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The secret to engaging members

By Brian Flinn

October 10, 2023

Brian Flinn, ARA of Indiana president

Brian Flinn

Hello. I am Brian Flinn, ARA of Indiana president. I have a question for all of you American Rental Association (ARA) members in Region Five: What makes people become engaged in state chapter activities?

It is something our state chapter board members have been so focused on this past year. We all understand the craziness of our industry and how that plays havoc on schedules, the hassle of driving a long distance to attend an event and the busyness of life that can prevent someone from getting involved. Yet we also know how valuable networking and education are to each of us both personally and professionally.

To try to address this, our state chapter has offered a wide variety of events in different parts of our state — not just Indianapolis — and at diverse venues, including our associate members’ valuable manufacturing sites. We have even called members located near where the events will be happening to invite them personally. Sometimes that has worked really well. Sometimes the results were not quite what we had hoped.

On the positive side, we have seen some rental operators at our events who have never been to a state chapter meeting or at least haven’t been in a long time. That is exciting. We consider that a win. We keep learning and trying. I guess that is what all of us on state chapter boards are doing. Those of us on the ARA of Indiana board are committed to finding new ways to connect with our members because we feel that strongly about it. Stay tuned for details on future events.

Our fellow state chapters have events coming up. The ARA of Michigan will hold its auction Nov. 8 and Winter Conference Jan. 12-14. The ARA of Ohio will offer telehandler training Nov. 7, 8 and 9. The ARA of Wisconsin will provide a Professional Development & Family Fun event Jan. 19-21. For more information or to register for any of these events, go to the Calendar of Events at

Another big event coming up is The ARA Show™ in New Orleans Feb. 18-21, with EventsU happening Feb. 17. Show registration opens Oct. 17, so watch for details. This is an event you won’t want to miss.

I also would like to thank all of you who recently approved the nominees who will join the ARA Board of Directors next year. As a member-driven association, it’s important that we take part in this process each year. Robert H. Pedersen from A Tool Shed in Santa Cruz, Calif., will become ARA president-elect and Marti Wenzler of Chicago-headquartered Lawson Products will become an ARA associate member director next spring. Please join me in welcoming them and the others who will comprise our association’s leadership team.

Another industry positive is the lineup of very impressive young professionals who were profiled in the “12 to Watch Under 40” article that appeared in the August/September issue of Rental Management. For our region, Raymond Gardner with Rent Smart in Grant and Sparta, Mich., was so honored. Learn more about Raymond in this issue. Congrats to him and the others who were recognized.

In this issue you also will learn about Rental Management’s Rental Software Series. Discover what equipment and event rental-specific software is available to us and how that software can help our businesses.

A big win for those of us on the equipment side is that manufacturing seems to be catching up with our wants and needs. All those orders we put in a while back are now coming in. We have availability of fleet, which is a good thing and makes us more effective.

I hope you have a lot of wins as you move through the fall season. And remember to get involved with your state association, whether that is by attending a meeting, helping with an event or volunteering to be on the board. Engagement is the lifeblood of our state chapters. Without it we all suffer.

Happy renting.

Brian Flinn, ARA of Indiana president
MacAllister Rentals