me and let me see how I can help.

Spring is a busy time for many rental operations in our region. The question is how can you be ready and ensure your team is full of passion and customer-focused energy? I suggest you look into the wide variety of videos and courses offered by ARA — resources that are specifically designed to help you in this effort. Some are very short. Others are more in-depth. All are available through ARA’s RentalU educational platform. You will find sales, customer service and safety courses. All are primed to help you and your team stay customer-focused and customer-centered even in the busiest of times.

Well, as I embark on this new role as your regional director, know that I am here to serve and be your conduit to the national board. Please reach out and let me know what’s on your mind. I take this role very seriously and will work very hard to advocate on your behalf.

Here’s to a successful and safe spring.

Maureen Harkness, CERP, ARA Region Seven director
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