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Pedersen named ARA president-elect: New directors join ARA board at the conclusion of The ARA Show

January 2, 2024

Robert H. Pedersen
A Tool Shed, Santa Cruz, Calif.

Robert Pederson

American Rental Association (ARA) general members have approved Robert H. Pedersen as the new president-elect for the association. Pedersen is president and CEO, A Tool Shed, Santa Cruz, Calif. Pedersen most recently co-chaired ARA’s Equipment Rental Shared Interest Group (SIG).

“I’ve spent my whole life in the rental industry and this association is where I’ve chosen to invest my time and energy. It’s my time to give back,” Pedersen says as he prepares to step into the role of ARA president-elect.

During his time as an ARA officer, Pedersen says he wants to engage members on the current programs offered by the association, and to see those programs become the mainstay in the rental industry.

“My main focus is to get the membership excited about and participating in ARA’s programs,” Pedersen says. “Things like the ARA Certified MEWP [mobile elevating work platform] training and the new forklift operator certification program, which is due to be released in the spring of 2024, are beneficial for the entire industry. We have built content that improves both operational efficiency and the safety of our store staff and customers, and we have to get our members to utilize these certification programs. Increasing the awareness of these key programs is my main goal.”

When Pedersen becomes ARA president-elect at the conclusion of The ARA Show™ in New Orleans in February, Jeff Crotto, CERP, president of All About Events, Jacksonville, Fla., will become ARA president. Steve Mau, ECP-SM, president, Brainerd General Rental, Brainerd, Minn., assumes the position of
ARA board chair. Scott Irwin, president and co-owner, Delux Rental, Ypsilanti, Mich., will complete his board service.


Associate Member Director

Marti Wenzler
Lawson Products, Chicago

Marti Wenzler

ARA general and associate members have approved Marti Wenzler as Associate Member director. She succeeds Mary Crosslin, co-president and chief operating officer, Alert Rental Software, Colorado Springs, Colo. Wenzler is strategic account manager with Chicago-based Lawson Products and is a current member of ARA’s Women in Rental Committee.

“I’m honored to have been entrusted with the opportunity to get more involved in the association. I’m looking forward to working with the leadership team to transform strategy into action for the good of the association. As an Associate Member director with responsibility for enhancing the working relationship between general and associate members, my initial goal is to connect with as many associate members as possible to discuss their experience with ARA and to get their insights and ideas. I will also continue to initiate and promote activities through ARA Women in Rental to advance the careers and engagement of women in the industry,” Wenzler says.


Region Six

Steve Houser

Steve Houser
U.S. Rents-It, Jefferson City, Mo.

Steve Houser has been approved as ARA’s Region Six director. He will succeed Doug Haas, president and CEO, Crown Rental, Burnsville, Minn. Houser is general manager of U.S. Rents-It, Jefferson City, Mo., and most recently served on the ARA of Missouri board of directors.

“I’m honored that members in my region approved me to serve as their regional director, and I plan to fully participate as an ARA board member to the best of my ability. During my term, I want to promote the importance of professional education. A big part of that is communicating the features of ARA’s online resources that can inform and educate our rental store owners and their employees. I want to help folks apply the knowledge they can receive through the association, see them thrive, and be a part of their success,” Houser says.


Region Seven

Maureen Harkness, CERP

Maureen Harkness, CERP
Cre8ive Event Rentals, Tempe, Ariz.

Maureen Harkness, CERP, has been approved as ARA’s Region Seven director. She will succeed Andrew Heesacker, ECP-SM, president and CEO, Arvada Rent-Alls, Arvada, Colo. Harkness is managing director of Cre8ive Event Rentals, Tempe, Ariz., and most recently served as president, ARA of Arizona.

“I am super-honored and humbled for this opportunity,” Harkness says. “There is a wonderful slate of directors that I will be privileged to work with. That is pretty amazing.”

