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Region Eight members focus on the future at The ARA Show 2023

By Brock Huffstutler

March 14, 2023

The ARA ShowThe long 16-month wait came to an end on Feb. 11 when The ARA Show™ 2023 kicked off at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

The last time the equipment and event rental community gathered face-to-face at the American Rental Association’s (ARA) premier event was in Las Vegas in October 2021. With the opening of the show in Orlando, it was time to get back on track with the show’s normal operating schedule. For those in attendance, there was no better place to be to reconnect and focus on the future.

“I came to the show this year to look at equipment and get out of the shop,” said Chris Hodik, Bighorn Rental & Sales, East Helena, Mont., onsite in Orlando. “We’re here to see what kind of equipment is new, what’s available. We’re also interested in insurance; I will be visiting with ARA Insurance as well. But basically, our reason for being here is the education side of it, especially succession planning and learning more about continuing the business once one of us leaves.”

The ARA Show

The 66th edition of the world’s largest equipment and event rental industry-specific convention and trade show offered attendees plenty of opportunities to network and learn from peers, industry experts and vendors.

Saturday, Feb. 11, featured two brand-new education sessions, Future of Equipment Rental for those on the equipment side of the industry, and EventsU (formerly Events & Tents) designed exclusively for those in event rental, brought unique insights.

The education continued on Sunday with presentations delivered by engaging, expert speakers and rental industry panel discussions covering tracks grouped into four themes: “Learn and Lead,” “Connect and Collaborate,” “Empower and Engage” and “Plan and Strategize.”

Following Monday’s Keynote Session presented by Daymond John, attendees focused on the trade show that featured more than 700 exhibitors.

Show networking favorites like the Young Professional Network (YPN) Reception, Women in Rental Breakfast, ARAPAC Reception benefiting ARA’s political action committee and the ARA Foundation Charity Auction and Reception also returned.

The ARA Show

Tony Powter, Lease Crutcher Lewis, Bothell, Wash., participated in the ARA Foundation Auction and walked away the winner of a set of premium Cabernet Sauvignon wines. “I’ve been a part of the American Rental Association [ARA] since I was about 15 years old. I think the Foundation serves as a really good jumping off point for youth to get into the rental market. We need the youth to enjoy the business; that’s an important thing,” Powter said.

Just before the wrap-up of the show, many attendees kicked back at the sold-out Tuesday Night Event at Universal Studios Orlando. It was one of the biggest parties ARA has ever thrown because the association reserved special areas of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park just for show attendees.

“The equipment availability issues did not seem to be an issue for our buying show; we have crafty exhibitors and they found ways to serve their customers,” said Tony Conant, ARA CEO, in his summary of this year’s show. “The ARA Show proved again that it is the best place in the world to see rental equipment and products, get rental-specific professional development and network with the best group of people around!”