Applications now available for ARA Foundation and affiliate scholarships

If you are you a student or have a student working in your rental operation who is pursuing a technical/vocational-, undergraduate- or graduate-level education, then now is the time to apply for the $62,000 worth of ARA Foundation and affiliate scholarships that will be offered for the 2013-2014 academic year.

“Thanks to the generosity of those in the equipment rental industry, the ARA Foundation and its affiliated associations will be able to once again offer students who are associated with the equipment rental industry a record number of scholarships to help them achieve their educational goals,” says Jenni Venema, ARA Foundation director of development. “Pursuing an education is expensive. I am so proud that we will be able to offer much-needed assistance to deserving students who will be the future leaders of our industry.”

New affiliate scholarships added to this year’s lineup include two ARA of New York scholarships worth $1,000 each. “This is a wonderful addition and will offer a tremendous benefit to students in New York,” Venema says. “We are excited that the ARA of New York board members have decided to invest in the future of their industry in this worthwhile way.”

Other additions include:

  • The ARA of California plans to offer two scholarships worth $1,000 each. Last year, the association board members planned to offer one scholarship, but there were so many excellent applicants from California that the state association offered two for the 2012/2013 academic year. The ARA of California will continue to do so for the 2013/2014 academic year.
  • The Bill Loomer Houston Area Rental Association Scholarship has increased from $1,000 to $2,000.
  • The Canadian Rental Association’s Dorothy Wellnitz and Doug Mitchell Scholarships have increased from US$1,000 to US$1,500 each.

These scholarships are in addition to the existing ARA Foundation and affiliate scholarships that are available:

  • 10 ARA Foundation scholarships of $2,000 each for college-bound applicants
  • 10 ARA Foundation scholarships of $1,000 each for technical/vocational applicants
  • Two ARA Foundation scholarships of $2,000 each for graduate-level applicants
  • The Leonard Hawk Scholarship, the ARA Foundation scholarship worth $3,000 that is awarded to the top applicant. All applicants are automatically considered for this scholarship.
  • The ARA Insurance Scholarship of $2,500
  • Four ARA of Michigan Scholarships of $500 each
  • The ARA of North Carolina Scholarship of $1,000
  • Six ARA of Ohio Scholarships of $750 each
  • Five ARA of Texas Scholarships of $1,000 each
  • Two Ron Marshall/Region Two Scholarships of $500 each

Applications, available beginning Oct. 5, are open to students who:

  • Meet all eligibility requirements.
  • Are connected with an equipment rental business or an equipment rental manufacturer/supplier.
  • Have plans to remain in the industry upon graduation.

For more information and to download scholarship applications, visit and select “Foundation Scholarship Program.” For questions, contact Venema at 800-334-2177, ext. 236, or

All applications are due by Saturday, March 2, 2013.

ARA Foundation scholarship recipients value awards


Matt Jones, with Jones Equipment Rental, Fort Gratiot, Mich., always liked working on equipment and wanted to make a career in the equipment rental industry. To receive the training he needed, he wanted to go to the University of Northwestern Ohio in Lima because the school is known for its mechanical training and, in particular, its high-performance program that includes a lot of fabrication, metal work and welding classes. The school, however, was expensive.

To help him defray some of those costs, he applied for a technical/vocational scholarship from the ARA Foundation. Receiving that not only turned his dream of school into a reality, but it also gave him a real boost of confidence.

“It felt good to compete for something and win it. Winning that scholarship made me try a little harder while I was there, too,” says Jones, who is now one of three service technicians at his family’s rental business.

In addition to the mechanical courses, he took business management and customer relations courses. In one of his courses, he even had to build a shop and “figure out what kind of money was needed to keep up with overhead costs and more,” he says. Those courses have helped him not only in the shop, but also when he works at the counter and does sales.

For Jones, the scholarship and the education he received offered him the chance to expand his skills and enhance his knowledge base. All are vital, he says, to helping him move up the rental career ladder.

Shane Valliere, tent crew leader at Taylor Rental Center in Petoskey, Mich., also is grateful for the ARA Foundation undergraduate scholarships and the ARA of Michigan scholarships he has received. “I wouldn’t have been able to afford college without those scholarships,” he says. “They have been very helpful.”

Valliere is studying to earn a degree in secondary education at North Central Michigan College in Petoskey. For him, an education degree dovetails quite effectively into his career at Taylor Rental Center. “My courses have helped me be a better teacher to the tent crew. We have a lot of seasonal help during the summer and this year we had quite a few new college guys, which meant a lot of teaching,” he says.

Tent crew leader is not the only position he holds at the business. “I also answer the phones, take reservations, check out equipment and deliver equipment. I am part of a core group of people who do all of these jobs. I love doing it. It’s great being able to take the reservation, set up the equipment and then close the contract, seeing that customer with a smile on their face. That’s neat. I know my college classes have helped me better communicate with my team and the customers. Communicating effectively is so important in this business,” he adds.

Chris Burson, general manager at Rental World of St. Cloud in St. Cloud, Fla., also knows how valuable education is to his job and how much the ARA Foundation graduate scholarship played a role in helping him reach his dream of receiving his master’s in business administration degree.

“My undergraduate degree is in business. I always wanted to go back for my MBA,” Burson says. While working full time, he enrolled at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

“I went to night school. It took me three years, but I got it. Having a scholarship takes a lot of the load off. Going to school is hard work. When you have to worry about money, it makes it more difficult,” he says.

School helped him network with other MBAs in the area, some in the construction field, which has been helpful for his business. It also gave him confidence “in making buying, HR [human resources] and management decisions,” he says. All of those skills are crucial, especially when you hope to run the business someday, he notes.

Jones, Valliere and Burson strongly encourage others who want to pursue their education, so they can create successful careers in the rental industry, to apply for the ARA Foundation and affiliate scholarships. They know from personal experience how these scholarships bring school within reach and turn the dream of a college education into reality.

For more information about available scholarships for the 2013-2014 academic year, see the story on page 68 and the scholarship poster inserted in this issue of Rental Management.