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Wilkins and Ruttura step up to leadership roles

By Brock Huffstutler

July 7, 2023

Ernie Wilkins Jr.

Ernie Wilkins Jr.

The American Rental Association (ARA) state chapters of New Hampshire and New York recently welcomed two industry professionals to their boards of directors.

ARA of New Hampshire

Ernie Wilkins Jr., Ready Equipment, Meredith, N.H.

Wilkins is the store manager of Ready Equipment, a locally owned and operated business that offers a mix of rentals, outdoor power equipment sales, contractor equipment and supplies, and power equipment service.

Wilkins brings more than 25 years of experience working in the world of parts, service and more to the ARA of New Hampshire board.

“I spent 19 years in the boat business, starting in service before taking on parts manager and service writer roles, then taking on sales and ran boat rental at the end,” Wilkins says. “I joined Ready Equipment in the spring of 2015 where I helped Mike [Collins, Ready Equipment owner] grow the business from just a handful of rentals to a good-sized, single-location fleet. We added power equipment sales and service and contractor supplies in the summer of 2015 also.”

The opportunity to join the ARA of New Hampshire’s leadership team came along at a time when Wilkins, coincidentally, happened to be feeling the urge to increase his level of industry involvement.

“I was looking to get more involved with ARA to learn more about the industry,” Wilkins says, adding that a less-than-satisfactory experience due to a no-show speaker at a vendor event he attended in the region “got me wanting to look into the opportunity to join the New Hampshire board. I wanted to make sure our state has the help it needs to make our events a great experience for anyone who attends.”

Around this time, the ARA of New Hampshire sent out a call for board volunteers, and Wilkins was ready to answer. “I heard they were looking for members and I wanted to take advantage,” he says.

During his tenure on the board, Wilkins says he hopes to help play a part in finding ways to address the widespread lack of service personnel. “There is a shortage of people looking to get into the industry. We struggle to find equipment mechanics and drivers,” he says.

ARA of New York

Samantha Ruttura

Samantha Ruttura

Samantha Ruttura, Our Rental Pumps, Farmingdale, N.Y.

Ruttura, president of Our Rental Pumps, comes from a family that has been involved in the construction industry for more than 100 years, but she decided to branch out and launched a company specializing in concrete placing and equipment rental.

“Starting Our Rental Pumps allowed me to continue in the same industry but support various contractors and their projects in a way that comes naturally to me. As a child, I dreamt of being a part of that contracting business, but as I grew older, I realized I wouldn’t be utilizing my best skills there. The rental business allows me to work closely with various contractors, supporting them and their projects. It’s rewarding to know we can help support these major projects, even if the equipment rentals are only a small part of the entire scale of work,” Ruttura says.

Our Rental Pumps is certified as a women-owned business enterprise (WBE) in New York state, New York City and the Port Authority in New York and New Jersey. The company offers rentals on equipment, including aerial lifts, concrete pumps, concrete finishing tools, earth-moving equipment, screening plants, telebelts and telehandlers. Our Rental Pumps is a dealer for Conforms and Valme, offering sales and rentals of their concrete placing system and equipment.

“With a capable and well-trained service team, we support customers with parts and services for their Liebherr, Putzmeister, Magni and Schwing equipment. We are also proud to be a dealer for Fritzpak Admixtures to solve customers’ concrete problems. Although based in the New York area, we support contractors with services, parts and equipment throughout the country,” Ruttura says.

Ruttura was named one of the rental industry’s “12 to Watch Under 40” by Rental Management in 2022. She also is a member of ARA’s Young Professionals (YP) Committee, and it was through connections made at a YP event that she learned of the opportunity to deepen her involvement in ARA.

“At a YP event I met a few ARA of New York board members and learned about the local board,” Ruttura says, adding that she responded with a “yes” when asked to join their team because “I’m really passionate about this industry and work hard to make a difference in it. I am on the board for the Long Island Contractors Association, so this was an easy choice to be able to help the rental industry as well as the contractors we work with.”

As an ARA of New York board member, Ruttura says her top priority is to help members find workforce development solutions. “That is something I hope we can work together on as a board — to increase work opportunities in our state and the rental industry,” she says.