Message from the CEO — Putting a spring in your step
Message from the CEO — Putting a spring in your step

Spring is just the best time of year — people feel good about the weather and the rebirth of green colors on the landscape. After a mild Midwest winter, the change isn’t as dramatic this year, but it is good to anticipate sunshine and pleasant temperatures.

The year has started favorably for the equipment rental industry with The Rental Show putting a spring in everyone’s step, demonstrated with marked increases in attendance and a dynamic pace of purchasing equipment. An American Rental Association (ARA) member described the show atmosphere as “electric,” capturing perfectly the positive, upbeat tone of the conversation and activity in New Orleans.

Other members were talking about the energy, the smiles on faces and hearing the sound of laughter once again — all good signals for the future. One member noted what a joy it was to see everyone, that given the focus on technology, “it was good to be around and connect with people in person.” That one-on-one connection created a buzz on the tradeshow floor, in seminars, personal conversations and social events that motivated everyone as they departed for home. This industry is ready for a good year of doing business.

That motivation should continue throughout the year, as the equipment rental industry is outperforming the general economy and the industries it serves. In the U.S., 2012 rental revenue growth is forecast to be 6.9 percent, more than triple the projected 2 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP). Current 2012 revenue projections for the North American rental market are for a $33.5 billion industry, up $2.1 billion in volume from the past year. Looking ahead, that number is predicted to reach $53.1 billion by 2016.

These solid economic numbers taken from ARA’s Rental Market Monitor™ service through our partner company, IHS Global Insight, should give you all the motivation you need to continue to build your success in any segment of the industry, both as a rental business and as a manufacturer/supplier business. There is opportunity ahead.

The tradeshow floor activity in New Orleans was a testament to the industry’s optimism. It was enjoyable to see attendees and exhibitors in action, enthusiastic and energetic to once again be building their business, thinking of the possibilities and a brighter future. What’s more motivational for an industry than that?

If you were with us in New Orleans, you found the personal experience with exhibitors to be “over the top.” The tradeshow was a magnificent equipment display of what this industry represents. Thanks to the 676 exhibitors for your contribution to such a successful show.

You were ready to present your products and the attendees responded in kind by placing orders and taking advantage of your company personnel being present to address their questions. Among construction and general tool businesses, many brought their mechanics to help in decision making for equipment purchases. Party and special event companies brought their design staff to help with purchasing decisions. Business took place at a fast pace, with choices and decisions made for the future based on growth potential.

Thanks to all attendees for being with ARA at The Rental Show 2012. Attendance was up in the double digits, nearly 20 percent more than 2011, and the number of stores was up nearly 25 percent from last year. You came to New Orleans ready to make a difference in the future of your business. You attended educational sessions, participated in Events & Tents, enjoyed the keynote session with Aron Ralston, honored your peers, networked at Regional Receptions, worked the tradeshow floor, had a grand time at Crescent City Carnival and more.

ARA makes every effort to create a show that will measure up to your expectations. Your support of the event is what builds the momentum for the following year. Mark your calendars for Feb. 10-13, 2013, in Las Vegas. The Rental Show will be at a new location in the heart of the Vegas Strip at the Sands Expo and Convention Center, anchored by headquarters hotels, The Venetian and The Palazzo. Many thanks go to the grand city of New Orleans for delivering a great experience for The Rental Show in ARA’s first year back in 10 years. They were ready to host us, with attendees more than willing to enjoy the fine dining and local cuisine, entertainment and sites of the city. ARA will return to the “Big Easy” in 2015.

I say with confidence that this is a one-of-a-kind spring, one of great opportunity for those who move forward with a spring in their step.

Christine Wehrman is executive vice president and CEO of the American Rental Association, 1900 19th St., Moline, IL 61265. She can be reached at 800-334-2177 or 309-764-2475, ext. 280; fax 309-764-1533; or