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Regional roundup: Members enjoy diverse spring events

By Brock Huffstutler

April 11, 2023

There has been no shortage of events offering education, training, networking and fun across the American Rental Association’s (ARA) Region Six this spring.


Angela Crouse

Angela Crouse

On March 7, the ARA of Nebraska hosted the “Spring Steakhouse Event” at Round the Bend Steakhouse in Ashland, Neb. In addition to a delicious steak dinner and door prizes, the event featured a presentation from Angela Crouse, ARA director of education, who reviewed educational and training offerings available through ARA and RentalU — ARA’s online education and training platform.

“We enjoyed networking with other local providers and bouncing ideas off each other,” says Caleb Gruefe, integrator/head of ops at Stahla Services, Lincoln, Neb. “The food and speakers were top-notch. We also learned a lot about RentalU and how much it can help our current training process. All in all, it was a great event and we will be back for sure.”

Paul Burkholder, regional sales representative, McClelland Marketing, High Ridge, Mo., who serves on the ARA of Iowa board of directors, also gave the ARA of Nebraska gathering high marks. “I thought it was the best ARA of Nebraska event that I have been to so far,” he says. “The venue and food were top-notch. It was very informative to see all the resources available to the members, and I thought Angela was engaging and did a fantastic job.”


MEWP training in Minnesota

MEWP training in Minnesota

On March 15, the ARA of Minnesota hosted another hands-on training session for the ARA Certified Mobile Elevating Work Platform (MEWP) Train-the-Trainer program. This was the second event of its kind hosted in the state in 2023, and it was held at Brainerd General Rental in Brainerd, Minn.

The program, like its predecessor earlier in the year, qualified graduates to operate MEWPs to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements and ANSI (American National Standards Institute) A92 standards. The result: improved job-site safety efficiency.


March 22 brought an opportunity for ARA of Missouri members to meet and mingle over food and drinks at a fellow equipment rental operator’s facility.

A lunch get-together and store tour in Missouri

A lunch get-together and store tour in Missouri

The gathering took place at A1 Tool and Equipment Rental in Columbia, Mo., where lunch was served and, in addition to good food and good conversation, a tour of the host’s newly-remodeled building was offered.

“The A1 team was amazing and helpful with all of my questions — they truly have built the perfect rental store and yard layout without question,” says Robert Haug, co-owner and managing member, Elevate Equipment and Concrete Supply, Moberly, Mo. “It’s good to meet with the other rental stores. I feel working together as a group creates a better rental market for all of us.”

Darrick Farr, general manager of the host facility and a member of the ARA of Missouri board of directors, says he is glad he opened his company’s doors for the gathering. “We really enjoyed hosting and organizing the event. There was a great turnout of new and seasoned rental stores in attendance and the networking was great. We even had a few stores come tour our event rental store afterward. We had great food, people and conversation,” he says.


Iowa members receive DOT regulations updates

Iowa members receive DOT regulations updates

To close out the month of March, ARA of Iowa presented a meeting on March 30 that offered three attractive benefits:

  • The latest DOT (Department of Transportation) commercial vehicle regulations. The instruction was delivered by Sgt. Robert Wittkowski and featured a live demonstration, a review of current DOT regulations, and a refresher on load securement and how to stay compliant.
  • A delicious barbecue dinner.
  • A facility tour of host Vermeer Iowa & N. Missouri, Des Moines, Iowa.

“It was a great event!” says Stephanie Hanna, manager, Work Truck Rentals, Clear Lake, Iowa. “The presentation with Sgt. Wittkowski was very informative and I enjoyed the interaction from the group.”

Bruce Bowman, president, Star Equipment, Des Moines, Iowa, said that in addition to a host facility that was “very nice, clean and near new,” everyone present, while competitors, were cordial with one another. “All the folks at the meeting were friendly and took time to talk with their peers. There were a lot of non-owners in the meeting, all of which represented their companies well,” he says.

Bowman also appreciated the DOT education that was on tap. “[Sgt. Wittkowski’s] presentation is by far the best of all the DOT folks I have heard talk over the years,” he says. “You can’t help but pick up on or be reminded of a thing or two at each of the meetings. What I was most impressed with was the amount of discussion and questions that occurred during the presentation and in the Q&A at the end of the meeting.”

Heath Bichel, owner of Snap To It Rentals, Marengo, Iowa, shared similar thoughts on the event. “Great host — it’s an awesome facility that Vermeer has put together,” Bichel says. “The food was fantastic and Sgt. Wittkowski did a very nice job on his presentation on the DOT regulations for the state of Iowa. I learned many new things with the class and try to use the new information in the day-to-day operations. The ‘8 second’ video was an eye opener. Thanks to the ARA of Iowa for a wonderful class.”

Stay in the know about upcoming activities across ARA’s Region Six [covering Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota] at the ARA Calendar of Events.