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Showing up to shape the future of rental

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.

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.

Attendees from Equipment Source, Fairbanks, Alaska, relax at the Region Eight reception.

“I’m here to kick tires, look at stuff and try to get the pulse of what’s going on [in the equipment rental industry],” said Israel Butt, PRB Feed, Blackfoot, Idaho. “I really need a woodchipper and other stuff I don’t have because we’re relatively new — we’ve only been in the rental business since 2017. So, we’re still expanding what we offer. I’m also here to talk to the people I do business with. In the last year we changed our rental software to integraRental Software. I’ve never met them personally — we’ve talked on the phone a lot, but I’ve never met them.”

Rental software was the main shopping list item for Brett Davis, FMI Equipment Rental and Sales, Spokane, Wash. “We came to the show to check out a lot of the software for rental management,” he said. “Specifically, we’re looking for something that offers better fleet management. And secondly, a lot of our OEMs are here, so coming to the show is a good way to interact with the OEMs that we serve.”

Brett Davis of FMI Equipment Rental and Sales, Spokane, Wash., right, meets industry friends on the trade show floor

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.

Also during the show, Sam Castillo of Tates Rents, Boise, Idaho, took over the reigns as ARA Region Eight director from Steve Ricci, Bigfork Rentals, Bigfork, Mont.

“I appreciate the opportunity to help grow our association,” Castillo said, adding that his goal as an ARA board member “is simply to make a positive influence on ARA and its growth. I have had the pleasure of meeting several current members of the ARA Board of Directors and I look forward to serving with these industry pros.”

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.

Allen receives special recognition in New Orleans

Tim Allen, right, receives the Leadership Impact Award from Steve Ricci, outgoing ARA Region Eight director

Tim Allen of Allen Rental, Roseburg, Ore., a veteran of many American Rental Association (ARA) national committees and current member of the ARA of Oregon board of directors, received special recognition during The ARA Show™ 2024 in New Orleans.

Allen received the ARA Leadership Impact Award, which 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.

“The Leadership Impact Award is tough to accept knowing that you are just a small part of a much bigger collective impact. That being said, I thank my peers for recognizing me. As many have said, you get far more out of these kinds of efforts than you put in,” Allen said.

Allen also acknowledged the peers he has met through his industry service and their impact on his company. “To everyone who has helped me navigate and grow our business to better serve our customers and community I can’t say enough,” he said. “It just goes to show that rubbing shoulders with the best of the best can help anyone grow.”

“If you’re on the fence about dedicating some time in your region, step in. Your business will thank you for it, and if you’re lucky enough you might just get to take home a pretty cool piece of hardware courtesy of others in your region,” Allen said.