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Brian Richardson reflects on the show, looks forward with brand-new programs

By Brian Richardson

March 14, 2024

Brian Richardson

Greetings, American Rental Association (ARA) Region Two. Spring is right around the corner here in the mid-Atlantic and I know you are all gearing up for what I hope will be another busy season.

Your ARA state associations are working on some great in-person events in the next few months, and I encourage you to support your chapter by attending one near you. Keep an eye on your email for invitations or visit the calendar of events.

We have just completed The ARA Show™ 2024 in New Orleans, and with more than 650 exhibitors, the show floor was busy on both the equipment and event rental sides of the convention center. Some of the highlights of the show for me were the following:

  • Region Two’s own Scott Woodruff of Tent Ox receiving the Industry Impact Award for his contributions to the industry as a manufacturer/supplier. Congratulations, Scott.
  • The introduction of our new campaign, Born for This. Born for This features two commercials following people from childhood hobbies to the present day when they now have jobs in the equipment and event segments of our industry. It’s all part of ARA’s ongoing workforce development initiative. Watch for more content regarding this campaign in the upcoming year.
  • 150 members in attendance at our Region Two Reception, during which it was my honor to award the Leadership Impact Award posthumously to Tina Behnke Spencer of AirPac Rents, who tragically passed away on Aug. 28, 2023. Tina was a dedicated and hard-working member of our association.
  • More than 650 attendees taking part in the Women in Rental Breakfast, featuring Dr. Michelle Rozen, aka The Change Doctor, who spoke on leadership, motivation, and change.
  • The raising of a record $206,500 at the ARA Foundation Charity Auction. The money funds employee training assistance, mentoring, disaster relief, scholarships and sponsored trainings. Learn more about the Foundation here.
  • The packed-house concert by country singer Mitchell Tenpenny at the House of Blues New Orleans.

Catching up in New Orleans with past ARA Region Two directors Craig Creamer, ABC Rental Center, Rosedale, Md. (center) and Mike Fitzwater, Special Events Entertainment, Portsmouth, Va. (right)

You can read a recap of The ARA Show 2024 — with some on-site comments from a few of our Region Two members — elsewhere in this issue. Plans are underway for the 2025 show in Las Vegas, which will be held Jan. 29 – Feb. 1. Book your hotel now here.

ARA is proud to announce that our new introductory online course Foundations of Safe Tenting is now live and can be accessed through RentalU. This course was created in partnership with the Advanced Textiles Association (ATA) and the Manufacturers and Tent Renters Association (MATRA) and is free to our members. The goal of the course is to help tenting professionals recognize the basic terminology, practices and procedures that produce safe and efficient tent installations and dismantles.

Lastly, I want to congratulate the ARA of New Jersey on hosting the first ARA Certified Forklift Train-the-Trainer and Forklift Operator program sessions. These programs enable ARA members to provide their employees and customers with the training necessary to protect themselves and those around them during forklift operations while also reducing many of the liabilities associated with forklift use. Learn more about these new certification programs here.

If at any time you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out via phone or email and I will do my best to assist.

Until next time, may each of you have a safe and profitable spring.

Brian Richardson, ARA Region Two director
L & A Tent Rentals
Trenton, N.J.