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Shaping the future of rental down in bayou country

By Brock Huffstutler

March 14, 2024

Jake Taylor of Nichols Equipment, Des Moines, Iowa, with the snake charmer at The ARA Show's House of Blues event

Jake Taylor of Nichols Equipment, Des Moines, Iowa, with the snake charmer at The ARA Show’s House of Blues event

The six-year hiatus from the Big Easy came to an end in February when The ARA Show™ 2024 kicked off at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

The 67th edition of the American Rental Association’s (ARA) premier event — which is 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. 17, featured the return of EventsU, a full-day program designed exclusively for those in event rental with plenty of rental-specific education and networking. The education continued on Sunday with presentations delivered by engaging expert speakers and rental industry panel discussions covering tracks grouped into four themes: “Learn & Lead,” “Connect & Collaborate,” “Empower & Engage” and “Plan & Strategize.”

Then, following Monday’s Keynote Session presented by Jon Taffer of the hit TV show “Bar Rescue,” attendees focused on the trade show that featured more than 650 exhibitors.

Exhibitor Kyle Crosley of Polaris Industries, Medina, Minn., was pleased with the traffic he saw on the show floor as his company launched a lithium-ion vehicle at The ARA Show. “There’s been a lot of interest,” he said. “With electric, we see a lot of big companies pushing for fleet conversion. They have goals they set for sustainability as a corporation. There is a lot of interest in moving to electric where possible.”

Some exhibitors got creative in building their customer base on the show floor. Jared Hicks from Bootheel Rentals, Poplar Bluff, Mo., won a Genie GTH-5519 during a contest where participants had to stand on a platform to win the prize. Hicks spent a total of 18 hours, 18 minutes and 40 seconds on his platform.

Alex Bistline, left, and Russell Bistline of B-Quip Equipment Rental shopped for rental software at the show

Attendee Russell Bistline, B-Quip Equipment Rental, Warrensburg, Mo., comes to the show every year but said this year “is a little bit different in that what I’m looking for is rental software. We have to replace our current system. And where else are you going to find every vendor that there is? There’s only one place: The ARA Show.”

Many attendees also enjoyed returning show favorites like the Young Professionals Network (YPN) Reception, Regional Receptions, Women in Rental Breakfast, ARAPAC Reception for members of ARA’s political action committee, and the ARA Foundation Charity Auction and Reception.

Rachel O’Brien, ECP-SM, J & F Reddy Rents, St. Louis Park, Minn., attended the ARAPAC Reception. “We need to support ARAPAC because we don’t have enough time in our own businesses to be watching what’s going on in Washington, D.C., and even at times at our own state level,” she said. “ARAPAC has an eye on what’s going on and can help us run our business better, more effectively and more economically.”

At the ARA Foundation Charity Auction and Reception, Jeremy Yantes, ECP-SM, Crown Rental, Burnsville, Minn., who serves as ARA of Minnesota president, said, “I like the fact that The ARA Foundation is doing things like scholarships and other programs that are outside of our actual business. That helps us get the word out about who we are. It really helps support that.”

Catching up at the Region Six reception

Darick Hemphill, General Rental Center, Springfield, Mo., who serves on the ARA of Missouri board of directors, was the winning bidder of a Mardi Gras-themed Sullair 185 Portable Air Compressor at the auction. He commended the Foundation for its assistance to members after natural disasters such as fires and floods, saying the organization “helps our group make bad times better. It helps a lot.”

Just before the wrap-up of the show, many attendees shared an unforgettable evening with chart-topping country singer Mitchell Tenpenny at the Tuesday Night Event at House of Blues New Orleans.

“It was so nice to see the rental community thriving in New Orleans,” said Tony Conant, ARA CEO. “From the opening program to the final bell, rental operators got everything they came for — education, networking, buying and entertainment. The Sunday education lineup and Tuesday night at House of Blues were some of the best experiences folks had in many years. I heard nothing but positive feedback on the keynote speaker, Jon Taffer. He has a way of getting your attention and delivering a message that business owners need to hear.

“Equipment availability seems to be much better this year so the show floor was busy with deal seekers. 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 on the planet,” he said.

Click here to view the show recap video from Rental Management.

Rental Supply’s Schupp and The Toro Company Foundation receive special recognition in New Orleans

John Schupp, left, and Doug Haas

An American Rental Association (ARA) volunteer leader from Missouri and the philanthropic arm of The Toro Company received special recognition during The ARA Show™ 2024 in New Orleans.

John Schupp — Leadership Impact Award

John Schupp of Rental Supply, O’Fallon, Mo., who serves on the ARA of Missouri board of directors, received the 2023 Leadership Impact Award for ARA Region Six.

The Leadership Impact Award recognizes an individual in each of the ARA’s 10 regions whose leadership benefited their state and/or local association and its members over the past year.

Schupp’s award was presented during the Region Six Reception.

“It is a pleasure and honor receiving the Leadership Impact Award for Region Six,” Schupp said. “I want to thank [immediate past ARA Region Six Director] Doug Haas, [ARA program manager, chapter leadership relations] Daniel Sanchez, and all the past and present members of the ARA of Missouri Board of Directors for their support. This award represents the strong leadership in the ARA of Missouri chapter and the commitment to our members.”

The Toro Company Foundation — The ARA Foundation’s James Keenan Commemorative and 1976 Club Awards

Kaitlyn Ingli and Scott Pevey accept The Toro Company Foundation’s awards for supporting The ARA Foundation

The ARA Foundation’s mission is to provide opportunities for the equipment and event rental industry and the communities they serve.

For its generous support of the ARA Foundation during 2023, The Toro Company Foundation, Bloomington, Minn., was awarded:

  • The James Keenan Commemorative Award — Named after the ARA past president and the ARA Foundation’s first president, who led the philanthropic arm of the industry for 10 years in the 1970s and 1980s, recognizes those who have contributed $10,000 to the ARA Foundation during a five-year span.
  • The 1976 Club Award — Presented in honor of the year the ARA Foundation was established, this award goes to those who have contributed a total of $5,000 or more to the ARA Foundation in a single year.

“We are honored to receive a James Keenan Commemorative Award and a 1976 Club Award,” said Marnie K. Wells, president, The Toro Company Foundation. “Our priorities align beautifully with the ARA Foundation. Collaborating on philanthropic initiatives within the same industry is powerful, especially in the communities who need us the most. When our two organizations come together and join resources — equipment, expertise, materials, and volunteers — that is when the magic happens.”

Kaitlyn Ingli of The Toro Company Foundation, accompanied by Scott Pevey of Ditch Witch, Perry Okla., accepted her company’s award during the ARA Industry Awards Lunch.