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Rental operators step up in service of the ARA of Louisiana

By Connie Lannan

March 14, 2024

After recent elections, some new faces will be joining the ARA of Louisiana board of directors. See who has volunteered their service.

Taya Young, chief financial officer, Element, New Orleans

Taya Young

Taya Young

Young is relatively new to the industry, joining Element, her family’s event rental operation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. She went from working at the state capital for the secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services to jumping headfirst into rental as senior event specialist and found she loved it.

This past December she took on a new role in the company as chief financial officer (CFO). “I am definitely a numbers person, so this suits me very well. I am coming in bringing a new perspective to our financials. I still miss my clients, but this move has been very educational. I am learning a lot,” she says.

Young follows her family’s long history of service to the industry. “My dad, Richard Young Jr., was heavily involved in the ARA of Louisiana board in his earlier years. He always talks about how good it was, how he made so many friends, all the things he learned and how much he loved being part of it. All his stories have made board service special to me. He always expressed the importance of being involved in a community like this. I am excited to step into it,” she says.

Young will be one of two female rental operators and one of the youngest to join the board, which will allow her to bring a new perspective to the board. “I feel like I am bringing a whole different category of a person into this group. I am the younger generation, a woman and third-generation rental operator working in my family’s company. I am excited to bring that different perspective to the board,” she says.

She also looks forward to learning from others around the state. “I learn a lot from my dad, but I hope to learn a lot of new things that are not coming from my dad. I would like to learn new skills that others have learned and developed along the way. Everyone has certain ways of doing things. It is cool to be part of a group to hear their remedies of how they do it. I am excited to learn about that and the ARA community,” she says.

Amanda McLeod, rental manager, Quality Cleaning Equipment & Supply, Luling

Amanda McLeod

Amanda McLeod

McLeod, who began her rental career 15 years ago at Quality Cleaning Equipment & Supply, takes over the board seat her colleague, Garrett Monti, had held since 2011.

With Monti leaving the board because of expanding work commitments, McLeod says she “felt this was an opportunity for me to become more of a leader both within my company and within ARA. I think Garrett will help guide me on my ARA leadership path.”

She is eager to take on this task and have the ability to “bring a more niche industry perspective to the board because Quality Cleaning Equipment & Supply serves two specialty rental segments: floor care with its sweepers and scrubbers and disaster restoration with its dehumidifiers and air filtration,” she says. “I look forward to the opportunity to serve and also hope to learn how to be a more effective leader within my company as well as learn best practices from other rental operators.”

As far as goals, McLeod would “like to encourage more participation from women and frontline rental store staff. Owners and key staff seem to participate the most. I think the ARA of Louisiana offers tremendous value for all involved in the industry,” she says.

Ben Bradshaw, senior vice president of sales, H & E Equipment Services, Baton Rouge

Ben Bradshaw

Ben Bradshaw

Bradshaw, who is the third generation of his family to be in the equipment business, is not new to board service. He previously served on the ARA of California board before he was transferred to Louisiana. Now he is eager to serve on the Louisiana state chapter board.

“I am excited to be part of the ARA of Louisiana board and work with the group out here. What the ARA does across the nation is very impactful, and I am excited to be part of it and help in any way I can,” he says.

Bradshaw brings a wealth of rental experience to the board, starting out as a “yard guy” when he was 19 years old and continuing to work in almost every role at such companies as Sunbelt Rentals, United Rentals and now H & E Equipment Services.

“There is a lot that we [from the larger rental companies] can add to the conversation and vice versa. We can learn a lot as well as help to bring people to our industry,” he says.

For instance, Bradshaw says he can “bring a diverse thought process to the group, but I come with no preconceived notions of the market. I feel like I am the fresh new voice of the group because I am not born and raised here. Hopefully I can come in with some new ideas and thoughts and, by the same token, learn a lot from this group because they are all from here and have seen this market and industry change over the course of time, like what I saw in California.”

As for goals, Bradshaw would like to build on the event “staples” the board has offered members by “doing more events from an educational and recruiting purpose. You look at the greater Louisiana area. We have a lot of talent to pull from the universities and have a tremendous opportunity to spotlight our industry. People don’t realize what a long and fruitful career they could have in our different rental businesses. My goal is to educate the greater area on our industry,” he says.