As for her goals during her term, Harkness says it is “all about growth. I hope to grow the membership in my region, see new faces become engaged in our state chapters’ education and networking events, and find new leaders who can help build the benches of each state chapter board. I also would like to have ARA staff more involved in our state chapter events so our members can get to know those from headquarters. In addition to attending state chapter meetings, I also would like to see more from my region attend The ARA Show as there is so much offered there. Involvement offers so many benefits, so I really hope we can grow our attendance and overall engagement during my time as Region Seven director,” she says.


Region Eight

Sam Castillo

Sam Castillo
Tates Rents, Boise, Idaho

Sam Castillo has been approved as ARA’s Region Eight director. He will succeed Steve Ricci, president and owner, Bigfork Rentals, Bigfork, Mont. Castillo is senior account manager, Tates Rents, Boise, Idaho, and most recently served on the ARA of Idaho board of directors and as a member of ARA’s Equipment Rental Advocacy Workgroup.

“I have a lot of passion for this industry, so I appreciate the opportunity to help grow our association. My goal is simply to make a positive influence on ARA and its growth. I have had the pleasure of meeting several current members of the ARA Board of Directors and I look forward to serving with these industry pros. During my term, I’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to help rental operators across the Northwest leverage ARA resources to be successful,” Castillo says.


Region Ten

Kelly Brincheski

Kelly Brincheski
Collective Event Rentals, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Kelly Brincheski has been approved as ARA’s Region Ten director. She will succeed Angie Venekamp, ECP-SM, general manager, Rental Network, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. Brincheski is general manager of Collective Event Rentals, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and most recently served as chair of the ARA Foundation Board of Trustees and as a member of the ARA of Canada Task Force.

“It’s such an incredible honor to have received the vote of confidence from our Canadian members to take on this role. I pledge to do my best in being their conduit to ARA national. I’m passionate about our industry and through more than 10 years of volunteering I have made lifelong friends and connections. Those relationships were essential to me as I launched Collective Event Rentals. I can’t wait to get to know many more rental operators a whole lot better when my term as ARA Region Ten director begins,” Brincheski says.


Crotto makes appointments to ARA Board and Executive Committee

Jeff Crotto, CERP, current American Rental Association (ARA) president-elect who will assume the office of president at the conclusion of The ARA Show™ 2024 in New Orleans, has named Dan Fielitz to the board position of Equipment Rental Shared Interest Group (SIG) chair to represent that ARA member segment for a three-year term. Fielitz is president of General Rent-All in Massillon, Ohio, an ARA member since 1986.

Crotto also has appointed two ARA board members to serve a one-year term on the 2024-2025 Executive Committee. Appointed to serve are Robert Copley, CERP, ARA Region Five director, and Brian Richardson, ARA Region Two director.

Copley, who has served on the ARA Board of Directors since 2023, is sales manager of Event Essentials, Windsor, Wis. Richardson, who has served on the ARA Board of Directors since 2022, is president of L & A Tent Rentals in Trenton, N.J. Copley and Richardson will join Crotto and Pedersen on the Executive Committee along with current ARA president Steve Mau, who assumes the board chair position in 2024.

The following officer and directors will complete their terms on the board in the spring of 2024:
  • Scott Irwin, ARA board chair, and president and co-owner, Delux Rental, Ypsilanti, Mich.
  • Mary Crosslin, ARA Associate Member director, and co-president and chief operating officer, Alert Rental Software, Colorado Springs, Colo.
  • Doug Haas, ARA Region Six director, and president and CEO, Crown Rental, Burnsville, Minn.
  • Andrew Heesacker, ECP-SM, ARA Region Seven director, and president and CEO, Arvada Rent-Alls, Arvada, Colo.
  • Steve Ricci, ARA Region Eight director, and president and owner, Bigfork Rentals, Bigfork, Mont.
  • Angie Venekamp, ECP-SM, ARA Region Ten director and general manager, Rental Network, Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
  • John Jeanguenat, ARA Equipment Rental SIG co-chair and president, RentalMax, Carol Stream, Ill.

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