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Shaping the future of rental over in the bayou

By Brock Huffstutler

March 14, 2024

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.

Amelia Davies, Classic Tents & Events, Norcross, Ga., attended an EventsU session that discussed using Facebook ads and said, “It was really thorough and kept everyone engaged the whole time. I learned a lot about putting ads together that I didn’t already know.”

Reuben Ayoub, CERP, left, and Mike Gonzales, CERP, of TLC Rents fresh out of an education session

Reuben Ayoub, CERP, left, and Mike Gonzales, CERP, of TLC Rents fresh out of an education session

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.”

“We like coming to the seminars,” said Reuben Ayoub, CERP, TLC Rents, Doraville, Ga. “We get a lot out of them, and these have been really good. I just saw a seminar on safety, and it was an inspirational story. It was very moving, and it really made you think about safety. And then the first seminar we went to was the one about Google searches and how to find placement on that. That was very good. I was not aware of Google Trends, which is a feature that shows you the trends and everything for your different products that you sell in the locations that you’re in. Very good tips.”

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.

Products for every rental segment, from construction to general tool and event to services like rental software, were on display.

“We’re definitely looking for new items like dinnerware, china and glassware. We’re going to be beefing up our tables and chairs inventory this year,” said Ayoub of what he was looking to order at the show.

The team from Christopher Equipment, Tullahoma, Tenn., on the trade show floor

Todd King, Kingline Equipment, Cantonment, Fla., didn’t have specific pieces of equipment on his shopping list this year. Rather, he was “looking at software to see what’s out there and what’s available.”

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.

“I really want to meet a lot of people in the industry that I can learn from,” said Kiara Verdesoto, CERP, American Party Rentals, Durham, N.C., about her motivation to attend the YPN Reception at the show. “I’ve been in rental for less than a year now, so I want to learn as much as I can, get to know people who have been in the industry for longer than me and just gain as much as I can from being here.

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 wrap up video from Rental Management.

Florida’s Ahlgren and Detective Sgt. Hinchliffe receive special recognition in New Orleans

Two individuals hailing from the American Rental Association’s (ARA) Region Three received special recognition during The ARA Show™ 2024 in New Orleans:

Brandon Ahlgren, CERP — Leadership Impact Award

Brandon Ahlgren, CERP, left, receives the Leadership Impact Award

Brandon Ahlgren, CERP, Elite Events & Rentals, Tampa, Fla., who serves on the ARA of Florida board of directors, received the 2023 Leadership Impact Award for ARA’s Region Three.

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.

“I am very honored to receive this award,” Ahlgren said. “Many rental industry peers who I look up to have received this award and it’s an honor to be part of that group.”

Ahlgren added that receiving the award while The ARA Show took place in New Orleans carried special for him.

“New Orleans 2012 was the first show I ever attended. My wife and I went together and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. While at that show, I got a call about attending an ARA of Florida board meeting that was taking place during the show. I went to that meeting, and have never looked back. Being part of ARA and my local chapter has been the best part of my business,” Ahlgren said.

Detective Sgt. Greg Hinchliffe — ARA Insurance/NER Daniel Pearson Law Enforcement Award

Detective Sgt. Greg Hinchliffe

Detective Sgt. Greg Hinchliffe

Detective Sgt. Greg Hinchliffe, of the Collier County Sheriff’s office, Naples, Fla., received the 2023 ARA Insurance/National Equipment Register (NER) Daniel Pearson Law Enforcement Award.

The award recognizes a law enforcement officer who has performed exceptional service to the rental industry through the recovery of rental equipment or through theft prevention initiatives.

In the process of recovering more than $1 million worth of stolen construction equipment, Detective Sgt. Hinchliffe identified a theft ring comprised of between 15 and 43 suspects who have been implicated in 45 felony cases that occurred in 17 different Florida jurisdictions. So far, nine arrests have been made, with more coming.

While honored and appreciative of receiving this award, Hinchliffe stresses the importance of the work and what these thefts mean to the victims. “The effect of these thefts is that the victims can’t do their jobs because they don’t have the equipment or are out a significant sum of money. That is where the weight of this pushed me to dig in. This equipment is our victims’ livelihoods,” he said.