Message from the President: Can you help?
Message from the President: Can you help?

This is my last column as president of the American Rental Association (ARA). As I look back at my years of volunteer service, I am
reminded that it all started with a simple question, “Can you help?” My first volunteer activity was organizing our after-meeting dinner at a local restaurant for the Upstate New York Rental Association. I was off and running and my real rental education had just begun.

The best part of the rental industry is the people. Rental folks are not only hard working, they are intelligent business owners. They are the friendliest, most sharing people I know. I don’t know why, but they just are. From the time I started in the rental business, other rental store owners always were willing to share their ideas and give good advice. They helped a novice in the rental industry to navigate the pitfalls involved in running a business. They helped me to really understand the rental business and for that, I will be forever grateful.

As my knowledge of rental grew, I was able to share some of my new expertise with others. I continued to volunteer at the local, state and national levels. Along the way, I was meeting great rental people across the country, learning even more about our industry and having fun at the same time.

Realizing how important volunteering has been to my development, I always encourage others to be involved in ARA. Start small. Sign in at a state meeting, help with a seminar or serve on a committee. Soon you will realize, as every volunteer does, that the rewards always are greater than the time and effort you put in.

ARA staff members, along with the board of directors, work hard to make sure ARA remains the leader in all things rental and continues to assess member needs to develop the best, most current programs.

The Rental Show, Government Affairs, ARA Foundation, Rental HQ, the Certified Event Rental Professional (CERP) program, ARA Rental Market Metrics™ and all the other services, products and educational programs would not be possible without the help of member volunteers. Now it’s my turn to ask, “Can you help?” You’ll be better off for serving and so will your industry.

I would like to thank ARA staff members, the board of directors and all the volunteers that I have worked with over the years. It has been
an honor to serve as your president and I have enjoyed every minute of it. At The Rental Show in Las Vegas, I will pass the presidential gavel to Mike Blaisdell. Thanks to Mike for stepping up. I cannot think of a better man for the job. I will continue on as chairman of the board, so I ask everyone to stay in touch and I hope to get a chance to see you at the show. Take advantage of all that ARA has to offer and have a prosperous 2013. RM

Mike Flesher, owner, Taylor Rental Center, Vestal and Ithaca, N.Y., is the 2012 president of the American Rental Association. He can be reached at 607-729-7167 or